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in your heart! Be it no bigger than a grain of mustard-seed, if it be genuine it will become a great tree, whose top will reach unto heaven. May your present good thoughts produce good desires ; and good desires ripen into good resolutions; and good resolutions be reduced to a holy and gracious. conversation. May you,
May you, from this very moment, set your faces towards Zion, and go on, step by step, adding one degree of grace to another, till you come to the fulness of the measure of the perfect man in Christ.
2. How greatly have Christians the advantage of the rest of the world!
They that “ sow to the flesh” have generally a merry seed-time; but they reap corruption,” and fire and brimstone : an horrible tempest is the portion of their cup! They that “ sow to the Spirit, perhaps sow in tears, and labour under great and grievous discouragements; but they reap love, joy, peace, and “ life everlasting.”—“The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment." “ The pleasures of sin are but for a season;" and the best of them, either for continuance or use, are nothing more nor better than the “ crackling of thorns under a pot.” They have their good things here; and there remaineth nothing to them, but“ a certain fearful looking-for of wrath and fiery indignation.”_" But mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.” . Not always his dying momentsfor that is not the end of the perfect man: he is then but just beginning to live. The pains of death are but, as it were, the pangs of his heavenly birth ; and therefore we are not to wonder if the passage be
dark and gloomy: but all after that is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” If, therefore, we at. any time see them in heaviness, through manifold temptations ; if they are often in affliction's fiery furnace; if they water their couch with their tears, and go mourning all the day; and for years together follow hard after God, with no sensible, token of his presence and favour; yea, if we should hear them in their last agonies cry out, “ My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me!"-we are not to conclude that they have laboured in vain, and that all the precious seed, which they carried forth weeping, is lost; but, only, that the appointed weeks for harvest are not yet come. The Christian's comforts (if I may so express myself) lie longer in the ground before they begin to shoot; but, when once they. begin to blossom, they will flourish with increasing beauty and vigour through the endless ages of eternity. A Christian's hope will never make him ashamed. " He that shall come will come, and will not tarry :” and his reward is with him; and to them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, have sought for glory, honour, and immortality, he will give eternal life: and then, when the foolish, merry world, shall run to and fro in wild despair, crying, “ Who will show us any good ?" they that have gone forth weeping, bearing their precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.
3. Let the hope and prospect of this joyful harvest support us under all the glooms and distresses of this vale of tears.
He that ploughs, ploughs in hope ; and he that SOWS, sows in hope : and the husbandman cheerfully.
undergoes all the fatigue of tilling, in expectation of a plentiful harvest. How much more reason has the humble Christian to “ rejoice in hope of the glory of God;" and to put up with the greatest difficulties and hardships of the present state, as knowing that in due time he shall reap, if he faint not; and that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.” The impatient Israelites said, " Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest no knowledge ?” (Isai, lviii. 3.) And many now there are, who; because God does not immediately send them an answer of peace, and give them the desired blessing, at the very time, and in the very manner, they expected, grow peevish and fretful, and say in their hearts, “What is the Almighty, that we should serve him; and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?"
But surely, Christians, when we consider, that, when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants; that our most perfect performances have a great mixture of impurity and sin in them; we ought rather to admire the goodness that accepts, and (more still!) that rewards, such worthless and defective services; -a reward so glorious, beyond not only our desert, but our expectation, and even our most elevated conception, that we should think no time too long to wait, no service too hard, no sufferings too great, no commands of such a Benefactor grievous. And if at any time our hearts begin to be troubled and afraid, and we are ready to faint in our minds, and grow weary of well-doing ; let us have "respect to the recompence of reward;" and, amidst the greatest
dearth of earthly comforts, refresh our drooping spirits with a believing look towards the land flowing with milk and honey.—This is not our rest,“ for it is polluted.” Indeed, we could not rest in peace in a world so full of noise and distraction. Our most secret retirements would be broken in upon by a thousand impertinent intruders, and our sweetest enjoyments would have some disagreeable mixture. But there is a world, where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest ;-where the enemy shall no more sow tares among our wheat; -where ploughing and sowing, sinning and sorrowing, shall be known no more at all ;-where sin, that accursed root of all bitterness, shall be entirely done away; and nothing that disturbeth or defileth shall ever find admittance in to those regions of perfect purity and peace ;-where the gloomy Christian shall be an unheard-of character, and doubts and fears shall be entire and eternal strangers; - where the triumphant Christian shall stand amazed at his own blessedness, and wonder that graces so weak and languishing should produce such a rich crop of glory.
Earthly harvests yield but a short-lived joy: the husbandman has no sooner housed his corn, and alJowed one day to grateful merriment, but he must begin again the toilsome round of tillage. But in Heaven it is always harvest-time. There we shall be to all eternity reaping the blessed fruits of our present labour and sufferings. Then it will be no argument of folly to say to our souls, “ Soul, take thine ease; thou hast goods laid up for many years.” God will then: pull down these earthly houses of our tabernacles I say, he will pull down
those barns, and build them greater: he will change these vile bodies, and enlarge the capacities of our souls, to receive more plentiful emanations of the divine goodness and glory. Then, what is sown in corruption shall be raised in incorruption; what is sown in dishonour shall be raised in glory; what is sown in weakness shall be raised in power; what is sown a natural body shall be raised a spiritual body. “ So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.-0 death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law : but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
“ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'