« FöregåendeFortsätt »
vineyard. To you, my brethren, my own conscience answers, that that call has been repeatedly and urgently enforced. Now, have you obeyed this call? Try yourselves by self-examination, whether you have answered to the invitation. Ask yourselves whether you have obeyed the repeated warnings of the Holy Spirit. Have you attended the house of prayer whenever the opportunity presented itself? Have you gone to the Lord's table, and received the cup of salvation in remembrance of HIM? Have you entertained a lively faith in the merits of the Redeemer; and, as a proof of that faith, have you manifested good works, works of love and obedience to God, your neighbour, and yourselves? Have you done your duty in that state of life, unto which it hath pleased God to call you? If you have been standing every day idle, fear ye not, lest ye soon be cut down as cumberers of the ground? But we humbly trust that it has not been so with you. We entertain a hope, my brethren, that much spiritual knowledge has been gained;
that treasures in heaven have been laid that you have omitted few opportunities of attending the Lord's house,-of receiving his holy Sacrament,-and of making yourselves wise unto salvation. We trust that this has been your case: let it not be, that our preaching has been vain, and your hearing also vain. Let not the holy Scriptures lie unopened, unthought of, and forgotten. Despise not the exertions of God's ministers; neglect not their warnings; but work seriously and diligently in the Lord's vineyard, and whatsoever is right that shall ye receive. receive. But although we entertain a hope, that much good has resulted from our preaching, still there is very much cause of complaint. Churches are far from being crowded by devout worshippers: many prefer standing all the day idle, or bent upon the concerns of this life, to the passing of one hour within the Lord's house. They prefer the transitory objects of this world to those that are eternal; they prefer the treasures of the earth to the blessings that are in heaven; the perishable crown to that which
fadeth not away. And, although the householder continually bids them to go into the vineyard with the offer of a reward for their labour, they refuse to watch with him for one hour. "Verily, they shall have their reward."
Again, in the parable before us, we find the labourers, who were hired at the early part of the day, complaining because they had received the same reward as those who were called late-they expected to have received more. And how often does this happen among many of us!—we expect, if we perseveringly toil on in our Christian course, that we are to receive an earthly reward. Sometimes this may be the casethe blessing from on high may follow our exertions here on earth; but we are not to look for our reward till the life to come. For often are the Christians the most persecuted. As it was in the first days, so may it be in the last. God may be trying our faith, by visiting us with distresses as he tried the faithful Abraham, or he may be setting us up as examples for those who are around diligently to follow. In all
cases our exertions should continue the same; and we should live on, regardless of worldly difficulties and worldly losses, in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has promised to reward his faithful followers; and eternally blessed shall he be, whom, when his Lord cometh, he shall find watching.
And now, brethren, it may be necessary to press upon you the doctrine, that we have advanced Sunday after Sunday. And what has been the tenor of it, save man fallen in Adam, but made alive in Christ; renewed by the Holy Spirit, and sanctified in the sight of God? The doctrine of the Christian religion is founded on this. And have we not preached it, and have you not heard it? Let not, then, our preaching be vain, and your hearing vain! If we show to you the necessity of labouring in the Lord's vineyard, it is merely calling you to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And who shall again deny him? who shall crucify the Son of God afresh? The labour in the Lord's vineyard
is the same as the working out of your salvation. And the minister of Jesus Christ
calls upon you to perform this-to enter
into the courts of the Lord's house-to worship him in the spirit of truth and honesty. This year has witnessed many devout worshippers; but how many or how few of us may continue to enjoy the blessings of this world during the next year, God only knows: with him rest the issues of life and death. Youth in all its beauty may wither ere another year shall close; manhood may sink into old age, and old age into the earth, without warning or without notice. Let not this exhortation fall dead upon your hearts. The time is at hand: man, like a flower, or as the grass of the field, must die and wither away. The outward tabernacle of the flesh must return to its earth as it was, but the spirit unto God who gave it. Oh! it is an awful thing to think upon death-the dissolution of the body-the departure of the soul-the corruption of the grave, and the mouldering away of humanity. And yet, my brethren, we must all come to it.