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as did the moon in the valley of Ajalon,* and has been occasionally eclipsed from our view: but the profits of our fields are not so certain by many degrees of probability, as is the reward of grace which is ensured by His promise who cannot lie.

Yet how deplorable is the incredulity evinced by the mass of society on this subject: "It is vain "that we should serve the Lord, we know him to "be an austere master!" My brethren, these things ought not so to be,-from the same heart, to' proceed a ready assent to God's providential promise-and a cold, reluctant, and partial belief of his gracious declaration.

There is not that unquestionable certainty that the rain shall again enrich our furrows, or that the sun shall any more shine in his strength on our fields, as that, whether Paul or Apollos be the husbandmen, "God will give the increase;" "His "word shall prosper whereunto he sends it." In matters of spiritual favor, the credit of Jehovah as the object of confidence, is more promptly and unreservedly staked.

The great Apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, dwells largely on the "more abundant"

*Joshua, x. 12.


encouragement given by God to diligence and tience under delays in things spiritual, than natu→ ral; and illustrates in a forcible contrast, between the promise of temporal good made to Abraham, and the gracious assurance of spiritual favor, to every penitent sinner under the gospel-the greater certainty of success, if that term may be allowed, which shall crown patient perseverence in search of honor, immortality, and eternal life. "For "when God made promise to Abraham, because " he could swear by no greater, he sware by him

self, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, " and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, "after he had patiently endured, he obtained the "promise. For men verily swear by the greater : "and an oath for confirmation is to them an end "of all strife, Wherein God, willing more abun dantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it "was impossible for God to lie, we might have a "strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us."*



In moments of dejection-and what laborer in this field does not have many such allotted him?— behold the husbandman encouraged by the provis

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dential favor of God waiting for the sweet influ-, ences of heaven, and at length he receives the early and the latter rain; yea, doubtless, he will be seen again, bringing his golden sheaves with him; and we desire, that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope, unto the end.

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Before we conclude this discourse, let our attention be directed to One, who has towards us exemplified long patience; who has frequently come and sought fruit from us, and found none. You think much of waiting a few months for your crops; or if your desires are delayed for a year or two, prayer and effort are both discontinued. Has he not reason to expect abundant returns from you ? what more could he have done for you? Justly might he say of such unprofitable persons, ---"And now go to; I will tell you what I will do "to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge "thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break "down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden "down. And I will lay it waste: it shall not be


pruned nor digged; but there shall come up bri"ers and thorns: I will also command the clouds "that they rain no more upon it."* Instead of which, he waits, still hath long patience for you

Isaiah, v. 5, 6. *

renews his labors, resolves to let you alone this year also, to see if a crop may be gathered; and shall his expectations be disappointed? Go, sinners, and mourn over your barrenness; lament that the soil of your heart yields no pleasant fruits; like the parched and thirsty land, call on the heavens. "And it shall come to pass in that day, I "will hear, saith the Lord: I will hear the hea66 vens, and they shall hear the earth; and the "earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the "oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will "sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy: " and I will say to them that were not my people, "Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou "art my God."* He yet waiteth, that he may be gracious.


Again. Let me point you to those inferior husbandmen, who fairly expected to have reaped from you the reward of their labors, and yet have hitherto waited in vain. My dear young people, see your anxious parents, after having toiled for your benefit, through the long protracted season of your childhood-after having expended much on your education, which, perhaps, they could ill afford— after having passed many sleepless nights for your

*Hosea, ii. 21, 22, 23.

sakes, during the winter of youthful temptations and follies after having injured their health by secret fears and sorrows, lest you should be as thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned. Behold them waiting for that happy change, without which, you will be the "children of their grief,


bringing down their grey hairs with sorrow to "the grave." Could you be acquainted with their feelings, or be observers of the anguish of their spirits, when they carry your case to God in retirement-hear them plead the promise, that the wilderness should become a fruitful field; and then amidst their fervors, notice them suddenly pause, smiting on their breast and weeping bitterly, lest your unprofitableness should be the result of their failure in cultivation; yet, encouraged by the Divine word, still indulging the hope of your recovery-I say, could you see this, and also behold the joy that supposition afforded them, see the rays of hope mingling with the falling showers of tears, such a scene would surely affect you; and the concluding part of the parable of the Prodigal Son, would become the happy history of your present conduct, as the former verses have too accurately expressed your previous condition.

Finally. Should the expectations of the husbandman, in reference to any of his fields, fail, he will again plough up the land; and, notwithstand

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