John 4:35
Do you not say, 'There are still four months until the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ripe for harvest.
Sermons
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42
A Fourfold ThemeD. Thomas, D. D.John 4:27-42
Christ's Treatment of the Waifs and StraysJ. Cynddylan Jones.John 4:27-42
Gospel Work in SycharC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:27-42
Jewish Prejudice Against WomenF. Godet, D. D.John 4:27-42
Moments of SilenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:27-42
Sowing and ReapingSunday School TimesJohn 4:27-42
Sowing and ReapingH. C. McCook, D. D.John 4:27-42
Sowing and ReapingSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:27-42
The Mission of the WomanBp. Ryle.John 4:27-42
The Reticence of the DisciplesS. S. TimesJohn 4:27-42
The Samaritan Woman and Her MissionC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:27-42
The Seclusion of Oriental WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:27-42
The Test of FriendshipH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 4:27-42
Autumn: a Season for National InstructionD. Thomas, D. D.John 4:35-38
Closing IncidentsJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:35-38
ConvictionH. Tozer.John 4:35-38
Earnestness Essential to SuccessNew CyclopadiaJohn 4:35-38
FaithJ. Gill.John 4:35-38
Fields White Already unto HarvestW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:35-38
Fields White for HarvestC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:35-38
Fruit After Many DaysS. H. Tyng, D. D.John 4:35-38
Great Results from Small CausesJ. C. Jones, D. D.John 4:35-38
HarvestD. Thomas, D. D.John 4:35-38
He Abode There Two DaysS. S. Times.John 4:35-38
Large Results from Humble BeginningsH. Ward Beecher.John 4:35-38
Lift Up Your Eyes, and LookH. Arnold Thomas, M. A.John 4:35-38
Love to SoulsLife of Rev. S. Thornton.John 4:35-38
MissionsT. Dale, M. A.John 4:35-38
Mutual DependenceFamily ChurchmanJohn 4:35-38
On ReapingR. V. Pryce, LL. B.John 4:35-38
One Soweth, and Another ReapethH. Melvill, B. D.John 4:35-38
Other Men Laboured, and Ye are Entered into Their LaboursJ. A. James.John 4:35-38
Personal Effort Must be EncouragedMatthew Henry.John 4:35-38
ReapingFamily ChurchmanJohn 4:35-38
Receiving WagesF. D. Maurice, M. A.John 4:35-38
Sowing and ReapingH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 4:35-38
Sowing and ReapingW. M. Taylor, D. D.John 4:35-38
Sowing and ReapingBp. Ryle.John 4:35-38
Sowing and ReapingMatthew Henry.John 4:35-38
Sowing and ReapingNew CyclopaediaJohn 4:35-38
Sowing and Reaping -- MissionsJohn 4:35-38
Sowing and Reaping -- TractsNew CyclopaediaJohn 4:35-38
Sowing the Gospel SeedR. B. East, M. D.John 4:35-38
Spiritual HarvestJ. Gwyther, B. A.John 4:35-38
Success in Unexpected QuartersMatthew Henry.John 4:35-38
Testimony and ExperienceC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:35-38
The Christian HarvestB. Thomas John 4:35-38
The Fields are WhiteBowes.John 4:35-38
The Fields White to HarvestBp. Daniel Wilson.John 4:35-38
The First Female MissionaryJohn 4:35-38
The Gospel HarvestB. Godwin.John 4:35-38
The Gospel HarvestJ. Parsons.John 4:35-38
The Grain RipeT. De Witt Talmage.John 4:35-38
The Great HarvestEvan Lewis, B. A.John 4:35-38
The Harvest and the LabourersD. Fraser, D. D.John 4:35-38
The Harvest of Heathen SoulsT. Dale, M. A.John 4:35-38
The Heathen are Waiting for the GospelJohn 4:35-38
The Ministry of WomanJ. De Kewer Williams.John 4:35-38
The Passion for Immediate ResultsH. Ward Beecher.John 4:35-38
The Penalties of NeglectT. Dale, M. A.John 4:35-38
The Reaper and the WagesW. Hoyt, D. D.John 4:35-38
The Reaper's JoyC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:35-38
The Soul HarvestBp. M. Simpson.John 4:35-38
The Spiritual Culture of the WorldD. Thomas, D. D.John 4:35-38
The Two HarvestsD. Young John 4:35-38
The Wages of Doing GoodJohn 4:35-38
The Wages of Doing Good -- JoyGood Words.John 4:35-38
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:35-38
The World's Redemptive FaithD. Thomas, D. D.John 4:35-38
White AlreadyW. L. Walkinson.John 4:35-38
Woman as a ChristianizerN. H. Axtell.John 4:35-38
Zeal for Soul-GatheringC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:35-38
Notice -

I. ITS NATURE. It is spiritual. "Lift up your eyes," etc. To see the temporal harvest you look down and around, but to see this you must look up; it is in the spiritual region, and concerns the spiritual nature and interest of man. It is the harvest of souls - the harvest of Jesus' soul. It is spiritual in its processes, its sphere, its aim, and its results. It means the spiritual quickening, the germination, the growth, the cultivation and ripening of human souls. Think not that this world is only for material and physical purposes. Its chief end is the production of holy and perfect souls. And as the system of nature is adapted to produce different grains in perfection, so there is a spiritual system of Divine grace adapted to produce perfect souls.

II. THE OPERATIONS OF THE HARVEST.

1. There are preparatory operations. As in the material, so in the spiritual harvest, the soil of the soul is ploughed, cultivated, by warnings, by judgment and mercy, by Divine threatenings and promises; and the seed. of the Divine Word is sown with much prayerfulness and tears, and then left in hope and anxiety.

2. There are the secret, Divine operations. Once the seed is deposited carefully in the soil, the husbandman can do nothing more but hope, watch, and trust. It is now in the custody of God; he alone can make it grow. The Christian husbandman can only commit the Divine seed to the soil; he must there leave it to the secret and quickening operations of the Holy Spirit.

3. There are the subsequent Divine and human operations. As soon as the seed begins to bud, it is partially given back to human care. As soon as the Divine Word begins to bud in repentance and faith, and grow in grace, it is at grace, to some extent, under human discipline and supervision. The Divine and human operations join in its development and progress.

4. These operations are very great and various. There is infinite thought, sacrifice, and life, and there is much toil and labour, and there are various agencies. "One soweth, and another reapeth."

III. THE VASTNESS OF THE HARVEST.

1. Vast in relation to space. The space of the harvest is the whole earth. The field is the world. But there are fields. Human geography is recognized. "Look on the fields." Judaea, Galilee, and especially Samaria, were in the eye of Jesus now. Human geography fits in well with the Divine purposes. The whole earth is the Lord's farm, and the harvest covers it all; but it is well for the purpose of spiritual cultivation that it is divided into fields. Thus labour and vastness are distributed so as to suit finite comprehension and energy. Through the parts the whole will be reached. Field after field will be cultivated till the whole earth he covered with waving corn fit for harvest.

2. Vast in relation to time. It reaches from the first moment of the "day of grace" to the last, and in results stretch forward to the endless eternity. Men have a series of harvests, but Jesus has only one great harvest, embracing all time and all ages.

3. Vast in relation to the labour and agencies employed. These embrace all Divine, human, and angelic agencies from the first sower to the last reaper. Abel, Paul, and Luther worked in the same harvest. All the spiritual energy brought to bear upon this world belongs to the same. The spiritual harvest is infinitely vast, its labour infinitely great, and agencies infinitely various.

IV. THE RIPENESS OF THE HARVEST. "Look on the fields; for they are white," etc.

1. Whiteness is the colour of ripeness, the colour of the ripe corn. It is the colour of heaven. All is white there, for all is ripe and perfect. Ripeness, when applied to souls here, is used relatively. Its full meaning must be realized hereafter.

2. Souls are ripe to harvest when they begin to manifest a genuine concern for their spiritual welfare. Then they begin to blush with the first colour of ripeness, and naturally call for harvesting.

3. As in the natural harvest, so in the spiritual, some fields ripen more quickly than others. As in soils, so in souls, some bring forth fruit sooner than others. This was the case now in Samaria as compared with Judaea and even Gahlee, and it is ever so.

4. There is a difference between the natural harvest and the spiritual indicated here.

(1) In the natural there is ever a certain stated period between the sowing and the reaping. In the East there was generally four months. But it is not invariably the case in the spiritual harvest. There may be more than four months, and there may be less than so many hours. "The fields are white already." No sooner is the seed sown than it begins to germinate and grow. So it was in the Samaritan woman now, and others.

(2) Men are entirely dependent on the appointed season of harvest. They cannot by any effort make it come a day sooner. It comes according to fixed laws. Not so the spiritual harvest. The servants of God, under him, may bring about a harvest of souls at any time. The Divine Spirit quickens and causes souls to grow and ripen through our earnest and faithful efforts. He blesses our earnest labour, so that the spiritual harvest is not limited by seasons and climates, but is carried on continually as we labour. There are fields ever white to harvest.

V. THE REWARD OF THE HARVEST. "Receiveth wages," etc.

1. The reward is partly present. Especially with regard to the reaper - in the fruit gathered, which is very precious; in the holy pleasure of doing the will of God, and saving souls.

2. The reward will be chiefly in the future. At the great harvest home. For the fruit is gathered unto life eternal. Every effort can only be fully rewarded at its final issues. The final issue of spiritual harvesting is "eternal life," which can only be fully enjoyed in the future.

3. The reward of the future will consist of the highest and greatest happiness. Like the joy of the harvest.

(1) The happiness of a perfect life. Spiritual life, "life eternal." Can a man be happier than in the full enjoyment of all he can desire, and of all he is capable of? This will be reached in eternal life - the perfect ripeness of the soul, and the climax of being, the fulfilment of our sublimest hopes, and the reward of our best efforts with Divine interest.

(2) The happiness of abundance. The thought of famine will be forever buried in the consciousness of plenty. All the labourers in the harvest will be more than satisfied, and their satisfaction will leap into joy.

(3) The happiness of safety. Like the joy of the harvest, when all the produce of the fields is secured, there will be the joy of personal salvation, and the salvation of all. Let the storm rage, and the rain descend in torrents, - all will be safe and infinitely happy in consequence.

(4) The happiness of gratitude. Gratitude to the great Lord of the harvest, for all his defence and loving kindness. After the "harvest home" there will be the great thanksgiving service. And it will be quivering with happiness and singing with joy.

4. All will be rewarded. "He that soweth and he that reapeth." Every one that bestowed any labour on the harvest will be remembered. Even the most insignificant labourer will not be overlooked.

5. All will be rewarded simultaneously. "He that soweth and he that reapeth shall rejoice together" - together in time, in place, in mutual benefit and reciprocity. There will be no partiality, no disadvantage, but as in the labour so in the joy of the harvest, every one shall help himself to the full The lonely sower who ages ago sowed in tears without reaping scarcely any will suffer no disadvantage, but will be fully compensated - his joy will be all the more. Every one will be happy in himself and in others. All will be happy in the Lord of the harvest, the chief Sower and Reaper, and all will be happy in him. The joy of the redeemed throng will be really personal, but intensely mutual, so as to make one anthem of leaping joy.

6. The reward will be everlasting. The fruit is gathered unto life eternal; and. the happiness will be as eternal as the life, as lasting as the fruit. The fear of its coming to an end, even at the remotest period, shall never pass as a cloud over its bright disc, nor cause a discord in its ever-harmonious and thrilling music.

LESSONS.

1. Let us realize our relationship to all past and future agencies, that we may feel our indebtedness to the former, and our responsibilities to the latter. We reap much which others have sown. Let us not be elated with pride, but with gratitude remember the tearful sowers. Let us sow faithfully, even if we reap not; and remember the reward and joy of the harvest. Let us leave the same legacy of fruitful labour to our successors as our predecessors left to us.

2. Let us be very diligent in spiritual service. It is harvest. And in relation to us is very short - it will be soon over.

3. Let us be punctual and prompt. "The fields are white." It will be too late soon. There is danger that some corn will spoil for want of timely harvesting. Procrastination is a besetting sin. We cannot say, "There are yet four months," etc. No; "the fields are white already." They call us now to work.

4. Let us be very earnest and watchful "Lift up your eyes, and look," etc. Spiritual cultivation demands earnest and continual watchfulness. The spiritual eye should be keen, and ever on the look out on the old fields and new ones. Let us watch lest we lose an opportunity, lest the fields be riper than the husbandman - he green and they white. The harvest of souls - the harvest of Jesus - is infinitely great, important, valuable, and promising. - B.T.







Say not ye there are yet four months and then cometh harvest.
Not unfrequently does the Bible represent the great work of the moral reformation of the world by that of husbandry.

I. THE SERVANTS OF GOD SHOULD EARNESTLY SEIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SPIRITUAL CULTURE OF MAN. Don't think the work distant, to be waited for, it is present and must be attended to at once.

1. Moral seasons are not like material ones, beyond our agency. We cannot hasten the months of harvest. Years come and go irrespective of our choice or effort. But in the moral domain you can change temperature, create seasons, turn foul weather into fair, and make a moral November as bright and genial as June. "Say ye not then." Make no excuses.

2. The feeblest honest effort to improve the world will develop encouraging symptoms to persevere. Christ's conversation with the woman stirred the heart of the whole city. True thoughts increase the soul's appetites and supplies. The more you give the more you need.

II. A LONG SUCCESSION OF AGENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE SPIRITUAL CULTURE OF MANKIND. "One soweth, another reapeth." "Paul plants, Apollo waters." John sowed seeds for , he for , he for , he for Anselm; Bernard for Tauler, Luther for Calvin, he for Chemnitz; Wickliffe for Tyndale, and he for Coverdale, etc. This suggests —

1. The moral connection of the race. Man transmits his principles as well as his nature.

2. The slow progress of moral principles. Humanity requires ages for the full appreciation of great truths.

3. The humble part which individuals play in the history of the world. What we sow may not appear till we are gone. We pluck a few ripe ears, drop a seed or two and then pass on.

4. Results are not the right rules for conduct. We see more the effects of other men's labours than our own. We have to do with work, consequences must be left to God.

III. THERE IS A VITAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALL TRUE WORKERS IN THE SPIRITUAL CULTURE OF THE WORLD.

1. In working out one grand purpose. Whether they reap or sow.

2. In participating in the same rewards. In the universal rejoicing there will be no under-rating of the humblest, and the greatest will not glory in himself. Each will rejoice in another's labours rather than his own, all ascribing their achievement to all inspiring love.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE GREAT HARVEST REMAINS YET TO BE GATHERED IN. The purposes of grace have as yet received a very partial accomplishment. This is seen if we will consider —

1. God's gracious intentions as announced to us by the ancient seers.

2. The means which God has employed to fulfil His purposes. The incarnation, death, resurrection, and glorification of His Son, and the creation of a Church to proclaim these saving facts to the whole world. Nothing short of the salvation of mankind can indemnify the Redeemer and enable him to see the travail of his soul.

3. The preparatory processes.(1) Before the Advent.

(a)Among the Jews the progress of redemptive disclosures.

(b)Among the Gentiles the progress of a civilization which should help to carry the Gospel to every creature.(2) Since the advent.

(a)In early Christian times.

(b)Subsequent to the Reformation.

4. If such has been the length of time over which the preparations have extended, if such the grandeur of the means employed, if such the extent of the plan announced — what must be the harvest that is before us?

II. HAVE WE REASON TO HOPE THAT THE HARVEST IS NEAR? The expectation of seeing it burst on the world in full or hid splendour by stupendous miracle is not to be encouraged. There is no reason to expect it through any other agency than that which God has already employed. As for the signs, observe —

1. That the whole world has become accessible to the gospel to a degree altogether unprecedented.

2. The commanding and influential position of those portions of the globe, where Christianity exists in its purest and most active forms.

3. The general spread of knowledge and extension of education.

4. The success already achieved.

III. THE SENTIMENTS AND CONDUCT WITH WHICH THIS STATE OF THINGS SHOULD BE MET BY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.

1. Attention.

2. Thankfulness, "Blessed are our eyes, for they see."

3. Zealous efforts.

4. Steady perseverance.

(B. Godwin.)

I. A DESCRIPTION OF THE EXISTING CONDITION OF THE WORLD. The "fields" are the world; they were "white unto harvest," ready for the accomplishment of the work of mercy.

1. It was the time which had been appointed in the predetermination of the Divine counsels for introducing the economy of grace. It was "the fulness of time."

2. The fields were "white" because of the spiritual necessities which then actually pressed upon the circumstances of man. No time could have been more apt. Jews and Gentiles were alike at the furthest limit to which want could possibly impel.

3. The time of the Saviour's advent was one of great expectancy. Among the Jews were many like Simeon; among the Gentiles many like the Magi. The state of the world since has always to some extent admitted the application of the words "white unto harvest," and some periods more particularly than others(1) When the gloom of the Middle Ages was about to pass away.(2) Now, as seen in the state and relationships of human governments; the influence of our own country in every continent; the feeling of sympathy and the acknowledgment of duty on the part of professing Christians; the wealth and talent of the Church; the actual wants of heathendom, and their readiness to receive the Word of God. The disciples of the Saviour are summoned themselves to contemplate the state of the world. "Lift up your eyes and see."

II. A STATEMENT OF THE DIFFERENT OFFICES OF LABOUR APPOINTED AND HELD IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONDITION DESCRIBED.

1. As to the origin of the offices to be contemplated they are of Divine appointment. "The Lord of the harvest" alone sends forth labourers; and here the Redeemer asserts His own prerogative, "I sent you."

2. The nature of the offices thus exhibited. He that sows has not the immediate tokens of success; he that reaps gathers at once the ripened corn. So the office of some has been to prepare the mind, to settle preliminaries, to lay foundations; of others to follow and to garner the result. The labour of the prophets, and the success of the apostles, is typical of much modern Christian labour. The reformers laboured, ministers now reap. And while we reap from generations past, we sow for generations to come.

3. The spirit in which these offices should be sustained. There should be —

(1)Contentedness.

(2)Diligence.

(3)Patience.

(4)Supplication for the Divine blessing.

III. THE PROMISE OF THE BLESSING BY THE BESTOWMENT OF WHICH THOSE OFFICES SHALL BE CONSUMMATED.

1. There is a recompense granted to the faithful exercise of the duties which the offices comprehend. "He that reapeth," etc.

2. There will be a final meeting of all the labourers for mutual communion and joy, "together."

(J. Parsons.)

New Cyclopadia.
Duncan Matheson, the Scottish evangelist, when in the Crimea, was not slow in seeking out men of his own spirit in the army. His first acquaintance was Hector Macpherson, drum-major 93rd Highlanders, a soldier both of his country and of the Cross, of whom the missionary used to tell the following story: — "One day, a chaplain, newly arrived, called on the sergeant and asked his advice as to the best method of conducting his work. 'Come with me,' said Hector, 'to the hill-top. Now look around you. See yonder the pickets of Liprandi's army. See yon batteries on the right, and the men at the guns. Mark yon trains of ammunition. Hear the roar of that cannon. Look where you may, it is all earnest here. There is not a man but feels it is a death struggle. If we don't conquer the Russians, the Russians will conquer us. We are all in earnest, sir; we are not playing at soldiers here. If you would do good you must be in earnest too. An earnest man will always win his way.'"

(New Cyclopadia.)

Leonard Keyser, who was burned at Scherding, in 1527, as a Protestant, when he came near to the stake, exclaimed, as he looked at the crowd, "Behold the harvest! O Master, send forth Thy labourers."

(Bowes.)

Rev. J. Hudson Taylor related, in China's Millions, the bitter hardships he, with Rev. W. C. Burns, experienced during his early days in China. The sketch closes with an account of a remarkable incident. After they had spoken one day in the city of Ningpo one of the listening crowd said: "I have long sought for the truth; I and my father before me. I have found no rest in Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism; but I do find rest in what I have heard here. Henceforth I believe in Jesus." Afterwards he asked Mr. Taylor how long the glad tidings had been known in England. When he was told, "Some hundreds of years," he looked amazed. "What!" he exclaimed, "is it possible, and yet you have only now come to preach them to us? My father sought after the truth for more than twenty years, and died without finding it. Why did you not come sooner?"

After expressing His own regard to the work that was given Him to do, our Saviour stimulates His disciples to similar zeal. For this purpose He employs three arguments, all borrowed from husbandry.

1. The first is taken from the necessity for their exertions. When the grain is ripe, the sickle must be thrust in.

2. The second is taken from the profitableness of their exertion. The reaper is well paid.

3. The third is taken from the facility of their exertion; the work being prepared to their hands. "They besought Him that He would tarry with them."How natural was this!

1. They were eager to give Him entertainment.

2. They wished to be instructed by him more perfectly. It is the nature of grace to wish its increase.

3. They hoped that He would be useful to those of their families and of their neighbours, who had been either unable or unwilling to come. What a work of God was here!Let me conclude by calling upon you to observe, who were the subjects of this work, and who was the instrument.

1. The subjects were Samaritans, not Jews: and we may exclaim with our Lord, on another occasion, we "have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

2. The instrument was, not a philosopher, not an apostle armed with tongues and miracles, but a poor, wicked, but converted woman.

(W. Jay.)

In Switzerland, where land is very precious because rock abounds and the rugged soil is chary in its yieldings, you see the husbandman looking after a little tuft of grass growing on one of the edges of a lofty cliff. From the valley he had caught a sight of it and thought of clambering up to where if grew, but the rock was all too steep. From a ledge nearer the top of the precipitous wall he looked down, but could see no pathway to the coveted morsel of green. That armful of grass would feed his goat, or help to fill the cottage loft with winter fodder for the cow. Every armful is an item, and he cannot forego that tempting clump. He looks, and looks, and looks again, but looks in vain. By-and-by, he fetches his bold boy who can follow wherever a chamois can climb, but the boy after a hard scramble comes back with the tidings, "Father, it cannot be done." Father's answer is, "Boy, it must be done." It is only an armful, and would not be worth a farthing to us, but to the poor mountaineer even a farthing or a far- thing's worth is precious. The grass waves its flowers in the breeze and scorns the daring climbers from below; but where there is a will, there is a way; and what cannot be reached from below may be gained from above. With a rope slung round him, or firmly grasped in his accustomed hand, with a stout stake or tree to hold it up above, the Switzer is let down till he gets to the jutting crag, there he stands with his sickle, reaps the grass, ties it into a bundle, puts it under his arm, and climbing back again, joyfully returns with his little harvest. Poor pay, you think, for such dangerous toil; but, fellow-worker for Jesus, I wish we were as venturesome for souls, and as careful of them, as these poor peasants are concerning miserable bundles of grass. I wish that we sometimes looked up or down upon apparently inaccessible spots, and resolved to reach immortal souls who are to be found there, and pined to bring them to Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

An old man in Watton, whom Mr. Thornton had in vain urged to come to church, was taken ill and confined to his bed. Mr. Thornton went to the cottage, and asked to see him. The old man, hearing his voice below, answered, in no very courteous tone, "I don't want you here; you may go away." The following day the curate was again at the foot of the stairs. "Well, my friend, may I come up to-day and sit beside you?" Again he received the same reply, "I don't want you here." Twenty-one days successively Mr. Thornton paid his visit to the cottage, and on the twenty-second his perseverance was rewarded. He was permitted to enter the room of the aged sufferer, to read the Bible, and pray by his bedside. The poor man recovered, and became one of the most regular attendants at the house of God.

(Life of Rev. S. Thornton.)

A person was once asked what had been the happiest moment she had ever known. She was one who had had more than a common share of the good things of this world. She had a bright home and many friends. She had achieved success in a brilliant society, and won literary fame, and had drunk deep of intellectual pleasures in the course of a life which was far spent. Yet she said the happiest moment she had ever known was that in which a withered old woman tottered into the room, held out her shaking hands towards her, and wept for joy as she exclaimed, "I said I'd come and thank you for saving my boy, though I dropped on the road." Her boy was a poacher, who, in a midnight affray, inadvertently, as he said — wilfully, as others declared — shot a gamekeeper. He was tried for his life, and almost to the last moment he had no counsel, as neither he nor his miserable old mother had the means of securing one. The lady, knowing nothing of him, heard incidentally that if he remained undefended it would go hard with him, and she engaged a first-rate counsel on his behalf. The result was that although his sentence was death, it was accompanied by a recommendation to mercy. A petition, which was afterwards drawn up by his defender, procured a commutation of the extreme penalty; and so it was that the joys of happy love, and fame, and pleasure, paled before the grateful light in the poor old mother's eyes as she spoke her homely thanks, and then dropped back to her obscurity and was no more seen.

(Good Words.)

I was called, in Philadelphia, to visit a sick girl in a very worldly and irreligious household, with whom I had but little acquaintance, and went anticipating only a painful visit of warning to a careless soul. To my astonishment, I found a gentle child of grace, perhaps eighteen years of age, sinking in a consumption, but perfectly clear in mind, and happy, in hope. "How," I asked, "have you learned all this in your condition here?" Her answer was most precious. "I had a faithful Sunday-school teacher; and though I left her some years ago, and never gave her much satisfaction, yet when I was taken sick, I took my little Bible, and went over the lessons she used to teach me, and God has taught me here alone." She then showed me her little Bible, turned down and marked with many Sunday-school lessons, her constant and loved companion. Dear child, she had no other religious companion. But she departed in sweet peace and hope, and my visits to her while she lived were full of satisfaction and delight. Similar incidents of actual conversion under Sunday-school instruction have occurred in such numbers, that I might fill many sheets of paper with them.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

Occasionally a benevolent action wrought in faith brings with it an instantaneous recompense in kind; therein Providence is seen as smiling upon the deed. The late John Andrew Jones, a poor Baptist minister, whilst walking in Cheapside, was appealed to by some one he knew for help. He had but a shilling in the world, and poised it in his mind, to give or not to give? The greater distress of his acquaintance prevailed, and he gave his all, walking away with a sweet remembrance of the promise, "He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given, will He pay him again." He had not gone a hundred yards further before he met a gentleman who said, "Ah, Mr. Jones, I am glad to see you. I have had this sovereign in my waistcoat pocket this week past for some poor minister, and you may as well have it." Mr. Jones was wont to add, when telling the story, "If I had not stopped to give relief I should have missed the gentleman and the sovereign too."

One Sunday, in the house of God, the minister noticed the restlessness and anxiety of a little girl during the morning service. After the service, he addressed the teacher thus: — "You have had a very unquiet class to-day, and one of the children I observed was particularly restless; why did you not keep her quiet?" "Oh, sir, you mean Sarah . She has for these three months past set her heart upon bringing her father here, and this morning he had promised to come, and she was so anxious to see if she could find him among the congregation, until at length she came to me, and throwing her arms round my neck, sobbed out, "Oh, teacher, teacher, there's my father!" How often I have had my hand grasped by loving persons who have said, "I wanted to tell you that you led me to the Saviour!" They wanted to say it to me; and often have they written to me, and cheered my heart, because they felt a personal gratitude which wanted a personal expression. A poor woman once forced me with tears to receive a small sum of money for myself. I declined it till I saw that it would hurt her feelings, for she had evidently longed for this opportunity for expressing her thankfulness for the sermons she had read. If we feel thus towards an earthly friend, how much more shall we feel it towards Him who has saved us by His blood!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

(in conjunction with Matthew 9:37-38): — On the occasion mentioned by Matthew there were fields of ripe corn within sight (Luke 6:1, 12, 13). The words reported by St. John were spoken four months earlier when the fields were comparatively bare. The one, therefore, was a similitude, the other a contrast.

1. In Samaria, Jesus bade His disciples recognize fields white to harvest. The people were ready to bear if only the gospel were delivered unto them.

2. But there was a risk of letting the favourable opportunity slip for want of preachers. What can be more vexatious to a farmer than to see his crop spoil for lack of hands? So grievous was it to Christ to see the leaders of the ration indifferent or hostile to His heavenly message.

3. The fields of opportunity are constantly widening, but the difficulty is to get an adequate supply of labourers.

(1)Home fields are scrambled over, and while there are too many labourers in some corners, others are neglected.

(2)In foreign fields labourers are too far apart, and their strength overtaxed.

4. It is easy enough to multiply ecclesiastics, but workmen who need not to be ashamed have always been too few.. And field work needs labouring men. Time is precious, and reapers must not spare themselves.

5. Labourers are all the better for a training. In every kind of activity training tells. Much more so here, as shown by Christ's careful training of the twelve.

6. But the first requisite is that the labourers be sent by the Lord of the harvest.

7. The Church must pray for such labourers.

(1)Christ so prayed.

(2)Now that Christ has ascended, and is Lord of the Church, we must pray for His gift of labourers (Ephesians 4:11).

8. Why should we thus pray? The fields are His. He knows the value of the opportunity and the need of labourers; surely He will provide them of His own accord. But prayer is not enjoined to tell Christ what He does not know, or to persuade Him to do what He would otherwise neglect, but to bring His followers into harmony with His will.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

or, Christian enterprise (in conjunction with Matthew 9:36-38; Luke 10:2): —

I. THE ORIGINAL MOTIVE OF ALL CHRISTIAN ENTERPRISE. "He was moved with compassion."

1. Christian enterprise should be irrespective of class, creed, or character. "The multitudes" were a mixed assembly, a fair picture of the world. Friends and foes. Christ confined His benevolence to none. Christians should do good to all.

2. Christian enterprise should have special reference to the spiritual state of man. "Sheep without shepherd." Our Lord did not overlook temporal and intellectual needs, but made them subservient to the spiritual.

3. Christian enterprise should be the result of feeling, deep and genuine.

II. THE PRESSING CLAIM OF ALL CHRISTIAN ENTERPRISE UPON ALL CHRISTIAN MEN (Luke 10:2).

1. The state of the harvest —(1) There is sufficient scope for all Christian labour. No one can complain of lack of material. Work when and wherever you can.(2) There is a sufficient motive. The harvest is great.

(a)In point of difficulty. The conversion of one soul is a work of no ordinary magnitude; how much greater that of a world! The difficulty arises from human depravity.

(b)In consequence of its responsibilities. To control the parliament of a mighty nation far less responsible than changing the eternal destiny of myriads.

(c)In the glory connected with its final triumph.(3) There is sufficient maturity. "White unto harvest." God's time is the present. History is what men, under God, make it. Mere time will never bring a millennium. That will result from work, not waiting.

2. The paucity of the workmen. "Labourers are few" —

(1)In comparison with the work to be done.

(2)In comparison with the idle. In every church a few do all the work.

III. THE SPECIAL PROVIDENCE WHICH SHOULD BE EVER RECOGNIZED BY ALL CHRISTIANS IN CARRYING ON EVERY CHRISTIAN ENTERPRISE. "Pray ye therefore," etc. There is here a recognition —

1. Of the divinity of our work.

2. Of the necessity of human agents.

3. Of the importance of prayer.

4. Of final triumph. "Gathered fruit unto life eternal."

(Evan Lewis, B. A.)

I. WHEN DOES THE REAPING COME (ver. 35)?

1. The law of nature is that there should be delay between the sowing and the reaping. It is not always so in grace. It was not so at Pentecost, nor with Philip and the eunuch, with Peter and Cornelius. Both sometimes coincide —(1) To convince us that the power is of God, not of man.(2) To encourage us to be instant in season and out of season. But commonly there is delay. This should not discourage. God knows best.

II. WHAT DOES THE REAPING BRING?

1. Reward (ver. 36). Wages — the work itself. To be workers with God is a great reward. But fruit is also gathered. No Christian labours in vain. Sow the seed and expect the harvest.

2. Joy and mutual rejoicing.

(R. V. Pryce, LL. B.)

The garments worn in those days were white, and as Christ and His disciples were seated on a slight elevation, they could observe the coming of the crowds of people thus arrayed. There are times, seasons, for the natural world, but all seasons are harvest time in the moral world. Why, you ask, has Christianity been so long conquering the world? Will it speedily triumph? I answer, God is working in His wisdom and power most earnestly. He has done everything on His part; the delay is caused by our neglect. The harvest is ready; God is ready; the Church is not ready. Let us look at some of the evidence for the world's ripeness.

I. THE CIVILIZED NATIONS HAVE PIERCED TO ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD. A century ago how much of the world was unknown, what an impulse has seized the heart of men to find out every foot of land! The destruction of one expedition gives no discouragement; others are pushed forward. Why this impulse? That we may send the gospel everywhere. Observe how geography is being taught in the schools. How different was it when we were children! Providence is thus acquainting the rising generation with the condition of the different nations.

II. THE WONDERFUL FACILITIES FOR ACCESS TO ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD. Wherever commerce can go the Bible and missionary can go.

III. THE CHURCH IS NOW ABLE TO GAIN INTELLIGENCE FROM ALMOST EVERY REGION HOURLY. If a missionary is in danger or needs assistance, help can be sent to him on the wings of lightning.

IV. ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE BEING BROUGHT INTO NEIGHBOURHOOD. The realization of .unity amongst nations is marvellously helping the Church.

V. THE BIBLE HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO ALL THE PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES. The foundation of Christian work in Mexico was laid during the European invasion by the soldiers dropping fragments of Bibles which were picked up by the natives.

VI. THE SAFETY OF THE MISSIONARY IS EVERYWHERE SECURED. God has given power over the earth into the hands of the great Protestant nations. The Cross is above the flag. The greatest earthly power to day is the Cross of Jesus Christ.

VII. THE WEALTH OF THE WORLD IS IN THE HANDS OF THE NATIONS THAT ARE SPREADING THE GOSPEL — England, Germany, America.

(Bp. M. Simpson.)

Autumn, or the "feast of harvest," is not only a season for national gratitude, rejoicing, philanthropy, but also instruction. Look at the fields and mark —

I. The RESUSCITATING principle of the Divine government. What you see ripened was a few months ago buried and apparently dead, but the dormant germ has been quickened by God. This principle is seen at work —

1. In the mind of mankind, calling up buried thoughts and impressions.

2. In the conversion of souls, quickening the conscience, and imparting spiritual vitality.

3. On a grand scale in the general resurrection.

II. The RETRIBUTIVE principle in the Divine government. Nature gives back what she has received —

1. In kind. Wheat for wheat.

2. In amount. The more she receives the more she gives. "Be not deceived," etc.

III. The MULTIPLYING principle in the Divine government. For one grain many are returned — some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold. So in morals. One thought may run into thousands, one noble deed may become the parent of millions. Nothing true is lost; every. thing true is multiplied.

IV. The MATURING principle: the Divine government. Through slow stages of growth. The blade, the ear, the full corn in the ear. Character ripens.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE STANDPOINT. In calling the disciples' attention to the Samaritans who were ready to believe without the help of miracle, our Lord is calling upon them to take a larger, higher, and more spiritual view of things; to labour for that which is more enduring than the grass, the bread without which man cannot live. He is looking down upon us.

1. What does He see? He sees us eager, busy, absorbed, not in things unlawful, but in things below the supreme worth. Harvests, markets, eating, drinking.

(1)The poor struggling for a maintenance.

(2)The middle class striving for wealth, comfort, culture.

(3)The rich absorbed in society and ambitious projects.

(4)The student.

(5)The philanthropist.

2. These are not to be condemned, but are commendable in their way. But the wrong lies in the fact that we are buried in these things.

3. Christ summons us to rise above these things to His own standpoint.

II. THE VISIONS.

1. Of the world's great spiritual need. There was something in these Samaritans not so obvious as pain, or physical hunger, and that did not seem to be of such importance as the growing corn, or the meat the disciples had brought. Look at the people around you, not with the superficial eye, but with the eye of faith, and you will see in them the children of God, wanting God. This want is not to be satisfied by better houses, sufficient bread, present comfort. There is need in man's heart for a peace, a joy, a liberty, a life, not otherwise to be obtained but by fellowship with the Father.

2. Of the Son of man who can supply this need? This was His revelation to the woman. Every page of the Gospels shows that Christ was not indifferent to man's physical woes. But it was for their spiritual wants that He cared most. And to become food for this He died, as a grain of wheat sinks into the ground to die, in order to bring man back to God, and become the food of the world.

3. OF the future.(1) The remote future. That which is near is apt to hide that which is at a great distance, and so that which is near in time is apt to hide that which is of infinite importance in the far future. To-morrow with its cares and engagements is big enough to hide from us the eternal. How are we to qualify ourselves for looking on the Lamb slain for us? Only by doing His work and carrying His burden.(2) The near future, Max Muller tells us that "there are no people more ripe for Christianity than the Hindoos," and the same holds good all over the world. But we can only see it with the eye of faith and the spirit of sacrifice.

(H. Arnold Thomas, M. A.)

Our Lord teaches the ripeness of the world for the highest blessing.

1. Men everywhere have a certain religiousness of nature: religious ideas, capacities, instincts, aspirations; in some instances starved, degraded, dulled, but still there — the sense of infinity, dependence, duty, accountability, futurity. So far, then, they are ready for the gospel — able to comprehend its works, to receive its grace, to realize its blessings.

2. Not only so, but there is in all men a felt need for the truth, grace, hope of the gospel. They are feeling after God. Not equally vivid, understood and expressed, are their longings, but they are everywhere existent.

3. But whilst we believe all this we do not believe in the immediate readiness of mankind. We feel that much must be done first There must be a sowing and ripening before the reaping. It is this spirit of doubtfulness and postponement that our Lord rebukes. "The sowing and ripening has taken place; put in your sickles." Let us observe the cases in which our Lord's rebuke applies.

I. Take the conversion of the YOUNG.

1. You do not expect this. The children must wait. "First the blade," etc. So we instruct, encourage, discipline them, but should be much surprised by anything like a religious experience, and should look upon it as on premature bloomings and blossomings in garden and orchard. But what is that doctrine of yours of prevenient grace? That God gives a secret light, light, strength, bias to the soul, and as soon as we awake to consciousness we find within us the sense of law and grace.

2. Have we not been astonished at the spiritual capacity of children? They cannot ungerstand theology, but they can religion. They cannot understand entomology, botany, optics, but they admire a butterfly, love the flowers, leap with joy at the rainbow. Go to them at once with a spiritual appeal and expect the effect. Don't talk about their wanting experience. If a chrysalis be placed in an ice-house, its development may be retarded for years, but take it into a hothouse, and it flutters a thing of beauty in a few days. So with our children.

II. Take the conversion of the MASSES.(1) Such as are ignorant. What do they want? Education, say many. But on trial it comes out that they discover a spiritual faculty most acute. It was on this ground that the Royal Reaper gathered many noble sheaves. So it was when Wycliffe appealed to the serfs of Leicestershire, Luther to the peasantry of Germany, Wesley to the colliers of Kingswood. Without knowing arithmetic they feel the worth of the soul; without skill in languages they know the voice of God; without aesthetics they admire the beauty of holiness.(2) Such as are worldly. They appear immersed in the material, but under that thick clay the Spirit of God is at work. There seems no life in a garden in early spring; but under the surface the seeds are swelling, the roots full of ferment. All that is wanted is rain and sunshine.(3) Such as are vicious. What do these want? Reformation, say the wise of this world. No; with crimson sins they are white unto harvest. How readily Christ found the missing chord in publican and harlot! In this very Samaritan Christ wished His Church to learn that the guiltiest are able to apprehend the sublimest truths, truths which convict and save.

III. Take the conversion of the SCEPTICAL, What do they want? Argumentation, say many. No; men cannot get rid of their religion so easily as some think. The atheist has eyes to see this wondrous universe, spiritual longings, thoughts, arguments within himself not to he.suppressed, and is compelled to doubt his doubts. Go to him, and speak not so much to the sceptic as to the man.

IV. Take the conversion of the SAVAGE. portion of our race. What do they want? Civilization — nature never leaps. Indeed! Is there not a leap from the caterpillar through the pupa lute the butterfly? "No," says the man of science, "it only seems a leap." Very good; we won't argue. There is the penitent thief; it was not a real leap — the Spirit of God had worked the intermediate stages in silence and darkness — it only seemed a leap. Fiji, fifty years ago, was cannibal, to-day it is Christian. God is in all other dark places. "The isles wait for His law."

V. The conversion of THE WORLD AT LARGE. This seems a long way off to the carnal eye. But it is only waiting. The sowing is done.

1. Christ is the Sower. He moves with His Spirit among the million.

2. His ripening forces have long been at work (John 1:4, 9). The Light of the World acts when He does not manifestly shine. Go and expect fruit. You are not waiting for God; He is waiting for you.

(W. L. Walkinson.)

I. THE SICKLES.

1. Preaching the gospel. The sickle may have a handle of rosewood, and be adorned with precious stones, but it is worth nothing if it does not bring down the grain. We might preach the sciences from our pulpits, but Agassiz would beat us at that. We might philosophize, but Emerson would beat us at that. But he who with faith and prayer takes hold of the gospel sickle, however weak his natural arm, shall gather deep swarths of golden grain.

2. Singing the gospel. This scythe has been long neglected, much abused, but has been sharpened anew.

3. Prayer. By this John Knox reaped Scotland.

II. THE REAPERS.

1. Tract distributors.

2. Sunday-school teachers, ministers.

III. THOSE READY TO BE REAPED.

1. Those who feel too bad to be saved. You are ripe because you feel that. Christ came to save the worst.

2. The religiously educated.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. THE RIPENING principle of the Divine government is at work —

1. In the inorganic realm. Our system is travelling to a crisis.

2. In the vegetable realm. The oak moves from century to century from an acorn to a point when its perfection is reached.

3. In the human realm,

(1)In the body. From infancy to old age our bodies are ripening for the grave.

(2)In the character, which is ripening for bliss or woe.

(3)In institutions, which, whether good or evil, reach their culmination.

(4)Individuals are ripening.

(5)Nations.

(6)The world — the harvest is the end of the world.

II. The COMPENSATORY principle in the Divine government. This principle rewards the labourer —

1. According to the kind of his work. What was sown is reaped in species and quality. The same holds good in morals.

2. According to the amount. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly." There are degrees in glory which are regulated according to degrees in goodness.

III. The CO-OPERATIVE principle. In the harvest-field you have the result of a vast combination of agencies, animate and inanimate, human and Divine. The harvest demonstrates that man is a co-worker with God. Paul plants, etc.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. WE MUST LOOK AT THE ASPECT OF THE FIELDS.

1. That in most places there is evidently a preparation in the minds of both Pagans and Mohammedans for receiving the servants of Christ.

2. What are the peculiar advantages which pious and zealous Christians in Britain enjoy for extending the gospel.

3. But the disposition among the heathen to receive the gospel, and the facilities which we possess for diffusing it, would be insufficient, unless the activity of the spiritual Church were awake to improve the occasion.

II. ENCOURAGEMENTS HELD OUT TO THE REAPERS.

1. The important good, which the Christian missionary effects, is, that he gathers fruit to life eternal.

2. The abundant reward which awaits him, when the toil is finished, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."(1) This common joy began when the holy apostles, having finished their labours, were taken to receive their reward.(2) This joy has been increasing, as the several sowers and reapers, in different ages of the New Testament Church, have been taken to their eternal rest.(3) It will be completed when all the Church shall meet before the throne; when the mystery of Christ shall be finished; when God shall have accomplished the number of His elect, and have hastened His kingdom.

(Bp. Daniel Wilson.)

Many Christians have a large stock of reasons for not expecting many conversions. They are for ever dwelling on the past or in the future, but never look for God's arm being made bare now. The common reason is, "There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest. This is not the time or the man; we must wait"; and in the meantime death doth not cease to slay, and multitudes are perishing for lack of knowledge. Patience is a virtue, but sometimes decision is a greater one. Four months! — have there not been many months? That was the cry in the days of our forefathers, in the days of our fathers, and it is four months still. Oh, to learn the Saviour's words, "The fields are white already"! Expect a present blessing.

I. SIGNS OF HARVEST.

1. The Saviour had preached a sermon, and the whole of His congregation had been converted. He had only one hearer, it is true. But the conversion of one soul is a sign that God is going to convert others. The cholera is raging. A physician has been studying the disease. Many methods have failed. At last he hits upon the drug which cures one. "Now," he says, "I shall have a harvest of men, for what cures one will cure all." When Napoleon landed from Elba one man offered to serve the emperor. "Here," said Napoleon, "is one recruit at least." If some have found the Saviour, why not more?

2. This one was at that moment engaged in making more. It was Christ's strategy to bless the men of Samaria through this woman. When this country was asleep half a dozen young men at Oxford felt the inspiration of God, and soon the same inspiration was felt from one end of the country to the other. There is not a plant that grows by the hedge side that does not scatter all adown the bank seeds of succeeding generations.

3. The others were coming to hear. When the fish get round the net surely some will be taken.

4. The persons who were coming to hear were those who seemed least likely to listen. When the giddy multitude crowd together to listen to the gospel it is a good sign of the coming harvest.

5. Recollect the men who have laboured before us. Has all this labour been for nothing? The days that are past have been preparing the population of England.

6. It is a sign of good when there is a stir among the people. The worst thing is stagnation. When people are not thoughtful about other things it is seldom you can get them to be thoughtful about religion. A farm overgrown with thistles is better than a barren one.

7. Old priestcrafts do not now hinder men from hearing the gospel. We can get at the people. If Luther, Bunyan, Baxter, and Alleine could have lived now, how they would have rejoiced!

II. HARVEST WANTS.

1. Many labourers. There is no machine that can do this work of soul-reaping.

2. Sharp sickles; such cutting truths as justification by faith, the total ruin of mankind, the Cross, the energy of the Holy Ghost.

3. Close binders. Those who cannot use the sickle can gather up the wheat. Invite people to the house of God.

4. Some to take the sheaves home, and assist to bring people into the Church.

5. Others to bring refreshment to the reapers. Encourage them.

III. THE FEARS OF HARVEST. The husbandman sometimes fears that —

1. Through lack of labourers his harvest may be damaged. After a certain time the wheat spears out, and birds will feast upon it. Every hour that men are not saved there are capacities of usefulness that are falling out, and Satan is running away with them.

2. Some wheat may remain unreaped, and so be destroyed. If the Christian does not work, there are others who will.

3. Whether we gather in the harvest or not, there is a reaper who is silently gathering it every hour — Death.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE LIKENESS BETWEEN NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL HUSBANDRY.

1. The first coming of Christ was the seedtime, and His second will be the harvest. From the seed which was then dropped will spring ripened fruit.

2. Generally the seed is the Word, and the sowers are the ministers of the gospel.

3. In all cases sowing is a means to an end. No man ever cast seed into the ground for the sake of the sowing. Even when we have preached well our end is not attained.

4. The only aim that will animate a ministry is to save souls from death.

5. When anxious inquirers come and close with Christ the joy is the joy of harvest.

II. THE DISSIMILARITY. Whereas in nature an uniform period intervenes between sowing and reaping, in grace the fruits may be gathered at any season or length of time — longer or shorter.

1. Do not wait four months, for the harvest may come at an earlier period. The seed sown to-day may be ripe to-night, as at Jacob's well and on the day of Pentecost. Ministers, therefore, should look for immediate results.

2. Do not despond although four months, four or forty years, should pass. If the cultivator of grain does not see his harvest whitening in four months, he abandons hope. Not so the Christian seed-sower. To know that some of the seed ripens early keeps his hopes active from the first; and to know that some of it ripens late prevents his hopes from sinking even to the last.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

One soweth, and another reapeth
A double reward is promised the garnerer of souls. It is a reward which flows back to the garnerers, and it is a reward which flows out to the souls garnered.

1. He that reapeth receiveth wages; something comes to him.

(1)He has the wage of being linked into the highest fellowship.

(2)He makes the best possible investment of his toil.

(3)He has the wage of the supremest joy.

(4)He has the wage of richer reward in heaven.

2. The garnerer of souls has wage also toward others; He gathereth fruit until life eternal.

3. Consider the place where the reaper is to reap. "Lift up your eyes and look" — you need not travel far to find a place for reaping your own local church, your own special Sunday-schools, your own neighbourhood — put in at once your sickle there.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

In Palestine neither all the sowing nor all the reaping of the fields is done at one and the same season. As soon as one crop is out of the ground another is prepared for. Ploughing and sowing follow close upon reaping and gleaning. Different crops require different lengths of time for their maturing; and, as a consequence, the planting for one crop will sometimes be going on while another crop near it is not yet ready for the harvest. As soon as the fields are cleared, in the midsummer or in the early autumn, the ground is ploughed, and the winter wheat or some other grain is sowed, in advance of the rainy season. Again, between the early and the latter rains of the springtime, there will be ploughing, and the sowing of barley or oats or lentils for a later crop. In the second week in April I saw on the Plain of the Cornfields, not far from Jacob's well, the grain already well ripened toward the harvest, while just southward of that region, and again, two days later, just northward of it, I saw ploughing and planting going on; so that I might have been in doubt, from my own observations, whether that were the time of seed-sowing or of harvest; and so it is likely to have been in the days of Jesus. Whether this were the springtime or the early winter, whether it were at noonday or at eventide, are points which have been much discussed in connection with the gospel narration of the visit of Jesus. It would seem most natural, from the story as it stands, to suppose that the season was the springtime, and that the hour was noonday; but, however that may be, it is obvious that there were within the eye-sweep of Jesus and His disciples the signs of seed-sowing on the one hand and of ripening harvest on the other; and that it was by calling attention to these two processes of nature in so close proximity of time and space that Jesus taught the lesson His disciples were shown that even while seed-sowing for one crop was going on in the natural world there might be also a making ready for an ingathering of former crops; so that sowing and reaping should go on together. Then came our Lord's application of this fact in nature's sphere.

(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

The proverb, "One soweth, and another reapeth," as generally used, suggests that the rewards of labour often fall into hands that have not earned them. The profits of an invention are frequently made by others than the inventor. In diplomacy, as Leicester says, "The hap of some is that all they do is nothing, and ethers that do nothing have all the thanks." Job could wish himself nothing worse than "Let me sow, and let another eat." But Christ widens our view; He corrects the selfishness of the individual by fixing his thoughts on humanity, and brings the rewards of eternity to counterbalance the apparent anomalies of time. Consider —

I. OUR RELATION TO THE PAST. Every man is born into an inheritance which he had no hand in earning. This distinguishes him from the brute. Instinct makes no progress. Through long millenniums the earth was preparing for man. One species of vegetation after another came and left its deposit. One kind of animals after another left their bones to petrify. Thus stratum after stratum arose.

1. Thus the child of to-day is richer than our own childhood. Take the matter of schoolbooks. The discoveries of one age are confined to the few; in the next they are the creed of the learned; in the third they become the elementary principles of education. What strides have been made in science since Galileo, Newton, and Watt! No child can begin where his father began.

2. The same holds good in religious matters.(1) The Church is richer to-day than she was a hundred years ago by the whole missionary enterprise, by which she has added a new volume to Christian evidences, acquired new property in noble lives, raised the standard of home piety and augmented her joy.(2) The same is true in hymnology and(3) in Christian literature. All this has come about largely without our own exertions. No man is self-made: he is what he is because of others' labours.

II. OUR DUTY TO THE PRESENT. Not to rest in our inherited advantages, but to so add to them as to leave a richer inheritance. The danger of the youth to whom a large fortune has been left —

1. In the direction of indolence or prodigality. It is a common remark that the children of wealthy men often come to grief.

2. In the direction of conservatism. The young heir is apt to think that he must be simply a repetition of his father. The same perils attend us in receiving the heritage of the past.We must, therefore, set ourselves to such work as is in harmony with our generation.

1. In science Franklin went a certain length in the investigation of electricity; but his successors did not rest there. Hence we have through Henry, Morse, Wheatstone, Bell, and Edison, the telephone.

2. The literature of the present is not a reproduction of the past, but an outgrowth.

3. The theology and Church life of to-day are distinctive of to-day. Each age has to meet its own problems, and without drifting from central truths must solve them in its own way. Thus it happens that the leaders of a former generation fail to secure a hearing in the next.

III. OUR JOY IN THE FUTURE. Jesus takes in eternity and gives all workers alike a share in the reward — the reaper for his reaping, the sower for his ploughing. Conclusion:

1. How much there is in this to cheer the desponding labourer. Livingstone seemingly accomplished little in missioning Africa, but he stimulated others to evangelize. Though a man bring only one soul to Christ, he has an interest in all the successes of that soul.

2. This truth is well calculated to keep us humble. The credit is due to God. He gives the increase.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. HOW THIS PROVERB WAS VERIFIED IN THE CASE OF THE APOSTLES. The general view is that they went into a moral wilderness, and that planting and sowing were simultaneous. This was not the case.

1. As regards the Jews, the prophets, etc., John and our Lord had sown the seed. The harvest at Pentecost was the result of centuries of seed-sowing, and in preaching Peter was merely putting in the sickle.

2. As regards the heathen the seed had been sown —(1) By the teaching of nature and conscience.(2) By priests and prophets such as Melchizedek, Jethro, Job, Balaam, by whom the tradition of a purer age had been preserved.(3) By the dissemination of truth through the dispersion of the Jews.

3. Thus the fields were now white unto harvest, and the apostles reaped where others had sown.

II. HOW IT MAY BE CONTINUALLY VERIFIED AMONGST OURSELVES.

1. Sudden conversions produced by preacher or friend are only the outcome, it may be, of a long series of impressions.

2. An apparently unfruitful ministry may be a preparation for a rich harvest under some successor.

III. THE GRACIOUS ASSURANCE THAT BOTH SOWER AND REAPER SHALL REJOICE TOGETHER. It may make a difference to a man as far as his present comfort is concerned whether he be a sower or a reaper, but none as far as his future is concerned. If he has done his work faithfully he shall have his reward. Moses and the prophets and the Gentile teachers will rejoice with apostles and Christian missionaries; apparently unsuccessful parents and missionaries with those who have spoken effectively. Lesson: Be not weary in well-doing — parents, teachers, preachers — you may see no fruit, but you are sowing good seed.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. THE SOWERS — men, not angels.

1. This seems strange when we consider the grandeur and breadth of the gospel Who is equal to summarizing the truths of the gospel, much less to expounding them?

2. Yet men have ever been entrusted with the gospel — Adam, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek. On a human body was placed the priestly robe, and he who entered the Holy of Holies was a man. When another order of teachers arose neither Gabriel nor Michael were summoned, but Samuel, Elijah, and Isaiah. And when Christ came He entrusted the gospel not to the heavenly host, but to Galilean fishermen.

3. There is a fitness, however, in this. The fields are those of earth, the harvest is of men, therefore the sowers and reapers must be not angelic, but human. Knowing their weakness and fallibility, ministers may well shrink; but if they forsake the plough angels will not direct it along the furrow. And with all their fallibility they being men can weep with men's sorrows and partake of their joys, which angels cannot. The appeal of an angel would be more powerful, that of man more pathetic. No angel could speak of human sympathies and call to remembrance the pathos of a mother's prayers.

II. THE MAGNITUDE OF THEIR WORK.

1. The seed — the Word of God.

2. The field.

(1)The apathetic.

(2)The infidel.

(3)The depraved.

3. The personal feebleness of the instruments.

II. THE GREATNESS OF THEIR REWARD.

1. God-given help to do what they have to do.

2. The sympathy of those who are benefited by their labours.

3. The present benediction of the great Master.

4. Eternity of blessedness in heaven.

(R. B. East, M. D.)

I. THE SALVATION OF SINNERS IS THE WILL OF GOD AND THE DELIGHT OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. This is manifest from —

1. The provision He has made for effecting it.

2. The place it has borne in the eternal counsels.

3. The preparation of infinite wisdom and almighty power in overruling the affairs of the world.

4. The succession of great men inspired to fore-announce it.

5. The manner in which it was carried into execution by the incarnation and cross of Christ.

II. THOUGH THE GOSPEL IS AT ALL TIMES NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, CERTAIN PERIODS ARE PECULIARLY FAVOURABLE TO IT.

1. Always necessary because —(1) It is the means appointed by Christ.(2) Because of its proved fitness.(3) Because God is to have all the glory.

2. Sometimes specially seasonable.(1) As here. The providence of God had over-ruled the envy of the Jews to the driving of the Saviour into Galilee and His going to Galilee to lead Him through Samaria; when He meets with the woman, who, saved herself, summons her fellow citizens to Christ.(2) As in the case of modern missions. What doors have been opened by the abolition of slavery, the progress of commerce, etc.

III. WHEN SUCH A PERIOD ARRIVES CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED UPON TO EMBRACE IT AS A HARVEST TIME. Such a seasonal. Must be immediately embraced. Its duties cannot be put off to a more convenient season. It is now or never. Men are crying for the words of life. If we refuse, the curse of Meter will be ours.

2. Must be diligently pursued: from various considerations.(1) The shortness of the season.(2) The precariousness of the weather.(3) The ripeness of the crops. Idleness, amusements, in harvest time!

3. Should be joyfully performed. Harvesting is hard work, but there is much pleasure in it, and it is generally performed with cheerfulness.

IV. BOTH SUCCESS AND REWARD WILL CROWN THE FAITHFUL LABOURER.

1. One of the greatest stimulants to labour is the probability of success, but here success is certain.

2. The almighty influence of the Holy Spirit is behind it.

3. It is assured by the pledged word of the Lord of the harvest.

(J. Gwyther, B. A.)

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF MISSIONARY EFFORT IMPLIED.

1. This principle combines two apparent opposites: it necessitates the agency of man and preserves the supremacy of God. By the one it precludes man from yielding to the bent of his natural indolence and attaining nothing; by the other it annihilates the unseemly arrogance which would vaunt the arm of flesh as though it could accomplish everything.

2. It furnishes a reply to scepticism which asks, "Why, if God be a perfect agent, does He need man; and why, if man be an imperfect agent, does God employ him?" Lift up your eyes! Though the husbandman has to sow, on God depends the fruitful seasons. Man works for God, God works by man. It is for us to employ, it is for Him to bless the means.

II. THE DUTY ENJOINED. In the natural world we do not expect a harvest without labour, nor without God's blessing. So Paul must plant and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase. Duty is irrespective of results.

III. THE BENEFIT TO BE CONFERRED Labourers do not depend for their hire on the upspringing of the seed, nor for its quantity or quality. Under all circumstances he is worthy of his hire. But in spiritual husbandry He who employs the sowers can also command the elemental influences. He who engages the reapers can ensure the crop, He therefore who sows not only receives present wages, but "gathereth fruit," etc.

(T. Dale, M. A.)

I. THE DUTY OF ALL WHO POSSESS THE PRECIOUS SEED TO SOW IT.

1. Our obligation to sow must be in proportion to our estimate of the value of the seed.

2. This obligation affects the Church collectively and individually.(1) It is the execution of a trust with which all Christians are put in charge.(2) It is the acceptance of a benefit to which all are permitted to aspire.

3. It is the accredited indispensable token of union with Christ and of membership in His Church.

II. THE CERTAINY THAT THEY WHO SOW SHALL REAP.

1. "The liberal soul shall be enriched." "He that watereth others shall himself be watered." The exercise of grace under one aspect leads to the communication of grace under another.

2. The preciousness of the future reward may be gathered from the excellence of the present.

3. Both are sure. They may be long delayed, but the seed shall spring fresh and vigorous even as Jesus rose triumphant from the grave.

III. OVER WHAT FIELD THE SEED IS TO BE SCATTERED. "The field is the world."

1. In its widest extent.

2. In its varieties of guilt.

3. In its diversities of promise and prospect.

IV. WHAT HARVEST WE MAY HOPE TO SOW FOR OTHERS, AND WHAT WE MAY CALCULATE ON REAPING FOR OURSELVES.

1. Remember the promise.

2. Remember its fulfilment.

(1)In England under previous missions.

(2)Abroad under existing missions.

V. THE MANNER IN WHICH WE CAN PROFITABLY PERFORM THE DUTY AND EFFECTUALLY ENSURE THE BENEFIT. Let each do what he can, where he can.

1. Prayerfully.

2. Earnestly.

3. Patiently.

4. Believingly.

(T. Dale, M. A.)

Men read what the Missionary Herald tells them of the progress of the gospel among the heathen; and there are those that take out their pencils and say: "The whole missionary world numbers so many millions, and there have been about so many hundred people converted by the influence of this amount of capital. That is about tea thousand dollars for one soul. It is rather dear work, ain't it?" There are such moral arithmeticians that sum up the fruit of moral seed-sowing under arithmetical proportions. But the whole world has been stirred up by the mission cause. I am what I am because Henry Obookiah, from the Sandwich Islands, was taught at the Cornwall School in Connecticut, and in my boyhood came down to my father's house, and produced an impression on me which has undulated, and propagated, and gone on influencing me. Some of the enthusiasm which I have felt for moral conditions came to me from seeing him. Who can tell what the retroaction of foreign missions is? Who can tell what benefit may be received here from our Western missions? Who can tell what is the effect of sending our abundance to the waste places of our own land, and to the torrid and frigid zones? It stirs up that which is not reportable. Ten thousand more leaves are born every year than the botanist ever sees. Ten thousand times more storms blow on every sea than are ever registered on charts or log-books.

(H. Ward Beecher.)

Family Churchman.
Once a vessel bound to a distant part of the world happened to be detained by contrary winds at the Isle of Wight. A minister who was on board went on shore to preach. His text was "Be clothed with humility." Among his hearers was a thoughtless girl, who had come to display her finery rather than to be instructed. The sermon was the means of her conversion. Her name was Elizabeth Wallbridge, the celebrated "Dairyman's Daughter," whose interesting history by Legh Richmond has been the means amongst nearly all peoples of bringing thousands to Christ.

(Family Churchman.)

What wages? Christ had already told them that His own wages were to do the will of God, and to finish His work. Did they want better? They would gather in fruit — the fruit of all His work and travail, of all God's revelations of Himself from age to age, of all the toil of patriarchs, kings, prophets. These had laboured — they were entering into their labours. They were come in at the end of a period when all things were hastening to their consummation. They would have the reward which all these men had longed for; the reward of seeing God's full revelation of Himself, of opening the spring of eternal life, of which all might drink together. The divisions of time had nothing to do with an eternal blessing. The sower and reaper would rejoice together. Why might not Jacob, who had given the well, and the newest Samaritan convert who drank of it, share in those pleasures which are at the right hand of Him who is, and was, and is to come?

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

A small bit of rock feels something or other tickling it behind; and through a seam, at last, there trickle out some drops of water, as if the rock itself were shedding tears; and the drops increase; and a rill is formed; and it runs quietly, finding its way, down the declivity. Soon another little rill is met on the road, and they join forces; and a little further down a third is added; and then a fourth, and then a fifth, and so on, till by-and-by they make a plunge through the gorge with spray and thunder; and out comes below the stream, voluble and violent; and down in the meadows it quiets itself, and runs between flowery banks, until a mill catches it and makes it work for its way; and passing through industries it still deepens; other streams break into it here and there towards its mouth; and there the city dwells upon, and navies ride upon it; and in its pride of strength and depth and width and accomplishments, it says, "Who but I?" But that great voluminous river is itself the child of those drops, those trickling rills, those mountain springs. If it had not been for them it would not have existed nor have been nourished. We need not despise, therefore, in any direction, small things. Who can tell what that poor old nurse wrought who cared for the orphan child of her mistress that was gone, crooning songs to the child, telling her fairy stories, and making an empyrean above her? Setting loose in that little child all the germs of poetry, she fashioned its mind; and her humble, unconscious work will never be washed out; nor will the colour be taken from it; it will go on and be part and parcel of the child, if it lives to be fifty or a hundred years old. When the child has come to mature womanhood they will say: "Well, were you not brought up in your babyhood by that old nurse?" "Yes; she was a nice old creature," and that is all you say about it; but you are very largely what you are from what she did for you. If the throbbing of her heart sets yours to throbbing more, if the outlook of her imagination threw open the windows of yours, she, I might almost say, was your creator; and though she was so humble and powerless, without learning or genius, nevertheless you were so plastic that her influence moulded you.

(H. Ward Beecher.)

To what will the wilful neglect of seed-time on the part of the whole community be equivalent but to an act of national suicide? If, again, a distant colony were dependent on the surplus produce of the land that sent it forth, and yet enough were purposely sown only for home consumption, what would such conduct be but an act of national fratricide? It would be to exhibit the maliciousness of Cain, and to bring the curse of a brother's blood upon that guilty nation. Like the first — like an act of national suicide — would be the crime of the Church, which is bound to "love the Lord her God with all her heart," did she not take care to provide sufficient ministration of God's Word throughout the circumference of her immediate domestic responsibility; and, like the second — like an act of national fratricide — would her crime be, if, forgetful of the second principle of action, "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," she made no proportionate effort and application to extend similar ministrations in those her missionary stations, which are her colonies, planted in heathen lands, and all around which there is a famine and a perishing, not for want of the natural sustenance, but of "the bread that cometh down from heaven," and which alone " giveth life unto the world."

(T. Dale, M. A.)

Herein is that saying true
A ragged school teacher was telling a friend in Philadelphia that he was afraid he would have to discontinue the school, as he had seen no fruit whatsoever of his labours. At the moment a little ragged boy came up and asked him if he would come and see his brother who was very ill. He went with the boy into one of the lowest streets in the city. On entering the room he was struck with the supreme misery of it. Going up to the suffering boy, the teacher said, "My poor boy, what can I do for you? Shall I get you a doctor?" "Oh, no, captain," said the boy, "but tell me, tell me, did you say that Jesus died for everybody, that He gave Himself for me?" "Yes, I did." "And that He will receive any one who comes to Him? Yes, indeed I did, dear boy." "Well, I know that since He gave Himself for me, that He will receive me." And then the boy dropped back on his bundle of rags — dead.

From the labours of ministers that are dead and gone much good fruit may be reaped by the people that survive them, and by the ministers that succeed them. John the Baptist and those that assisted him had laboured, and the disciples of Christ entered into their labours.

(Matthew Henry.)

A seaman, on returning home to Scotland after a cruise in the Pacific, was asked: "Do you think the missionaries have done any good in the South Sea Islands?" "I will tell you a fact which speaks for itself," said the sailor. "Last year I was wrecked on one of those islands, where I knew that, eight years before, a ship was wrecked and the crew murdered; and you may judge how I felt at the prospect before me — if not dashed to pieces on the rocks, to survive for only a more cruel death. When day broke we saw a number of canoes pulling for our ship, and were prepared for the worst. Think of our joy and wonder when we saw the natives in English dress, and heard some of them speak in the English language. On that very island the next Sunday we heard the gospel preached. I do not know what you think of missions, but I know what I do."

New Cyclopaedia.
Mr. M was for many years a pious and indefatigable Sunday-school teacher. It pleased God to call him to suffer severe affliction and to an early death. During his long affliction though it was painful even to see him walk, he went to his class; nor would he resign as long as he could possibly reach the school. "It was my happiness," says a writer in the Teacher's Magazine, "to visit him during his trying illness, and the calmness of his mind under affliction, and his triumphant departure, I never shall forget; nor shall I cease to remember another circumstance. Turning to me, and with something like despondency, he said, 'Well, I believe I never was useful as a Sunday-school teacher.' Some short time after his death, I visited a Sunday School in a small town some distance from that in which Mr. M. had lived. I soon recognized among the teachers one who had been a Sunday scholar; I conversed with him, and found he was a professor of religion, and a member of a Christian Church in that town. I congratulated him upon his employment, and inquired by what means he had been led to love the Lord Jesus Christ. He replied, 'The advice which my teacher again and again gave me, led me to reflection and to prayer, and I hope was the means of leading me to Christ.' 'And who was that teacher?' He replied, 'Mr. M.' Yes, that same dear friend who, upon a dying bed, said he believed he had never been useful as a Sunday-school teacher."

(New Cyclopaedia.)

New Cyclopaedia.
A clergyman some time since, as he was riding, passed some young females near a school-house, and dropped from his carriage two tracts, which he had previously marked. Some time afterwards he was conversing with a young woman with reference to her spiritual state, and found her rejoicing in the hope of pardoned sin. He inquired the history of her religious feelings, and she traced them to a tract dropped by a traveller, which was manifestly one of the two above referred to. He was afterwards called to visit another young woman on a sick-bed, whose mind was calm and composed in view of death, which the event proved was near at hand. She traced her first serious impressions to the circumstance of two tracts being dropped by a traveller, one of which, she said, was taken up by her cousin, and the other by herself; "and now," said she, "we are hoping both in Christ." She had retained the tract as a precious treasure, and, putting her hand under her pillow, showed it to the clergyman, who immediately recognized the marks he had written upon it.

(New Cyclopaedia.)

I. TRACE THE STREAM OF PROVIDENTIAL EVENTS FROM THE BEGINNING SO FAR AS THEY BEAR ON THE SPIRITUAL CULTURE OF THE WORLD. The fall, the first promise, animal sacrifice, Enoch, the deluge, the colonization of the world through the confusion of tongues, the call of Abraham, and the preparation of the Jews in Egypt for their inheritance, idolatry exposed and punished by the plagues, the establishment and mission of the Jewish nation, the captivity, restoration and dispersion, the function of Persia, Greece, and Rome, the fulness of time, the papal apostacy, Luther, the Puritans, Methodism, missions, Sunday Schools, Bible Society, education.

II. NOTICE SOME OF THOSE EXISTING EVENTS WHICH HARMONIZE WITH THOSE OF PAST TIMES, AND ARE CONNECTED WITH THE HAPPINESS OF MANKIND.

1. Consider what is doing within the Church. It has awakened out of sleep. All denominations have their missionary society. All are talking about the coming of Christ.

2. Consider what is doing without the boundaries of the Church. Many, without thinking or meaning it, are contributing to the spread of the knowledge of Christ.(1) Think on the increase of knowledge — Bacon, Newton, and their successors.(2) The rapid progress of colonization.(3) The extension of the British empire. Why has God given us India? Not to add a new gem to the crown of our monarch, nor to give us an increase of power, not to augment our luxuries, but to extend the gospel.

III. STATE THE DUTIES WHICH THE YOUNG OWE TO THIS GREAT CAUSE, AND THE WAY IN WHICH THEY MAY FURTHER IT.

1. You may do this by your own personal religion. Give yourselves first to the Lord, then to His Church.

2. Maintain a deep conviction of the importance of man's spiritual interests, and of the necessity of religion to promote them. Knowledge will not save the world, only Christ can do that.

3. Maintain right views of the importance of truth in the conversion of the world, The divinity of Christ, His atonement, regeneration by the Holy Ghost.

4. Let all your efforts be carried on in the spirit of religion.(1) Beware of the secular spirit in religion.(2) Do everything in a spirit of prayer. Resolutions, sermons, speeches are vain without this.

IV. PRESENT SOME MOTIVES TO URGE THE YOUNG TO DEVOTE THEMSELVES FULLY TO THIS CAUSE.

1. Think of the nature of the cause itself.(1) Its first attribute is religion. It is to proclaim salvation to the sinner, and immortality to those who have no prospect beyond the grave.(2) It is intellectual. The heathen world is a vast wilderness of mind.(3) It is characterized by compassion.(4) By comprehension. The missionary society is a Bible society, a school society, a home missionary society, a mechanic's institute, a peace society, an anti-slavery society, a civilization society.

2. Think of the advantages you possess.

3. Remember that it remains with you whether the missionary cause shall be transmitted to posterity.

(J. A. James.)

A little maid directed a great prince to Elisha. Our Saviour, by instructing one poor woman, spread instruction to a whole town. Philip preached the gospel to a single gentleman, in his chariot upon the road; and he not only received it himself, but carried it into his own country and propagated it there. This woman could say but little of Christ, but what she did say she spoke feelingly. "He told me all that ever I did." Those are most likely to do good that can tell what God has done for their souls.

(Matthew Henry.)

Family Churchman.
We enter upon life weak, unconscious infants, depending every moment on other eyes to watch for us, and other hands to minister to us, while we kindle in their hearts the most powerful emotions. But not less dependent are we on our fellow-creatures for our continuance in life from the cradle to the grave. There is not a thread of clothing which covers our body, not a luxury that is placed on our table, not an article which supplies the means of labour, not one thing which is required of us as civilized beings, but involves the labours of others on our behalf; while by the same law we cannot but contribute to their well-being. The cotton which the artizan weaves or wears has been cultivated by brothers beneath a tropical sun and possibly beneath a tyrant's lash. The tea he drinks has been gathered for him by brothers in distant China. A mother writes a letter to her son in some distant spot in India, and conveys it in silence to the post. office, perhaps thinking only when she may receive a reply. But how much is done before that letter reaches its destination! The hands of unknown brethren will receive and transmit it; rapid trains will convey it over leagues of railways; splendid steamships will sail with it. It is watched day and night, through calm and hurricane; and precious lives are risked to keep it in security until, in safety, after months of travel, it is delivered from the mother's hand into that of her boy.

(Family Churchman.)

And many of the Samaritans of that city
I. HER PREVIOUS CHARACTER.

1. Of dissolute morals. Antecedent wickedness no barrier to grace, given repentance and faith (Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 55:7-9; Micah 7:18; Matthew 12:31; 1 John 1:7-9). Examples: Manasseh (2 Kings 21:16; 2 Chronicles 33:12-15); Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-18); Philippian jailer (Acts 16:34), and no disqualification for after service.

2. Of lively understanding. The success of the gospel not dependent on the intelligence of its preachers, but high mental endowments no misfortune. Paul and Luke have their place as well as Andrew and Peter:

3. Of religious inclinations. Divine grace often keeps alive in souls seemingly going downwards to perdition — a spark of goodness that only waits the Spirit's breath to fan it into flame.

II. HER INSPIRING MOTIVE.

1. Not mere excitement. Her love and novelty an unsatisfactory hypothesis, since she grounds her invitation on a moral basis (ver. 29).

2. Not conscious peace. She was scarcely yet rejoicing in the assurance of salvation. But —

3. Simple faith. She believed Christ to be the Messiah. It was impossible, therefore, for her to be silent. She acted like David (Psalm 66:16; Psalm 116:10), the apostles (Acts 4:20), Paul (2 Corinthians 4:13), the leper (Mark 1:45).

III. Her glowing zeal (ver. 28).

1. The trivial action..

2. The important revelation.

(1)An intention to return.

(2)The forgetfulness of her errand in her eagerness to proclaim her new-found joy (ver. 34).

(3)The importance she attached to one who could answer all questions and satisfy all aspirations (Matthew 13:44-46).

(4)The estimate in which she held Divine things in comparison with earthly.

(5)The desire she felt that others should hear the good news.

IV. HER GLADSOME MESSAGE (ver. 29).

1. The startling announcement. The language of exaggeration contained a truth. Christ had not only shown His acquaintance with details of personal history, as in the case of Nathanael (John 1:48), and with the quality of her spirit, as with Peter's (John 1:42), but had discovered her to herself so as to enable her to realize her guiltiness before God (cf. Luke 5:8), and her need of that living water of which she afterwards drank.

2. The joyous question. An interrogation not of doubt, but of faith. She spoke as if she believed not for joy (Luke 24:41). Her adroitness is worthy of all imitation.

3. The eager invitation. Compare Christ's address to Andrew and John (John 1:39; cf. Psalm 34:8; John 7:17).

V. HER WONDERFUL SUCCESS (vers. 30, 39, 41).

1. The extent of it.(1) She produced a commotion in the city — as the gospel usually does in strange places (Acts 8:8; Acts 13:44; Acts 17:5).(2) She enkindled faith in the hearts of many citizens.

2. The reason of it.(1) A persuasion of the woman's sincerity and accuracy guaranteed by her humiliating confession.(2) A feeling of the self-evidencing power of the truth even when repeated at second-hand (2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).Lessons:

1. The duty of those who know the truth to publish it (John 17:18; John 20:21; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 10:8; Acts 5:20; Romans 10:14, 15).

2. The place and power of female agency in the Church, e.g., Mary (Luke 1:26-38), Elizabeth (Luke 1:6), Anna (Luke 2:37), Dorcas (Acts 9:36), Lydia (Acts 16:14), Priscilla (Acts 18:26), etc.

3. The adaptation of the gospel to the highest needs of man (Isaiah lit. 7; Ezekiel 47:8; Luke 1:78, 79; John 8:32; John 12:50; Romans 1:16).

4. The certainty that all nations will yet be obedient unto the faith (Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Matthew 28:18; Romans 1:5; Philippians 2:11; Revelation 11:15).

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. IN ITS NATURE.

1. Testimony.(1) Credit or assent (ver. 39; 1 Corinthians 11:18). Hearsay faith: that of a child who accepts, on the word of his teacher, facts about Egypt, Palestine, etc., or as a child receives at his mother's knees what she says about God, and Jesus, and heaven.(2) Confidence and trust (ver. 40). This differs from assent in that it leads men to act. In this sense all men live by faith.(3) The Samaritans' first faith. What a contrast between them and the Jews I They received Him on the word of a woman when they saw the change wrought in her. She was a living epistle.(4) Faith in the testimony of God (John 1:33).

2. Conviction (ver. 41). Their faith advanced beyond trust in the woman's word.

3. Experience. "Know."

II. IN ITS OBJECTS.

1. The word of Christ (see vers. 47-53).

2. The promise of God (Matthew 8:7). Faith in the promises makes the future present, and the heirship possession.

3. The work of Christ (ver. 42).

4. The Person of Christ.

III. IN ITS RESULTS.

1. Its effects on this occasion.(1) In the woman. She showed it by proclaiming Christ.(2) In the Samaritans. They came to Christ, confessed Him, invited Him to tarry with them, believed His word, and knew Him to be the Saviour.

2. How it grew: by stages.

3. Its issues (see Acts 8:6-25).

(J. Gill.)

I. HUMAN TESTIMONY IS FREQUENTLY MADE THE MEANS OF PRODUCING FAITH IN MEN'S HEARTS. A large number owe their conversion to the personal and practical testimony of others. To encourage others to testify note that this was that of —

1. A woman. A woman was the founder of the Church in Samaria; a woman was the first convert in Europe. Let none of our sisters, therefore, refrain from giving their testimony.

2. A sinful woman. Now the very life which had else been so just a cause for silence became an impelling motive for witness-bearing. The more mischief we have done, the more good we should try to do. The chief of sinners became the chief of apostles.

3. Her testimony was personal, and that was the secret of her power. She did not discuss or quote the opinion of others, as some preachers do. If we wish to win souls there is nothing like telling them what the Lord hath done for our souls.

4. Her testimony was delivered very earnestly. If our sermons are icicles they are not likely to melt the ice in your minds. If in speaking to a man you treat your conversion as commonplace, or aim at his conversion as though it was a matter that didn't much signify, you might as well be silent.

5. Notice the judiciousness of her testimony. She did not say, "I am sure He is the Christ." If you positively assert a thing, it is very likely some one will deny it, although they would draw the same inference if left alone. In fishing for souls you need as much judgment as in angling. We must be wise to win souls.

6. Observe the result. Many believed because of the woman's speech. Her heart was in it, and therefore God blessed her.

7. Your not believing in Jesus does not arise from want of testimony. You have had the best testimony — of a mother, a wife, a minister.

II. FAITH MAY ARISE APART FROM THE TESTIMONY OF MEN. When you have borne testimony to a man, and he doesn't yield to it, don't despair of him. God has other ways of working besides the testimony of His servants.

1. Some of the Samaritans who had not received the testimony of the woman believed because of His own word. We have God's Word amongst us now, and it will work in hearts quickened by the Spirit to remember what they learned in the Sabbath school.

2. Sickness, poverty, and other ills are God's servants, and sin itself has led men to the Saviour.

III. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE ECLIPSES HUMAN TESTIMONY.

1. It is far more convincing.

2. More essential. A doctor's medicine may have overwhelming testimonials, but that will do no good unless you take it.

3. More complete. Testimony may tell you something about Christ, but not much compared with what you may learn by going to Him yourself. The Queen of Sheba did not learn half of what she saw.

4. More enduring. What you receive from others you may give up, but only experience can make you faithful unto death.

5. More persuasive to others. This woman had first of all a personal experience herself. In conclusion. It is a serious thing to reject the personal witness of others, but it is false not to try for yourself whether Jesus is what He professes to be.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. ITS OBJECT. Christ.

1. He thoroughly knows all pertaining to human life (vers. 29, 39).

2. He is susceptible to human appeals (ver. 40).

3. He is the Restorer of mankind (ver. 42).

II. ITS GROUNDS.

1. The initiatory faith. This is built on testimony (ver. 39). In their initial faith they accepted two things —

(1)Omniscience as a proof of Divinity.

(2)The credibility of the woman's testimony. This is the faith of all mere nominal Christians.

2. The consummating faith (ver. 41). This faith was —

(1)Intuitive.

(2)Direct (ver. 42).

(3)Certain (ver. 42).

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

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