Sermon 867. Tearful Sowing and Joyful Reaping
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, APRIL 25, 1869, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves withhim."- Psalm 126:6.
THE whole of our life we are sowing. In activity, in suffering, in thought, in word we are always scattering imperishableseed. Some sow amidst laughter and merriment-they sow unto the lusts of the flesh and shall of the flesh reap corruption.Theirs is easy work and suitable to their inclinations. All around them siren songs cheer them in the fields of transgressionas they go forth with the seed of hemlock to scatter it broadcast in the furrows. Alas, for them, they shall reap under otherskies-they shall gather sheaves of flame in the harvest of fire-in the day of vengeance of our God. They have sown the windand they shall reap the whirlwind and who shall help them in that hour of terror?
A chosen company are sowing unto the spirit and in their case, albeit that they are blessed among men and shall reap amideternal songs, they sow in sadness, for sowing unto the spirit involves a self-denial, a struggling against the flesh, a runningcounter to the fallen instincts of our depraved nature-a wrestling and a life of agony involving plentiful showers of tears.To sow unto the spirit, in the field of obedience or patient endurance, is such a work as only the Holy Spirit can enableus to accomplish. And even then the oppositions from outward circumstances, from the powers of Hell and from the depravityof our nature is oftentimes so severe that we are compelled with bitter tears and strong cries to lift up our heart unto Godout of the depths of anguish.
They who sow unto the spirit, as a rule, have to sow in tears, but their reaping will so compensate them that even in theprospect of it they may dry their eyes, reckoning that these light afflictions which are but for a moment, are not worthyto be compared with the Glory which shall be revealed in them. Our momentary weeping, while we let fall the precious seed,is scarcely to be thought of in comparison with the mighty sheaves of the exceeding Glory in the land where tears are Divinelyand finally wiped from every eye.
The principle that the mournful sowing of the saints will end in a joyful reaping stands good in regard to the whole spirituallife, but it is equally applicable to individual incidents in that life. For instance, many prayers are offered under circumstancesof great depression of spirit, with mighty vehemence and desire, but perhaps under strong temptations to unbelief. Over suchprayers, cataracts of tears are poured forth, and, Brethren, you may count it a blessed sign when you can sigh and cry inyour supplications, for your tears are like the prevalent wrestling of Jacob when he won the name of Israel. Your agony ofspirit, like the plea of Moses, shall hold the Lord and bind His hand.
There is a conquering power in the heart's tears in prayer. You shall have what you desire when you desire it unto weeping.Take the anguish of your spirit to be the premonition of the fulfillment of the promise. You shall come again out of yourcloset crying, like Luther, "I have conquered." You shall see sheaves of blessing, since you have sown your prayer amid ashower of tears.
Some Believers also sow in sadness through daily sufferings. It is appointed unto some to be the daughters of affliction,the sons of pain. Happy is it when those who are thus called to suffer continue to sow while they suffer. It is not alwaysso easy to be practically useful when one has at the same time to maintain patience and resignation. We are apt to think thatone form of service at a time is enough and perhaps it may be so, but if we can add another, our blessedness will be doubled!To shed tears and yet to sow! To be racked with pain and to turn the couch into a pulpit! To make the sick bed a tribune fromwhich to tell of the love of Christ-oh, this is blessed living! To work for Christ Jesus under such terrible disadvantagesshall surely win a double recompense-and if the preacher fails from the pulpit-yet shall not the sick saint be successfulfrom his bed?
And if the orator shall not prevail in the strength of his manhood, yet shall the pining consumptive, when he warns his friendto escape from the wrath to come, assuredly win success-his weakness shall be his strength and his sickness shall put forceinto his speech. I doubt not that the text may be so read as to imply that the heart-sorrow of men engaged in the Lord's serviceshall help to secure for them from the hand of Divine mercy a double reward. Those who can sow while yet they weep, shall,beyond all question, come again rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.
There are many other instances which I might thus detain you with, but I prefer at once to proceed to the main business ofthis morning and that is to consider this text in its relation to every Christian worker. Let us first describe his service-"Hethat goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed." Let us, secondly, contemplate his reward-"He shall come again with rejoicing,bearing his sheaves with him." Let us in the third place, notice the certainty which, like a golden link, binds these twothings together-the weeping service and the rejoicing success.
I. First, then, dear Friends, behold THE CHOSEN WORKER FOR GOD, the man who shall reap an abundant harvest. It is said ofhim that he goes forth. Every word here is instructive. What is intended by going forth? Does it mean, first, that he goesforth from God? Observe that our text speaks of his coming again-but where is he to return at the last with his sheaves butto his God? Then, as he returns to the place from which he went forth, surely he goes forth from God! And I understand bythis that the chosen servant of God has received consciously a Divine commission from Heaven.
If he has never in the temple seen the glory of God, high and lifted up. If he has never seen an angel fly with the goldentongs to bear a live coal from off the altar to touch his lips. If he has never heard the voice saying, "Whom shall we send?And who will go for us?" yet his heart has said, "Here am I, send me." He has felt within his soul a yearning to be useful,a panting which could no more be quenched, unless he can win souls, than the panting of the deer could be stopped unless itcould bath itself in the water brooks. I will not believe that any man can be useful in the Church of God unless he feelsa Divine vocation. Especially is it a sin beyond all others for a man to take up the ministry as a mere profession and tofollow it as though he might have followed something else.
I remember the saying of an old divine who was asked by a young man whether he should enter the ministry. He replied, "Notif you can help it." No man has any right to be a preacher unless he is one who cannot help it. He must be one who feels thathe is driven into it, and that woe is unto him unless he preach the Gospel! In the same way is it in the other departmentsof Christian service. You Christian people all have a duty, you all have responsibilities-but your duties and responsibilities,somehow or other, never move you until they take the active form of a vocation. I would to God that every Christian in thisChurch felt that he had a call as from the Christ of God exalted on His Throne to go out and tell others of the way of salvation!
I wish that the men and women who have here banded themselves together in a sacred confraternity felt every one of them commissionedof God, each one according to his ability, to pluck brands from the burning, to rescue souls from going down into the Pit.It is in going forth from God with His call upon you that you have the prospect of coming back successful-no way else! Thisgoing forth from God seems to me to imply that the worker had been with God in prayer. We must go fresh from the Mercy Seatto the field of service if we would gather plenteously. Our truest strength lies in prayer.
I am persuaded, Brethren, that we are losing much of blessing which might come upon the Church through our negligence in privatesupplications. I cannot pry into your prayer closets, but I believe that in the conscience of many of you there will be anaffirmative voice to the charge I lay against some of you-you have restrained prayer before God. Your restraining of prayer,if you seek to serve God, is binding your own hands and cutting the sinews of your strength! As you could not expect to bevigorous if you denied yourselves food, so neither can you hope to be strong if you deny yourselves prayer. Get close to God,for strength flows out of Him. Keep at a distance from Him and you lose all power and become weak as water.
"He that goes forth," must mean, then, that he has stood before the Mercy Seat. That he has told out the story of his needswhere the blood is sprinkled and then has gone forth in the power which prayer alone can bring from Heaven to scatter hisprecious seed among men. Does not this going forth from God imply, also, that the man has been in communion with God? He wearsa shining face who has looked into the face of God and in the power of that brightness he shall make the desert bloom andthe wilderness rejoice! He has looked up to the God of miracles and held fellowship
with Him! The Lord lends much of Himself to the man who is much with Him. He endows with marvelous power the man who has learnedto live close to Him and to walk in the light of His Countenance.
To "go forth," however, may be looked at from another angle. Does it not refer to whether the man is to go as well as to theplace from which he comes? "He that goes forth," that is, away from the world, outside the camp. If you would be serviceable,you must come right out from the common track and in holy decision step out of the ranks for Christ. Of all the men who livedon the face of the earth, the most remarkable and the most singular in His age was the Lord Jesus Christ. There was no manwho was so manly, no man so unlike a mere monk or separatist as Christ. He eat and drank just as other men did and yet therewas a something about His Character which distinguished Him altogether from the whole mass of humanity.
He had gone forth, evidently, outside the camp-holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. If you want to win goldensheaves for Christ, you must come out, my dear Brother, as your Lord did. Depend upon it, the world's religion is not thatwhich breeds useful men! Nor, though I may be rebuked for saying it, is the ordinary character of our Churches equal to theproduction of successful servants of Christ. Common religion has become, nowadays, so cold and dead and sleepy a thing, thatunless you can come out of it and get above it, you cannot expect to be one of those who shall come again rejoicing in abundantsheaves.
Aspire to be something more than the mass of Church members! Lift up your cry to God and beseech Him to fire you with a noblerambition than that which possesses the common Christian-that you may be found faithful unto God at the last and may win manycrowns for your Lord and Master, Christ. He that goes forth taking up Christ's Cross, leaving the multitude and separatinghimself for service-he shall win the great service! Going forth may represent, also, entire giving up of yourself to thatparticular field of labor to which God has called you. As when the day dawns, as the laborer goes forth to plow in the field,so the consecrated man hastens to his department of service.
He is not running here and there wasting time, but, like a man who knows his vocation, he goes straight to it and abides init until the evening of his life. I am inclined to think that there is a version of these words which may be very useful toenterprising Believers. "He that goes forth"-that is, gets beyond the range of ordinary Christian labor-he shall find a doubleharvest. The most successful servants of God have been those who have not built upon other men's foundations, but have venturedto break up new soil.
There comes very little reward to me from preaching to the many who regularly attend this Tabernacle, because the most ofyou have heard the Gospel so long that if there were any probabilities of its converting you, in all likelihood you wouldhave been converted long ago. The probabilities seem to be that the soil upon which the seed will germinate is already plowedand only rock remains-that the elect of God have been gathered out of my congregation and that we may not expect, in our ministry,to see great results in the future among our older hearers. But whenever we have broken up fresh ground-when we have gonesomeplace not usually occupied for worship, when we have got at a new piece of unbroken prairie-what wonderful results havealways followed!
Why, I fear there were more conversions in the Surrey Music Hall than there ever have been here. In Exeter Hall, God convertedmore in proportion by our ministry than He has done of late in this house-not because the ministry has changed, nor the blessingupon it-but because continuing to plow upon the same old soil, again and again, we can hardly expect to reap much of a harvest!Hearts have become seared! Consciences have become callous! By going forth to get fresh ears to hear and fresh hearts to knowthe joyful sound, we may hope to see golden sheaves.
I say, then, to you Christian workers, reach out after those who have been thought to be beyond the range of hope! Seek toconvert those who have been neglected! Let it be the effort of Christian people to go after those that nobody else is goingafter-the best fruit will be gleaned from boughs up to now untouched. And let our missionary operations be continually breakingforth, on the right hand and on the left, as opportunity may be given. If the Burmans rejected the Gospel, the Karens receivedit. Sometimes, when a superior race, so called, has rejected the Truth of God, those who have been downtrodden pariahs ofthe land have been made ready by God to accept the Gospel.
There is more hope, I think, of conversion work to be done in Italy and in Spain than in any other parts of the world. Wherethe ministry of Christ has been all but silenced, the Truth will come like an angel's hymn and there it is that we may expectto hear glad hearts welcoming the Good News. "He that goes forth"-not he that sits at home, throwing random handfuls out ofhis window and expecting the corn to spring up on his doorstep-but he who obeys the Word,
"Go you into all the world," and leaps over the hedges which shut in the narrow sphere of nominal Christendom and labors tohave fresh lands, fresh provinces, fresh wildernesses broken up for Christ! He is the man most likely to win the
The next word is, "and weeps." What does this mean? I take it, Brethren, that, as in the first words, "he that goes forth,"we see the man's mode of service, so here we note a little of the man, himself. He goes forth and weeps. The man likely tobe successful is a man of like passions with ourselves, not an angel, but a man, for he weeps. But then he is very much aman. He is a man of strong passions, weeping because he has a sensitive heart. The man who sleeps, the man who can be contentto do nothing and is satisfied with no result is not the man to win sheaves. God chooses, usually, not men of great brainsand a vast mind, but men of true-hearted, deep natures-with souls that can desire and pant and long and heave and throb!
It is a great thing that makes a genuine man weep. Tears do not lie quite so fleet with most of us. But the man who cannotweep cannot preach, at least, if he never feels tears within, even if they do not show themselves without, he can scarcelybe the man to handle such themes as those which God has committed to His people's charge. If you would be useful, dear Brothersand Sisters, you must cultivate the sacred passions. You must think much upon the Divine realities until they move and stiryour souls. Men are dying and perishing! Hell is filling! Christ is dishonored! Souls are not converted to Christ! The HolySpirit is grieved! The kingdom does not come to God, but Satan rules and reigns-all this ought to be well considered by usand our heart ought to be stirred until, like the Prophet, we say, "O that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears."
The useful worker for Christ is a man of tenderness, not a stoic-not one who does not care whether souls are saved or not.He is not one so wrapped up in the thought of Divine Sovereignty as to be absolutely petrified, but one who feels as if hedied in the death of sinners and perished in their ruin-as though he could only be made happy in their happiness, or finda paradise in their being caught up to Heaven. The weeping, then, shows you what kind of man it is whom the Lord of the Harvestlargely employs.
He is a man in earnest, a man of tenderness, a man in love with souls, a man wrapped up in his calling, a man carried awaywith compassion, a man who feels for sinners-in a word, a Christ-like man. Not a stone, but a man who is touched with a feelingof our infirmities, a man of heart, a man ready to weep because sinners will not weep. "Why does he weep?" asks someone-"Heis on an honorable work and he is to have a glorious reward." My Brethren, he weeps as he goes forth because he feels hisown insufficiency. He often sighs within himself, "Who is sufficient for these things?" He did not know what a weak creaturehe was until he came into contact with other men's hearts. He fancied it was easy work to serve God, but now he is somewhatof Joshua's mind, "You cannot serve the Lord."
Every effort that he makes betrays to him his own lack of natural strength. Well may he weep! He never teaches in the Sundayschool class-he never prays at the sick bed but what he feels ashamed when he has done his work that he did not do it better.He never takes a little child on his knee to talk to it of Jesus, but he wishes that he could have spoken more tenderly ofthe sweet gentleness of the Lover of little children. He is never satisfied with himself, for he forms a right estimate ofhimself and he weeps to think that he is so poor an instrument for so good a Master.
Moreover, he weeps because of the hardness of men's hearts. He thought, at first, he should only have to tell these greatTruths of God and men would leap for joy. Have you ever seen fancy pictures at the head of our missionary magazines-of respectablegentlemen dressed in black suits, landing out of boats manned by devout sailors, carrying Bibles in their hands-and thesewell-to-do evangelists are surrounded by Turks and Chinese, black people, and copper-colored people, who are running downto the seashore and taking these precious Bibles in their hands and looking as if they had found a priceless treasure?
All, it is all in the picture, it is nowhere else-the thing does not occur! Natives of barbarous isles and heathen kingdomsdo not receive the Gospel in that way. Heralds of the Cross have to do a deal of rough work and toil! The Gospel, which oughtto be welcomed, is rejected! And as there was no room for Christ in the inn when He became Incarnate, so there is no roomfor the Gospel in the hearts of mankind. Yes, and this makes us weep, since where there should be so much readiness to accept,there is so much obstinacy and rebellion.
The Christian worker weeps because, when he does see some signs of success, he is often disappointed. Blossoms come not tobe fruit, or fruit half-ripe drops from the tree. He has to weep before God, oftentimes, because he is afraid that
these failures may be the result of his own lack of tact or need of Divine Grace. I marvel not that the minister weeps, orthat any worker for Christ bedews the seed with his tears-the wonder is he does not lament far more than he does! Perhapswe should all weep more if we were more Christ-like, more what we should be. And perhaps our working would have about it moreDivine results if it came more out of our very soul, if we played less at soul-saving and worked more at it. If we cast souland strength and every energy of our being into the work, perhaps God would reward us at a far greater rate.
The next point is he "bearsprecious seed." Here, indeed, is a special point of all success. There is no soul-winning by untruthfulpreaching. We must preach the Truth of God as it is in Jesus. Workers for God must tell out the Gospel and keep to the Gospel.You must continually dwell upon the real Truth as it is in God's Word, for nothing but this will win souls. Now in order tothis, my fellow workers for Christ, we must know God's Truth. We must know it by an inward experience of its power as wellas in theory. We must know it as precious Truth. It must be precious seed to us for which we should be prepared to die ifit were necessary. We must understand it as being precious because it comes from God. Precious because it tells to man thebest of news. Precious because sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. Precious because Christ values it and all holy men esteemit beyond all price.
We must, therefore, not deliver it with flippancy, not talk of solemn themes with levity, not tell out the Gospel as thoughwe were retelling a mere tale from the Arabian Nights, a romance meant for amusement, or to beguile a passing hour. O Brethren,we who sow for God must sow solemnly and in right good earnest, because the seed is precious seed, more precious than we canever estimate! Work for God, dear Brethren, as those who know that the Truth is a seed. Do not speak of it and forget it.Do not tell the Gospel as though it were a stone and would lie in the ground and never spring up. Tell out the Truth as itis in Jesus with the firm conviction that there is life in it and something will come of it.
Be on the alert to see that and you will be the man who will have results. Our estimate of the preciousness of the seed willhave much to do with the result of the seed. If I do not esteem thoroughly and heartily the Gospel which I teach, if I donot teach it with all my heart, I cannot expect to see the sheaves. But if, valuing the Gospel, I tell it out to my fellowmen as being priceless beyond all cost and tell it out, therefore, with due vivacity and with an earnestness that brings meto tears, I am the man who shall come again rejoicing, bringing my sheaves with me.
I do not know whether I have brought out what I meant, but we have, I think, in our text a full description of the successfulworker.
II. You have in the text, THE WORKER'S SUCCESS. It is said of him, "He shall come again." What does that mean but that heshall come again to his God? And this the worker should do after he has labored. You sought a blessing-go and tell your Godof what you have done and if you have seen a blessing come, give Him thanks. Those men always come back to God with theirsheaves who went from God with their seed. Some workers can see souls converted and take the honor to themselves, but neverthat man who sowed in tears-he has learned his own weakness in the school of bitterness. And now, when he sees results, hecomes back again. He comes back to God, for he feels that it is a great wonder that even a single soul should be convictedor converted under such poor words as his.
Oh, I know some of you have had your sheaves. Dear Brother, beyond a doubt, if you had those sheaves as the result of a holyvehemence in prayer, you will be sure to come back with a holy ardor of thanksgiving and lay those sheaves in their honorand their praise at the foot of God who gave them to you. "He shall doubtless come again." Does not that mean in the longestand largest sense, he shall come again to Heaven? He did, as it were, go forth from Heaven. His body had not been there, buthis soul had. He had communed with God. Heaven was his portion and his heritage, but it was expedient for him to tarry a littlewhile here for the sake of others, and so, in a certain sense he leaves the Heaven of his rest to go into the field of sorrowamong the sons of men. But he shall come again.
Ah, blessed be God, we are not banished by our service. We are kept outside the pearl gate for a little while-thanks be toGod for the honor of being permitted thus to be absent from our joys for awhile-but we are not shut out, we are not banished,we shall doubtless come again! Here is your comfort! You go, perhaps, into the mission field. You journey to the remotestparts of the earth to serve God, but you shall come again. There is a straight road to Heaven from the most remote field ofservice and in this you may rejoice.
But the text adds, "He shall come again with rejoicing." What will he rejoice in? Take the whole text and wrap it up togetherand it seems to me to say that he shall come again rejoicing even in his very tears. I reckon that at the last, when
Christian service shall be done and Christian reward shall be rendered, the toils endured in serving God-the disappointmentand the racking of heart will all make raw material for everlasting song. Oh, how we shall bless God to think that we werecounted worthy to do anything for Christ!
Was I enlisted in the host that stood the shock of battle? Did the Master suffer me to have a hand upon the standard thatwaved so proudly aloft amidst the smoke of the battle? Did He suffer me to leap into the ditch, or scale the rampart of thewall among the forlorn hope? Or did He even suffer me to watch by the baggage while the battle was raging afar off? Then amI thankful that He, in any way whatever, permitted me to have a share in the glory of that triumphant conflict! And then,Brethren, as old soldiers show their scars and as the warriors in many conflicts delight to tell of hair-raising escapes in"the imminent breach," and of dangers grim and ghastly, so shall we rejoice as we return to God to tell of our going forthand of our weeping when we carried the precious seed.
There is not a single drop of gall which will not turn to honey. There is not, this day, one drop of sweat upon your achingbrow but shall crystallize into a pearl for your everlasting crown! Not one pang of anguish or disappointment but shall betransmuted into celestial glory to increase your joy, world without end! But the main rejoicing will be doubtless in theirsuccess. O you Sunday school teachers, if you go forth as the text has told you and as I have explained to you, you shallnot be without fruits! I have heard many discussions among my Brothers and Sisters, about whether or not every earnest laborermay expect to have fruit.
I have always inclined to the belief that such is the rule and though there may be exceptions and perhaps some men may berather a savor of death unto death than of life unto life, yet it seems to me that if I never won souls I would sigh tillI did. I would break my heart over them if I could not break their hearts! If they would not be saved and were not saved,I would almost cry with Moses, "Blot out my name out of the Book of Life." Though I can understand the possibility of an earnestsower never reaping, I cannot understand the possibility of an earnest sower being content not to reap! I cannot comprehendany one of you Christian people trying to win souls and not having results and being satisfied without results!
I can suppose that you may love the Lord and may have been trying your best unsuccessfully for years, but then I am sure youfeel unhappy about it. I can not only suppose that to be the case, but I am thankful that you are unhappy! I hope the unhappinesswill increase with you till at last, in the anguish of your spirit, you shall cry, like Rachel, "Give me children or I die!Give me fruits or I cannot live!" Then you will be the very person described in the text-you go forth weeping, bearing seedthat is precious to you-and you must have results, you must come again rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you!
The last point is coming back rejoicing with sheaves. I do not suppose the text means that the reaper is to bring home allhis sheaves on his own back, but, as an old expositor says, he comes with the wagons behind him, with the wagons at his heels,bringing his sheaves with him. Yes, they are his sheaves. "How so? All saved souls belong to Christ. They are God's." Yes,but for all that they belong to the worker. There is a kind of sacred property which exists and which God acknowledges inthe case of men and women who bring souls to Christ. I am persuaded there is no love in this world more pure and crystal,more celestial and enduring, than the love of a convert to the person through whose agency he or she may have been broughtto Christ.
All earthly love has a tinge of the flesh about it, but this is spiritual-this is worthy of immortal spirits-this will thereforeendure. While the converts that are brought to Christ are all the Lord's own, yet they belong, also, to those who broughtthem in-so God puts it, "bringing his sheaves with him." And, ah, I like to think of that! If God shall privilege me to bringsouls to Him, I shall count them all and say, "Here am I and the children which You have given me." Oh, it is blessed to giveall the glory to Christ! It is a great honor to give all the honor to Him! But you must have the glory first, or you cannotgive it to Him! The sheaves must be yours, or evidently you cannot carry them honestly and offer them to Him.
Souls are saved through God's Word, yes, but Christ prays for those who shall believe, "through their word," that is, throughthe preachers' word. The Apostle gives much honor to workers, for in one place he speaks of himself as though he were themother of souls, "Little children for whom I have travailed in birth." In another place he speaks of himself as though hewere a father of souls, as though both relations were centered in the true laborer. Thus does God put high honor upon Christianworkers by making the souls, as it were, completely theirs-the sheaves their sheaves.
They threw themselves into the work. They made the work their very life. They wept. They cried and pleaded as they sowed.
And now God does not come in to take away all property in the sheaves, but as they come back, the workers have an interestand a share in all the results of the blessed Gospel and God makes those sheaves their sheaves! He gives them honor in thesight of men and angels through Jesus Christ His Son!
III. And now I have not time, as I ought to have, for the conclusion, which is upon THE GOLDEN LINK OF "DOUBTLESS," thereforeI must just launch rapidly these concise hints. The true worker will be a reaper. I am afraid I have put this in the shapeas though I were speaking to ministers, but I am not. I am trying to talk to every Christian here. If you are a true worker,you doubtless will be a reaper. Why? First, because the promise of God says so. "My Word shall not return to Me void: it shallprosper in the thing where I sent it."
Secondly, God's honor in the Gospel requires it. If there is a failure and you have preached the true Gospel rightly, it willbe the Gospel that will fail. But God's attributes are all wrapped up in the Gospel-it is His wisdom and His power. And shallGod's wisdom be nonplussed and God's power be put back? Again, you must reap because the analogy of Nature assures you ofit. The poor peasant whose little stock of corn is all but spent, takes a little wheat, which is very precious to him, andwith many tears he drops it into the soil in the wintry months. And God gives him a harvest. In due time, in the mellow autumndays, he gathers in the sheaves, which reward him for his self-denial.
It shall be so with you. God mocks not the farmer. He appoints the seedtime and He brings round the harvest. As He does notchange the ordinances of Nature, so will He not change the ordinances of Divine Grace. Be satisfied with this. Moreover, Christ,the model of the Christian life, assures you of this. He went forth weeping, sowing drops of bloody sweat, sowing with piercedhands and feet that dropped with blood. He went forth sowing living seeds of love and they are springing up today alreadyin the Glory and in the multitudes that are gathered into it. And soon, in the coming and the superior splendor that shallenvelop it, the Christ who sowed in tears will reap in joy!
Even thus it must be with you. And if this is not enough to comfort you, remember those who have gone before you in this servicewho have proved this fact. Think of those you have known who have not been unsuccessful-when, with hearts broken and bruised,they have spent their life-power in their Lord's work. Remember Judson and the thousands of Karens that this day sing of theSavior whom he first taught to them. Think of Moffat, in his old age still in the kraals of the Bechuanas, not without gloriousseals to his ministry!
Think of our own missions in Jamaica, of the wonders and trophies of Grace in the South Sea Islands, the multitudes that wereturned to Christ during revival seasons in our own land and in the United States, and you have proof that those that knowhow to weep and sow and who go forth from God to the sowing, shall, beyond a doubt, come again rejoicing with their sheaves!Up, you laborers, sow in hope! Sow broadcast and enlarge your spheres! Up, you desponding ones who are wrapping your cloaksabout you and seeking consolation in indolence because you think your toil too desperate! Up, I beseech you, for the harvestcomes!
O miss not your share in the shouting and the rejoicing-but you will so miss it if you miss your part in the weeping and inthe sorrowing! Would God I could put zeal into your hearts, but that I cannot. May the Holy Spirit do it and as a band ofChristian men, may we be resolved that henceforth, while we live, and until we die, we will with passionate longing-with allthe forces of our manhood worked up and strained to the utmost pitch-seek to tell the good news of Jesus Crucified to thesons of men, knowing that our work of faith cannot be in vain in the Lord!
O you who are not saved at all, I ask you not to work! I ask you not to sow! But come to Christ Jesus! Look to His Cross!One look at Christ will save you! Trust in Him and you shall live. The Lord bless these words for His name's sake. Amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Psalms126,127,129