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, THE„PLOUGHMAN. y
I Was about to reply, when the voice of one singing attracted my attention. It was an husbandman at his labour, busily engaged in ploughing the field, and at the same time exercising his mind in strains of melody. From the solemnity of the tune, I was induced to believe that it was a psalm or hymn that he was singing. How mercifully, (I thought with myselfj) hath the Loud provided for the labouring part of mankind; that while the hands are engaged day by day on things of the earth, the heart is unfettered, and able, through grace, to soar among the objects of heaven! As we approached nearer, we paused, and could very plainly distinguish the words: and thus he
'"Arise, my soul, my joyful pow'rs, And triumph in my God:
My friend whispered in my ear,—' 60 you recollect what the Prophet predicted of the last Gospel days ?' In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord*?' Such shall be the gracious prelude to that day, when there shall be no more the Canaanite in the land, that the highway and the way qf holinesg shall be so plain, that the' wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err thereinf.* —The farmer still sung;
'He rais'd me from the depths of sin,
The gates of gaping hell;
Than 'twas before 1 fell.'
• Is not this strange doctrine?' I cried to my friend.—' Ask him yourself,' he said, 'for if he sings ' with the spirit and with the understanding also,' he can explain.'
• Are you not mistaken, honest man,' I said, 'in what you are singing ?'—' Oh, no, Sir,' he immediately answered,'He that raised me from sin, preserves me now from falling;
* The arms of everlasting love
'The city of my bless'd abode
'Satan may vent his sharpest spite, And all his legions roar;
* Does this seem strange to you, Sir?' continued the countryman. 'Surely, you ought to know better than I: but for my part, I thank God, I know enough to know, that they are safer that are keptbygrace, than they who never fell. The angels, who kept not their first estate, fell from having no security but their own strength. And our unhappy first father, who had more strength of his own than ever any since of his fallen race have had, soon manifested what that strength was when left alone, '—I do therefore desire to bless God, that my strength is in another, and not in myself. Oh! it is a sweet morsel to my soul, which says, 'O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help*.' Besides, Sir, had Adam continued in his original state of uprightness, and all his children have partaken in the same; this would have been no other, after all, but the righteousness of the creature. Whereas now,' the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord. He is the LcRDour righteousness ; and therefore he is himself our strength in the time of trou* Hosea XiL 9.
Me*.' And while the soul whom divine grace hath snatched, as the Lord hath me, from the gates of destruction, can take up that scripture—' Surely, shall one say, in the LonD have I righteousness and strength;' God the Holy Ghost applies that other precious assurance of his word—' Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without endt.' j
The countryman waited not for a reply, but resumed his labour and his song together;
* Arise my soul, awake my voice, And tunes of pleasure sing;
Happy soul! thought I, thou hast that which empires cannot purchase: God for thy father, Jesus for thy portion, and the Holt Ghost for thy comforter!
I saw the countenance of my companion glow with pleasure at what the countryman had said, while he finished the observations of the labourer, with asking and making answer himself to some few questions of his own. 'Why,' says he, 'is it, that the divine promise of perseverance should be so difficult to be received by * Psalm xxxvii. 39. t Isa. xiv. 21.
oar unbelieving hearts; but because we think we must have strength enough of our own? Why is the doctrine of the Redeemer's righteousness, as the sole means of justification before God, so hard to be accepted by us; but because the unhumbled pride of our nature cannot brook the mortification of being saved without doing something towards it ? And wherefore is it, that sinners are so averse to believe, that their salvation is wholly the result of being chosen in Christ, 'before the foundation of the worldbut because it becomes a gratifying compliment to our proud nature, to have it thought that we have first sought Christ ?—But the poor sinner desires that it should be always kept in view, that if we love him, it is because he first loved us. His language is—Lord, it is all distinguishing grace from beginning to end. 1 know I should fall every hour, but for the promise of being upheld by him, who having 'loved his own, loveth them unto the end.' ' And as I am fully conscious that I have no righteousness of my own, how precious becomes that assurance to my soul, wherein thou hast said, 'My salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished*/ ...'