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shall ye receive.” Nay, far beyond what is barely right,-whatsoever infinite bounty can bestow, “ even the joy of his Lord,” shall be the recompense of the “good and faithful servant.” As you are sure that the bare grain you drop into the furrow, will strike root, and rise, and ripen into bread, so be equally confident that the immortal seed of the Gospel, if not corrupted by folly and vice, will expand and be transmuted into “ that bread of life," of which " whoso eateth shall live for ever."
Young man! “ in the morning sow thy seed,” —and thou, man of years! “in the evening, withhold not thine hand." Thine allotted part,
-what thou hast to do,—do quickly. Say not, at any period of life, there is yet time,—“there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest; --behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.”—“ Of that day and that hour," when the expectant“ angel, sitting on the white cloud," shall receive the final, decisive command, -" Thrust in thy sickle and reap-for the time is come for thee to reapfor the harvest of the earth is ripe,“ of that
tremendous day-knoweth no man;" but every man knoweth, that his only seed-time,— his season of preparation,-is passing rapidly away. The great Lord of all, who hath sent forth us, his labourers, into this field of the world, and commanded us to “ occupy till he come,” is already on his way. “ His fan is in his hand; and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
GOD DISPLAYED BY HIS WORKS OF NATURE.
JOHN, CHAP. XIV. VER. 8.
* Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it
This brief dialogue between our Saviour and two of his apostles has often struck me as worthy of particular observation and inquiry. At first sight, it may seem to favour the ancient and absurd heresy of Sabellius, who affirmed, not I think without blasphemy, that the SUPREME FATHER Himself came down from heaven, assumed the human form of Jesus, and suffered death upon the cross for the sins of his creatures. So fond and impious a notion, as contrary to revelation as to reason, can surely require no refutation ; and the meaning of the passage before us appears clear and unequivocal on a review of the
GOD DISPLAYED BY HIS WORKS OF NATURE. 109
context, and of our Saviour's general doctrine and mode of speech. This, indeed, may be said, with equal truth, of every other part of Holy Writ, which has given rise to divers and strange doctrines and disputations of men. Scripture is best expounded by Scripture. That which is obscure is to be compared with that which is plain ; and if the great and general tendency and design of the whole dispensation be constantly kept in mind, and the peculiar customs and opinions, prevailing at the time when the sacred penmen wrote, be faithfully referred to, we shall scarcely ever be misled in any point of importance. But it has been the error of profound commentators, and the folly of fanatic teachers, the inventors of heresies, and the founders of sects, to adopt a very different method, and endeavour to make the lively oracles of God bend to the subtleties of the schools, or to the crude conceptions of the illiterate vulgar. By some learned expositors the Grecian philosophy has been blended with Christian theology, and the ethics of Plato and Aristotle have been called in to illustrate the precepts of Peter and Paul; while, by dreaming enthusiasts, the conceits of a doting superstition, the wild fancies of personal predestination and irresistible grace, have been woven out of a few unconnected texts (texts which relate chiefly to questions of the Jewish Law); and of late, all that mass of rubbish, which loaded, and was formerly confined to, the sectarian conventicle, has been most injudiciously, by some of its weaker members, raked together and poured into the Church ; disfiguring that simple but majestic edifice,“ built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles.”
Their divine Master had been endeavouring to reconcile the minds of his followers to the loss they were about to sustain in his departure from the world, by assuring them that “ in his Father's house, in which were many mansions, He would prepare a place for them ;" and that, when that place was prepared, He “would come again, and receive them to himself,” that they might enjoy the same splendid inheritance. Upon Thomas's urging their ignorance of the place whither he was going, and consequently of the way leading to it, Jesus replies, “ No man cometh to the Father but by me: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also ; and from henceforth ye know Him and have seen Him.” Philip then demands, “ Lord, show us the Father,