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his prayers; that he may be ready to receive into his mind the good seed of God's word, and to lay it up in his heart, as the grain is covered in the earth, that it may bring forth fruit to life eternal. Then shall the angels come at the end of the world, when the great harvest shall be gathered, to take the elect into the kingdom of God. If the husbandman thinks on these things, his work will be sanctified ; and he himself will be brought nearer every day to the kingdom of heaven. It is very truly said of the husbandman, that his work is never done; every season, every day, brings some new employment with it. It is the same with the Christian : his work is never done; and he would be under a dangerous mistake, if he should think it is : for the tempter is always at some new device, to give a christian sorrow or trouble ; he never thinks his work done, till the man is destroyed, and made a child of hell, instead of a child of God.
I would have it here to be remembered, that I am only giving a few examples, which the learner is to practise upon, and be multiplying all the days of his life. I open a school-door, into which he that is disposed may enter and profit according to his capacity; the employment is delightful; and the matter inexhaustible.
In our observations upon other people, charity and all the christian virtues will be exceedingly promoted, if we use ourselves to make a short prayer on what passes before our eyes. Thus if we see one that is blind; how proper would it be to say, “ Lord, thou hast taken from that man bodily sight, give him the sight of the mind, which is far better.” If you see one that is lame, you may say, “ O thou who didst enable the lame to walk ; though thou art not now present with us, to heal the infirmities of our bodies, thou
. Advantages of Prayer. 343 canst still show us the path of life, and enable us to walk in the way everlasting : thus shall the halt and lame enter into life.” If we hear of any one that is fallen into some dreadful sin or calamity, it would be proper to say, “ Lord, I bless thy name, that I myself am not made an example to lhat inan, who is now inade an example to me : raise up him that is fallen ; and let me not be high minded, but fear; for blessed is the man that feareth always in such a world as this." If you should hear the bell sound for a funeral, you may say, '“ Lord, make me wise to consider my latter end : that while I live I may live unto thee, and when
I die, I may die unto thee, so that living and dying I may be thine."
Once more : if you should be present when criminals are judged at an assize; think of the great tribunal of Jesus Christ: think, how we shall all be called out of our graves, to stand before his judge ment-seat : in which case it is hardly possible for a man to turn his eyes towards himself, without saying, “ Lord, how, where, shall I appear in that dreadful day? O let thy holy angels find me, to strengthen and encourage me, before I dare to look upon thy face; that so I may have boldness in the day of judgment, and find myself placed on thy right hand among the heirs of salvation : Lord remember me in that day; for my heart panteth, my strength faileth, when I think of it: but thou didst expire upon the Cross, to lessen the terrors of it to me and all poor pcnitent sinners.”
There would be no end, if we were to collect such other examples as might be thought of; the day, the night, the sea, the land, the heaven above, and the earth beneath, abound with objects to exercise our devotion I would now say a word or two on the ad
we see it, we should utter some thanksgiving to the Almighty Creator; who hath given to us, not only the natural light, but the light of truth, the light of the Gospel ; and hath promised us an inheritance of the saints in the light of the new Jerusalem. When we awake to such thoughts, we awake as men and Christians, not as beasts; who receive the benefit of the light, without knowing what glorious things are to be understood by it. When we see the sun in his daily course, we should say to ourselves, such is the Sun of Righteousness, and thus did he rise upon the world, and thus will he rise again to dispel the darkness of the shadow of death, and begin the glorious day of Eternity. As the natural light moves from East to West, so hath the Gospel shined throughout the world : as the day declines, and the evening comes on, so doth the life of man decline. When this happens, we should say with the two Disciples, when they invited Christ to tarry with thein at Emmaus, “abide with us, for the day is far spent.”
The elements and the changes of the weather will supply us with more matter of the same sort. If there cometh rain to water the earth, let us be thankful, not only for that, but for the grace of God, and the word of truth, which cometh down from heaven as the rain : that the soul of man may be fruitful in works of righteousness. As the earth is parched in a time of drought, and cracked with dryness, so should man open his mouth, and say with the Psalmist,“ my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh also longeth after thee, in a barren and dry land where no water is.” If there cometh thunder, we should listen to it, as to the voice of God; which, what noise soever men may make below, will be heard above all. How insignificant do the word and power of man appear, whenever God is pleases to shew himself, and his lightning shines from one end of heaven to the .other ! This appearance should always remind us, that the Lord will at last be revealed in flaming fire.. What will then become of us, if we have never thought of his judgments, till they :: are upon us, and the great account is to be given by all sinners ? He who lives by the rule I am now giving, will never be surprized. He sets the Lord always before him, therefore he shall not be moved : if his heart is ready, he will in every place find matter for prayer or for praise. If he is in a garden, he thinks on Paradise: how it was lost by the first Adam, who ate in sin; and how it was regained by the second Adam, who fasted in the wilderness. If he is in the fields or meadows, by the river side, and sees the flocks and herds feeding,, he remembers, that he himself belongs to God's pasture: he prays, that the Lord, the keeper of Israel, who is his Shepherd, will convert and bring him back, when he strays from the paths of righteousness, and will lead him forth beside the waters of comfort: under these circumstances he may be disposed to repeat the twenty-third Psalm; and he will then feel the force of it.
The husbandman, who is employed in the works of the field, has many opportunities beyond other men; all his works are of such a sort, as may suggest religious thoughts, and lead his mind to devotion : our blessed Saviour took one of his finest parables from the labours of the field ; where the ground, good and bad, is the heart of man; the seed is the word of God; the wheat the righteous; the tares the ungodly; the harvest the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Who can have these things before him, without thinking about himself; what he is, and what is to become of him ? and these thoughts will lead him to
vantage of praying in this manner. If prayer be a labour to the mind, there is none of it here : a small transient ejaculation is sufficient to signify the disposition of the heart, even though it be not uttered by the lips: for God is a witness to the meditations of the heart. Therefore it may be used in society, as well as in solitude : and in whatever work a man is employed, provided it be lawful, it will not be interrupted but promoted. is the husbandman interrupted, if, when he casts the seed into the ground, he prays that the seed of God's word may take root in his own heart? so far froin it, that it will bring down a blessing upon himself and his labour: and inprove his daily work into a work of grace; a work, by which his mind will be kept in constant practice, to a temper of piety : so that he may be strictly said, to walk with God, as the Saints did of old; which should be the first object of a Christian's ambition. The agreement between the objects of the natural world and the objects of revelation, so amply and illustriously displayed in the Scriptures, shews (to those who understand it) a wonderful sight; it shews the whole Creation as one great picture of divine truth; which will give as much entertainment, and afford more variety to the imagination of a Christian, than all the works of genius, which all the wit of man ever did, or ever will invent. It is as wide as the world, and as bright as the ocean, when the sun shines upon it. Religious meditation and devotion draw it forth into use; and shew, so many ways of applying it to the editication of the mind, . that if we can bring any qualified person to this one employment, he will never complain that Christianity is a dry study. It infuses a new spirit into common things, which in themselves are dull and insipid : every trifling event assumes a new figure and new import