Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

constantly, lodged among men.

The mental creates the material. The whole world is full of facts such as the text illustrates. The intellectual and the moral are producers of material forms; of more food and increased earthly benefactions. What the wise man utters, and the good man performs, go towards increasing the comforts of the whole race, and improving all the social aspects of the globe.

2. Intelligence and knowledge, the power of learning and the treasures of learning, are multiplied by distribution. The human mind is not less ready than the soil to render back with interest what is sown init. Its resources, like those of a more corruptible sort, grow bountiful by being diffused. Jesus gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. That is the way in which instruction is imparted. It passes from one to the many. And it does not remain alone as it moves. It does not become anywise reduced by what it bestows. It finds companions.

It makes itself fruitful. The understandings of those among whom it goes are excited. The stock of information, scanty at first, meets everywhere with contributors to swell its substance and its fame; till “the five loaves, and those barley, the two fishes, and those small,” are a refreshment and a sustenance for the world. Truth begets truth; and you must have a company to show the supply. What would have seemed inconsiderable if left by itself, grows into great account as it is sent forward among those who apprehend it, and transmit it in new and manifold forms. It is manifested, it is accumulated, by travelling down among the sympathies and wants of those whose hearts love it, whose natures crave it, and whose ‘ability and experience reproduce and recommend it to all men. It is one of the happiest signs of the present time, that the importance of this doctrine is getting to be more deeply felt. It receives a fuller practical application than at any former period. The education of the whole people, the feeding of all with useful instruction, is an object of leading public interest. We cannot be too anxious that so sacred a cause should be advanced.

3. Good examples offer themselves in illustration of the doctrine of the miracle before us. And they do illustrate it as clearly as the instances that have been already adduced. Displays of moral excellence, truths set forth in living actions, are multiplied as they are shown. Men are won by what they approve. They are led to imitate what they admire. Laudable actions never stand alone. They are among the last things to be struck with the curse of barrenness. Surrounding crowds but signalize their divine effectiveness. However obstructed they may be, however to all appearance offered in vain, they can never fail. They go from eye to eye, from heart to heart, creating fresh copies of their immortal worth. Others, as they “ see the good works” of faithful persons, “glorify” in like manner the “ Father who is in heaven.” The light will kindle more flames of service and love, as well as shine further into the darkness; and you can set no limits to the extent to which mankind may catch the blessed illumination. Some will be emulous, many will be affected, all will be the better, as the bright manifestation proceeds. Bring out your supplies of Christian counsel, and it will draw forth the like to make fellowship with them. Show a Christian resolution, and it will communicate something of its courage to timid natures and infirm purposes. Exercise a Christian industry, and the hitherto unready will come to partake with you in the ennobling toil. Shed around you the warmth of generous affections, and they whom you little expected to touch by them will be inspired with the glow. Display meekness, and long-suffering, and the ornaments of a kind spirit, and the most unreasonable may feel the duty of being furnished with the same. The ungracious will be softened, and the violent-if ever-brought to a gentler mind.

4. And, finally, joy, and hope, and all cheering influences are miraculously increased, by being sent round from a single animating mind among the ranks of the world's poor sojourners. So frequent are the occurrences of necessity, fear, and affliction,--so many are the desert places of life and thought,—that it seems, sometimes, as if we were all set out, like the multitude in the wilderness ;-far from home, faint with hunger, and the night coming on ;-the heart without a home of rest, empty and craving, and our meditations growing dark. We need to be quickened and strengthened. Now, nothing is more heightened by communication than just such impulses as those we here require. Joy and hope—they are social; they ask for companionship; they spread by contact and mutual encouragements. He who has awakened them in his own breast, finds them greatly enhanced by expressing them; and their expression is caught up and repeated by numberless voices that had till then slept. To give utterance to what is good and hopeful, promotes it both in ourselves and others. You have often been the witnesses of the mysterious power there is in consolatory and brave sentiments held forward in the time of need. They soothe the mournful; they invigorate the shrinking; among the wilds and wastes of the utmost destitution, they show themselves plenteous. Let us accept a motive here to exert whatever ability is in us to overcome the inertness, to lift up the depressions, that will be heavy at times within and about us. Forward all innocent gladness. Fortify all cheerful reliances in drooping souls. Gladness will fade upon the human face; the reliances of the earth will be struck away; but He who gave to His disciples that His disciples might give to the multitude, bequeathed to the world an unchanging satisfaction and expectation that was never to be cut off. The fruits that He dispenses are not of the ground's yielding, and, therefore, return not to the ground. They are of the Spirit. They are “ love, joy, and peace.” To sum them up in His own word, they are “ the bread of God, which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world"; “that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” They who heard Him replied, and I beseech you to repeat that answer and prayer within yourselves, “ Lord, evermore give us this bread."

N. L. FROTHINGHAM.

Harvest Home.

conquests. Standing amid the

harvests and vineyards of the REV, xiv. 15.

Bible, and standing amid the harAnd another angel came out of the vests, and orchards, and vineyards temple, crying with a loud voice, Thrust

of our own country, I want to run in thy sickle and reap, for the time is out the analogy between the procome for men to reap, for the harvest of

duction of crops and the growth of the earth is ready.

grace in the spirit. In all ages there has been great 1. In grace, as in the fields, there honour paid to agriculture. Seven- must be a plough. That which eighths of the people in every theologians call conviction, is only country are disciples of the plough the ploughshare turning up the sins A government is strong in propor- that have been rooted and matted tion as it is supported by an ath- in the soul. Deep ploughing for a letic and industrious yeomanry. crop. Deep ploughing for a spirit. Cato was prouder of his work on He who makes light of sin will husbandry than of all his military never yield a harvest of usefulness.

garner ?

cup of

2. In grace, as in the field, there must be a sowing. In the autumnal weather

you

find the farmer going across the field at a stride of about twenty-three inches, and at every stride he puts his hand into the sack of grain, and he sprinkles the seed-corn over the field. It looks silly to a man who does not know what he is doing. He is doing a very important work. He is scattering the winter grain, and, though the snow may come, the next year there will be a great crop. Now, that is what we are doing when we are preaching the Gospel-we are scattering the seed. It is the foolishness of preaching, but it is the winter grain; and, though the snows of worldliness may come down upon it, it will yield after a while glorious harvests. Let us be sure we sow the right kind of seed.

3. In grace, as in the farm, there must be a harrowing. I refer now, not to a harrow that goes over the field in order to prepare the ground for the seed, but a harrow which goes over after the seed is sown, lest the birds pick up the seed, sinking it down into the earth so that it can take root. A harrow is made of bars of wood nailed across each other, and the underside of each bar is furnished with sharp teeth; and it goes tearing and leaping across the field, driving the seed down into the earth that it may bear in the harvest. Bereavement, sorrow, persecution, are the Lord's harrows to sink the Gospel truth into your heart. There were truths that you heard thirty years ago. They have not affected you until recently. Some great trouble came over you, and the truth was harrowed in, and it has come up. No harrow, no crop.

4. In grace, as in the farm, there must be a reaping, Many Christians speak of religion as though it were a matter of economics or insurance. They expect to reap in the next world. Oh, no! Now is the time to reap. Gather up the joy of the

Christian religion now. If you have not as much grace as you would like to have, thank God for what you have, and pray for more.

5. In grace, as in farming, there is a time for threshing. That is death. Just as the farmer with a flail beats the wheat out of the straw, so death beats the soul out of the body. Every sickness is a stroke of the flail, and the sick bed is the threshing floor. What, say you, is death to a good man? Only taking the wheat out of the straw. 6. The garnering. Where is the

Need I tell you ? So many have gone out from your home circles, that you have had your eyes on that garner for many a year. What a hard time some of them had ! In Gethsemanes of suffering, they sweat great drops of blood. They took the “ trembling," and they put it to their hot lips, and they cried : “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” With tongues of burning agony, they cried : “ O Lord, deliver my soul!” But they got over it. They all got over it. Garnered! Their tears wiped away; their battles all ended; their burdens all lifted. Garnered! The Lord of the harvest will not allow those sheaves to perish. Garnered ! These sheaves must go in. The Lord of the harvest has promised it. I see the load at last coming to the door of the heavenly garner, The sheaves of the Christian soul sway to and fro in the wind of death, and the whole body creaks under the load, and as the load strikes the floor of the celestial garner, it seems as if it can go no farther. It is the last struggle. Then the voices of angels, and the voices of departed kindred, and the welcoming voice of God, will hail the harvest rolling into the eternal triumph, and there shall be heard the song of Harvest home!

Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.

see.

Many Loaves.

ways, and intensify our thankfulMARK vi. 38.

ness, and which loving hands have

disposed in this tasteful order How many loaves have ye? Go and

and beauty-apple, pear, peach,

orange, grape, wheat, corn, hop, THE loaves are the finished pro- potato, and other vegetables-and duct of the harvest put into form we think of all the profusion of this for the best and inost profitable great gift of food and fruit throughhuman use. The question of the out the world; of the untold laden Lord may very properly be put, fields and gardens which have therefore, in reference to the har- gladdened the eyes of the farmer vest of the fields—How far will it and horticulturist, and which are go? What will it do in providing now in process of use in sustaining food for human necessity ? When human and animal life. What a we think of the myriads of the bountiful giver God is! But then human race, we are astounded by we ask, Where have all come from? the thought of their necessities. And the answer is a marvellous Not one can live without food.

one. They have all come out of But every one of them sits down

the past. God's miracles and acts at a table in the wilderness pro- of creation are few. He created vided by the heavenly Father, and species-single pairs of specimens, He both gives and blesses the perhaps—and said to them, “Be meal. Now, what does this mean? fruitful and multiply.” And the How does God thus provide for soil, seeing them growing, said, human necessity ? We sometimes Come back to us, and

you

shall think, but ignorantly and foolishly, have harvests which will bewilder that all God needs to do is to exer- with their immensity. And the cise power, and to bid the desert corn and wheat, shaken by the burst into a fruit garden and a wheat wind, nodded themselves back into field, or to speak, and lo! the feast the soil; and man came and sowed would be set out before the hungry where he would, and mother-earth. multitudes. But there is no such paid him back sixty-fold, one hunthing. God does not work thus. dred-fold, two hundred-fold. Last Jesus asked for what men had, summer's roots are in the ground, and out of what they had He fur- and the stems and branches, all nished the meal. And then, having bare, stand like ghosts in the done this, He bade them gather up winter. But spring finds them, the fragments, that there should be and warms their heart, and the no waste; that they might use sap flows and rises, and leaves and them another day. This is a reve- blossoms come, and, behold, the old. lation of God's way all through tree bears a new crop of fruit. It the history of the world and of is the past projecting itself into the human life and affairs. God brings present. Nature asks for a seed the present out of the past, and the with a germ in it, a root with life future out of the present. He lets in it; and, behold, she impels or nothing go to waste. - He evolves ; draws out of them-evolves from and He practises a rigid economý. them--new harvests, which ripen

The text sets forth the two in new sunshines for new generaprinciples of

tions of toiling men.

So there is nothing like caprice EVOLUTION AND ECONOMY.

in God or in His way of working: We look upon these marvellous th Book of Genesis we read things which have been brought that God gave men every herbinto God's house, to increase our bearing seed, and every tree in pleasure and joy in His works and which is the fruit of a tree-bearing seed, and said, It shall be for meat. and real heart and meaning were So come the successions of har- in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. vests. Out of the one grow the Christ appealed to what men knew, many.

that He might lead them into But the lesson is also one of higher truths they did not know. ECONOMY.

So, the child's application, and perGod wastes nothing. But this severance, and knowledge are the idea is more than that of saving foundations of a mature life of what remains. He uses nothing self-control, aptitude, and wisdom. more than is necessary. He puts A boy sees the lid of a kettle lifted the least to the best use.

You see

up by the steam, and he says, Why, the leaves fading, and the dead steam might be made to turn wheels, leaves brought down from the trees to move machinery, to draw burby the high winds. For what? dens; and out of that have come Why, for new fresh soil, containing all the great mechanical triumphs the chemical ingredients needed for of the age. In like manner, the next year's use. But, look again ! deep things of God are known Take the apple, the melon, the through the reception of surface pear, the grape, the marrow-God truths. Old men and women have has given them to man for food; knowledge which cannot be underthey are part of the great harvest stood by the immature. New ideas feast. But man does not need all are born of the old in endless sucthey contain. He can only eat the cession. You can find in one thing pulp, the flesh. What are left ? mastered the germ of another you Seeds. You have two things pro- need to know. " To him that hath vided in one. You have two uses of shall be given.” one product-food, and future crop,

So we read such lessons as these and new harvests. So, amid pro- out of these harvest truths :fusion, God works

great future

1. Not to despise the old, or the out of as little as will do.

day of small things. Some men So we are taught to waste no- think differently to-day from what thing-not to expend too much they once did. They are not to strength, too much time, too despise the older truths which led much feeling, on what after all is up to those they now hold. It is not worth it; to allow no waste a shame for a man to kick away either of resources, or of time, or of the ladder by which he has risen ; life, or of happiness.

to throw over old friends who All this is true of truths and of helped him when he was struggling. life's experiences. God builds the So it is a shame to abuse the little philosopher out of the child mas- truth and the old creed by which tering the alphabet. God evolves he rose up to see the broad land of the astronomer, who can work out productive wealth which is now the sky problems, out of the child his possession, and to despise mastering arithmetic, and the mean- others who enjoy the comfort ing of points, lines, angles, and of them. circles. "Great truths dawn upon 2. The preciousness of things that men's minds, but only through the have life in them. If I had a diaagency of other truths they have mond to carry, I could estimate learnt. You cannot understand what a loss it would be to me or boliness unless you first understand the world if I dropped it into the cleanness. When God would re- depths of the sea. But, if I have a deem the race, He took the He- new seed, I can do no such thing. brews, and taught them truths The Prince of Wales brought a which had relations they did not single grain from the East a few understand, but whose fulfilment

years ago. Out of it came enough

L

« PoprzedniaDalej »