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these is charity:" “ By jove serve one another." “ Whatsoever things are p::re, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if ihere be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things." And I say, What compared with these was pagan antiquity, and what compared with these is modern infidelity? Why Hume himself, when he was asked when : it was better for the cominon people to reject the Scriptures or to believe in them, iminediately replied, “ Why to believe in them." And infidels have made such concessions and acknowledgements, as that hereafter, out of their own mouth they will be condemned. I could trust a child with this argument, if he was capable of understanding the subject : I would say to him, “ Read our Saviour's sermon on the Mount:" and then I would say, my

little man, tell me now, do you imagine, that people, that parents and children, that masters and servants, that the rich and the poor, that husbands and wives, would be the better or the worse by following these instructions and admonitions ?” Such a child must perceive, that a peaceable man is a far better man than one who sows discord and strife among brethren; that a man of a gentle, tender disposition is far more loved and far more regarded than a man filled with fierceness, and passion, and envy. Only prove to me that the Bible is desirable, useful, necessary to man; that this alone can rescue him from floundering in the mud and mire of uncertainty, and set his feet upon a rock, and establish his goings; that this alone can free his mind from the most stinging doubts and tormenting fears ; that without this all is confusion without him, and all is dark within him; and that this alone can sanctify him in

; prosperity, sustain him in adversity, and enable him to triumph in death : and I cannot question, without one external argument, I cannot question for a moment but that this is His word which cometh out of his own mouth.

Be ye

We apprehend, in the second place, that Isaiah means to trace the resemblance between these natural and spiritual influences in the IMPORTANCE OF THEIR PRODUCE. They both yield provision for provision and propagation-seed for the sower, and bread for the eater. What would our world be without the snow and the rain from heaven? If God was to make the heavens over us to be brass, the earth would soon beneath us be iron. So dependant are we and all classes of creatures upon the growth of the soil, that a failure here would soon renew the complaint of the prophet : “ The field is wasted, the land mourneth ; for the corn is wasted; the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vine-dressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig-tree languisheth ; the pomegranate-tree, the palm-tree also, and the apple-tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered : because joy is withered away from the sons of men."

But now, see the consequence of these influences ; how his paths drop fatness ; how the valleys are made to stand thick with corn, and the little hills rejoice on every side! And observe how, when these come down, the earth brings forth and buds, and “ gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;" that is, furnishes both for present and for future use : for if all were immediately consumed, what would become of those who live after us? But here the providence of God appears in the preparation tuat is made for present provision and tor future propagation. Here we must lead you back to the beginning of the world, and remind you of the language of Moses, in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, when he says, “ God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth : and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind : and God saw that it was good.” And nothing has been created since. The first man and woman included in them all the human race: the first birds, and the first beasts, comprehend all those various classes which have lived since: and the sarxe may be said of the plants, and herbs, and corn.

Now let us see how easily this may be applied to another and a more important subject. Let us ask what would this world be without the Gospel ? What would any country, any town, any village, any individual, be without the knowledge of it? Why, ready to perish ; why, in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death. But when the Gospel comes, it brings relief to man: it brings along with it the staff of bread, the staff of life of life spiritual and eternal. In other words, it brings pardon; friendship with God; the renovation of our patures ; all “ the fruits of the Spirit,” which are joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."

And as the husbandman is a sower as well as an cater, so is the Christian. He enjoys the blessings of the Gospel himself; but then he is to convey them to others : and the Gospel has been preserved and maintained in our world in the same way with the corn—not by miracle, but by propagation. And in two ways the Gospel provides for its own propagation. The one is, by making it the duty of all those who have received it to extend and diffuse it : and the other is, by making it a privilege to do it. And it does this by producing in them a disposition for it; so that their duty becomes their delight. Drop now a single corn in the ground, and it will yield a number of corns : sow these in the ground, and they will produce many more: repeat the operation, and in time, from one single corn you will have a sufficiency with which to disseminate . a furlong, a field, a district, a province, a country; yea, and the globe itself. Once all Christianity was centred in Christ: he imparted it to twelve apostles ; and then to seventy disciples; and they to thousands more. Says God, “ will sow them” (speaking of his people) " in the earth:” that is, they shall produce their like--they shall multiply : “] will cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." "I will bless them, and make them a blessing."

Now let us suppose other cases. And here we will not only, or principally, confine the exemplification to ministers (God bless them! some of them are the means of turning many to righteousness, and will shine hereafter as stars in the firmament :) but I often think, that no Christian goes to heaven alone : that all tile subjects of divine grace, as they wish to be useful, and endeavour to be useful, so they are made useful. God indulges them; they are made useful by their prayers, by their example, their influences, and their exertions. Thus it was with David: David said, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit Then will I teach transgressors thy way; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." But he was a musician; he was a poet ;




he was a monarch; he had resources—large resources : he could serve his generation, according to the will of God. And so can you, if you are willing and disposed. And as water is to be found in any place, if men will dig long enough and deep enough, so there is no situation, however inconsiderable and obscure, but contains in it efficiencies, if we will employ them. A brother may bring a brother to Christ, as Andrew brought Peter.

A friend may bring a friend to Christ, as Philip brought Nathaniel. A neighbour may bring his neighbour to Christ, as the woman of Sychar did the Samaritans. And masters may instruct and convert their servants : and 0, I have met with more servants than one, who have said, “ Blessed be God that ever I entered such a family. I was then as ignorant as a heathen ; there my feet were turned into the paths of peace." And what a revolution was produced in the family of Naaman, and in all Syria, by a little girl, that was taken captive in war; prattling as she was dressing her mistress's hair, about the prophet of God in Israel.

One day, in my travels, I heard of a servant who had attended a Wesleyan chapel. This offended her master and mistress, who told her that she must discontinue the practice, or leave their service. She received the information with modesty, and, said she was sorry, but so it must be : she could not sacrifice the convictions of her conscience to keep her place. So they gave her warning: and she was now determined, if possible, to be more circumspect and exemplary than ever ; determined, that if she suffered for her religion, her religion should not suffer for her. Some time after this, the master said to the mistress, “ Why this is rather a hard ineasure with regard to our servant: has she not a right to

а worship God where she pleases as well as ourselves ?" O yes," said the mistress; “and we never had so good a servant ; one who rose so early, and got her work done so well, was so clean, was so economical, never answering again." And so they intimated that she might remain. Some time after this the mistress said—the wife said to the husband, “I think Mary's religion does her a great deal more good than our religion seems to do us : I should like to hear her minister.” And so she went, and was impressed ; and prevailed upon her husband to go, and he was impressed ; and now they are all followers of God; and have the worship of God in their house.

Thus you see how the seed is furnished for the sower, as well as bread for the eater. Now a man goes, (and here, be it remembered, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen) a man goes to a neighbouring city, and is asked to hear a particular preacher : he hears, and his soul lives. He returns home with other views and feelings than those with which he went. His family first occupies and engages his attention. He is now kind to his wife; he is now tender to his children; and labours not only to be impressive, but to be inviting and alluring. But this is not all : he looks among his neighbours, and sees them destroyed for lack of knowledge ; and his bowels yearn over them. He speaks to them as well as he can himself. But this is not all: he goes to the minister he heard, calls upon him, and tells him, and then weeps and weeps again—that at such a time he had heard him to purpose : “ But O, Sir, do consider my poor neighbours. O that you would come over and help us! You shall be welcome to my cottage; I wish it was a mansion. I know it may draw upon me reproach, but I can bear reproach for His sake now." The minister goes, preaches, awakens attention. Some oppose ; some ridicule: but others


feel the powers of the world to come. The work goes on : by and bye a place of worship is reared, and a society is formed : call it if you please, “a church;" the Scripture calls it so, though lordly priests would not. Why it is in this way that some of our most flourishing churches have been formed. Thus there is

“ seed for the sower, and bread for the eater."

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But we apprehend, that the prophet, thirdly, means, to trace a resemblance between these natural and spiritual influences IN THEIR MODE OP OPERATION. “ So shall my word be," says God. How? “ As the snow cometh down, and the rain from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater :" that is it.

These natural influences, first, operate gradually. So do the spiritual. What a scene does winter display often, when the woods, and the hedges, and the trees, and the fields, and the gardens, are stripped of their ornaments, and look dreary, and desolate, and dead ! But the spring comes round, and fetches out the beauties and the fertility : and we go forth, and we see nature renewing the face of the earth, and making all things new. But how? By degrees. We will not limit the Holy One of Israel: there must be a time when real religion begins, though there is no time when it ends. But we confess we are not fond of instantaneous work : it is commonly suspicious. Too often what comes up in a night,'withers in a night. In nature, what reaches its perfection immediately? what comes to maturity at once? We see every thing deduced from small beginnings, and by imperceptible degrees advancing. So it is in spiritual things. And you observe, too, that the more excellent things are, the slower is their

progress. How much sooner an animal reaches its size than a man ; and how much more rapidly grows the osier than the oak. There are many eminent Christians and ministers who for some years were very feeble in their views and dispositions: it was a considerable time before they came into “ the glorious liberty of the sons of God:” they had to feel, and they had to fight their way too. But they trod the firmer, because they could say, “ We have learned by experience:" We know that this was the mode with our dear Saviour in the days of his flesh: he said to his disciples, “ I have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now :"—thus he leads them on. So he does us: often he sets us off, like the dawn, with a few rays: but then these rays are forerunners; and “ the path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

Never, therefore, despise the day of small things. Be not discouraged if at present you have but a little strength. How small is the germ of the corn, at first; how unlikely it seems to be able to withstand the assailing of the weather and of the winter : but that which is sown in weakness is raised in power. Let me say to every Christian here this morning, Though thy beginning be small, thy latter end shall greatly increase.

These natural influences operate, secondly, mysteriously. So do the spiritual. What do people mean, when they say, that they will believe no more than they can comprehend? They must have either very large understandings, or very little creeds : for what do we comprehend? Do we understani even ourselves! “O, what a miracle," says Young, “is man to man!" Who can ex

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plain in the human frame, the causes of the vital heat, or the colour of the blood, and a thousand other things ? But what do we in cases like this? We are satisfied with the results, if we are ignorant of the processes : we are satisfied of the effect, thougk reason may fail, and perfectly fail, as to the causation, and the mode of the causation. “ As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." “ The wind," says our Saviour, “bloweth where it listeth :" and what philosopher can explain the first rise and final issue of numberless other things pertaining to it? Yet “thou hearest the sound thereof,” and you feel its currents ; you see the clouds course along, you see the corn wave, you see the tree uptorn by the roots “thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the spirit.” Or to apply it more immediately to the imagery in our text; our Saviour said, “Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like the corn which when sown, a man goeth his way, and it springs up, he knoweth not how: for the earth bringeth forth fruit of itself; first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear." In vain, therefore, as Paul says, in vain do any ask, “How are the dead raised ? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain." Here you see life and death ; you see decay and growth, at once equally inexplicable and undeniable.

Thirdly, these natural influences operate according to the soil. So do the spiritual. In the parable, you observe, there was the very same sower, the very same seed, and the very same season: the difference, therefore, in the result was not here. Where was it then? Why it was in the nature of the ground: there were four kinds of ground—there was the way-worn, and the stony place, and the thorny place, and the good ground. Our Saviour says, the good ground is the honest and good heart. Not that any hearts are naturally so, or abstracted from the grace of God: but some are prepared for the reception of the word. Whence this preparation conies, and how it is obtained is another question; but that question is not this morning in court. The parable takes the fact as it is, and wisely accounts for the difference of the produce from the difference of the soil. Do not,” says God,“ my words do good to them that walk uprightly?" That is, to those who are sincerely desirous of knowing and following its designs. Does not our Saviour say, he that will do bis will, “shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself ?"

The case is this : persons are never likely to do justice to what censures and condemns them. Though the will naturally and morally follows the understanding, (this is unquestionable) yet the understanding may be diverted, may be bribed. And this will always be the case where there are strong prejudices : and there are no prejudices so strong as those which belong to the love of the world and the love of sin. And therefore how many are there who oppose the Bible because they have so lived as to make it their enemy; and then they say, “ I hate it, because it does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." “ Therefore," says the Apostle James, “ lay apart all filthiness,

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