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THE HARVEST OF THE WORLD.
REV, xiv. 16. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth ; and the icarth was reaped.
That the word of God informs us of a harvest after the gospel day, or at the closing up of the gospel period, I think no one, who believes in the Scriptures, can deny. Here, then, I hope to meet my brethren of different sects on one common ground, while I attempt to explain the fourteenth chapter of Revelations. I shall inquire,
I. WHO IT IS THAT SAT ON THE CLOUD AND ORDERED THE EARTH TO BE REAPED.
II. SHOW THE SEVERAL FRUITS OF THE EARTH WHICH ARE GATHERED IN OR DESTROYED AT THE HARVEST, AND THE MANNER OF THE HARVEST. - I. THEN I AM TO SHOW WHO IT IS THAT SITS UPON THE CLOUD AND ORDERS THE HARVEST. It must be the Lord Jesus Christ. See verse 14: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle."
The first description is “a white cloud.” This is the same cloud as was seen when Christ was transfigured on the mount. Matt. xvii. 5: “ While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and hehold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Which, according to Peter, denotes the glory of God, 2 Pet. i. 17: “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The second description is, “ one sat like unto the Son of man.” This agrees with Dan. vii. 13: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” Matt. xxvi. 64 : “ Jesus saith unto him, thou hast said: nevertheless, I say unto you, Here after shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
The third description is, “having on his head a golden crown." Ps. xxi. 3:“For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness; thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head." Heb. ji. 9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
The fourth description is, "and in his hand a sharp sickle. Joel iii. 12, 13, 14: “Let the beathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision : for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." In all these passages it is evident that by “Son of man". is meant the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. I SHALL SHOW WHAT IS MEANT BY THE HARVEST, THE SEVERAL FRUITS OF THE EARTH, AND THE MANNER OF GATHERING IN THE FRUITS, TOGETHER WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE VINE.
What is the meaning of the harvest ? It has two plain meanings. One is the cutting off of life, the other is the end of the world. In our text it un
doubtedly means the end of the world; for "the earth was reaped.” What may we understand by the several fruits of the earth? 1. They are those precious seeds which are useful to God or man. The children of the promise are counted for the seed, that is, the children of faith. This is of two kinds,—the first fruits, which means small children, which are cut off by death in early life, being the first fruits to God and the Lamb. The second are those who are dead to sin, and made alive to holiness, through faith in the name of Jesus and the word of God; their end is eternal life, and they, in due time, or in the end of the world, are gathered into the garner of God. The last fruits, or the harvest of the vine, is the final destruction of the wicked from the earth, by death, or such sore and heavy judgments as God may appoint at the end of the world, to remove the wicked far from the earth, separate the goats from the sheep, the tares from the wheat, and destroy the curse from the earth.
The chapter of Revelation now under considera. tion, gives us a description of the harvest of the world in these three different ways. From the first to fifth verses inclusive, we have a description of the first fruits, i. e. children not arrived to the age of accountability. Rev. xiv. 1: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." We in this verse have an account of the whole number of infants saved by the number 144,000, it being a per. fect or square, showing, in my opinion, that all those who die in infancy are saved; this having reference to the whole class, up to a certain age; best known to God. Verse 2: “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps;" showing us the occupation of this happy class in heaven. Verse 3: “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders; and no man
could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” This verse shows who they are, first, by the song which no man could learn it is known only to infants : for man must sing redemption from actual transgression and sin; infants only from pollution and death, inherited from their first parent. The class that stood before the four beasts and the elders do not belong to them, and never did belong to the church on earth; for the “four beasts and four and twenty elders” constitute the whole body of the church on earth. See Rev. v. 8, 9. These “ were redeemed from the earth," not through faith in them, nor have they “ golden vials full of odors, which are prayers of saints." Verse 4: “ These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.” They did not sin after the similitude of Adam's trans. gression, for he was tempted of the woman, and did eat. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” They have followed him in death up to immortal glory, where they sing a song which you nor I, dear reader, can ever learn, for Jesus was their guardian, and took them home. “ These were redeemed from among men.” It does not say they were men; but "redeemed from among men," being the children of men, and “being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” They dropped into death, or were ripe in early life, like the first fruit under the law; they were given to Christ as a part of his reward for his death and sufferings.
Suffer little children to come unto me,” says Christ; “ for of such is the kingdom of heaven;" not like such, but “of such.” Verse 5: “And in their mouth was found no guile;” never was any guile found there, “ for they are without fault before the throne of God.'' Happy, happy infants ! you never, never knowingly or wilfully disobeyed a holy God, or crucified or put to shame the blessed Child or Son of God. Weep no more, mothers; your infants are without fault be. fore the throne of God. “Refrain, thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work
shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy." What land, and what enemy? I answer, from the land of the graves, and the last enemy, death. “And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” Jer. xxxi. 16, 17: “ Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” See to it, mothers, that you weep no more for your infants, but weep for yourselves; secure to yourselves that blessed hope which will secure an interest in the first resurrection, where the dead, small and great, shall stand before God. This will be the border of those who have hope in their end, and this will be the border of all infants, for they are blessed and holy, without fault before the throne of God. Ps. lxxxviii. 54: “And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased." This is the border of the glorious sanctuary which God pitched and not man. These are harvested by death and brought into the garner in early life; not being wilful transgressors, they have no need of repentance, and they could not exercise faith. They are the first fruits of the har. vest.
The second fruit. Rev. xiv. 6: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” In this verse we have an account how the second crop is harvested by the gospel, sent to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and those who hear and believe may and will be harvested for eternal life. Verse 7 : “ Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him ; for the hour of his judge ment is come: and worship him that made heaven,