The New Zealand Evangelist
“The Harvest Is Past.”—Jer. VIII, 20
“The Harvest Is Past.”—Jer. VIII, 20.
Youth, it may be, has passed away, with all its bloom and freshness; its mornings of sunshine, its vigour, its hopes, and its talents, have all been sacrificed upon the shrine of vanity and folly. The seed time of youth has been neglected—Bible precept and Bible example, have had no sway over the wayward inclinations and habits of youth. A pious father's roof, that sanctuary of praise and prayer, has been like a prison-house to the perverse spirit of youth, and its hallowed exercises counted a weariness of the flesh. In the morning they have sown seed, but it has been the seed of unsanctified desires—they have sown to the wind, and, as a consequence, they must reap the whirlwind. The spring, with its gentle winds and mollifying showers; with its precious opportunities for laying secure the foundations of the spiritual house, has passed away, and its last setting sun, with its fading beams, has written upon their foreheads, “Not saved.” Middle-age, with its meridian sun, and glorious season of golden opportunities, and precious privileges, fleets fast away. Be aroused, O careless sinner, to consider well your page 176 season of mid-day,—your sunshine of life. Your sun shines at present in full splendour, but he may go down at noon, and set to you in darkness, long before the time of the evening rays. The seed time of promise, the bright spring of youth, you have let slip away unimproved. Let the summer of your life be devoted to the service of God; and while your noon is in its prime, and you enjoy health and vigor, turn and seek your Saviour's face, for now is the accepted time. Have you health and strength, time and opportunity, means for usefulness, and influence for good? These, then, are the talents which God has committed to your charge—these are the rich privileges wherewith God has favoured you; see, theu, that they are diligently and prayerfully improved, that they may be blessed unto you, and thereby contribute to God's glory. Now is the time, while the splendour of your summer's sun doth last, to turn your spiritual privileges to the best advantage. The house of God solemnly invites your presence every Lord's-day. And why do you forsake the assembling of yourselves together? What excuse have you to offer for your neglect of the ordinances of God's house? Examine again, and see if your excuses, and what you call necessary work on Sabbath, will stand the test of the judgment-day, and be pronounced as reasonable and acceptable by the Judge of all the earth. The meetings for praise, and prayer, and reading the scriptures, invite you—nay, pronounce it to be your bounden duty—to come and make known at a throne of grace, not only your own spiritual wants, but also the spiritual wants of your families, and the spiritual wants of the perishing millions throughout the world. As summer is the season of buds, and blossoms, and verdure; so let your summer of ample opportunity, and precious privilege, and means of grace, animate your soul with spiritual life, and adorn your character with Christian virtue and grace. The summer of life and of privilege, with its mornings of dew and evenings of lovely sunshine, with its inviting opportunities for rearing page 177 the spiritual temple in the soul, is, to you, it may be, not yet ended; but, alas! to some, nay, to many, its last sun has set, and the solemn tone from its last vesper bell has proclaimed, loud and long, the awful words, “Not saved.”
The harvest of the natural world is past—its golden grain has been gathered in, and placed in security. Autumn's leaves have strewed the plain, and soon shall the angry blasts of winter sweep through wood and dale, o'er hill and mountain. All nature dies—how blank and dreary the prospect of such a death, and how fitting its resemblance to that cold and lifeless tomb, where sleeps the ashes of the dead! The harvest of earth's happiness, with its ripe and mellow fruit, will soon be passed to us all, and the cold winter of death will breathe upon us with its withering blasts. To the aged, now in the autumn of life, this should be their harvest of earnest, constant prayer—of ripe fruits, and of an ample ingathering of God's sanctifying spirit. Aged one, if the morning service of your life was devoted to the world, if your noonday was a season of rejoicing in the sunshine of the world's pleasures, be persuaded now, in your old age, to strive to reap the harvest of Christ's atoning merit, and to obtain a title to that bright inheritance on the other side of the Jordan of death. Your privileges will soon be shortened by disease and in-firmity, your tide of life is ebbing fast, your last evening is nearly run, your sky is becoming overcast with clouds, which betoken the near approach of that hurricane which will soon shatter and overpower your feeble bark. Yes; the harvest of life and privilege will soon be past, the harvest home will soon be gathered in, but, alas! for those, when the last echoes of its rejoicings shall pronounce their unalterable sentence—“Not saved.”
Convulsion and change have been doing their work amongst us—the Earthquake hath spoken to us with the stifled voice of dire agony. We have heard the knell of the last year, and it is gone—the harvest is past, and the summer is nearly ended; page 178 and are we seeking to be saved? Is this the new song in our mouths—“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows.”
May we be found living in Christ, and to Christ, and when death comes, may we hail it as the Messenger of peace, and hear the Judge pronounce that we are saved! Is Christ thy life, then, O my soul? Has he the love of thine heart? Then fear not death, for he says, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”