« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
mean, of the good, and pure, and comparatively innocent.
When such deaths occur they cause great sorrow, and pain of heart in a family. Nothing is so touching, nothing so draws out human pity, as parents mourning for a grown-up child. But in such cases may it not be, that what seems a reversal of natural order, is only the carrying out of God's kind law ? They are gathered the young are gathered -80 soon, because in them the seed sown has reached its growth already; not because it has not ripened, but because it has attained earlier to ripeness. For there is no delay in reaping God's harvest-field. Immediately - at the very first moment that it is ready
immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come!
Such is the parable of the seed growing secretly. In trying to explain it, I have looked at it as applying to the growth, and progress of God's word in the individual's soul. And from this view the lesson that arises is, what has been mentioned already, to have faith in the power of God's word, to wait with patience till the Christian life be gradually developed, and not in our impatience and restlessness to seek for that development too
In other words, not to expect too much in the young; not to expect in them a greater seriousness, or relish for religion, than naturally belongs to their age,-First that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual !
Such, I believe, is the teaching of our Lord in this part of His Gospel ; a teaching of the highest practical value, and to be duly laid to heart by parents and instructors of children.
Harm, much harm, comes from forcing religion in the human soul. It leads to hypocrisy, it leads to spiritual pride. It is opposed to the wise law of natural growth,-First the blade, then the ear, after that, but not before the full corn in the ear!
That, be it remembered, is the true pattern of a rightly-taught, rightly-trained Christian. After that model must we desire that our sons and daughters should grow up; growing gradually in grace and knowledge, being children while children, thinking as children, speaking as children, acting as children—not assuming the manners of their elders ; and when they have become men, thinking, speaking, and acting like men-putting away childish things.
That, I have said, is the example of a welltrained Christian soul. Let us set it before us continually, and so seek to train those who may be committed to our care. Let us labour and pray that our children may exhibit, in all their life, this gradual progress in true wisdom and godliness. Let us labour and pray, not that they may be prodigies, unnaturally advanced, and before others of their own age, but that they may be conformed to the law of God, which rules throughout the world - the law of silent, orderly increase. First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear !
Lastly, let us bear in mind this also, for our warning, that what- as this parable, with many others, may teach--God requires in all the plants of His sowing is fruit-return for the care bestowed. Behold, He, the Great Husbandman, waiteth for the precious fruit, and hath long patience for it; yea, and giveth it the early, and the latter rain. He showers down upon the soul the dew of His blessing. He gives us largely in this country every means of grace, that we may grow thereby. And in return He expects, as I have said, fruit. He expects that we, thus highly favoured, should not be barren, and unprofitable, but should bring forth fruit unto Him—fruit that shall remain, fit to be stored in the heavenly garner-fruit unto life eternal !
O may He find it in us, to our great happiness, in that day when He maketh inquisition for it ! That day, that great harvest-day, which is the end of the world ; when He whom we look for
shall appear the second time, coming in a cloud with power and great glory: realising the vision of the entranced evangelist, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And the angel's voice shall be heard out of the Temple, crying to Him, and saying, Thrust in thy sickle and reap : for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe !
DEATH IN CHRIST-GAIN.*
PHILIP. i. 21.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
THESE are St. Paul's words, and they are best illustrated by his own life. For the history of that apostle, after he was made an apostle, what is it but the history of a man whose entire energies, time, talents, strength of body and mind, were devoted to one object,—to glorify Jesus Christto make known His Gospel, and to extend His kingdom over the hearts of his fellow-men ?
It was for this that he laboured more abundantly than they all, it was for this that he braved persecution, and endured all sufferings, stripes, imprisonment, tumults, watchings, fastings, cold, nakedness, the sword. It was for this that he was in journeyings often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils by his own country
* Preached the Sunday after the very sudden death of the much-lamented Archdeacon Giles.