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"they make you that ye shall neither be barren
nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Je"sus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is “blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgot"ten that he was purged from his old sins."*
Our own domestic circle claims our next attention. The souls of our children, servants, and dependants, may all be rendered productive. The unprofitable farm is noticed with regret. Ignorance and indolence reveal themselves to every passenger. Lo! it is all grown over with thorns, and nettles cover the face of it. Look and consider it well: receive instruction from hence: the same causes will invariably produce the same effects. Nothing can prosper without God's blessing; but that promised blessing is bestowed only on the diligent. What prospect does your social circle present? Are your children as healthy plants growing up in their youth? Are your dependants cultured by your superior care? God will take an account of his servants: he expects obedience; and notwithstanding, he will not render you responsible for success; the want of it should excite suspicion. Thus do you reason; thus do you act in common life. In your daily walks, if you meet children ricketty, deformed, feeble,
"Whom blame you most, the nurseling or the nurse?"
* 2 Peter, i. 5—9.
The nurse, no doubt; whose slumbering negligence
"Has marred the brood."
When you see a farm neglected, you censure the occupier, not the landlord, not the God of the Seasons. I speak as to wise men: judge what I
Thirdly. Let us close this meditation by remembering our own unworthiness, and the pover"But which of ty of our unassisted endeavors.
you, having a servant ploughing or feeding cat"tle, will say unto him by and by, when he is "come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? "and will not rather say unto him, Make ready "wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and "serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and "afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he "thank that servant because he did the things "that were commanded him? I trow not. So
"likewise ye, when shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which "was our duty to do."
We have nothing but what we have received: boasting is excluded: all is of grace: dependantly,
*Luke, xvii. 7-10.
let us address ourselves to our manifold and various labors; and after all previous exertion, should we have to sow in tears, we shall yet reap in joy. We go forth weary and weeping, bearing precious seed, but we shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us.*
Be it unto us, thy servants, O Lord, according to thy word, on which thou hast caused us tohope, Amen.
Psalm cxxvi. 6.
ECCLESIASTES, xi. 6.
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
THE highest character a mortal can attain in this life, is that of being diligent in business, and fervent in spirit. This is a brief and beautiful definition of serving God; and frequently do we find the directions concerning the one, are the rules for promoting the other. Most of the evils existing in the world or in the church, arise from separating what God has united. Indolent persons virtually deny the faith; unsocial piety, spiritual professions which exclude our fellow men, are unscriptural.
Our Lord's conduct on earth is a living exemplification of this position. Supremely good himself, he went about doing good to others. In the morning of his laborious life, with an unsparing hand he cast abroad the precious seed: in the evening of his mortal sojourn, not without weeping, he again sowed those excellent principles which yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness to those who embrace them.
God is of one mind;-harmony is heard in all he says, and uniformity of operation is observed in all the works of his hand; hence it is, that commands which are issued by his authority on natural subjects, have an evident application to moral obligations.
The Preacher, Solomon, in his written discourses, continually refers to this analogy, or resemblance of Divine purpose, operation, or command, in the several dispensations of nature, providence, and grace; so that the words of our text, without the least perversion from their proper and primary intention, or wresting them to our own injury, may be applied to any duty which is illustrated by the sowing of our fields with appropriate seed.
An inordinate and absurd attachment to a vain and perishing world, is the standing folly of man