Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the brighter and clearer period of ingenuous youth, have you not been rewarded most liberally, while reaping in the field God has thus blessed? Instead of the direful denunciation, the awful curse, the thundering threatening blasts, terrible as the trump of Sinai, you have spoken to your sons of his favor, who accepts the unfolded flower ; who breathes tenderly on the smoking flax; who catches the pearly tear of early penitence; who, though adored by the spirits of the just made perfect and the hallelujahs of angels, listens with delight to the hosannahs of children ;—

"Delightful task to rear the tender thought,
"To pour such rich instruction o'er the mind,
"While breathes the Enlivening Spirit.—
"O speak the joy! ye whom the sudden tear
"Surprises, often while you look around,
"And nothing strikes your eye but bliss like this!"?

But finally, may not the perpetuity of these wages well illustrate the assertion in the text? Words ever true! "He that reapeth, receiveth wages." The joys of harvest are not chequered or damped by perspective changes in the weather; the reaper's toil is final, and the consequences permanent. And surely, while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life;—this reward no man taketh from us. These words comprise a definition

of heaven-an epitome of future glory; and endlessly shall we find their exquisite meaning unfolded in the ineffable enjoyments of the unfading inheritance; then they who sowed in the earlier days of the church, and such as have entered into their labors shall meet in harmonious

and inseparable association. "He that reapeth, "receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life "eternal; that both he that soweth and he that "reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is "that saying true, one soweth, and another

66

reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye “bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye "are entered into their labors."*

John, iv. 36-38.

DISCOURSE XV.

HARVEST.

MATTHEW, xiii. 39.

The harvest is the end of the world.

IN the world at large, so many crimes appear to escape appropriate punishment; and virtue seems so seldom rewarded-and indeed, oft-times oppressed; that it calls for the exercise of a vigorous faith to affirm, "Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth."

66

Emboldened by the long-suffering of the Most High, sinners conclude or rather wish to credit, that there is no God-or that he disregards the affairs of men; and too frequently the righteous in moments of dejection exclaim, "It is in vain "to serve God, and what profit is it that we have

kept his ordinances?"* Our text checks the presumption of the former, and tends to dissipate the fears of the latter.

The harvest is the end of the world; as in a field, weeds and wheat may grow together for a time, so the wicked and the worthy are for wise purposes spared, until He who alone can unerringly discriminate, will return and discern between the righteous and the wicked-between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

The end crowns the whole; all who run in a race, do not obtain the prize. Among our tradesmen, the balance sheet is the criterion of success or failure; with our farmers, no conclusion as to the year being a good or bad one, is drawn, until the harvest. Let us not distract ourselves by unnecessary and useless fears-the mystery of God will speedily be accomplished.

The words read as a text, are part of a most interesting parable spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, the general design of which has been singularly misrepresented, and in the warmth of angry and bitter controversy wholly perverted. It is not our purpose at present to interfere in the quarrel, or to

Malachi, iii. 14.

decide the question between the advocates of an unsuspecting admission of all characters to the privileges of spiritual communion, and those who contend that our Lord did not deny the church the exercise of a wholesome dicipline; let it suffice to observe, that the tares* the weed here referred to, bore a striking resemblance to the good grain; that the former were sowed by an avowed enemy; that the ignorance or unskilfulness of the servants was the alledged reason for not rooting up the tares; and that while a terrible destiny awaited the weeds, the good seed was gathered into the garner.

The harvest when this consummation of woe and felicity is to occur, is the end of the world. Your attention is requested to this text, which

I. Predicts an awful event-the end of the world; and

* We have a kind of pease called tares, but what the scripture mentions under that name appears to be a weed very hurtful to the corn, and very difficult to eradicate. As wild oats in our fields not only nearly resemble the good plant, but are extremely pernicious to the crop; and no weed is so bad for the land, as it takes much time and toil to clear a field when once foul.

The stem of the tare is smaller than that of wheat; and at the top springs forth a long ear with small husks surrounding three or four grains. The meal of tares is unwholesome, loads the stomach, and intoxicates, creating drowsiness, heaviness, head ache, &c.

« PreviousContinue »