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cretion and ability for your daily toil, let no hour pass without prayer to Him who teaches to profit; and if deeply conscious of ignorance, you will more importunately ask wisdom of God “ who “ giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not.”
3. While you are grateful for these useful in structions, and admire the condescension of the Lord of Hosts, let me direct your attention principally to Him, who for nobler causes and higher ends, is styled the “ The Teacher come from God." Jesus the Lord of Hosts--incarnate for the sake of poor perishing sinners! He will instruct on the most essential topics, and will make you wise to salvation. Natural objects may inform you of your obligation to your Almighty Maker, and your entire dependance on him; the law and conscience will teach you your debt and danger; but Christ the messenger of mercy, alone can point you to his own fulness, whence you may discharge your debt; to his own atonement, by which you may avoid impending perils. If savingly taught by Him, through the agency of the Blessed Spirit, God will ‘in a peculiar and endearing sense, be
All ordinary providential favors will be proofs of Divine mercy, and pledges of future benefit; every creature will be received with thanksgiving; a radiancy will be transfused over common mercies; your meals will be sacramental. Learn of Him, and ye shall obtain rest to your souls. None instructs like Him, he teacheth to profit; but as in learning the lessons of husbandry, there is much toil and effort required, even so, labor and exertion are enjoined by this best instructor. “ Labor not only for the bread that pe“ risheth, but for that which endureth unto ever
lasting life, and which the Son shall give you.
You must take his yoke upon you. Submit to his directions, and bear unmurmuringly needful dicipline, for your inaptitude. Correction is required and will be administered; adverse events, like unkindly weather, will occur; these shall destroy those noxious vermin and noisome weeds which would endanger the crop.
If you profit under his instructions and bring forth fruit, he will prune you and dig about you, that you may bring forth more fruit.
The rule and the rod are alike necessary for our teaching. Blessed is the man whom thou chastisest and instructest him out of thy law. He corrects for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
Finally. Enquire, then, if you have sought and submitted to his instruction; if you have learnt in how wretched and miserable an estate you are by nature and practice; a slave to sin and an heir of eternal wrath. Have these impressions been so effectual as to prompt the exclamation, “ What “ must I do to be saved ?” Conscious of ignorance and of your inability to save yourselves, have you asked wisdom from God, and gone to the strong for strength ? “ Jesus Christ is made unto us wisdom, “ and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp“ tion.”* Apply to Him in faith; cast yourselves at the foot-stool of mercy; seek the remission of your sins through the atonement he has effected; depend on Jesus alone for the justification of your persons; and pardon, with all its peaceful and prosperous consequences, shall be yours. For “ thus saith the “ Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed
* John, vi. 27.
you from all your iniquities, I will also cause
you to dwell in the cities; and the wastes shall “ be builded, and the desolate land shall be tilled, “ whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that
passed by. And they shall say, This land that “ was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; “ and the waste, and desolate, and ruined cities,
are become fenced, and are inhabited: then the * heathen that are left round about you, shall “ know that I the Lord build the ruined places, “ and plant that that was desolate. I the Lord “ have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the “ Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of by “ the house of Israel, to do it for them.”+
* 1 Cor. i. 31. t Ezekiel, xxxvi. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37,
PLOUGHING IN HOPE.
1 CORINTHIANS, ix. 10.
For our sakes, no doubt, this is written; that he
that plougheth should plough in hope.
PLOUGHING the land may properly be considered as one of the most laborious of those services to which husbandmen are called: much strength, skill, and perseverance are required. The same field must be frequently retraced by weary steps, till the whole is regularly and deeply
* It requires not only strength, but much skill and judgment, to manage and guide the plough. The Hebrew word, which we translate to plough, siguifies to be intent, as an artificer is about some curious piece of work. The plough must neither go too shallow nor too deep in the earth : it must not indent the ground by making crooked furrows, nor leap and make baulks in good ground; but be guided as to a just depth of earth, so to cast the furrow in a straight line, that the floor or surface of the field may be made plain ;-as it is, Isaiah, xxviii. 25. and hence that expression, Luke, ix. 62. “ He that puts his hand to the plough, and
furrowed. But arduous, difficult, and wearisome, as this employment is, we find persons cheerfully and habitually engaged in it; although it yields no immediate return of profit, and is only preparatory to their other toils. Hope animates their exertions; not the expectation of a direct benefit, but the hope of suitable weather for sowing, the blessing of heaven on the springing of the seed, and finally, the returns of harvest.
Ploughing is not like other services of husbandry, confined to any particular season of the year, but engaged in at every period. In this discourse, I shall, however, confine our attention to the primary ploughing of the land, that it may be left aş fallow; and considering the long interval between this operation of tillage, and the crop which may be at some remote day gathered, it strikingly exemplifies several of the more arduous duties of religion; to engage in which, there is felt much
" looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of heaven." The meaning is, that as he that ploughs must have his eyes always forward, to guide and direct his hand in casting the furrows straight and even, (for his hand will be quickly out when his eye is off;) so he that heartily resolves for heaven, must addict himself wholly and intently to the business of religion, and not have his mind entangled with the things of this world, which he hath left behind him ; whereby it appears, that the right management of the plough requires as much skill as strength.
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