Sermon 522. Mealtime In The Corn Fields
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, AUGUST 2, 1863, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come you here and eat of the bread and dip your morsel in the vinegar. And she sat besidethe reapers: and he reached her parched corn and she did eat and was sufficed and left."
IF we lived in the country it would not be necessary for me to remind you that the time of harvest has again happily comeupon us. I saw, one day last week, a fine sample of the new wheat, part of a considerable quantity which had just been sold.And in many places I have observed the fieldsyielding their sheaves to the reapers' sickle. Let us loudly lift our praises to God for the abundance which loads the land.An unusually heavy crop has been given in many quarters and scarcely anywhere is there any deficiency.
While there is so much of distress abroad-while the great factories of our country are standing still-we should be gratefulthat God is pleased to alleviate the sufferings of the poor by an unusually bountiful harvest. And we must not forget to praythat during the next few weeks theLord would be pleased to give suitable weather so that the corn may be safely gathered into the garner. That there may beabundance of bread and no complaining in our streets. I always feel it necessary, just at this season, to give these hints,because God's natural remembrancescannot reach us-we hear not the lark teaching us how to praise, nor do the green fields of grass, and the yellow ears ofcorn preach to us of the Lord's bounty.
Little is there to be learned from these long corridors of dreary cells which we call streets and houses. I see dull brownor dirty-white bricks everywhere-enough to make one earthly-however much we may pant for heavenly things. We see neither thegreen blade nor the full corn in theear, and we are so apt to forget that we all depend upon the labor of the field. Let us unite with the peasant and his masterin blessing and praising the God of Providence, who first covered the fields with grass for the cattle and now with herbsfor the food of man.
This morning we are going to the corn fields, as we did last year, not however, so much to glean, as to rest with the reapersand the gleaners, when under some wide-spreading oak they sit down to take refreshment. We hope there will be found some timidgleaner here who will accept our invitation tocome and eat with us, and who will find confidence enough to dip their morsel in the vinegar. May they have courage to feastto the full on their own account, and then to carry home a portion to their needy friends at home.
I. Our first point this morning is this-THAT GOD'S REAPERS HAVE THEIR MEALTIMES. Those who work for God will find Him a goodMaster. He cares for oxen, and has commanded His Israel, "You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn." Much moredoes He care for His servants who serveHim. "He has given meat unto them that fear Him: He will ever be mindful of His Covenant." The reapers in Jesus' fieldsshall not only receive a blessed reward at the last, but they shall have plenteous comforts by the way.
He is pleased to pay His servants twice-first in the labor itself-and a second time in the labor's sweet results. He givesthem such joy and consolation in the service of their Master that it is a sweet employ, and they cry, "We delight to do Yourwill, O Lord." As Heaven is made up ofserving God day and night, so to true workers, their constantly serving God on earth brings with it a rich foretaste ofHeaven.
God has ordained certain mealtimes for His reapers. And He has appointed that one of these shall be when they come togetherto listen to the Word preached. If God is with our ministers, they act as the disciples did of old. They received the barleyloaves and fishes from Christ, and handed them tothe people as He multiplied them. We, of ourselves, cannot feed one soul, much less thousands. But when the Lord is withus, we can keep as good a table as Solomon himself, with all his fine flour, fat, roebucks, and small deer.
When the Lord blesses the provisions of His House, no matter how many thousands there may be, all His poor shall be filledwith bread. I hope, Beloved, you know what it is to sit under the shadow of the Word with great delight and find the fruitsweet unto your taste. Where the Doctrines of Graceare boldly and plainly delivered to you in connection with the other Truths of Revelation. Where Jesus Christ upon His Crossis always lifted up. Where the work of the Spirit is not forgotten. Where the glorious purpose of the Father is never despised-thereis sure to be foodfor the children of
We have learned not to feed upon oratorical flourishes or philosophical fineries. We leave these fine things, these twelfth-cakeornaments, to be eaten by those little children who can find delight in such unhealthy dainties-we prefer to hear the Truthof God, even when roughlyspoken-to the fine garnishing of eloquence without the Truth. We care little about how the table is served, or of what warethe dishes are made-so long as the Covenant bread and water, and the promised oil and wine are given to us. Certain grumblersamong the Lord'sreapers do not feed under the preached Word because they do not intend to feed. They come to the House of Bread on purposeto find fault, and therefore they go away empty.
My verdict is, "It serves them right." Little care I to please such hearers. I would as soon feed bears and jackals, as attemptto supply the wants of grumbling professors. How much mischief is done by observations made upon the preacher! How often dowe censure where our God approves. We haveheard of a high doctrinal deacon who said to a young minister who was supplying the pulpit on probation, "I should haveenjoyed your sermon very much, Sir, if it had not been for that last appeal to the sinner. I do not think that dead sinnersshould be exhorted to believe inJesus."
When that deacon reached home he found his own daughter in tears. She became converted to God and united with the Church ofwhich that young man ultimately became the minister. How was she converted, do you think? By that address at the close ofthe sermon, which her father did not like. Take heedof railing at that by which the Holy Spirit saves souls! There may be much in the sermon which may not suit you, or me,but then we are not the only persons to be considered. There is a wide variety of characters and all our hearers must have"their portion of meat in due season."
Is it not a selfishness very unlike the spirit of a Christian which would make me find fault with the provisions, becauseI cannot eat them all? There should be the unadulterated milk for the babe in Grace, as well as the strong substantial meatfor the full grown Believer. Beloved, I know thatmurmurers may call our manna, "light bread," yet our gracious God does, "in this mountain make unto all people a feast offat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."
Often, too, our gracious Lord appoints us mealtimes in our private readings and meditations. Here it is that His "paths dropfatness." Nothing can be more fattening to the soul of the Believer than feeding upon the Word and digesting it by frequentmeditations. No wonder that some grow so little,when they meditate so little. Cattle must chew the cud. It is not what they crop with their teeth, but that which is masticatedand afterwards digested by rumination that nourishes them. We must take the Truth of God and roll it over and over again inthe inward parts of our spirit,and so we shall extract Divine nourishment from it.
Have you not, my Brothers and Sisters, frequently found a Benjamin's mess prepared for you in a choice promise of your God?Is not meditation the land of Goshen to you? If men once said, "There is corn in Egypt," may they not always say that thefinest of the wheat is to be found in secret prayer?Private devotion is a land which flows with milk and honey-a Paradise yielding all manner of fruits-a banqueting house ofchoice wines. Ahasuerus might make a great feast, but all his hundred and twenty provinces could not furnish such daintiesas the closet offers tothe spiritual mind! Where can we feed and lie down in green pastures in so sweet a sense as we do in our musings on theWord?
Meditation distils the quintessence from the Scriptures and gladdens our mouth with a sweetness which exceeds the virgin honeydropping from the honeycomb. Your retired seasons and occasions of prayer should be to you regal entertainments, or at leastrefreshing seasons, in which, like the reapersat noonday, you sit with Boaz and eat of your Master's generous provisions. "The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain"-you who haveread that excellent book will remember- was custom to say, "that when he was lonely and when his wallet was empty, his Biblewas to him meat anddrink and company, too." He is not the only man who has found a fullness in the Word when there is want without.
During the battle of Waterloo a godly soldier, mortally wounded, was carried by his comrade into the rear, and being placedwith his back propped up against a tree, he besought his friend to open his knapsack and take out the Bible which he had carriedin it. "Read to me," he said, "one verse,before I close my eyes in death." His comrade read him that verse-"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: notas the world gives, give I unto you." And there, fresh from the whistling of the bullets, the roll of the drum, and the tempestof human conflict, thatbelieving spirit enjoyed such holy calm that before he fell asleep in the arms of Jesus, he said, "Yes, I have a peace withGod which passes all understanding, which keeps my heart and mind through Jesus Christ." Saints most surely have their mealtimeswhen they are alone inmeditation.
Let us not forget that there is one specially ordained mealtime which ought to occur oftener, but which, even monthly, isvery refreshing to us. I mean the Supper of the Lord. There you have literally, as well as spiritually, a meal. The tableis richly spread. It has upon it both meat and drink.There is the bread and the wine, and looking at what these symbolize, we have before us a table richer than that which kingscould furnish. There we have the flesh and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which if a man eats, he shall never hungerand never thirst, for that breadshall be unto him everlasting life.
Oh, the sweet seasons we have known at the Lord's Supper! If some of you really did understand the enjoyment of feeding uponChrist in that ordinance, you would chide yourselves for not having united with the Church in fellowship! In keeping the Master'scommandments there is a "great reward," andconsequently, in neglecting them there is a great loss of reward. Christ is not so tied to the Sacramental table as to bealways found of those who partake there, but still it is in the way that we may expect the Lord to meet with us. "If you loveMe, keep My commandments"-itis a sentence of touching power. "And His commandments are not grievous," is the confession of all obedient sons.
Sitting at this table, our soul has mounted up from the emblem to the reality. We have eaten bread in the kingdom of God andhave leaned our head upon Jesus' bosom. "He brought me to the banqueting house and His banner over me was love." On theseoccasions we may compare ourselves to poorMephibosheth, who though lame and despicable in his own esteem, yet was made to sit at King David's table. Or we may likenourselves to the little ewe lamb in the parable which did eat of its Master's bread and drink from his cup and slept in hisbosom. The prodigal, who once fedupon husks, sits down to eat the bread of children. We, who were worthy to be esteemed as dogs, are here permitted to takethe place of adopted sons and daughters.
Besides these regular mealtimes, there are others which God gives us, at seasons when perhaps we little expect them. You havebeen walking the street and suddenly you have felt a holy flowing out of your soul toward God. Or, in the middle of businessyour heart has been melted with love and made toleap for joy even as the brooks which have been bound with winter's ice leap to feel the touch of spring. You have beengroaning, dull and earth-bound. But the sweet love of Jesus has embraced you when you scarcely thought of it, and your spirit,all free and all on fire, hasrejoiced to dance before the Lord with tambourines and high-sounding cymbals, like Miriam of old.
I have had times occasionally in preaching when I would gladly have kept on far beyond the appointed hour, for my happy soulwas like a vessel wanting vent. Seasons, too, you have had on your sick-beds when you would have been content to be sick always,if you could have your bed so well made andyour head so softly pillowed-
"These are the joys He lets us know In fields and viilages below- Gives us a relish of His love, But keeps His noble feast above."
Our blessed Redeemer sometimes comes to us in the morning and wakes us up with such sweet thoughts upon our soul, we knownot how they came. And when the dew is visiting the flowers in the cool eventide, sometimes a few drops of Heaven's dew fallsupon us, too. And as we have gone to our beds, ourmeditation of Him has been sweet. And in the night watches, when we tossed to and fro and could not sleep, He has been pleasedto become our song in the night-
"He is the spring of all my joys, The life of my delights; The glory of my brightest days, And comfort of my nights."
God's reapers find it hard work to reap. But they find a blessed solace when they sit down and eat of their Master's richprovisions. Then, with renewed strength they go with sharpened sickles to reap again in the noontide heat.
Let me observe that while these mealtimes come, even though we know not exactly when, there are certain seasons when we mayexpect them. The Eastern reapers generally sit down under the shelter of a tree, or a booth, to take refreshment during theheat of the day. And I am certain that whentrouble, affliction, persecution and bereavement become the most painful to us, it is then that the Lord hands out to usthe sweetest comforts. As we said last Thursday night, some promises are written in sympathetic ink and can only have theirmeaning brought out by holding thembefore the fire of affliction.
Some verses of Scripture must be held to the fire till they are scorched before the glorious meaning will stand forth, inclear letters, before our eyes. We must work till the hot sun forces the sweat from our face. We must bear the burden andheat of the day before we can expect to be invited tothose choice meals which the Lord prepares for those who are diligent in His work. When your day of trouble is the hottest,then the love of Jesus shall be sweetest. When your night of trial is the darkest, then will His candle shine most brightlyabout you. When your head achesmost severely. When your heart palpitates most terribly. When heart and flesh fail you-then He will be the strength of yourlife and your portion forever.
Again, these mealtimes frequently occur before a trial. Elijah must be entertained beneath a juniper tree, for he is to goa forty days' journey in the strength of that meat. You may suspect some danger near when your delights are overflowing. Ifyou see a ship taking in great quantities ofprovision, it is bound for a distant port. And when God gives you extraordinary seasons of communion with Jesus, you maylook for long leagues of tempestuous sea. Sweet cordials prepare us for stern conflicts. Times of refreshing also occur aftertrouble or arduous service. Christwas tempted by the devil, and afterwards angels came and ministered unto Him.
Jacob wrestled with God and then afterwards, at Mahanaim, hosts of angels met him. Abraham wars with the kings and returnsfrom their slaughter. Then is it that Melchisedek refreshes him with bread and wine. After conflict, content. After battle,banquet. When you have waited on your Lord, then youshall sit down and your Master will gird Himself and wait upon you. Yes, let the worldling say what he will about the hardnessof religion, we do not find it so. We do confess that reaping is no child's play-that toiling for Christ has its difficultiesand its troubles. Butstill the bread which we eat is very sweet and the wine which we drink is crushed from celestial clusters-
"I would not change my blessed estate For all the world calls good or great And while my faith can keep her hold, I envy notthe sinner's gold."
II. Follow me while we turn to a second point. TO THESE MEALS THE GLEANER IS AFFECTIONATELY INVITED. That is to say, the poortrembling stranger who has not strength enough to reap-who has no right to be in the field, except the right of charity. Thepoor trembling sinner, conscious of hisown demerit and feeling but little hope and little joy. To the meals of the strong-handed, fully-assured reaper, the gleaneris invited. The gleaner is invited, in the text, to come. "At mealtime, come you here." We have known some who felt ashamedto come to the House of God. Butwe trust you will, none of you, be kept away from the place of feasting by any shame on account of your dress, or your personalcharacter, or your poverty-no, nor even on account of your physical infirmities. "At mealtime come you here."
I have heard of a deaf woman who could never hear a sound, and yet she was always in the House of God. And when asked why,her reply was, "Because a friend found her the text and then God was pleased to give her many a sweet thought upon the textwhile she sat in his House. Besides," she said, "shefelt that as a Believer, she ought to honor God by her presence in His courts, and recognize her union with His people.And, better still, she always liked to be in the best of company. And as the Presence of God was there, and the holy angelsand the saints of the MostHigh-whether she could hear or not-she would go."
There is a Brother whose face I seldom miss from this House. He, I believe, has never in his life heard a sound, and cannotmake an articulate utterance Yet he is a joyful Believer and loves the place where God's honor dwells. Well, now, I thinkif such persons find pleasure in coming, we who canhear, though we feel our unworthiness-though we are conscious that we are not fit to come-should be desirous to be laidin the House of God, as the sick were at the pool of Be-thesda, hoping that the waters may be stirred, and that we may stepin and be healed. TremblingSoul, never let the temptations of the devil keep you from God's House. "At mealtime come you here."
Moreover, she was bid not only to come, but to eat. Now, whatever there is sweet and comfortable in the Word of God, you thatare of a broken and contrite spirit, are invited to partake of it. "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners"-sinnerssuch as you are. "In due time Christ diedfor the ungodly"-for such ungodly ones as you feel yourselves to be. You are desiring, this morning, to be Christ's. Well,you may be Christ's. You are saying in your heart, "O that I could eat the children's bread!" You may eat it. You say, "Ihave no right." But He gives youthe invitation! Come without any other right than the right of His invitation. I know you will say how unworthy you are-
"Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream."
But since Christ bids you, "come," take Him at His word. And if there is a promise, believe it. If there is rich consolation,drink it. If there is an encouraging word, accept it and let the sweetness of it be yours. Note further, that she was notonly invited to eat the bread, but to dip hermorsel in the vinegar. We must not look upon this as being some sour stuff. No doubt there are crabbed souls in the Churchwho always dip their morsel in the sourest imaginable vinegar, and with a grim liberality invite others to share a littlecomfortable misery with them. But thevinegar in my text is altogether another thing.
This was either a compound of various sweets extracted from fruits, or else it was that weak kind of wine mingled with waterwhich is still commonly used in the harvest fields of Italy and the warmer parts of the world-a drink not exceedingly strong,but excellently cooling and good enough toimpart a relish to the reapers' food. It was, to use the only word which will give the meaning, a sauce which the Orientalsused with their bread. As we use butter, or as they on other occasions used oil, so in the harvest field, believing it tohave cooling properties, they usedwhat is here called vinegar.
Beloved, the Lord's reapers have sauce with their bread. They have sweet consolations. They have not merely doctrines, butthe holy unction which is the essence of doctrines. They have not merely the Truths of God, but a hallowed and ravishing delightaccompanies the Truths. Take, for instance, thedoctrine of election, which is like the bread. There is a sauce to dip that in. When I can say, "He loved me before thefoundations of the world," the personal application, the personal enjoyment of my interest in the Truth of God becomes a sauceinto which I dip my morsel.
And you, poor Gleaner, are invited to dip your morsel in it, too. I used to hear people sing that hymn of Toplady's, whichbegins-
"A debtor to mercy alone, Of Covenant mercy I sing; Nor fear with Your righteousness on, My person and offerings to bring."
And rises to its climax-
"Yes, I to the end shall endure, As sure as the earnest is given; More happy, but not more secure, The glorified spirits inHeaven." And I used to think I could never sing that hymn. It was the sauce, you know. I might manage to eat some of the plainbread, but I could not dip it in that sauce. Itwas too high doctrine, too sweet, too consoling. But I thank God I have since ventured to dip my morsel in it and now Ihardly like my bread without it.
I would have every trembling sinner be prepared to take the comfortable parts of God's Word, even those called "HIGH." I hope,Brothers and Sisters, you will never grow as some Christians do-who like all sauce and no bread. There are some high-flyingBrothers and Sisters who must have nothingbut the vinegar. And very sour it turns upon their stomachs, too. I hope you will love the bread. A little of the vinegar,a little of the spice, and much savor. But let us keep to the bread as well. Let us love all revealed Truth of God. And ifthere is a trembling gleaner here,let me invite and persuade her to come here, to eat the bread and to dip her morsel in the sauce.
Now I think I see her and she is half prepared to come. She is very hungry, and she has brought nothing with her this morning.But she begins to say, "I have no right to come, for I am not a reaper. I do nothing for Christ. I did not even come herethis morning to honor Him. I came here, asgleaners go into a corn field, from a selfish motive, to pick up what
I could for myself. And all the religion that I have lies in this-the hope that I may be saved. I do not glorify God. I dono good to other people. I am only a selfish gleaner. I am not a reaper."
Ah, but you are invited to come. Make no questions about it. Boaz bids you. Take his invitation and enter at once. But, yousay, "I am such a poor gleaner. Though it is all for myself, yet it is little I get at it. I get a few thoughts while thesermon is being preached, but I lose them before Ireach home." I know you do, poor weak-handed Woman. But still, Jesus invites you. Come! Take the sweet promise as He presentsit to you, and let no bashfulness of yours send you home hungry. "But," you say, "I am a stranger. You do not know my sins,my sinfulness, and thewaywardness of my heart."
But Jesus does. And Jesus still invites you! He knows you are but a Moabitess, a stranger from the commonwealth of Israel.But He bids you! Is not that enough? "Eat the bread and dip your morsel in the vinegar." "But," you say, "I owe so much toHim already. It is so good of Him to spare myforfeited life and so tender of Him to let me hear the Gospel preached at all. I cannot have the presumption to be an intruderand sit with the reapers." Oh, but He bids you. There is more presumption in your doubting than there could be in your believing.HE bids you! Will yourefuse Boaz? Shall Jesus' lips give the invitation, and will you say no?
Come, now, come. Remember that the little which Ruth could eat did not make Boaz any the poorer. And all that you want willmake Christ none the less glorious, or full of Grace. What? Are your necessities large? Yes? But His supplies are larger!Do you require great mercy? He is a great Savior. Itell you that His mercy is no more to be exhausted than the sea is to be drained. Or than the sun is to be rendered dimby the excess of the light which he pours forth today. Come! There is enough for you, and Boaz will not be hurt by what youget.
Moreover, let me tell you a secret-Jesus loves you. Therefore it is that He would have you feed at His table. If you are nowa longing, trembling sinner, willing to be saved, but conscious that you deserve it not, Jesus loves you, Sinner, and He willtake more delight in seeing you eat thanyou will take in the eating! Let the sweet love He feels in His soul toward you draw you to Him. And what is more-but thisis a great secret and must only be whispered in your ear-He intends to be married to you. And when you are married to Him,why, the fields will beyours! For, of course, if you are the spouse, you are joint-proprietor with Him.
Is it not so? Does not the wife share with the husband? All those promises which are, "yes, and Amen in Christ" shall be yours-no,they all are yours NOW, for, "the man is next of kin unto you," and before long He will spread His skirt over you and takeyou unto Himself forever, espousing youin faithfulness and truth and righteousness. Will you not eat of your own? "Oh, but," says one, "how can it be? I am a stranger."Yes, a stranger-but Jesus Christ loves the stranger. "A publican, a sinner." But He is "the Friend of publicans and sinners.""An outcast." But He"gathers together the outcasts of Israel." "A stray sheep." But the Shepherd "leaves the ninety and nine" to seek it. "Alost piece of money." But He "sweeps the house" to find you. "A prodigal son." But He sets the bells a ringing when He knowsthat you will return. Come, Ruth!Come, trembling Gleaner! Jesus invites you-accept the invitation. "At mealtime come you here and eat of the bread and dipyour morsel in the vinegar."
III. Now, thirdly-and here is a very sweet point in the narrative. BOAZ REACHED HER THE PARCHED CORN. "She did come and eat."Where did she sit? You notice she "sat beside the reapers." She did not feel that she was one of them-she "sat beside" them.Just as some of you do, who do notcome down in the evening to the Lord's Supper, but sit in the gallery. You are sitting "beside the reapers." You are sittingthis morning as if you were not one of us- had no right to be among the people of God-still you will sit beside us.
If there is a good thing to be had and you cannot get it, you will get as near as you can to those who do. You think thereis some comfort even in looking on at the gracious feast. "She sat beside the reapers." And while she was sitting there, whathappened? Did she stretch forth her hand and getthe food herself? No, it is written, "HE reached her the parched corn." Ah, that is it. I give the invitation, Brothersand Sisters, today-give it earnestly, affectionately, sincerely. But I know very well that while I give it, no trembling heartwill accept it unless the KingHimself comes near and feasts His saints today.
He must reach the parched corn. He must give you to drink of "the juice of the spiced wine of His pomegranate." How does Hedo this? By His gracious Spirit. He first of all inspires your faith. You are afraid to think it can be true, that such asinner as you is accepted in the Beloved. He breathesupon you, and your faint hope becomes an expectancy-and that expectation buds and blossoms into an appropriating faith,which says, "Yes, my Beloved is mine, and His desire is toward me." Having done this, the Savior does more. He sheds abroadthe love of God in your heart.The love of Christ is like sweet perfume in a box.
Now, He who put the perfume in the box is the only Person that knows how to take the lid off. He, with His own skillful hands,takes the lid from the box. Then it is, "shed abroad," like "ointment poured forth." You know it may be there, and yet notbe shed abroad. As you walk in the woods theremay be a hare or a partridge there, and yet you may never see them. But when you startle them, and they fly or run beforeyou, then you perceive them. And there may be the love of God in your heart, not in exercise, but still there. And at lastyou may have the privilege of seeingit-seeing your love mount with wings to Heaven, and your faith running without weariness. Christ must shed abroad that love-HisSpirit must put your Graces into exercise.
But Jesus does more than this. He reaches the parched corn with His own hands when He gives us close communion with Him. Donot think that this is a dream! I tell you there is such a thing as talking with Christ today. As certainly as I can talkwith my dearest friend, or find solace in the companyof my beloved wife, so surely may I speak with Jesus, and find intense delight in the company of Immanuel. It is not a fiction!We do not worship a far-off Savior. He is a God near at hand. We do not adore Him as One who is gone away to Heaven, and whonever can be approached. ButHe is near us, in our mouth, and in our heart. And we do, today, walk with Him as the elect did of old-and commune withHim as His Apostles did on earth-not after the flesh, it is true, but spiritual men value spiritual communion-better thanany carnal fellowship.
Yet once more let me add the Lord Jesus is pleased to reach the parched corn, in the best sense, when the Spirit gives usthe infallible witness within, that we are "born of God." A man may know that he is a Christian infallibly. Philip de Morny,who lived in the time of Prince Henry of Navarre,was accustomed to say that the Holy Spirit had made his own salvation to him as clear a point as ever a problem proved toa demonstration in Euclid could be. You know with what mathematical precision the scholar of Euclid solves a problem or provesa proposition! And just the same,with as absolute a precision, as certainly as twice two are four, we may, "know that we have passed from death unto life."The sun in the heavens is not more clear to the eye than his own salvation to an assured Believer-such a man would as soondoubt his own existence, assuspect his interest in eternal life!
Now let the prayer be breathed by poor Ruth, who is trembling yonder. Lord, reach me the parched corn! "Draw me, we will runafter You." Lord, send Your love into my heart-
"Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, With all Your quickening powers, Come, shed abroad a Savior's love, And that shall kindleours." There is no getting at Christ, except by Christ revealing Himself to us.
IV. And now the last point. After Boaz had reached the parched corn, we are told that, "SHE DID EAT, AND WAS SUFFICED, ANDLEFT." So shall it be with every Ruth. Sooner or later every penitent shall become a Believer. There may be a space of deepconviction and a period of much hesitation. But, byGod's Grace, there shall come a season when the soul decides for the Lord. If I perish, I perish. I will go as I am to Jesus.I will not play the fool any longer with my buts and ifs. Since He bids me believe that He died for me, I will believe it,and will trust His Cross for mysalvation. And oh, whenever you shall be privileged to do this, you shall be "satisfied." "She did eat and was satisfied."
Your head shall be satisfied with the precious Truth which Christ reveals. Your heart shall be content with Jesus, as thealtogether lovely Object of affection. Your hope shall be satisfied, for whom have you in Heaven but Christ? Your desiresshall be satiated, for what can even the hunger of yourdesire wish for more than "to know Christ and to be found in Him"? You shall find Jesus fills your conscience till it isat perfect peace. He shall fill your judgment till you know the certainty of His teachings. He shall fill your memory withrecollections of what He did, and fillyour imagination with the prospects of what He is yet to do. You shall be "satisfied." Still, still it shall be true, thatyou shall leave something. "She was satisfied and she left."
Some of us have had deep draughts. We have thought that we could take in all of Christ. But when we have done our best, wehave had to leave a vast remainder. We have sat down with a ravenous appetite at the table of the Lord's love and said, "Now,nothing but the infinite can ever satisfy me. I amsuch a great sinner that I must have infinite merit to wash my sin away." But we have had our sin removed and found thatthere was merit to spare. We have had our hunger relieved and found that there was a redundancy for others who were in a similarcase.
There are certain sweet things in the Word of God which you and I have not enjoyed yet, and which we cannot enjoy yet. Weare obliged to leave them for a while. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot hear them now." There is aknowledge to which we have not attained-a placeof fellowship nearer yet to Christ. There are heights of communion which as yet our feet have not climbed-virgin snows uponthe mountain untrod by the foot of man. There is yet a beyond, and there will be a forever.
But please notice-it is not in the text, but it is recorded a verse or two further on, what she did with her leavings. Itis a very bad habit, I believe, at feasts, to carry anything home with you. But she did, for that which was left she tookhome. And when she reached Naomi and showed herthe quantity of wheat in her apron, after she had asked, "Where have you gleaned today?" and had received the answer, shegave to Naomi a portion of that which she had reserved after she was sufficed. So it shall be even with you, poor Tremblers,who think you have no right to anyfor yourselves. You shall be able to eat and be quite satisfied-and what is more-you shall have a morsel to carry to othersin a like condition.
I am always pleased to find the young Believer beginning to pocket something for other people. When you hear a sermon, youthink, "Well, poor mother cannot get out today, I will tell her something about it. There now, that point will just suit her.I will take that, even if I forget everythingelse. I will tell her that by the bedside. There is my brother William, who will not come with me to Chapel. I wish he would.But now, there was something which struck me in the sermon and when I get close to him, I will tell him that. Then I willask, 'Will you not come thisevening?' I will tell him those portions which interested me. Perhaps they will interest him."
There are your children in the Sunday school class. You say, "That illustration will do for them." I think sometimes, whenI see you putting down my metaphors on little scraps of paper, that you may remember to tell somebody else. I would gladlygive more where they are so well used. I would letfall an extra handful on purpose, that there may be enough for you and for your friends. There is an abominable spirit ofself among some professors, prompting them to eat their morsels alone. They get the honey. It is a forest full of honey, likeJonathan's woods. And yet they areafraid- afraid lest they should eat it all up-so they try to maintain a monopoly.
I know some congregations which seem, to me, to be sort of spiritual protectionists. They are afraid Heaven will be too full,that there will not be room enough for them. When an invitation is given to a sinner, they do not like it-it is too open,too general. And when there is a meltingheart and a tearful eye for the conversion of other people, they feel quite out of their element. They never know what itis to take home that which is left and give to others. Cultivate an unselfish spirit. Seek to love as you have been loved.Remember that "the Law and theProphets" lie in this-to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself."
How can you love your neighbor as yourself if you do not love his soul? You have loved your own soul-through Divine Graceyou have been led to lay hold on Jesus. Love your neighbor's soul, and never be satisfied till you see him in the enjoymentof those things which are the charm of yourlife and the joy of your spirit. I do not know how to give my invitation in a more comfortable way. But as we are sittingdown to feed at His Table in the evening of this day, I pray the Master to reach a large handful of parched corn to some tremblingsinner, and enable him to eatand be satisfied.