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These little bees are busy all the spring, summer, and harvest, in providing for the approaching winter. O my soul, learn a lesson from the bees and ants, to make much of thy time, improving the season of grace, by laying up for thyself treasures in heaven! Matthew vi. 20. And may God, of his infinite mercy, forbid that ever thou have to complain, with the church of old, “ The «s harvest is past, the summer is ended, and « we are not saved, Jer. viii. 20. That this may not be thy doleful case, seeing that there is yet balm in Gilead, fly on the wings of faith to that plant of renown, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is as ointment poured forth, Cant. i. 3. (which attracteth all virgin bees, even true believers to this flower, who sprang from the root of Jesse)
and lay up for eternity.
Bees are often attacked by wasps and other enemies, which deprive them of life, and bear off their treasures; but, blessed be God! though devils and wicked men harass the saints here much, and often deprive them of their natural existence; yet they cannot rob them of their treasures : No, for
Samson having gone down to Timnath, came to the vineyards thereof, where, behold a young lion roared against him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid; the carcase of which, as he on a time returned thither again, he went to see, wherein was a swarm of bees, and honey, that afforded him matter of an excellent riddle, which he put forth to his wedding guests, saying, “ Out of the eater came forth meat, and out “ of the strong came forth sweetness, Judgxiv. 5, 6, 8, 12, 14. With how much more propriety may believers say of Christ Jesus --- who came down to this world, and in the garden of Gethsemane and cross of Calvary, bruised the head of the old serpent the devil, that roaring lion, 1 Pet. v. 8. and spoiled principalities and powers, making a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, Col. ii. 15.---that he hath out of the eater brought forth meat, and out of the strong, sweetness to his people.
He hath done great things for us, Psalm CXXVI. 3.; he hath not spoiled principalities and powers only, but made all the evils of life, persecutions, afflictions, temptations, and death itself,---nay, all things, to work together for good to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28.
A strange riddle, indeed! that saints should receive benefit from the persecutions and temptations of men and devils ; yet it is certainly true, and affordeth incomparably more sweetness to the soul of a believer, than the honey which Samson found in the carcase of the lion did to him. Satan's sifting Peter as wheat, Luke xxii. 31. only blew away the chaff of self-confidence from him ever after. Satan's messenger buffeting Paul, kept him a humble dependant on the suffi. ciency of God's grace, 2 Cor. xii. 7---9. The persecutions of Joseph's brethren sent him to Egypt for good : and, to hasten his great preferment with Pharaoh, the lewd adultress got him cast into prison. And Moses was obliged by Pharaoh, who sought his life, to fly from Egypt to Horeb, where he met with God, from which time he became God's vicegerent, Exod. iv. 16. and the redeemer of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Saul's persecution of David prepared him for relishing more the crown which he afterwards wore: And John was banished from the society of men to the island of Patmos, that he might receive a glorious revelation from God.
These works of the roaring lion proved in the end sweet, honey-combs of comfort to all those worthies; and so will trials, temptations, persecutions, afflictions, and death, prove in the end to all the people of God.
I perceive there are many of the gayest flowers which these busy insects pass over, while they alight with apparent pleasure on others much less esteemed for their beauty,
Just so is it with true believers ; not those empty shews which the men of the world take pleasure in, are their delight; these, like the skilful bee, they slightly pass over, knowing well there is no substantial good to be found in them; while they soar on the pinions of faith, far above carnal enjoyments, and alight, with sweet contemplation, on the things which are above : on these are their affections set, and from them they gather honey, even spiritual joys and comforts, far more precious to the soul than honey, or the honey-comb: while they look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 18.
All the spring and summer season, bees delight in and are busied in ransacking flowers and herbs for the delicious sweets ; but especially do they bestir themselves to activity, that part of the season when the honey dews are to be found : Before, they contented themselves with feeding and loading from herbs and flowers, but now they perch on the trees in swarms together, loudly buzzing