James 5:7
These words strike one of the leading chords of the Epistle. There is no grace which its readers are more earnestly exhorted to cultivate than that of patience. In the preceding verses James has been denouncing the rich ungodly Jews. The Epistle was not addressed to them, however, but to the Christian Jews who were suffering from their oppression and cruelty. So, the apostle here resumes the ordinary tenor of his letter. He exhorts the Church to continue patient and unresisting, like the ideal "righteous one" of ver. 6. He suggests the thought that the Lord's coming, while it would usher in the doom of the wicked rich, would also bring deliverance to his own people. The same event which their oppressors should contemplate with weeping and howling (ver. 1) would be to the righteous a joyful jubilee.

I. THE EXHORTATION. (Vers. 7, 8, first parts.) To wait constitutes a large portion of religious duty. Indeed, patience is not a segment merely of the Christian character; it is a spirit which is to pervade every fiber of it. In all ages spiritual wants and trials are the same; and believers, therefore, have always the same "need of patience." To "wait upon God" is a frequent exhortation of Scripture. The cultivation of this patience is perfectly consistent with holy activity. It springs from the same root of faith from which good works spring. We show our faith not only by our active "works," but also when we "endure, as seeing him who is invisible." Again, Christian patience is to coexist along with the fullest sensibility of suffering. "Long-suffering" necessarily involves the consciousness of suffering; and so does "patience," as the etymology of the word reminds us. Christian comfort does not come to us in connection with any incapability of sorrow; it comes as the result of the subjugation of the passions, and the cultivation of complete acquiescence in the Divine will. The apostle indicates the limit of this long-suffering - "until the coming of the Lord." What advent does this mean? To the early Hebrew Christians it meant mediately the impending destruction of Jerusalem. To us it means in like manner any interposition of Providence to deliver us from trouble, including our removal by death. But the ultimate reference, both for the early Church and for us, is doubtless to the Lord's final advent at the close of time. Then the Savior shall appear as the Judge of all, and shall forever put an end to tyranny and wrong. The thought of that great event is surely well fitted to "stablish our hearts," i.e. to strengthen them for patient endurance.

II. THE EXAMPLE. (Ver. 7, second part.) As an illustration of his subject, and in order to excite the grace of patience within the hearts of his readers, James introduces an allusion to the pursuits of husbandry. Think, he says, of the long-suffering of the farmer. His is a life of arduous toils and of anxious delays. He must wait for the "early rain" in the late autumn before he can sow his seed; and for the "latter rain" in April, upon which his crops depend for the filling of the ear before the harvest ripens. This patience is necessary. Although sometimes sorely tried, it is reasonable. The "fruit ' which the farmer desires is "precious;" it is worth waiting for. And his long-suffering is also full of hope. It has been rewarded by the bounty of Providence in former years; and besides, if he be a pious man, he remembers the Divine assurance that "seed-time and harvest shall not cease." Now, says the apostle, afflicted Christians are to learn from this example a lesson of long-suffering. Trial and persecution are designed to yield an infinitely more "precious" harvest than that for which the husbandman waits. This harvest is "the fruit of righteousness" - "the fruit of the Spirit." And spiritual fruit takes far longer time to mellow than the natural harvest does. So "it is good for a man quietly to wait" for it. We have the assurance that in spiritual husbandry the ultimate reward is never disappointing. "In due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT. (Ver. 8, second part.) "The coming of the Lord is at hand." This implies, first of all, that the Lord is sure to come. While no farmer possesses an absolute certainty in reference to the harvest on his own particular farm, every one who in the spiritual sphere "sows to the Spirit" may rest assured that the day of an abundant and blessed ingathering will arrive. The Lord Jesus, who came to our world nearly nineteen centuries ago, is to come again, His second coming is the greatest event in the future of the Church. It is the pole-star of her hopes. When he appears, the spiritual harvest shall be reaped. We, accordingly, shall cherish the true spirit of long-suffering, only in so far as we "love his appearing," and realize that the purpose of it is to reward his people and take vengeance upon their enemies. It is a sign that our faith is weak, if we meditate seldom, and pray little, about our Lord's second coming. How different was it in this respect with the apostles and the early Church! But, if the final advent was near in the first century, it is still nearer now; and in the interval what arrears of vengeance have been accumulating! It should be our comfort in the time of trouble to reflect that "the coming of the Lord is at hand." The whole New Testament Church lies under the shadow of the second advent. It will be an event of infinite moment, and therefore it is never far away. To the view of God, with whom "one day is as a thousand years," this event is nigh; and the men of faith learn to see it from God's point of view. Compared, also, with the great eternity on the other side, the second advent seems "at hand." What an encouragement does this thought supply, in the direction of devout patience, both in working and in suffering! It should be at once a spur and an anodyne, to know that the Lord is already on his way. For, when he comes, he will reward all service, and right every wrong, and take his people home to himself. - C. J.







The husbandman waiteth.
Here the apostle inculcates —

I. A PATIENCE THAT, IN THE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT LIFE RIPENS, WAITS. This is taught in the allusion made to harvest. The husbandman waits. He waits from the season of the autumnal till after the vernal rains. These rains, and all the ripening influences of sun and earth succeed each other in unhastened order, tie waits for what is worth the waiting. To him the clusters of the grape, the sheaves of the corn, are "precious fruit." And all the time he waits, he knows that the ripening process is going on.

1. The human race advances to maturity. Notwithstanding the blight of its early spring, and the many perils of all its seasons, the great Restorer points to its harvest when He says, "Then cometh the end."

2. Our individual life is under the same law, the law of growth. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Every life ripens, every life tends to and culminates in a harvest. Towards it in all our seasons we are advancing. To the Christian man the produce, the result of his ever-ripening life, will be in its habits, experiences, and fellowships, a harvest of "precious fruit." Even now he reads pages of his own inner history, which prove that "tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope."

II. A. PATIENCE THAT, BY THE HOPE THAT CHRIST WILL COME, IS UPHELD. The expression of patience at which we have been looking is that of a somewhat spiritless resignation. Now we are summoned to a fortitude prepared for all that may happen. "Stablish your hearts." The Septuagint uses the word translated "stablish" to describe the upbearing of the hands of Moses by Aaron and Hur on the mountain. Those two men sustained the prophet's arms from hour to hour till the war was over, and the victory won. So there is a hope which our patience, though often like Moses' hands thus heavy, may be upheld. What hope?" That the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." The "coming of the Lord" may mean at least one of the three things:

1. His coming in some special dispensation of Providence.

2. His coming to judge the world.

3. His coming at our death.

III. A PATIENCE THAT IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS UNMURMURING. "The Judge standeth before the door," and though Judge, it is He who was the "Man of sorrows," the "despised and rejected of men." Does not His history, from the stable to the Cross, shame our murmurs? "The Judge standeth before the door," and knows the circumstances and deserts of us all. Before we judge others we need that our eye should, like Christ's, search souls as well as circumstances, and that our hand, like His, should weigh character as well as condition. "The Judge standeth before the door," and will rightly reward our destiny. Dare we anticipate His sentence? Need we?

IV. A PATIENCE THAT IN THE SENSE OF ITS FELLOWSHIPS REJOICES. High among the heroes of the good stand the prophets. Having held communion with God, they have turned to the world of men, and charged with God-given thoughts, have stood and taught in His stead. Thus, theirs has been the dignity not of mere nobility, nor royalty, but of Divinity. Their sufferings have become as famous as their mission — so famous that we are bidden to take them as examples of "suffering affliction." In our sufferings, therefore, we can look round to those that have "spoken in the name of the Lord," and wonderingly ask one and another of them, "Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" But as eminent as their sorrows is their endurance. When we think of them we reckon them not as sad, unfortunate, pitiable. Listening to the voice that on the mountain pronounced who among men are "blessed," we know that these prophets are indeed blessed.

V. A PATIENCE THAT THROUGH CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S CHARACTER IS ALL-CONQUERING. The expression, "The end of Lord," may mean one of two things, either of which reveals Him as being "very pitiful and of tender mercy."

1. It may mean the termination to which God brings sorrow. For illustration of this, perhaps, Job's name is cited.

2. Or it may mean the object of the Lord in permitting sorrows. Well has it been said that "it is rough work that polishes. Look at the pebbles on the shore! Far inland, where some arm of the sea thrusts itself deep in the bosom of the land and expanding into a salt loch, lies girdled by the mountains, sheltered from the storms that agitate the deep, the pebbles on the beach are rough, not beautiful — angular, not rounded. It is where long white lines of breakers roar, and the rattling shingle is rolled about the strand, that its pebbles are rounded and polished. As in nature, as in the arts, so in the grace: it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their lustre. The more the diamond is cut, the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, their God has no end in view but to perfect His people's graces."

(U. R. Thomas.)

It is a matter of common remark that Christian missions are often looked upon somewhat coldly even by well-disposed people. The main reason for this coldness is, at least in very many cases, a mistaken estimate of what missions can be reasonably expected to achieve. Now the first point to be observed in this estimate of what missions can be expected to do, is that it is the natural product of one feature of the temper of our day. The human mind is largely influenced by the outward circumstances of the successive forms of civilisation in which it finds itself; and within the last half century railroads and telegraphs have successively altered human habits of thought in more respects than one. We assume that the rate at which we travel and send messages must necessarily have its counterpart in all meritorious forms of human effort; and in this way we accustom ourselves to regard rapidity in producing results as a necessary test of good work — a test failure to satisfy which is not easily, if at all, atoned for by other tokens of excellence. This impatience of delay in production may have its advantages in certain limited districts of activity. But is it not a mistake to assume that all forms of human effort are improved by this acceleration of pace, or, indeed, that they will adapt themselves to it? Take art, and consider the old and true saying, "Time is short and art is long." Do what we will, art cannot be hurried. Even if a painter or a sculptor creates with great rapidity this or that masterpiece, the rapidity is limited to the moment of production; the real preparation which has enabled him to project the idea, and has perfected the methods of expressing it, is the work of a lifetime, and rare, indeed, are the occasions when even a great artist can produce rapidly and to order. Or take literature. As a rule, the composition of a great poem, or history, or treatise, which shall live extends over many years, not because the mechanical labour involved formally in writing out a considerable work requires a great deal of time, but especially because to produce anything that shall have on it the stamp of maturity requires time stilt more urgently — time for redressing, so far as may be possible, some defects which necessarily attach to the first effort at production, time to reconsider what is ill-judged, to supply what is deficient, to anticipate in some degree the sentence which an impartial posterity would pass upon a composition in its original crudity. Now, to-day, we are remarking how this impatience for immediate results which marks our time extends itself beyond those activities which are mainly or wholly human, and claims to mould and to govern undertakings in which God is the main agent, and man only God's instrument. Only here the impatient demand is apt to meet with a different kind of reception from there. Artists and men of letters adjust their work to the temper of the day, but the Eternal Workman heeds not the varying moods and fashions of the creature whom He has made, and, in spite of the demand for rapid production, is at this hour as slow and as sure in His work as at any past time in history. A mission is essentially a work in which man counts for little, although his active exertion is imperatively necessary. In a mission, the influences which fertilise human effort, and the date at which this fertilisation shall take place, are alike in the hands of God. When this is felt, it will be felt also that an order, so to describe it, upon a given mission for so many converts, at least, within such and such time, is an indefensible thing. But St. James in the text supplies us with an illustration which may enable us to see this more clearly. What "the coming of the Lord" certainly means in this passage may be open to discussion. Our Lord comes to us in blessings and in judgments, and St. James may be thinking of some political or social event which would put a stop to the oppressions of which his correspondents had complained; or he may be thinking of our Lord's second coming to judgment: But either coming, St. James implies, is in this respect like the natural harvest — that while man's activity leads up to it, it depends on agencies which are beyond man's control. When St. James points to the presence and operation of God in nature, every countryman in Syria would have understood him. The corn was sown in September; in October there came the early rain, which made the seed sprout; the latter rain fell, as a rule, in March or the beginning of April, in time to make the ears swell before they ripened. In a soil of remarkable fertility, but generally of no great depth, spread as it was over the limestone rock, everything depended on the two rainfalls. The husbandman could only prepare the soil and sow the seed: the rest he must leave to God; and St. James dwells on the long patience with which, as a rule, a Syrian peasant waited for the precious fruit of the earth, and for the rainfall which was so necessary to its growth. And his language illustrates an old observation, that, as a rule, people who live in the country are more religious — by which I mean more constantly alive to the presence and the working of Almighty God — than are people who live in towns. The habit of Watching God in Nature is of itself a lesson in the school of faith. If anything is clear about God's work in nature, it is that it proceeds gradually, that it cannot be precipitated. This truth finds, perhaps, unintentional expression in the modern word of which we hear so much — evolution. One period in the earth's earliest condition introduces to another; one phase of natural life leads on to the confines of another; this epoch of human history is the parent of much that first emerges to view in that — the truth being that the one presiding and controlling Mind is throughout at work, never ceasing from, never hesitating about His task, and that eternal wisdom which reaches from one end to another mightily and sweetly doth order all things. And in nature, so, as St. James implies, it is in grace. Man does his part; he sows the word of life, he prepares the soil, he plants with St. Paul, he waters with Apollos, but he can do no more, and God, who sends the early and the latter rain, alone gives the increase. So it is in the history of individuals when that great change takes place which is called conversion, whether from error to truth or from ungodliness of life to obedience of Christ. St. tells us that long before the change which was precipitated by his reading the passage in the Epistle to the Romans he had met with teachers, events, examples which had set him thinking. He put those thoughts aside, but they returned. He again dismissed them; again they came back to him. He was, in truth, ill at ease; his Manichean creed, his dissolute life were the husks on which this prodigal son long fed, but those husks had a work of disenchantment to do, though time was needed in which to do it, and at last this preparatory process was over. The hesitations, the misgivings, the yearnings, the relapses, the near approaches to grace, and the shrinkings back from grace had all come to an end; the fruit had ripened, whereby the Christian Church received the greatest of her teachers since St. Paul. And so, too, in the history of societies. It took three centuries to convert the Roman empire to Christianity, if, indeed, we may rightly so describe the numerical superiority, for it was not much more, on the part of the Christians at the end of the first quarter of the fourth century of our era. And yet even so described what a wonderful work it was! Three centuries before such a result would have seemed impossible to any man of sense and judgment. In view of these natural analogies, and of this history, let us turn once more to the modern demand that so many missionaries shall produce in such and such a time so many converts, and to the impatience, if not the indignation, which is felt or expressed if this expectation is not realised, as though something had taken place which was akin to a commercial fraud. What is this modern way of looking at missions but an endeavour to apply to the kingdom of Divine grace those rules of investment and return which are most properly kept in view in a house of commerce? Do you not see that this demand leaves God, the Great Missionary of all, out of the calculation? God has His own times for pouring out His Spirit, His own methods of silent preparation, His own measures of speed and of delay, and He does not take missionaries or the promoters of missionary societies into His confidence. He has a larger outlook than they, and more comprehensive plans, and whether He gives or withholds His gifts, of this we may be sure, in view of the truest and broadest interests of His spiritual kingdom: we appeal to His bounty, but we can but do as He bids us, and abide His time. Not that this reverent patience in waiting for God's blessing is any excuse whatever for relaxing the zealous activity with which missionary efforts should be prosecuted by the Church of God. The husbandman does not the less plough the soil or the less sow the seed because he is uncertain whether his labour will be followed by the early and the latter rain. If he does not plough and sow he knows that the rain will be useless at least to him. It is quite possible for a secret indifference to the interests of Christ and His kingdom to veil itself under the garb of reverence, to refuse to help the work of Christian missions because we do not know how far God will promote a particular mission; but that is only one of the many forms of self-deceit which we Christians too often employ in order to evade Christian duties. Duties are for us, the results with God.

(Canon Liddon.)

I. BEHOLD THE CONTINUED AND PERSEVERING DILIGENCE WHICH PRECEDED THE EXERCISE OF THE HUSBANDMAN'S PATIENCE, HOW various and multiplied are his labours: he ploughed, dressed, fallowed, sowed, harrowed, his fields — and for what? — to wait until the softened furrows should allow the tender grain to sprout. Can you behold his preparatory efforts without emotion? Alas I we are verily guilty in this matter. What little diligence have we evinced — how disconnected have our toils been — how unwilling to repeat the effort, which appears pretentious!

II. MAKE THE SUBMISSIVE ACQUIESCENCE WITH WHICH HE EXPECTS THE PROMISED ISSUE OF HIS LABOURS. He, indeed, knows not which field shall best prosper, or whether both shall be alike good; but he quietly, and without distraction, waits the arrival of spring, when the tender herb shall appear. And shall he be wiser in his worldly ways than you, who are the husbandmen of the Most High? In providential concerns you are perplexed, and your fears are many; but why be careful for the morrow? Of what avail is this tumult of mind, this agitation of spirit? Under tedious delays, does this rebellion of heart do other than increase your misery? Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord; observe how the husbandman waits, how deep is the conviction that impatience will never accelerate his harvest. Moreover, in your case, your hopes are delayed by this temper. Suffer not your fears-I had almost, but for pity, said, your follies — to triumph. You are no proper judge of the length of time you have waited: every minute has been to you as an hour, or as a year. You misjudge the motive of his delay; it is, that he may commend your patience, as well as reward your labours.

III. OBSERVE THE ANXIETY WITH WHICH THE HUSBANDMAN EXPECTS THE SPRINGING OF THE CORN. Man is prone to extremes; if he may not be impatient, he thinks he must be indifferent; if he is condemned for standing still, he runs like some restive horse which will either not stir, or furiously gallop. But the farmer unites the two; though not impatient, he is far from unconcerned. Do you take an equal interest, as lively a concern, in the field you cultivate for your Great Employer? Go to the husbandman, thou careless and unconcerned parent; consider his anxieties, and be wise: recollect the domestic trust confided to you.

IV. But once more, notice the CERTAINTY characterises the patient expectation of the farmer; he waits till "he receive the early and the latter rain." The expression may be considered as comprehending all the kindly and sweet influences of the heavens, which are necessary for the precious fruits of the earth; and have these ever been withheld? But the profits of our fields are not so certain, by many degrees of probability, as is the reward of grace which is ensnared by His promise who cannot lie.

1. Before we conclude, 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?

2. Let me point you to those inferior husbandmen who fairly expected to have reaped from you the reward of their labours, and yet have hitherto waited in vain.

3. Should the expectations of the husbandman in reference to any of his fields fail, he will again plough up the land; and, notwithstanding a few sickly plants sprinkled here and there on the surface of the ground, sacrifice all his toils and hopes, and prepare it for another crop. Thus has the Great Husbandman dealt with the nations at large: their privileges have been taken from them, and given to such as bring forth the fruits thereof: and thus will He act towards individuals who trifle with the means of cultivation they enjoy.

(W. Clayton.)

The earth that yields seed to the sower and bread to the eater has received its constitution from God; and it is governed through His wise providence by fixed laws that are infinitely reliable: and yet, at the same time, with such diversified conditions and minute peculiarities as may well convince us that the Almighty intended the operations of nature to supply us with spiritual instruction as well as with material good.

I. First, then, How DOES THE HUSBANDMAN WAIT? He waits with a reasonable hope for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and the latter rain. He expects the harvest because he has ploughed the fields and sown the grain. Out on the folly of those who flatter their souls with a prospect of good things in time to come while they neglect the opportunity of sowing good things in the time present. They say they hope it will be well with them at the end; but, since it is not well with them now, why should they expect any change — much less a change contrary to the entire order of Providence? The husbandman waits with a reasonable hope; he does not look for grain where he has cast in garlic. Save then that thou art a fool, thou wilt like him count only on the fruit of thine own sowing. While he waits with a patient hope, he is no doubt all the more patient of the issue, because his hope is so reasonable. And not only does he wait with patience, but some stress is put upon the length of it; "and hath long patience for the precious fruit of the earth." Now, our waiting, if it be the work of the Holy Spirit, must have this long patience in it. Are you a sufferer? There are sweet fruits to come from suffering t Have long patience for those peaceable fruits. You shall be brought out of your trouble when the discipline for which you were brought into it has been fulfilled. Have long patience, however, for not the first month does the husbandman find a harvest. If he has sown in the winter, he does not expect he will reap in the early spring: he does not go forth with his sickle in the month of May and expect to find golden sheaves. He waits. The moons wax and wane; suns rise and set; but the husbandman waits till the appointed time is come. Wait thou, O sufferer, till the night be over. Tarry thou a little longer, for if the vision tarry it shall come. Are you a worker? Then you need as much patience in working as you do in suffering. We must not expect to see immediate results in all cases from the preaching of the gospel, from the teaching of Scripture in our classes, from distributing religious literature, or from any other kind of effort. Be patient, O worker, for impatience sours the temper, chills the blood, sickens the heart prostrates the vigour of one's spirit, and spoils the enterprise of life before it is ripe for history. Wait thou, clothed with patience, like a champion clad in steel. Wait with a sweet grace, as one who guards the faith and sets an example of humility. Wait in a right spirit, anxious, prayerful, earnest submissive to the ways of God, not doubtful of His will. Disciple of Jesus, "learn to labour and to wait." With regard to the result of Christian obedience, the lesson is no less striking. The first thing that a farmer does by way of seeking gain on his farm is to make a sacrifice which could seem immediately to entail on him a loss. He has some good wheat in the granary, and he takes out sacks full of it and buries it. You must not expect as soon as you become a Christian, that you shall obtain all the gains of your religion, perhaps you may lose all that you have for Christ's sake. And, while the husbandman waits, you observe in the text he waits with his eye upward, he waits until God shall send him the early and the latter rain. None but the eternal Father can send the Holy Spirit like showers on the Church. He can send the Comforter, and my labour will prosper; it will not be in vain in the Lord; but if He deny, if He withhold this covenant blessing, ah me! work is useless, patience is worthless, and all the cost is bootless: it is in vain. Note, however, that while the husbandman waits with his eye upward, he waits with his hands at work, engaged in restless toil. He cannot push on the months; he cannot hasten the time of the harvest-home; but he does not wait in silence, in sluggishness and negligence; he keeps to his work and waits too. So do you, O Christian men I wait for the coming of your Lord, but let it be with your lamps trimmed and your lights burning, as good servants. The husbandman waits under changeful circumstances, and various contingencies. Only a farmer knows how his hopes and fears alternate and fluctuate from time to time. Yet he waits, he waits with patience. Ah, when we work for God, how often will this happen! There are always changes in the field of Christian labour. At one time we see many conversions, and we bless God that there are so many seals to our testimony. But some of the converts after a while disappoint us. There was the blossom, but it produced no fruit. Then there will come a season when many appear to backslide. Some deadly heresy creeps in, and the anxious husbandman fears there will be no harvest after all. Oh, patience sir, patience. When God shall give you a rich return for all you have done for Him, you will blush to think you ever doubted; you will be ashamed to think you ever grew weary in His service.

II. WHAT DOES THE HUSBANDMAN WAIT FOR? He waits for results, for real results; right results; he hopes also rich results. And this is just what we are waiting for — waiting as sufferers for the results of sanctified affliction. Oh that we might have every virtue strengthened, every grace refined, by passing through the furnace. And you are, also, like the husbandman, waiting for a reward. All the while till the hat vest comes, he has nothing but outlay. From the moment he sows, it is all outgoing until he sells his crops, and then, recovering at once the principal and the interest, he gets his reward, in this world look not for a recompense. You may have a grateful acknowledgment in the peace, and quiet, and contentment of your own spirit, but do not expect even that from your fellow-men. Wait till the week is over, and then shall come the wage. Wait until the sun is gone down, and then there will be the penny for every labourer in the vineyard. Not .vet, not yet, not yet. The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth. This is what we wait for.

III. WHAT IS THE HUSBANDMAN'S ENCOURAGEMENT IN WAITING? The first is, that the fruit be waits for is precious. Who that walks through a cornfield where the crops are plentiful, but will say, "Well, this was, after all, worth all the trouble and all the expense, and all the long patience of that winter which is over and gone?" If the Lord should draw you near unto Himself by your affliction, if He should make His image in you more clear, it will be worth waiting for. And if, after your labours, He should give you some soul for your reward, oh, will it not repay you? We may wait, therefore, with patience, because the reward of our labour will be precious. Above all, the reward of hearing the Master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," is worth waiting for I Even now to get a word from Him is quite enough to cheer us on, though it be a soft, still voice that speaks it, but oh, the joy of that loud voice "Well done." A godly husbandman waits with patience, again, because he knows God's covenant. God has said "seed time and harvest, summer and winter, shall not cease," and the Christian farmer knowing this is confident. But oh, what strong confidences have we who have looked to Christ, and who are resting on the faithful word of a covenant God. He cannot fail us. It is not possible that He should suffer our faith to be confounded. The covenant stands good, the harvest must come as surely as the seed time has come. Moreover, every husbandman is encouraged by the fact that he has seen other harvests. And, O brethren, have not we multitudes of instances to confirm our confidence? Let us cheerfully resign ourselves to the Lord's will in suffering, for as others of His saints who went before us have reaped the blessing, so shall we.

IV. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PATIENCE? To patiently wait God's appointed time is our business. Suppose a man should be impatient under suffering. Will it diminish his suffering? We all know that the irritability of temper which is caused by impatience is one of the difficulties which the physician has to battle with. "When the patient is calm there is a better chance of his recovery. O that ye would endeavour to conquer impatience. It cast Satan out of heaven, when he was impatient at the honour and dignity of the Son of God. But the benefits of patience are too many for me to hope to enumerate them. Suffice it to say, patience saves a man from great discouragement. Expect to wait for glory; expect to wait for the reward which God hath promised; and while you are waiting on the Lord your bread shall be certain, and your water shall be sure: you shall often eat meat, thank God, and take courage. The short days and long nights shall not be all charged with gloom, but full often they shall be tempered with good cheer. When we have patience it keeps us in good heart for service. Great haste makes little speed. He that believeth shall not make haste; and as the promise runs, he shall never be confounded. Above all, patience is to be commended to you because it glorifies God. The man that can wait, and wait calmly, astonishes the worldling, for the worlding wants it now. You remember John Bunyan's pretty parable of Passion and Patience. Passion would have all his best things first, and one came in and lavished before him out of a bag all that the child could desire. Patience would have his best things last, and Patience sat and waited, so when Passion had used up all his joy, and all he sought for, Patience came in for his portion, and as John Bunyan very well remarked, there is nothing to come after the last, and so the portion of Patience lasted for ever. Let me have my best things last, my Lord, and my worst things first. Be they what they may, they shall be over, and then my best things shall last for ever and for ever. There is one other respect in which our case is like that of the husbandman. As the season advances, his anxieties are prone to increase rather than to abate. In like manner we have a closing scene in prospect which may, and will in all probability, involve a greater trial of faith, and a sterner call for patience, than any or all of the struggles through which we have already passed. Perhaps I can best describe it to you by quoting two passages of Scripture, one specially addressed to workers, the other more particularly to sufferers. The first of these texts you will find in Hebrews 10:35, 36. This is sweet counsel for thee, O pilgrim, to Zion's city bound. When thou wast young and strong, thou didst walk many a weary mile with that staff of promise. It helped thee over the ground. Don't throw it aside as useless, now that thou art old and infirm. Lean upon it. Rest upon that promise, in thy present weakness, which lightened thy labour in the days of thy vigour. "Cast not away your confidence." But there is something more. The apostle says, "Ye have need of patience, after ye have done the will of God." But why, you will say, is patience so indispensable at this juncture of experience? Doubtless you all know that we are never so subject to impatience as when there is nothing we can do. Hence it is that after our fight is fought, after our race is run, after our allotted task is finished, there is so much need of patience, of such patience as waits only on God and watches unto prayer, that we may finish our course with joy and the ministry we have received of the Lord Jesus. And what about the second text? Turn to James 1:4. Seemeth it not as though patience were a virtue par excellence which puts the last polish on Christian chastity? We will hire us back to the cornfields again: I am afraid we were forgetting them. But this time we will net talk so much with the farmer as with the crops. Knowest thou, then, what it is that gives that bright yellow tinge of maturity to those blades which erst were green and growing? What, think you, imparts that golden hue to the wheat? All the while the corn was growing, those hollow stems served as ducts that drew up nourishment from the soil. At length the process of vegetation is fulfilled. The fibres of the plant become rigid; they cease their office; down below there has been a failure of the vital power which is the precursor of death. Henceforth the heavenly powers work quick and marvellous changes; the sun paints his superscription on the ears of grain. They have reached the last stage; having fed on the riches of the soil long enough, they are only influenced flora above. The time of their removal is at hand, when they shall be cut down, carried away in the team, and housed in the garners. So, too, it is with some of you. "The fall of the year is most thickly strewn with the fall of human life." You have long been succoured with mercies that have come up from mother-earth; you have been exposed to cold dews, chilling frosts, stormy blasts; you have had the trial of the vapoury fog, the icy winter, the fickle spring, and the summer drought; but it is nearly all over now. You are ready to depart. Not yet for a brief space has the reaper come. "Ye have need of patience." Having suffered thus far, your tottering frame has learnt to bend. Patience, man — patience! A mighty transformation is about to be wrought on you in a short space. Wait on the Lord. Holiness shall now be legibly, more legibly than ever, inscribed on your forefront by the clear shining of the Sun of Righteousness. The heavenly Husbandman has you daily, hourly, in His eye, till He shall say to the angel of His presence, "Put in your sickle."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Be ye also patient.
I. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIAN WAITING.

1. Christian waiting follows conscientious effort. It is not until we have striven to do our duty in Divine strength; it is not until we feel ourselves hemmed in, unable to take another step, that we are to "stand still and see the salvation of God." The apostolic injunction is: "Having done all, to stand." It is not until we have laboured that we are to learn to wait. To act otherwise would be to play the part of a farmer who may be waiting for a harvest before he has sown the seed.

2. Christian waiting is an outcome of faith. Faith in the Divine promises, fidelity, ability, and love.

3. Christian waiting is patient. It is a state in which fluttering and murmuring have no place; it is a state in which there is dignified self-restraint, and sweet acquiescence to that will which is recognised to be infallible, sovereign, and good.

4. Christian waiting is expectant. It is ever on the outlook. An attendant, who was asked to wake a visitor in time to meet an appointment, was lingering hard by for the purpose, when some one exclaimed, "What, sitting here and doing nothing!" "No," was the quick reply, "I am busy waiting." The man who is truly waiting for the "salvation of the Lord" is "busy waiting" — busy like one waiting for the day-dawn, or like one waiting to take the tide at the flood.

5. Christian waiting is necessary. God does nothing hurriedly. Did the earth, with her hills and vales, lakes, rivers, and seas, dark mines, and gigantic rocks, reach her present state in swift transactions? Did Jesus sweep down from the heavens as the Saviour of man immediately He was promised? Is human life rapid in its physical, mental, and spiritual growth? The development of that which is great cannot be forced. Perfection is not reached in a leap.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT BY WHICH CHRISTIAN WAITING IS HERE ENFORCED. The farmer is encouraged to wait by the thought that every sunrise prepares for, and accelerates the gleeful reaping time. So the believer is incited to wait for Christ by the assurance that His coming "draweth nigh."

1. His coming in some signal dispensation of Providence may be nigh. If there is no longer a "needs be" for our waiting, we may be sure that He will speedily come to crown our temporal and spiritual efforts with appropriate success; to solve perplexing problems; to deliver from envy, slander, oppression, and to satisfy the desires which He Himself has kindled.

2. His coming at the end of the world may be said to be nigh. "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand." "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly."

3. His coming at our dissolution may be said to be nigh. It cannot be far distant from any one of us; every clock-tick and pulse-beat hastens it.

(E. H. Palmer.)

When men have entered upon a religious experience, or a religious life, they are warned that there are perils in that life or experience — especially the peril of getting tired of it; of losing interest in it; of having their enthusiasm waste away like a summer's brook, and die like a fugitive cloud. Weariness may take on either of three forms — that of simple fatigue, that of discouragement, or that of disgust. Now, there are no callings in life that are continuous in which we do not experience weariness in the first form — that of fatigue; and rest is the cure for it. We get tired of daily tasks — especially those that consist in bearing heavy burdens and responsibilities; and the night is a blessed relief to those who perform them. But then come the other forms of weariness — namely, discouragement, want of hope, and disgust, aa inexplicable state of mind which oftentimes drives a man to the other extreme, so that he loathes things that once were attractive to him, and not only renounces his purposes, but stands in direct antagonism to the very ends that before he sought violently to serve. I shall speak of some of the occasions on which this weariness and this reaction take place, and of some of the causes which produce them. Weariness often takes place in regular and necessary business life — especially where our avocations are not such as minister pleasure. We should seek as far as possible to reduce that which is necessary in our daily calling to a pleasure. Although there are some things that can scarcely be made pleasurable, yet to a far greater extent than men believe it is possible to subdue to liking things that are not naturally likable. There are odours that are intolerable when we regard them with disgust, but that, nevertheless, when we dwell by them day by day, if we have rational minds, we may come to so regard as to overcome our repugnance to them. And if one man can do it, another can. Tasks that are disagreeable should first be essayed. To all those who have a wearisome life; to all those who have mixed responsibilities "to all those who are obliged to have anxiety; to all those who are compelled to bear these things in bodies enfeebled by disease, or in bodies whose nervous organisation has been very much supplanted, there is this exhortation: "Be not weary in well doing. In due season ye shall reap if ye faint not." If by complaint, if by repugnance, if by weariness, you could change your affairs for the better, it would be different; but you make them worse by these things; and discretion, as well as the exhortation of revelation, points out the true any "Be bold, be patient, be not weary, continue instant in season and out of season." Follow these directions, and in due time ye shall have relief. Then a still more critical weariness comes upon persons who, having set before them a vivid notion of their faults and failings, attempt to shape their whole character to a higher pattern and to live their whole life on a higher plane. There is nothing harder than to rise from any level where we have permitted ourselves to spread, out to a higher level. We hug the sphere in which we have invested the most of ourselves; and when we are called to forsake it and to go up to a higher level it is a thing of displacency; and we do it with the utmost fatigue and reluctance. Yet, every man should set his face against the ruling of lower tendencies; and should determine to measure himself by, a higher standard; and when a man, carrying out these purposes in succession, finds himself attacking pride, besieging vanity, doing battle with lusts, and passions, and appetites, he has a campaign on his hands which may very well breed weariness and discouragement, for many and many of the tendencies of our nature are like streams which seem to dry up in summer, but which come Booming again in spring when the rains descend upon the mountains; and where we thought we had achieved victories we find ourselves quite overthrown and swept away. In some respects it is true that men are worse when they begin to be better: The conflict with morbid nature with unwholesome nature is disturbing. Therefore men who attempt to carry out the rule of righteousness with temperance often find themselves very tired of sitting and watching at the door of the mouth, and saying, "Let your moderation be known [be made apparent] to all men." They forget, they relax vigilance, they faint; and the inordinate appetite which they have striven against for days and weeks at once overtakes them, and they are swept away; and in looking back, when they examine the tendencies of anger, and irritableness, and envy, and jealousy, and avarice in the actual strifes of life, when they think of their relations to others, and of the relative conditions of others and themselves, and when they, from year to year, mark whether they grow in grace or not, it is not strange that weariness and discouragement come over men. Then there is weariness in our social duties and relationships. In days of sickness, in days of labour, and especially in days of poverty, when one can almost say, "Heart and flesh have failed," is it strange that there is discouragement? And is there no need of the injunction, "Be not weary in well doing"? and of the promise, "In due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not"? When dealing, not within the sacred precincts of the family, but in our relations with those around us — with our neighbours, of every clime, of every disposition, of every kind of education, and of every temperament — an amount of forbearance, of patience, of gentleness, of wisdom, and of goodness is required that cannot be measured in words. And when it becomes necessary to co-operate for the public good, or for the good of special classes or conditions of men, human nature is a thing that torments the patience. It is hard to bear with men, and it is hard to bear with them just in the proportion in which they are strong and multiform in their nature. We are disposed to be weary in doing good to others, so slow is the result of anything we undertake in developing itself, so unfruitful is this result, and so material and uninteresting are people. Is it the work of charity? To do good among those who need you most — the poor and the ignorant — will require all the patience, all the gentleness, all the self-denial that you can command. All men, therefore, who go out into the community as reformers should bear in mind the difficulty of managing human nature, and should remember that reformation is effectual only in proportion as it touches the fundamental wants of men. The temperance reformation is slow, is intermittent, and has its reactionary periods, because it strikes at the very strongest passions and appetites which exist in human life. It is an attempt of goodness to overcome badness. It is a promiscuous campaign carried on by all sorts of men. And the marvel is not that it is so slow, but that it is so fast, and that there is so much in it that is permanent. To the end of life and society, however, the work of temperance will be a thing to be done over and over again; and every generation will have to go through precisely the same process. Yet men must not be discouraged nor faint. Then, other men grow weary on account of injudicious labours, on account of undertaking too much, and on account of constantly attempting to work from wrong standards in themselves. Many a man works from the impulse of praise; and as long as he is praised, not to say flattered, he is encouraged, and works cheerfully; but when the praise ceases he begins to grow weary and discouraged, and it seems to him as though life had lost its savour. Others work from the feeling of pride; and so long as that feeling is gratified, and men look up to them, and show them difference, and submit to their control, they are buoyant, and work willingly; but when the gratification of their pride ceases, and men do not yield to them any longer, and they are obliged to humble themselves before others, they grow weary. The trouble comes from the fact that they are attempting to work from the standpoint of prominence and dominance, and wish to be masters. Other men work because they have a sense of duty, and a sense of duty ought to underlie every action of their life; nevertheless, if there is nothing but a sense of duty, it is a hard master that grudges reward; for the sense of duty increases with the performance of duty. The ideal of what we should be and should do grows with actual attainment, so that a man will live for ever in the seventh chapter of Romans, if his inspiration in life is for ever an inspiration of conscience or of duty. In view of these considerations, it is not strange that so many are weary in well-doing, and we see how manifestly it is right that we should exhort men, saying, "Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not." Be seed-sowers. Be husbandmen in the harvest-field. Sow and reap day by day. Sow at morning and at evening. Withhold not your hand anywhere. You know not which shall prosper, this or that, or whether both alike shall prosper; and be not weary of the work that you leave behind you; take it up again wherever you go; and in the spirit of the Master, carry blessedness, cheerfulness, hopefulness, happiness in your rounds, whether of rest, of pleasure, or of duty.

(H. W. Beecher.)

In the order of the phenomena which we call natural, everybody knows that time must be taken into account, and that the impatience of men has no effect whatever upon the regular progress of things. The harvest can be expected only after a regular number of months, and when fruit-trees or plants such as the vine are to be brought to maturity, years of patient waiting are required. It is front the habit of reckoning with nature that the peasant derives his proverbial patience and his unwearied tenacity. The artisan of our cities handles matter at his will, and his task is sooner completed; nevertheless, he also knows that nothing solid or good can be produced at a moment's notice. Thus it is as regards the culture of the intellect; it has its successive stages, which can neither be suppressed nor inter-vetted; the greatest of mathematicians must proceed step by step from the elements of arithmetic to integral calculus. Nothing can be absolutely improvised in this world, and, as the poet said, "Time soon destroys what has been done without its aid." We all accept this law: but when the Divine works are in question, it seems to us to be out of place. On this point our opinion partly rests upon the true idea that God is above time. Now we may draw a false inference from this principle which, however, is both true and necessary: we may imagine that whatever is Divine must needs be instantaneous. It is certain, however, that Jesus Christ never encouraged this tendency; He declared that prodigies in themselves might be an effect of the evil spirit, and it is upon the moral character of His natural or supernatural works that He always insists upon most strongly. Is it not this very prejudice which leads so many fervent souls to acknowledge the action of the .Holy Ghost only in those manifestations which are sudden and striking? Two equally fatal consequences follow from this conception: in the first place, disdain for the ordinary means of grace, for the regular ministry, for the institutions of the past, for the measures which assure and prepare the future. God, it is asserted, hath need of none of these. The other consequence is the impatient zeal which would hurry on the progress of souls, which exaggerates the results already obtained, sees conversions in factitious emotions, creates an over excitement which it takes for an evident effusion of the Holy Spirit, and passes the most uncharitable judgments upon those who have kept outside of this sacred contagion. Now the truth is this: It has pleased God, who Himself is above time, to act in time and by means of time. To convince yourselves of this, behold God at work, as revealed to us in Scripture; His actions will enable us to understand His purposes. God creates the world. It seems as though an instantaneous creation should have responded to an almighty will. But the Bible gives us a totally different account of our origin. In it time appears to us as the very condition of the existence of things. Everything is subject to the twofold law of succession and progress. What I say of creation may also be affirmed as regards the work of grace. If I seek the reason of the existence of all things, Scripture replies by this sublime expression: the reign of God. Everything tends towards this end, everything is subservient to it, and the entire universe knows no other. Nevertheless, despite this decisive reason which appears to us so completely self-evident, God's triumph is not immediate; there is a history of the reign of God. A history, that is to say, a beginning, then successive actions which prepare the final consummation; a history, that is to say, the secular, difficult, laborious development of a germ deposited in the depths of humanity. That is the substance of the teaching of Scripture; if you misapprehend it, the Word of God will be for you an eternally sealed book. God takes time into account when the destinies of His kingdom are in question. The history of Christianity is the visible realisation of this Divine plan. We must acknowledge, doubtless, that the sins, the indifference the apathy, the dissensions of Christians have manifestly contributed to this delay; but, even had the influence of these causes been null and void, the conversion of the world had not been the work of a day: the rains of the early and latter seasons must have fallen ere that magnificent harvest could be gathered in. What we say of the conquest of nations, we must also affirm of the salvation of individual souls. God might subdue them in a day; sudden and often striking conversions occur at all times to remind us of the sovereignty of grace; but these are exceptions, and in these very exceptions, a discerning eye easily detects a hidden and latent preparation. In the parable of the prodigal son, the gospel points to the successive phases of the sinner's estrangement, of the awakening of false independence, of selfishness, pride, rebellion, of the intoxicating delights of passion, of the final shame and degradation, and only in this supreme hour does the distinct remembrance of the Father's house spring up in that broken heart. For the salvation of a soul, as well as for the salvation of the world, we must learn to wait. Oh! I am not ignorant of the surprise, murmurs, and criticisms which these delays of the Divine action rouse in our hearts. Before us continually stands out that unsolvable contradiction between the notion of the Omnipotence of the good Being and the duration of evil which unceasingly braves His justice and goodness. God is patient, He tolerates the follies of human liberty until the day which He has Himself fixed upon. What He does, that must we also do. Ay, more than this; we are compelled to do this by our very position, for what is a Christian but a sinner, whom God bears with, towards whom He acts with an often extraordinary patience? I have reminded you of the duty of expectation. The expectation of faith is not inaction of the soul: it is its very opposite. We must act as though everything depended upon us, we must wait as if everything depended upon God — act, that is, accomplish the Father's will, day by day, faithful to the duty of the present hour, without impatience, without feverish ardour, without personal ambition; wait in the immovable assurance that in all things the final victory shall be on the Lord's side.

(E. Bersier, D. D.)

I. THERE IS A PERIOD HASTENING ON THAT WILL TERMINATE FOR EVER THE TRIALS OF THE GOOD. This period is not far off. It really takes place with the individual man at death. It emphatically "draweth nigh," and emphatically may it be said to us all, "The Judge standeth at the door." It is not something that is far off in the distant ages; it is all but transpiring. We shall soon have struck the last blow in life's battle, and won the crown; heaved over the last billows in life's ocean, and reached the desired haven.

II. THE TRIALS OF THE GOOD ARE CONGRUOUS WITH THE PRESENT STATE OF OUR HISTORY. It is a fitful spring with us — a moral April: the struggle of sunshine and shower — the genial glow and the nipping frost. It is a season of fluctuation, not settledness: outlay, not income: labour, not wages: seeds, not results. It is the season for burying the grain, not for plucking the golden ear. It is wise and well for the husbandman to labour patiently in the spring, for he has the assurance from testimony and experience that the glorious summer will reward him for his toil.

III. A MORAL ENDURANCE OF TRIALS IS ESSENTIAL TO AMIABILITY OF CHARACTER. The man who has not that "patience" which results from a loving confidence in the character and a loving acquiescence in the will of the Supreme Ruler, will feel an annoyance in every trial. He will pass through the trials of life, as we have sometimes seen a little cur passing through a hailstorm, barking at every step. But the man who cultivates this magnanimous quality of soul will be, in trial, like the imperial bird in the storm, when beaten down from its heavenly flight, it still keeps its wings expanded, looks calmly up, and with the first gleams of sunshine soars away into the radiant and the high again.

IV. THE GREATEST TRIALS HAVE BEEN ENDURED BY THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS MEN IN HISTORY. "The prophets" were men of genius and of God; great in talent and in virtue, the loyal servants and moral organs of Heaven; the most majestic trees in the forest, the brightest stairs in the firmament of their race. Yet they suffered (Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:32). The morally great have always been sufferers.

V. TRIALS HAVE EVER BEEN THE CONDITION OF TRULY HEROIC AND HONOURED LIVES "We count them happy which endure" — not only because affliction tendeth to spiritual good (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18), but because they are enabled by their sufferings, when rightly endured, to display the highest attributes of greatness. In the history of true men, when the sun of prosperity goes down, the brightest orbs of virtue come out to light up the moral firmament of the world.

V. ALL TRIALS BEING UNDER THE DIRECTION OF AN EVER-MERCIFUL GOD, WILL, IF RIGHTLY ENDURED, YIELD A GLORIOUS RETURN.

(D. Thomas.)

The true Christian idea of waiting upon God patiently implies self-restraint, trust in God, and the exertion of superior elements of manhood. Patient waiting upon God where it exists is not only founded in intelligence, and in that faith which is the handmaid of intelligence, but it is a state of submission and sweet relinquishment of one's own urgent and importunate feelings. It is the yielding up of everything into the hands of God, with confidence that the Judge of all cannot but do justly, and that in His own time and way He will fulfil the desires of our hearts, if they be right; or, if they be wrong, He will meet our wants with things ether than those which we seek. Consider now the text: "Be patient, therefore," etc. Here is the measure of the waiting. It is to continue clean through till the Lord appears; till the enigma is solved; till the mystery is cleared. "Behold the husbandman waiteth," &c. There could be no more admirable analogue than this of husbandry; for there is in it the most obvious union of persistent natural laws with human activity, which bears the same relation to natural laws that the rider does to the horse. It is the horse that performs; it is the rider that steers and guides him. Natural laws, of themselves, are brute forces, wandering wide, and doing little. It is not until great natural laws, if I may say so, are inspired by human volition and human intelligence, that they become productive of good — that they know how to converge and co-operate so as to multiply blessings upon the earth. Without natural laws man is utterly helpless. Without men natural laws are largely useless. Man, knowing how to use those great physical, permanent laws, directs them to certain purposes. This combination it is that makes fruitfulness in our fields. Human strength makes natural laws productive. What are cities but the insignia of thought applied to brute and dead material? What are gardens, vineyards, orchards, grain-fields, railroads, canals, tunnels, bridges, highways, but the union of Divine natural law and human intelligence? Without the one and the other they were impossible. Human society itself is a vast museum and exhibition-hall, as it were, showing what man's nature has been able to do when it has worked upon the Divine law. See what husbandry does every year. We prepare the soil. We do not make it. It is remedy at our hand. For generations God's mills have been grinding; the glacier and the rock have come together; the subtle water, made solid by cold, and moving per force, has ground and ground; and behold, the soil that has in it the results of the workings of cycles of centuries. Man finds it ready waiting for him. It is waiting for man as much as man is waiting for it. It is only when by his skill the plough opens the furrow, and he sows intelligently, studying the seasons, the markets, and the pressing necessities of men about him; it is only when, waiting patiently through months if it be fields of grain, or if it be orchards and vineyards through years, that he begins to find remuneration. Farmers wait, and wait patiently, and wait confidently; and their waiting is from no laggard's indolence. It is from a consciousness that they have done that which, co-operating with natural law, will produce the desired results. God's stamp is upon natural law, and it is warranted to cut, and not to fail. The farmer waits in intelligence; the sluggard waits in laziness. The farmer thrives; the sluggard degenerates. The farmer has abundance; the sluggard suffers cold in winter, and want the year round. Men who refuse to do anything in God's vineyard oftentimes pretend to honour God's sovereignty by waiting upon God; but who would think that he was honouring nature's sovereignty by waiting on it thus? There be those who say it is presumptuous for man to put forth his hand and touch God's work. They are afraid of interfering with the sphere of Divine authority and Divine sovereignty. It is their own spiritual indolence that leads them to wait, for no one of them that owns a ship sails that ship as he does his soul. No one of them that has a farm manages that farm in husbandry as he does his soul in spiritual things. He must know how to work who is to know how to wait. He must experience fatigue who is to appreciate the blessing of rest. He must have enterprise who is to understand the great charm of patient waiting upon God. Look, then, at the sphere in which this virtue of waiting is to operate. Bearing in mind the nature of that waiting which brings a blessing, we shall see that there is a sphere for it in our lives fully as great as there was in the eyes of those of old, though we are differently placed from what they were. We shall see, also, that one of the most common traits of a true piety is that of patient waiting. As in all the emergencies of secular life we are called to wait patiently, so we are in all the emergencies of religious life.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Christian patience supposeth a sense of evil, and then, in the formality of it, it is a submission of the whole soul to the will of God: wherein observe —

1. The nature; it is a submission of the whole soul. The judgment subscribeth, "Good is the Word of the Lord," &c. (Isaiah 39:9). Though it were to him a terrible word, yet the submission of a sanctified judgment can call it good. Then the will accepteth, "If they shall accept the punishment" (Leviticus 26:41); that is, take it kindly from God that it is no worse. Then the affections are restrained, and anger and sorrow brought under the commands of the word. Then the tongue is bridled, lest discontent splash over; Aaron held his peace (Leviticus 10:3).

2. Consider the grounds and proper considerations upon which all this is carried on; usually there is such a progress as this in the spiritual discourse.(1) The soul seeth God in it, "I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it" (Psalm 39:9).(2) It seeth God acting with sovereignty, "None can say unto Him, What debt Thou?" (Job 9:12). And elsewhere, "He giveth no account of His matters."(3) Lest this should make the heart storm, it seeth sovereignty mitigated in the dispensation of it with several attributes. With justice. With mercy, "Thou hast punished us less than we deserved" (Ezra 9:13). They were afflicted, they might have been destroyed; they were in Babylon, they might have been in hell. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might keep Thy statutes." God's faithfulness would not suffer them to want such a sweet help. With wisdom, "God is a God of judgment "(Isaiah 30:18); it is meant in His dispensations. Let God alone; He is too just to do us wrong, and too kind and wise to do us harm.

(T. Manton.)

Julius Pflugius, complaining to the Emperor, by whom he had been employed, of great wrong done him by the Duke of Saxony, received this answer — "Have a little patience; thy cause is my cause." So says God to His abused.

(J. Trapp.)

It would be far easier, I apprehend, for nine men out of ten to join a storming party than to lie on a rack or to hang on a cross without repining. Yes, patience is a strength; and patience is not merely a strength, it is wisdom in exercising it. We, the creatures of a day, make one of the nearest approaches possible for us to the life of God who, because He lives for ever, can afford to wait.

(Canon Liddon.)

Stablish your hearts.
1. Our hearts are settled in our afflictions by the sweet promises we have from God of our deliverance. David thereof saith, "Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of all." In another place to like purpose, "The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, He st)all be their strength in time of trouble." Therefore Almighty God saith to His people, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me."

2. As by the promises of our deliverance our hearts are settled through patience in our oppression; so also ought they to be settled in the experience we have of the power of God in the deliverance of the righteous. If we look to others, or ourselves, we shall find experience of this truth. Hath not God delivered Moses and Israel, His people, from the army of Pharaoh? What, did not God deliver David from sundry attempts of Saul?

3. Neither thus only are our hearts settled in our miseries, but also when we cast our eyes upon the crown of glory, which we shall receive, and the glorious hope whereof we shall be partakers, if we endure with patience, we should settle and quiet our minds in our miseries. Thus Paul, exhorting the Romans to settle their hearts, and in their afflictions which by the ensample of Christ they should suffer, comforting them, telleth them that the sufferings of their mortal life were not to be compared to the glory which should be revealed to the sons of God.

4. Our hearts shall the better be settled if we would consider that nothing cometh unto us but by the will of God.

5. Our hearts shall be settled in afflictions if we know the manifold uses and good ends of the afflictions which God sendeth to the saints.

6. Our hearts in affliction shall be settled if we did consider that our time of sufferings is limited, and is but short, but the time of rest, of peace, of joy, eternal.

7. If we consider that the saints in all times have suffered adversity, that Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord of Glory, hath by many tribulations entered into His glory, that we are no otherwise fellow-heirs with Him, but upon this condition that we suffer with Him.

8. Finally, our hearts in affliction are settled when we recount often the fearful judgments of God upon them which have afflicted and cruelly persecuted His Church and saints in all times.

(R. Turnbull.)

The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
I. EVERY YEAR BRINGS HIM NEARER TO EVERY MAN TO TERMINATE HIS CONNECTION WITH THIS EARTH.

1. What a solemnity does this give to time.

2. What significance to death.

II. EVERY YEAR BRINGS HIM NEARER TO ESTABLISH HIS SPIRITUAL EMPIRE IN THE WORLD. Indications of His approach are multiplying and brightening as years come and go. Every true thought, every moral conversion, every true revolution in the minds of individuals and nations, announce the fact that He is coming whose right it is to reign.

III. EVERY YEAR BRINGS HIM NEARER TO WIND UP ALL HUMAN AFFAIRS ON THIS EARTH. On this wonderful day He will —

1. Stop the increase of the race.

2. Terminate the infidelities of the race.

3. Open the graves of the race.

4. Settle the destinies of the race.

(D. Thomas.)

The feelings with which we await the coming of any person or tiling depend very much upon the nature of the person or thing advancing, or upon the fittedness to meet him or it. It is evening in a very pleasant household. There is a key heard at the front door. The children come down the stairs with a bound, clapping their hands, and shouting, "Father's coming!" But disaster has entered that home. The writs have been issued. The front door bell rings, an official is about to enter, and the whisper all through the rooms of that house is, "The sheriff's coming!" March weather gets through scolding, and one day the windows toward the south are opened, and old age feels the flush of new life in its veins; and invalidism looks up and smiles, and all through the land the word is, "Spring is coming!" December hangs icicles on the eaves of the poor man's house. No wood gathered. No coal. The cracked window-pane invites the sleet to come in. The older sister, with numb fingers, attempts to tie the shoe latchet of the little brother, and stops to blow warmth into her blue hands, and the father shiveringly looks down and says, "Oh, my God, winter is coming!" Well, it is just so in regard to the announcement of my text. To one it sounds like a father's, to another like an executioner's, footstep. To one it is the breath of a June morning; to the other it is the blast of a December hurricane. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." I do not see how God can afford to stay away any longer. It seems to me that this world has been mauled of sin about long enough. The Church has made such slow headway against the Paganism, and the Mohammedanism, and the fraud, and the libertinism, and the drunkenness, and the rapine, and the murder of the world, that there are ten thousand hands now stretched up beckoning for God to come, and to come now. I also see a sign of the Divine advance in the opportunity for repentance which is being given to the nations. God, and angels, and men calling. Messages of salvation in the air. Telegraphs flashing the gospel news. Steamships carrying Christian ambassadors to and fro. Yes, we are on the eve of a universal moral earthquake. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." But there is a deeper stop in the organ of my text that needs to be pulled out, and that organ stop is the judgment trumpet. My text distinctly points toward that august arrival. Now, there is one secret that God has never told even to an archangel. The time when. It may come this autumn. It may come next spring. It may be farther off. I cannot tell. But the fact that such a day will come cannot be disputed. The Bible intimates, yea, it positively says, that in that last day God will come in by a flash of lightning. When the roll-call of that day is read your name and my name will be read in it, and we will answer, "Here!" These very feet will feel the earth's tremor, these eyes will see the scrolled sky, these hands will be lifted in acclamation or in horror, when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven, with mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance upon those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of His Son. It will be our trial. It will be our judge. It will be our welcome or it will be our doom. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." But my subject takes a closer grapple, and it closes in and closes in until it announces to you and to me that Christ is coming very soon to put an end to our earthly residence. The most skilful theologians may make a mistake of hundreds of years in regard to the chronology of the judgment; but it is impossible for us to make a very wide mistake in regard to the time in which Christ will come to put an end to our earthly existence. Oh, if you knew how near you are to the moment of exit from this world, do you know what you would do? You would drop your head and pray just now. If you knew how certainly the door of God's mercy is gradually shutting against your unpardoned soul, you would cry out, "Stop! till I enter." My subject closes in once more, and closes in until I have to tell you that God, who in the text is represented as "drawing nigh," has actually arrived. No longer "drawing nigh." He is here. Get away from Him, you cannot. Trust in Him, you ought. Be saved by Him, you may. This God who has been arriving, and who is now come; this God who has been "drawing nigh," has come for one thing, and that is to save every one of you. He has come a long pilgrimage, treading over nails, and spikes, and thorns, until the sharp points have struck up through the hollow of the foot to the instep. He has come to carry your burdens, and to slay your sins, and to sympathise with your sorrows. He is here to break up your obduracy, and make you feel the palpitations of His warm, loving heart. Oh, the love of God, the love of God!

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

There will be a great court of appeal from all man's injustice.

(Dean Plumptre.)

"We were," writes a Christian traveller, "on a little steamer on the Volga .... A young Russian officer was on board with his wife. They bad plenty of money; they seemed perfectly well; the scenery around was beautiful and the weather was fine; but, for all that, the officer looked sad and was silent. Every day, as we went on and on, he was more and more unhappy, and I soon found out the reason. He was going from home and friends, far off into Siberia. Each mile of progress brought him nearer to the cold, bleak wilderness where he was to spend many long years of banishment." And it is just so in the journey of life. If a man feels that each day he grows older only brings him nearer to a dark, unknown future, his heart cannot be really happy, even if all around seems gay. "A little while afterwards I had to return to Moscow with another Russian officer. We travelled in a miserable plight, hurried over rough roads in a cart with only straw to sit on, and a few apples to eat. The scenery was dull, the weather was bitterly cold, but that officer was exulting in buoyancy and delight. He was hastening to the emperor to bear the news of a great victory, and to be decorated with an honourable reward." Even so, again, it is on life's journey. The man who feels sure he is getting nearer the heavenly King each day he lives, and that he will be welcomed as a "faithful servant" of that Master who has won a victory over the enemies of God and man — this man will be happy in his heart, even in days of trial and toil, 'mid darkness, want, and sorrow.

(Sunday at Home.)

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