« PrécédentContinuer »
in the ground of the man void of understanding that thorns and nettles have overgrown and covered the face thereof. After the most diligent cultivation, there is yet the grieving thorn and the pricking brier; worldly cares, crosses, and even comforts, which are often but fair and pretty weeds, grow up, and through their deceitfulness choke the good seed, that it becomes unfruitful.
2. We are taught the necessity of giving diligence to suppress the rising of these weeds, and aim at their eradication. Thus they act who have the care of our fields, instead of slumbering away their time, they rise early and are soo actively employed in cutting down and rooting up every noxious weed; they consider the hoe as necessary as the previous plough to the fair appearance and abundant fruitfulness of their lands; they make thorough work. Never did the farmer say as he walked through his fields and inspected his laborers, Spare those poppies for they bear a beautiful
flower, or that weed for it's a little one." And should such foolish tenderness to any unholy temper in our children or ourselves be evinced; should we spare them or our own, because they are little ones, some future period shall painfully explain the direful import of that threatening, originally addressed to the Israelites; "But if ye will not drive out the "inhabitants of the land from before you; then it
"shall come to pass, that those which ye let re"main of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and "thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the "land wherein ye dwell.*"
There are many persons who, were it proper, could reveal facts on this subject calculated to excite the alarm of caution if not of terror. In early life when the good seed was blessed by God in the springing, there appeared likewise the pernicious weeds of trifling conversation and jesting which was not convenient; irregular tempers, unwise habits, injudicious pursuits, and unsafe associations; though warned-these they neglected; they were repeatedly told that while they were indolent and careless of consequences, mischief would ensue; and so it fell out; for while they slept an enemy sowed tares among the wheat, "But when the "blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit "then appeared the tares alsot.
Now have they so grown with their growth, and strengthened with their strength, that for the sake of society it may be necessary to let both grow together till the harvest, and it is only to the end of their mortal existence that they can look as the season when that heavy calamity under which they Matthew, xiii. 26.
* Numbers xxxiii, 55.
groan shall be removed. "When there shall be no "more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, "nor any grieving thorn*.
My dear young people, suffer then, especially on this subject, the words of exhortation; at your time of life, the impressible age, corrupt habits are easily formed; unwise connections which are indissoluble but by death, may be contracted; pleasant reading, pernicious as the downy seed of the thistle, may be indulged in. Listen to the advice of your parents and minister, weed well your hearts and conduct; suffer not the fence raised by paternal care, and with maternal solicitude, and which guards you from the foot of the straying and idling companion, to fall into decay; take warning by this mournful spectacle; "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, ❝lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles "had covered the face thereof, and the stone-wall "thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and "considered it well; I looked upon it and received "instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a "little folding of the hands to sleep so shall thy
poverty come as one that travaileth; and thy "want as an armed man†.
Some sacrifices may be required, some wheat
* Ezekel, xxviii. 24. + Proverbs, xxiv. 33, 34.
may be trodden down and injured by the weeders, "But if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, "and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee "that one of thy members should perish, and not "that thy whole body should be cast into hell. "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and "cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that "one of thy members should perish, and not that " thy whole body should be cast into hell*."
Crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts; mortify your members which are on the earth. Difficult as the labor is, pursue it diligently, and with unwearied efforts. The very command reminds you how it may be effected; the cross of your endeared Saviour is the only certain means: if pardoned through his obedience and death, you will die unto sin (as weeds when cut down expire and decay) and bring forth fruit unto God.
"The cross once seen is death to every vice,
"In this sign thou shalt conquer." United to him by a living faith, the world, with its deceitful pleasures, shall be crucified to you, and you unto the world; your happy experience will then accord
*Matthew, xxv. 29, 30.
with that of St. Paul, and his language will be securely and comfortably adopted by you. "I am "crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet "not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life "which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith " of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave "himself for me*."
But again; though the field of the slothful presents so grievous a spectacle, the very sight of his ground, leads us to admire the pleasing contrast offered by the lands of others. Yes, there are already seen the fields white unto the harvest; the blade was long since noticed, the ear is already formed, and the full and swollen corn in the ear, will soon greet the eye of the diligent and thankful farmer, and repay his frequent toil.
Through such fields, Jesus and his favourite disciples and imitators, love to walk. On each returning sabbath, He passes over these fruitful spots, and sees the travail of his own soul; and if before the appointed period of the general harvest, some ears of lovely and waving corn are plucked prematurely off, by those invisible ministers of his who do his pleasure, shall we censure such proceeding, or repine at their removal?—No, they are like the
*Galations, ii. 20.