Jeremiah 5:24
They have not said in their hearts, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rains, both autumn and spring, in season, who keeps for us the appointed weeks of harvest.'
Sermons
God's Gifts of the Rains and the HarvestS. Conway Jeremiah 5:24
Harvest ThoughtsPlain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the TimesJeremiah 5:24
Harvest VoicesAldersgate MagazineJeremiah 5:24
Lessons from the HarvestW. Dickson.Jeremiah 5:24
Lessons from the HarvestH. Caddell, M. A.Jeremiah 5:24
Reflections on HarvestJ. Lathrop, D. D.Jeremiah 5:24
The Former and the Latter RainJeremiah 5:24
The God of HarvestT. Davies, M. A.Jeremiah 5:24
The God of NatureH. Parr.Jeremiah 5:24
The Silken FetterS. Conway Jeremiah 5:24
Voices of God in the HarvestR. Tuck, B. A.Jeremiah 5:24
Nature's Witness Against Blind Eyes and Rebellious HeartsJ. Waite Jeremiah 5:20-24
Adoration of God in NatureJ. Garbett, M. A.Jeremiah 5:20-25
God the Ruler of the WavesJohn Newton.Jeremiah 5:20-25
God's Barriers Against Man's SinJeremiah 5:20-25
God's Government of the Sea and Man's Revolting TendenciesHomilistJeremiah 5:20-25
God's Judgment of Self-WillJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 5:20-25
IndifferenceJ. Burns, D. D.Jeremiah 5:20-25
Persuasives to the Fear of GodJeremiah 5:20-25
Sea and Soil; Divine ProvidenceC. Clarkson, B. A.Jeremiah 5:20-25
Solemn Reasons for Fearing the LordBp. Heber.Jeremiah 5:20-25
The Sand BarrierHomiletic MagazineJeremiah 5:20-25
Israel's ApostasyF. C. Clark, B. A.Jeremiah 5:23-24
Sin is Revolt and Rebellion Against Christ -- Our KingA. Torrey.Jeremiah 5:23-24
In ver. 22 the prophet has spoken of the soft, unstable sand holding in and beating back the mighty surgings of the sea; but here he tells of what would seem a still more unlikely thing, that the goodness of God should lead men to fear him. He selects that prominent proof of God's goodness, the giving of the rains and the harvest, as a type of all, and he takes for granted that men ought to have found in this goodness of God an argument for his fear. Now we remark -

I. THAT THIS IS AN UNUSUAL ARGUMENT. We could understand other attributes of God being appealed to as grounds for fearing him - his majesty, his power, his justice, his wrath - but his goodness seems to call for almost every other feeling than that of fear. Joy, gratitude, benevolence, praise, but not fear. We delight ourselves in his goodness, we bask in it as in the blessed warmth of the sun, but we never fear it, or see in it a reason for such regard of God. And it is certain that this expectation of the prophet, that God's goodness should lead us to his fear, was not based on any supposition or belief that there was aught of fearfulness about the goodness of God. Of the devil's goodness when he turns himself into an angel of light, when he quotes Scripture, as he did at our Lord's temptation, and when he pours honey into our cup, - of his goodness we may be afraid. It is but a mask. And of some men's goodness we may be afraid - men who are "false as the smooth, deceitful sea," "adders' poison under their lips;" they betray with a kiss. And men were wont to fear the goodness of the gods they worshipped. They imagined they would be jealous if they saw a man prospering overmuch. Hence to appease them men would inflict loss and injury on themselves. See the story of Polycrates. Nor either because there is aught of fatality attached to the goodness of God. It is not as the beautiful flush on the countenance, which, lovely as it may appear, is a mark of doom clearly discernible to the experienced eye. For no such reasons as these are we to fear God and his goodness. Nevertheless -

II. GOD'S GOODNESS IS A PROPER REASON FOR A HOLY FEAR.

1. For it reveals a Being so far removed above all our conceptions of human goodness, One who stands on so infinitely higher a level of moral excellency, that a sacred awe fills our soul as we contemplate what God is and what his love is, especially his love to us in Christ. "There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared."

"Oh, how I fear thee, living God,
With deepest, tenderest fears,
And worship thee with humble hope
And penitential tears!"

2. And because God's goodness reveals the intensity and depth of his love, and therefore reveals a corresponding wrath against all who outrage that love. The gentlest mother yearning with affection for her children, - let those little ones be wronged, what a fury will she become towards the wrong-doer, and all because her love is so great! And so, "according to God's love, so is his wrath." There is no wrath like that "of the Lamb."

3. And because God's goodness in its temporal manifestations is but granted for a while. He reserves his right to recall it when he will. Hence if riches, or any other form of earthly good and present earthly joy, - if these increase, set not your heart upon them. It is terrible to have all our peace of heart and mind, all the joy of our life, identified with and dependent upon what one day God may recall. Every channel of God's goodness thus becomes a possible channel of deep suffering and distress. If, then, your delight in the gift have not led you to the love and trust of the Giver, what comfort will you have when the gift is withdrawn? What an argument this for the comment of our text! 4. Remember, again, the depraved nature which we carry about with us, which ever seeks to pervert to evil what God gives us for our good. "Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked." Prosperity is a sore temptation, before which many a man falls. God's gifts are the material out of which many build a screen, a wall which shuts them off from God. 5. And because God's goodness heightens our responsibility. How stern the word, "Cut it down; why cumbereth?" etc. Goodness and love and care had been thrown away upon it. If God, then, have pleaded with us by his love, as we know he has, what if our hearts be still estranged from him? "He that from God's mercy gathers no argument for his fear, may conclude thus much - that there is indeed forgiveness with God, but no forgiveness for him" (South). Then let us ask -

"Lord, let thy fear within us dwell,
Thy love our footsteps guide;
That love shall all vain love expel,
That fear all fear beside." C.







Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
Such are the climate and soil of Palestine, that all agricultural operations are most manifestly dependent upon the periodical rainfall. Hence the people speak of the weather and the crops with a more immediate reference to God than is usual with us. It is said that the common expressions of the peasantry are such as quite strike travellers with their apparently devout recognition of the Almighty agency. Certainly we may account for a very large number of what may be called the agricultural promises of the Old Testament, from the fact that little of the food of the people was gained by manufacture or commerce, and the whole population depended upon the field, and the field upon the rain. Although our climate does not so immediately remind us of our dependence upon God, yet it would be well if we remembered whence all our blessings come, and looked up to the hand from which our daily bread is distributed. When He giveth seasons propitious for the harvest, let us thank Him for it; and if at any time He restraineth the blessings of the elements, and leadeth the air with blight and mildew, let us fear and tremble before Him, and humble ourselves before His chastening hand. Gratitude for providential mercies is not, however, the subject of this discourse. I intend to use the text rather in a spiritual sense. As it is in the outward world, so is it in the inward; as it is in the physical, so is it in the spiritual: man is a microcosm, a little world, and all weather and seasons find their image in him. The earth is dependent upon the rain from heaven, so are the souls of men, and so are their holy works, dependent upon the grace shower which cometh from the great Father of Light, the giver of every good and perfect gift.

I. THE WORK OF GOD AS IT IS CARRIED ON WITHOUT. It is needful, whenever any holy enterprise is commenced, that it should be early watered by the helpful Spirit of God. Nothing beginneth well unless it beginneth in God. It cannot take root, it cannot Spring up in hopefulness, except the Holy Spirit shall descend upon it; it will wither like the grass upon the housetops if the celestial dew of the morning fall not early upon it. The like grace is equally needful after years of growth; there is urgent need of the latter rain, the shower of revival, in which the old work shall be freshened, and the first verdure shall be restored; for without this latter rain, the period of harvest, which is the end aimed at, will be disappointing.

II. Apply the text to OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE WITHIN US.

1. Here note that usually the spiritual life, as soon as it is commenced, experiences a former rain, or a delightful visitation of grace. So blessed was our first conversion to some of us, that those first days are as green and fragrant in our memories as if they were but yesterday; they are as fresh and fair as if they had but just budded in the garden of time. To hear anyone talk of a precious Christ and of pardon bought with blood, and of full and free salvation, was heaven to us. If, in those days, we had to suffer anything for Jesus, we only regretted we could not suffer more. That was the early rain. The seed had just been sown, and the Master to make it take deeper root and spring up faster into the green blade, gave us the sacred shower of His loving presence. There was much tender wisdom in this gentleness, for the newborn soul is very weak then. Besides, our Master at that time gave us the early rain, as it were, to give our young plant a start in commencing our heavenly growth — a growth to which we might look back in after years. How often have we been refreshed since then in our times of sorrow, by recollecting the months past, when the candle of the Lord shone round about our head! Beloved Christian, if thou art now this day in the dark, pluck a torch from the altars of yesterday, with which to kindle the lights of today. The faithful Promiser was with thee then; thou hadst His love to cheer thee then: go to Him yet once more, and thou shalt receive the latter rain of renewed grace from Him who giveth grace upon grace.

2. It is very usual in the life of grace, for the soul to receive in after years, a second very remarkable visitation of the Holy Spirit, which may be compared to the latter rain. Believe me, the life of grace is no dead level, it is not a fen country, a vast fiat. There are mountains, and there are valleys. There are tribes of Christians who live in the valleys, like the poor Swiss of the Valais, who live in the midst of the miasma, where fever has its lair, and the frame is languid and enfeebled. Such dwellers in the lowlands of unbelief are forever doubting, fearing, troubled about their interest in Christ, and tossed to and fro; but there are other believers, who, by God's grace, have climbed the mountain of full assurance and near communion. Their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft. They are like the strong mountaineer, who has trodden the virgin snow, who has breathed the fresh, free air of the Alpine regions, and therefore his sinews are braced, and limbs are vigorous; these are they who do great exploits, being mighty men, men of renown. The saints who dwell on high in the clear atmosphere of faith, are rejoicing Christians, holy and devout men, doing service for the Master all over the world, and everywhere conquerors through Him that loved them. And I desire, oh, how earnestly I desire you to be such men!

3. The text speaks of a third thing. There is the former rain, and the latter rain, and then he says, "He has reserved for us the appointed weeks of harvest." Yes, if we shall get this latter rain — and may we have it! — it will then be time to be looking forward to our harvest. Consider well that the harvest begins in the field, though it ends in the garner. Going to heaven begins upon earth; and as the text tells us of weeks, so may I add that going to glory is often a long work. We are like a balloon while it is tied to the earth, it cannot mount; even so our ascent to heaven is delayed by a thousand detaining cords and bands, and the process of setting us free is cutting the ropes one by one. The wheat may well rejoice for the sharp cuts of the sickle, because it is the sign of going home to the garner. After the wheat is cut it stands in shocks, shocks of corn fully ripe, not growing out of the earth, but merely standing on it. The shock is quite disconnected from the soil. How happy is the state of a Christian when he is in the world but is not linked to it! His ripeness drops here and there a grain into the soil, for he is still ready to do good, but he has no longer any vital connection with aught below, he is waiting to be in heaven. Here comes the wain. The corn is put into it, and with shoutings it is carried home. Soon will our Heavenly Father send His chariot, and we who have been ripened by the latter rain, and separated from earth by His Spirit's sickle, shall be borne in the chariot of triumph, amidst the shoutings of the angels, and the songs of thrice blessed spirits, up to the eternal garner.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. SOME OF THE ASPECTS OF THE OPERATIONS OF THE GOD OF HARVEST. The artist will not be called a painting, or the poet an ode, although it is his production; neither will God allow creation to stand for Himself. But the artist's painting, and the poet's ode, reveal perception, and genius, and feeling, and inspiration, which lead us to the threshold of their personality. So creation is brimful of the power, wisdom, and goodness of its Maker, and providence teems with evidences of care, beneficence, and tenderness on the part of its Author.

1. The God of harvest is the God of life. Take upon the palm of your hand one grain of corn, and examine it. We are told that it is one leaf folded up tightly. Whether it is strictly so or not, there is an outer garment to ward off the severity of the weather, and there is a finer inner garment, with underclothing. But where is life? Is it between the folds, or is there some small particle of matter in the centre which is its secret cell? What is the action which takes place when life springs forth? What are light, and heat, and moisture in relation to life? How does life appropriate to itself substances that have in them no life? And lastly we ask, How does life rise up a hundredfold from the ashes of its own death? These are questions which we cannot answer. To answer them would destroy their very design, for they are there to conduct an inquiry which ends not in themselves but in God.

2. The God of harvest is the God of progress and beauty. There is a process which appears to us to be death, and not any step towards the expansion of life. When the grain has been in the earth some time there is a dissolving of its compactness, as if it could not hold its own against contending forces. It bursts also, as if its girdles were broken. The next step which might be expected to follow is its reduction to the consistency of the clod in which it is lodged. But we are not correct in our estimate of that process. Life has found in the earth what she delights to find at all times — a secret spot to unfold her powers. Silently and unobserved she unfolds the leaf, and sends it forth into the blade and the ear. The process we have alluded to is one of repulsion, without a single comely feature to relieve it. But the fact is, nature is there in her laboratory preparing to send forth life dressed in magnificent beauty. The cornfield, width its golden crop, is one of the loveliest sights in nature. Progressive steps develop the hidden beauties of life. If we further continue our observation, that which we consider to be the termination of all life is its real commencement. The present is the time of ploughing and sowing, the reaping will come by and by.

3. The God of harvest is the God of final and beneficent issues. God works in cycles, but providence is not without intermissions in the turn of the wheel. Periods of action are sharply marked off. Summer and winter may be said to reverse each other, although their revolutions accomplish but one end. These changes prove the existence of a guiding hand, as much as the tacks which the ship makes prove that the man is at the wheel. The thought that all these changes, with a direct and a reversible action, bring about ends transcending in goodness and beauty everything of the kind in the actions themselves, ought to influence us not to seek in labour the joy of harvest. The husbandman does not grind and bake all his corn, but is as careful to keep the best of it for seed, as he is anxious the other part should be wholesome food for his family. So we cannot hope for future joy if no present seed is sown. Good seed cast into good ground — the Word of God sown in the heart — will be watered by His Spirit, Words spoken from the heart, and actions prompted by love, sown in the breasts of others, will grow into a plenteous harvest. The Lord has reserved a period of rejoicing for Christian workers.

II. REVERENCE AND GRATITUDE ARE DUE TO THE GOD OF HARVEST.

1. A due regard for His honour. Reverence is a state of feeling produced by a sense of the majesty of God, and is the principal element in true worship. This holy passion is better felt than described. It is not a passion wholly created by a sense of sinfulness, which would be simply a dread of His displeasure, but an intense regard for God's glory. His name is never pronounced except with a feeling of awe, and His works with a sense of reverence. His Word is holy, and His presence sought in the deepest humility. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

2. A deep sense of gratitude. Reverence for God does not crush the love of the soul. It has no frowns, but a smile. We worship and look up. We read the heart of the Giver in the gifts. All His servants are loaded with gifts for us. "The earth has He given to the children of men." Its magnificence, its attractions, its beauties, its riches, its harvests, are all ours. More than the earth, yea, and more than the heavens, hath He given unto us, "Who gave His only begotten Son."

3. An earnest desire for service. The hurry must be fed, and the naked clothed. The widow needs a friend and the orphan a father. Have we nothing to lend to the Lord by giving to the poor? Is there not a holy ambition in our souls to emulate Him who went about doing good?

(T. Davies, M. A.)

I. THERE ARE VOICES OF GOD IN THE YEARLY HARVEST. God has mercifully set our lot in an age when the perils of famine and of desolating wars are very seldom known, and in very limited degrees. In past ages the yearly harvest was much more hazardous than it is now that countries are more settled and agricultural science so much farther advanced. Yet in those days God did not withhold His promised harvests from the world, only from parts of it. Not one single year of the world's history has passed by without a gathered harvest somewhere; only the imperfect communication between distant countries did not then permit the surplus of one land to supply the deficiencies of another. Can any true soul look upon the "valleys covered over with corn," and fail to hear them "shouting for joy and also singing" of the goodness of God? What merciful care of His creatures is thus displayed! How surely a moment's failing interest on the part of God would leave our harvest only "a heap in a day of sadness and of desperate sorrow"! There are many who can discern something of the goodness of the God of providence, who yet try to persuade themselves that it is another kind of God who deals with men as sinners — another God, and this God only a God of stern demands, severities, and vengeance. It is not so. The God of redemption is the very God of bounteous nature. His yearly mercy is designed to carry home to our hearts the very call made by Christ, and by the Word — the call to repentance and trust. In the salvation by Jesus Christ we ought to see in sublime glory that very goodness that spreads our fields with waving corn. In the yearly harvest there is also a voice speaking out God's faithfulness. Every year He is only doing what He promised our forefather He would do for him and for his descendants; He is only keeping His word. God's faithfulness to His promise is painted in splendid colours right across the sky in every sun-glinted shower. God's faithfulness to His promise is sung out by every cloud-flecked, waving cornfield, every gathered sheaf, and every loaded barn.

II. THE SPECIAL VOICES OF GOD IN THIS YEAR'S HARVEST.

III. THE VOICES OF GOD IN THE SCRIPTURE USE OF THE HARVEST.

1. In Scripture, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, the harvest is used as an illustration, and employed to impress Christian duty, especially the duty of working diligently and earnestly in Christ's work, the ingathering of sinners to His love, salvation, Church, and heaven.

2. Harvest is also used in Scripture to point a call to us to prepare for the judgment day, and the eternal world.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.
The harvest, with its long train of preparatory works — ploughing and seed time, spring and autumn rains, the rest of winter and the heat of summer — is not only the great support of our life in this world — the great business of the year, as far as bodily health and strength are concerned; but it is throughout an instance of our Heavenly Father's teaching us, without book, many of the truths which it most concerns us to know.

1. He meant us to take notice, first, of His continual presence and power in bringing forward the fruits of the earth. We are not so stupid as to imagine that corn will spring up of itself in our fields, whether it be sown at all or no. When we see a piece of land well stored with it and free from weeds, we do not ascribe it to chance, but we acknowledge that the hand of man has been busy in that place. But consider how much more skilful the work is, to form out of a dry seed, by mixture with a little earth and water, the several parts of an entire plant — the root, the stalk, the blade, the flower, the grain — and be ashamed to recollect how seldom you have thought of that infinite skill and wisdom, in comparison with the notice you have taken of man's part, so very fax inferior, in the work of bringing food out of the earth. Man does his portion of labour and goes away, and sets about something else: but the work of God is forever going on, and therefore we may be sure the workman is forever present.

2. It is the more shameful not to take notice of this; because the growth of corn is, from beginning to end, a work of God's mercy as well as of His power. It is a sort of token, to our very outward senses, that He has not left us nor forsaken us, for all we have done to provoke Him; and who is there, that has a just sense of his own sin and unworthiness, who will not thankfully receive every thing, both in nature and in Scripture, which encourages him to meditate on so cheering a truth as this?

3. Then, the manner in which the harvest is made available for the supply of our wants may offer abundance of useful instruction. although He does so much for us, in forming, watching over, nourishing, and ripening the plant, yet it is not His will we should enjoy the benefit of it without exertion on our own part. "In the sweat of our face we must eat bread": we must put it in the ground in the first instance: we must fence, manure, weed, and reap, or all God's mercy in giving us the fruits of the earth, will at last be thrown away upon us. It is no otherwise in what concerns our spiritual happiness and eternal salvation. We must do our part by faith and prayer and sincere obedience, or we cannot expect God to do His. We must employ so much common sense, as to look forward to another world, and not to mind trifles any more than we can help, while eternal things are open before us. The cultivation of the earth, like the other employments of this life, is not blessed alike to all; and it very often may happen, that God sends prosperity on a bad man's harvest, while the crop of the righteous fails. This, to unbelieving dispositions, is another excuse for irreligious thoughts, and practices; as if God had not warned us beforehand, "that He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." God does not think so much of the good things of this world, as to account them a sufficient reward for His faithful servants; by them, or by the want of them, He is trying us in this world, to fit us for our real reward in the next: and to murmur because good harvests, or any other worldly goods, are not bestowed on men according to their behaviour, is as if a man on a journey should be angry and discontented, because he does not find all the comforts of repose and home whilst he is moving along the road.

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times.)

I. THE DOCTRINE ASSERTED. "The Lord our God giveth," etc. He is the immediate bestower of what we call natural benefits.

1. The Giver of rain.

(1)He provides it in mercy to mankind.

(2)He withholds it in judgment upon nations.

2. The Appointer of harvest. "He reserveth," etc. Important and interesting season. God has appointed it —

(1)As an immutable ordinance (Genesis 8:22).

(2)As a time of rejoicing.

(3)As a means of instruction.

II. THE DUTY INFERRED.

1. Cultivate continual acknowledgment of God.

2. Exercise entire dependence upon God.

3. Render perpetual thanksgiving to God.

4. Devote ourselves to the faithful service of God.

(H. Parr.)

Aldersgate Magazine.
Is there not a modern tendency to exclude God from the harvest field, to put an atheistic trust in secondary causes — subsoil ploughing, artificial manures, the rotation of crops and the like? Nature to the seeing eye and listening ear is sacramental. "Earth is crammed with heaven," and the air is redolent with a celestial music.

1. The prophet would have us cherish that filial, reverent and thankful fear towards the great Giver of all which will save us from perverting His gifts. Without a due recognition of God our temporal prosperity becomes a curse. Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked. An engraving by Retseh illustrating a great poem gives us the angels dropping roses from the skies on the heads of denizens in Inferno. Reaching them these fragrant gifts turn to molten lead but to scorch and burn. Is it not thus when the blessings of a kindly providence fall on selfish and ungrateful hearts? The intended boon becomes a bane and the perverted gift a corrosion and a blight. Such is the characteristic sign of worldliness. It is a profanation of life's gifts to basest uses, and a missing of the higher good. But the bounteousness of each glad harvest time should remind us that we are pensioners on the lavish goodness of our Heavenly Father in order that we may use it as He alone wills, for we are beneficiaries every one, and, as such, trustees of heaven's manifold mercies and gifts.

2. The thought of "life out of death" is conveyed to the spiritual mind. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

3. Another suggestion from the harvest is that of cooperation with God. Take a field of corn; it has not come of itself. Geologists never find amid the fossilised remains of primeval vegetation a trace of corn. It is specifically a human product. Wild wheat is unknown. Corn is the product of civilised man. It implies tillage, and this in a sense not true of many other products that minister to man's need. So also is it in the development of Christian character. We are "workers together with God." We do not attain to eminence by accident, or, as it were, automatically. It is true that "salvation is of God"; we are "saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God." But there is sense in which salvation is a process, a diligent culture, a strenuous warfare, a glad but real obedience. We must work out what God works in if we are to come to a real possession of truth and of Christian excellence. The graces of Christian life are not like pictures thrown on a screen by a magic lantern, they are rather like the strands woven in a costly fabric by the weaver at his loom. To change the figure, finished husbandry of soul involves sedulous and patient culture, prayerful self-examination, and a mastery of that inner realm of our being where desire, motive, volition play their determining part in human character. Truth is real, something trowed, when it has become a working and victorious principle in the life. Other than this, it is like so much unused capital locked up in a bank, or so much unworked land on a farm. The Chinese, it is said, discovered the magnetic needle centuries before it was known in the western world. But it was a mere toy. They did not use it for new voyages of discovery or for enterprise in commerce. Its practical utility was nil. May not we commit a similar futility in Christianity?

4. Again, "Everything in its season," the harvest seems to say, "First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." So each period in human life has its appropriate work. We cannot postpone duty and expect the reward of honest diligence. A pious, well-instructed youthhood should go before the active responsibilities and burdens of mid life, as both of these must precede and determine the mellow ripeness of advanced age. No one period in life can do the work of another period. Each has its own function and opportunity. Religion is a sublime forecast to be made use of in life's early season, and not an afterthought darkened only with unavailing regrets when the summer has ended and the harvest we had wished is forever beyond our reaping. "Know thy opportunity" was written on the temple of Delphos. It is written deep on the face of time.

5. Let us remember that as the grain of one harvest is the seed of the next, so our life is reproductive, and its influence far-reaching and beyond our power to compute. Moreover, there is a wondrously cumulative power in Christian work and influence; the reaping is larger than the sowing. A self-multiplying process is ever going forward, and the results lie beyond our reckoning. We think of the beginning of things, the initial stages of great reform movements, the so-called forlorn hopes of the past, and with grateful wonder we greet today their fruitful, immeasurable issues. It is difficult for even the most sceptical and slow of belief to resist the lesson of history, that moral and spiritual forces rule and shape the destiny of this world, and that humanity and Christianity are meant the one for the other.

(Aldersgate Magazine.)

I. IN REFERENCE TO GOD.

1. Admiration.(1) We may admire the wisdom of God, in all the means that He uses to ripen our corn, and in bringing each field of the same kind to perfection nearly at the same time, so that all, or at least a considerable part of it, may be cut down together, and yet all be fit for use.(2) The wisdom of God, our preserver, is evident again in bringing the different species of corn to perfection at different times, so that one is not ready till after another is cut down.(3) The same wisdom is also seen in making the harvest at somewhat different times in different parts of the country, so that those who have reaped it in an early part may procure a few weeks' longer work by repairing to a later district, — an arrangement of Divine Providence productive of greater convenience to the farmer, and longer employment to the labourer.

2. Dependence. We can only lay the seed down in the ground and cover it with the soil. God does all the rest.

3. Gratitude. Remember how many difficulties are in the way of every harvest, and how nicely He must adjust the balance of all the influences required to produce it. Too much rain or too little; too powerful and constant sunshine, or too unfrequent; too violent winds, or too dell and general calm, would render our autumn unfruitful. Consider, also, how many arrests there are which we have seen, and of whose fruits we have partaken.

4. Confidence. The sun may fail to ripen the corn, the seed may lose its germinating power, the rain may spoil it, or the wind may shake it; but God has said we shall have harvest, and we always have it. But nothing can by any possibility deprive the blood of Christ of its purifying and saving efficacy: how much more, then, may we expect that promise to be accomplished which says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life"?

II. IN REFERENCE TO OURSELVES.

1. Activity. Although the corn may be ripe in the fields, it will be useless unless gathered into the barn. So is it with God's blessings through Christ. Our Saviour has died; but what will this avail unless we use the means by which we may obtain the benefits He has purchased?

2. Death.

3. Judgment.

(W. Dickson.)

I. THE REGULAR RETURN OF HARVEST IS AN OBVIOUS PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE AND PROVIDENCE OF GOD. The fruits of the earth, so necessary to the support of animal life, depend on causes beyond the reach of human power. The whole management of the natural world is in hands superior to ours, in the hands of an invisible, almighty Being.

II. THE TIME OF HARVEST NATURALLY CALLS US TO PIOUS MEDITATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

1. The seasons are so ordered, as to remind us of the shortness of human foresight. From past experience we expect a harvest in its appointed weeks, and rarely is our expectation frustrated. But the event is not always adjusted to the measure of our hopes. It often falls short, and often exceeds them. The management of the seasons, however, is in unerring hands. Rational beings, in the care of infinite wisdom and goodness are always safe, while they proceed in the line of their duty, and never ought they to indulge anxiety. With Him who governs futurity, they may calmly trust all events.

2. Our dependence is apparent, as in many other things, so especially in the return of harvest. If God sends His blessing, none can revoke it. If He withhold His smiles, our toil is fruitless.

3. Scripture speaks of harvest as a season of gratitude and joy.

4. Harvest teaches diligence and frugality.(1) God supplies our wants, not by an immediate providence, but by succeeding our prudent labours.(2) Those precious fruits of the earth which are dealt out only at certain seasons, and which by no art or industry of man can at other seasons be obtained, should be applied to honest and virtuous purposes; not wastefully consumed in criminal indulgences.

5. Harvest inculcates benevolence. Religion consists in an imitation of God's moral character, especially of His diffusive and disinterested goodness.

6. Harvest reminds us of the shortness of life, and calls us to the diligent improvement of our time. Food and raiment are needful for the body; seek them you may; but rather seek the kingdom of God, and these things will be added.

7. Harvest should be a season of self-examination. We are God's husbandry. Much has He done for us. What could He have done more? Have we answered His cost? The field, which bringeth forth herbs, meet for Him by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. But that which beareth thorns and briars, is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.

8. Harvest reminds us of our obligation to faith and patience. We have a kind of natural faith, which, standing on the ground of past experience, looks forward with expectation of a future harvest. Let Christians, enlightened by revelation, look beyond this world to things unseen; and, relying on the promise, truth, and grace of God, anticipate the blessings of the heavenly state.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. THE BLESSINGS. Fruitful showers, and brilliant suns, and azure skies, and earth covered with its bright green clothing, are, indeed, in themselves, blessings; but this character is much more emphatically applied to them when we remember that they are not only beautiful spectacles to delight our eyes and to minister to our senses of enjoyment, but that they yield that sustenance, without which, the globe would soon be thinned of the tribes which inhabit it, and there would be no human eye to rejoice in its beauties. Yes, the great blessing is, that human life is to be sustained by the produce which the fruitful seasons have thus secured to us. What blessings, then, are "the former and the latter rain" and "the appointed weeks of the harvest," which supply this food. But it is chiefly on account of our never-dying souls that the fruitful seasons are a blessing. There is this and that person who now, perhaps, are but cumberers of the ground, bus who are upheld in life one year longer, that the seed of eternal life may be now sown in their hearts — that they may, at length, be made fruitful unto God, and become heirs of a glorious immortality.

II. THE SOURCE OF THESE BLESSINGS.

1. Man, when he would account for any event, in his ungodliness, frequently ascribes is to chance or good luck. But there is no such word in a Christian man's vocabulary. We must carefully distinguish between the agency of "the Lord our God" and second causes. There is a sad tendency in man to put the instruments which God makes use of to bring to pass all His will in the place of God Himself.

III. THE RETURN WHICH GOD REQUIRES.

1. As individuals, let the undeserved goodness of the Lord lead you to fear Him. Ask the gift of the Holy Ghost, to impress your heart with a deep and abiding sense of God's goodness, at the present time — to humble you under a sense of your own ingratitude; to lead you to Jesus Christ for pardon, peace, and acceptance with God.

2. As heads of families, "let us fear the Lord our God." "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

3. As subjects of our beloved Sovereign — as members of the commonwealth — "let us fear the Lord our God." The national character is made up of the aggregate of individual character.

(H. Caddell, M. A.)

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