Sermon 2632. "What Shall the Harvest Be?"
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JULY 23, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MAY 14, 1882.
"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it has no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if it shouldproduce, strangers shall swallow it up." Hosea 8:7.
PRUDENT men look before them to see the result of their actions. Their eyes look beyond the present to the future. They lookbefore they leap. It is only the foolish man who goes blindly on till, at last, he stumbles and has a desperate and probablyfatal fall. Brothers and Sisters, I hope that I am addressing those who have enough wit and wisdom to look at the consequencesof what they are doing. This is how I wish to live-not merely doing what may give me today's temporary pleasure, but askingmyself what will be the result of those actions, by-and-by. How will they appear to me when I come to be old? What aspectwill they wear when my eyes are failing me in death? What will be the result in that life after death-that endless futurewhich is so sure to come to me, let me live as I may? I say that I hope I am speaking to those who look a little ahead, andare not, "like dumb driven cattle," satisfied if there is grass enough within the reach of their mouths, but who look beforethem to see the consequences on the morrow and especially on that Last Great Day for which all other days were made-"the dayof judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
We are all sowing, Brothers-we cannot help it. You Sisters, too, are sowing-perhaps but a little garden plot, or possiblya broader acreage in public life-but you are all sowing. And every day there is a sowing. No man goes forth in the morningwithout a seed-basket. What may be in it is not so easily told. There may be nothing in it but the wind. There may be chaffin it. There may be in it curses which shall grow up to plague yourself and others, but it is certain that we do not movean inch along the furrows of life without scattering some kind of seed. He that does least is seeding his idleness and, likethe thistle that stands still, and offers its downy seed to be carried by every wandering wind, so does the sluggard-he doesmischiefby doing nothing.
As we are all sowing, the great question we have to consider is, "what will the harvest be?" Every wise man will ask himselfthat question. I may have sown very little in my small plot, or I may have walked far and scattered the seed broadcast overthe wider field committed to my charge-but what have I sown and what shall I reap? What sheaves shall I gather into the garner?Sheaves of fire that shall burn into my soul forever, or sheaves of glory that I shall bring with rejoicing in the Last GreatDay? Brothers and Sisters, if it is rightly examined, this matter of the harvest from our sowing will be found to be fullof very rich encouragement to those who are seeking to serve God. If you have believed in Christ and received eternal lifeby faith in Him, and if now you are trying to labor for Him, you are sowing blessed seed-and if it comes not up today, ortomorrow, yet Divine Grace ensures a crop and you shall have precious sheaves which you shall gather in one of these days!Therefore, be encouraged to labor on! The farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth through the long and dreary winter,through the checkered days of spring, through March winds and April showers he waits, until, at last, the golden harvest rewardshim for all his toil. Labor on, then, Beloved, "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuchas you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." That which you sow, you shall also reap! Your Lord has told you so.Therefore, be not dismayed by the long waiting but-
"Sow and faint not,
Till the seed a harvest bears."
But, while this Truth of God is full of encouragement to God's people, it ought to be a very strong and powerful check tothose who are living in sin. As you sow, you will have to reap! Those "wild oats" about which you laugh are easily sown, butthey will make hard and sorrowful reaping! That act of iniquity, that indulgence in lust, that lie, that blasphemy, that revoltagainst God in stifling your conscience and refusing to yield to Christ-all these will produce a harvest in due season! Itis easy to toss these pigeons up into the air, but they will all come home to roost. At nightfall you shall see every oneof them-and they will have grown greater than when you set them flying. And they will be bearers of messages of misery tothe rash hand that sent them flying abroad. It is a dreadful thing to be so living that you would not wish the result of youractions to come home to you! And if any of you are so living, I pray God, the Holy Spirit, now to give me something to saywhich shall, like a strong hand, lay hold of your bridle and compel you to stand still and race no longer in the downwardcourse to Hell!
My text naturally divides itself into two parts and, at first sight, they do not seem to be very closely connected. But Ithink that I shall be able to show that they are. From the first part of the text we may learn that some sowings will havea horrible harvest "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." Then the rest of the text will teach us thatsome sowing must end in failure. They are such poor, windy things, that they shall never come to anything that is good. Ifa blade shall come up, yet "it has no stalk." And, if it should seem to come to a stalk, "the bud shall yield no meal." Itshall be like the devil's meal-all bran-there shall be no good flour in it. Or, if it should yield meal, "if it should produce,strangers shall swallow it up." The old proverb says, "There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip," and these sowers findit to be so with their sowing! Strangers come in and steal away the fruit out of the very mouth that hoped to be fed by itso that no good result comes of the sowing as far as he is concerned.
I. The first part of our text teaches us that some sowings will PRODUCE A HORRIBLE HARVEST.
Some have a horrible harvest even in this world, as, for example, the sowing of oppression which leads to revolt and revenge.I do not know a better instance of this than France. Some two hundred years ago, or even less than that, the owners of theland in that country treated the peasantry worse than they treated their cattle. Poor and almost naked men might have beenseen dragging the plow over the soil, themselves, because they were reduced to such poverty by excessive rents that they couldnot afford to keep animals to do the hard work. Kings, princes and the great ones of the land cared for nothing but theirown pleasures-and those pleasures were often of the most vicious kind. Read the first chapters of Carlyle's French Revolutionandsee in what a state France was. Yet, for a time, everything seemed to go on favorably for the oppressors. If the peasantryrevolted, they were put down with an iron hand.
The mighty rulers thought that their empire would never come to an end and, as for the Grand Monarch, himself- was there eversuch another mortal as he thought himself to be, and as his courtiers spoke of him? Might not his kingdom last forever-atleast, in the hands of his successors? Yet, one after another, those kings and nobles sowed the wind and, at the end of thelast century, they reaped the whirlwind! Having, themselves, defied all law and justice, they had taught the people to dothe same-and when the masses once rose in rebellion and got the upper hand-you know how they worked the terrible guillotineand how the streets, not only of Paris, but of many another city and town, were deluged with blood! And, at last, the oppressorswere made to realize that their cruelty and oppression had come home to them.
It is always so, sooner or later, according to the rule of God's righteous government. Men may stretch the cord for a longwhile, but at length it snaps and woe be to those that are holding it when it gives way! The people may be, for a time, troddendown beneath the tyrant's hoof, but, in the long run, the tyrant gets the worst of it. France has more than once furnishedan awful instance of the retribution that comes upon those who do not regard the dignity of man and who treat him as if hewere merely a beast, or something worse! They have sown the wind and they have reaped the whirlwind.
Now take another view of the picture presented by our text. We have lately had, over in Ireland, a terrible proof that thejustification of outrage leads to murder. Certain persons say, "We never meant to urge our countrymen to commit the crimeof murder and we are shocked at the Phoenix Park tragedy. We wash our hands in innocence, for we are clear of guilt in thismatter! We denounce it, we have no part in it, we abhor it." So they say, but what led up to that awful deed of blood? Whenmen have used expressions in which they have not condemned, but have almost justified outrage and murder in other cases, whatcould come of it but that their disciples should go a little beyond what their masters may have intended? You cannot scatterfire and then when, at last, the city burns, say, "Oh, we never meant it to spread like that! We only intended to burn downthat cottage, or that wretched shanty! We never thought of burning down the city! We are as innocent of the crime as newbornbabes-we never meant to do anything of the kind." Yes, but you cannot say to fire, "Thus far shall you go and no further."And in like manner, if you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind.
There is a whole province of Holland protected from the sea by a dyke and there is a man who wants to let in a little waterto the other side for a certain purpose. He says he is only going to let a little stream run through, so he takes his pickaxeand he worlds away till he has made a passage through the dyke. And then, of course, the whole dyke is swept away and theprovince gets drowned! The foolish fellow says, "God forbid that I should have the blame of this catastrophe! I never meantto do anything of the sort." Of course he did not-he intended something far less than that, but his action naturally producedthe result that followed and, therefore, he is rightly regarded as responsible for it! Beware, I pray you, of trifling withthe eternal principles of justice and of right and wrong! Beware of ever sanctioning what you consider to be only a littleevil, for, if you do, the greater evil is sure to follow at its heels! It is like the boy that the burglar takes and pushesthrough a little window, that he may open the door and let in those who commit robbery and murder. So, if any of us beginto advocate principles which sap and undermine the foundations of law and order, we cannot tell to what mischief our talkwill lead-it is well for us to always be careful not to sow the wind, lest we should, by-and-by, reap the whirlwind!
Passing from those great instances which prove the rule, I want you, next, to notice that there are many persons who fallinto this same fault. Take, for instance, the teacher of error. He is, perhaps, in other respects, an excellent minister,but he is unsound on one important point. Just so and, before long, his unsoundness on one point will lead to unsoundnessall round! It is like a single speck of decay in fruit-it is very apt to cause the whole to go rotten. Have you ever heardthe story which was told by Augustine concerning a young man who had been, at one time, a professed Believer in God, but whohad given up all trust in Him? It occurred to him, when he was very much tried by the buzzing and biting of flies, that Godcould not have created such troublesome little creatures. They were such a nuisance to him that he concluded that the devilhad made them and, having once gone the length of believing that the devil made flies, he thought it highly probable thatSatan created some other nuisances. And he went on till, at last, he actually came to believe that the devil made everything-andhe did not believe in God at all. "Ah!" remarks Augustine, as he relates the story, "he that errs about a fly soon errs aboutall things."
Look at the progress of Romanism in our own country. When the most of us were boys, we used to hear our fathers talking ofa Mr. Pusey and of baptismal regeneration-and it was thought, then, to be a strange thing if a man wore a cross around hisneck. All England was stirred about the matter and everybody was horrified! But look at the so-called "priests" now-they havegone all the length of Rome. "Where?" you ask. Well, where are they not? They seem to be everywhere now, swarming over theland, and they have brought back rank Popery into what used to be called "the Protestant Church of England!" How has thatcome to pass? Well, first of all, there was a little of it tolerated and then a little more of it was needed and, gradually,more was sucked down until now I believe that many of the Ritualists would be prepared to receive the Pope and all his cardinals,red hats and all! I really cannot see why they should not, for, if they did, they could scarcely be more Popish than theyare, already! Only go a little way in the course of error and it is like sliding down an inclined plane-there is no tellingwhere you will stop. Go to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral and throw a stone down from that height. You say that you onlymean to throw it a yard. Ah, but it will never rest until it gets to the ground-and perhaps it will kill someone before itreaches the earth!
So, when once you start in the way of error, there is no possibility of stopping unless Divine Grace shall interpose to saveyou from the consequences of the first false step! You sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind. A little error leads to more,and that to still more until the very idea of God is given up! I, therefore, love to meet a man who is stiff-backed in hisorthodoxy and, in this age of laxness and looseness, I am prepared to clap my hands even when I see a little bigotry! I likea man to believe something-to stick to it, to know that it is true and not to be ashamed to avow it in the teeth of his fellowmen-let them oppose as they will, for there must be somethingtrue and, oh, that God's gracious Spirit may teach us what itis! And when we once know it, may we hold it fast, come life or come death-for if we do not, we shall sow the wind and reapthe whirlwind!
Here is another instance of the same Truth of God-an ill example at home. I will confine it to that one point, though it isof general application. You probably know a man who is very lax in the management of his family. He professes to be a Christian,perhaps, but his sons and daughters are allowed to plunge into every frivolity and every vanity. Yes, and they may even gointo open sin and all that they will hear will be some gentle word like that which fell from the lips of soft-hearted Eliwhen he did but hint that his sons were not doing well when they were doing much that was terribly evil! The man even hearsthat such-and-such a vice has been committed by his son, yet he scarcely upbraids him. He is so easy-tempered that he saysnothing, though he sorrows within his own heart. Perhaps his own example and the example of his wife are not such as couldbe desired. Family prayer is neglected and holy living is not known in the house. He gets prematurely old-his son has diedvery early-he has drunk himself to death, or destroyed himself by vice. His daughters, too, are unhappy in their marriages.The whole family has virtually gone to ruin as to any connection with the Christian Church.
What shall I say of the old gentleman? He will not say it, himself, but I must say it for him-he sowed the wind and he hasreaped the whirlwind! The father's character is usually seen in his sons. It has been said that ministers' sons often turnout badly-if it is so and I am not sure that it is-it must be because the ministers have not kept their own vineyards, forthe rule still holds good, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Generally,though not always, if he does depart from it, it is because there has been some fatal neglect in his training-and there aresome Christian parents who are acting thus. They are so indulgent, not only to their children, but to themselves, that theydo not like to give themselves the trouble that ought to be taken in all such cases. They are sowing the wind and they willreap the whirlwind!
Let me give another illustration of the truth of the text with reference to persons who fall into evil habits. At first thoseevil habits are under restraint. They admit that they drink, but they say that they cannot be called "drunks." They may, nowand then, take more than is good for them but, still, it is not very often. That is the beginning of the evil! And, by-and-by,where are they? They have sown the wind and they reap the whirlwind! Did you ever hear the story of the Persian prince whodreamed that he was drinking from a cup and a fly came and tried to sip from it? He drove it away, but, as he kept on drinkingfrom his cup, it came back-and it had grown as large as a bird! He drove the creature away, but it returned as large as aneagle-the largest kind of bird! He tried to chase that away, but it soon came back in the form of a man who grinned at himmost horribly. He strove to get that man away, but soon he was back in the form of a giant who trod on him and crushed himto death! That is just the picture of the growth of an evil habit! At first you say, "Is it not a little one?" But it growsand increases till it becomes unconquerable. That parable illustrates our text-if you sow the wind you will reap the whirlwind!You cannot live in sin, you cannot do wrong of any kind, or in any form, but it will come back to you, not merely as wind,as you sowed it, but as a whirlwind, as a horrible tempest, as a rushing tornado, carrying everything before it!
I will not tarry to give more illustrations of this solemn Truth of God because I want to leave a few minutes for the considerationof the second part of the subject. Only I pray that God may write on the memory and heart of any of you who are living asyou should not live, the great fact that as surely as you so live, "That which a man sows, that shall he also reap." And hewill reap even worse than he sows, for if he sows the wind he will reap the whirlwind.
II. Now let us turn to the second part of the subject which is that SOME SOWINGS MUST END IN FAILURE.
There are some people who do not think that they are doing any hurt, yet they are living an aimless life. Go to them and askwhat they are sowing? "Nothing," they answer. They say that they are doing no hurt to anybody, for they are not doing anythingat all-but is not that kind of life an injury to themselves and to others? If you have no aim in life, no high ambition, noobjective, no noble purpose-does anything ever come of it? People talk of what they call, "chance," but I never found anychance of a man's getting to be holy without intending to be so! I never yet heard of a man doing any great good in the worldif he did not mean to do it! I never heard of a man glorifying God by accident, nor of anyone getting to Heaven, as it were,by the throw of the dice, somehow finding himself there, but not knowing how it all happened. No, if you lead an aimless life,what will come of it will be just what the text says-"It has no stalk" There will be no plant from it and even if there shouldbe some kind of stalk to the seed that you have sown, yet when it springs up, "there shall be no meal." It cannot be any comfortto you, even if things should go pretty well without your intending that they should, for the comfort, after all, lies inthe motive and in the intention. And even if your life should somehow turn out to be better than that of other aimless persons,though you never intended it to be so, "if it should produce, the strangers shall swallow it up." If you meant it to be nothing,it will be nothing.
I daresay that I am speaking to a large number of people who do not know what they are living for. You have come into theworld and here you are and, in due time, you will go out of it-but that is all that can be said of you. You are doing nothing.You have no noble end in view, no glorious purpose to accomplish, no sublime aspiration to realize. Then take it for grantedthat if all you sow is the wind, you will reap nothing but wind-only it will come to you in a fiercer form-as a whirlwind,for God will say to you, "I made you for My Glory. I sent you into the world with a purpose. I entrusted you with talents.I made you a steward of My goods and now you are accused of having wasted My goods. Give an account of your stewardship."What will you say? Alas, in that day the trifler, the idler, the mere butterfly in the garden of the world will find thingsgoing hard, indeed, with him! God save you all from leading an aimless life!
But there are some who are sowing the wind in another form. They are leading a selfish life. Self is the beginning and theend of their life. They open a shop simply to make money. They live at home to be comfortable. Perhaps they enlarge themselvesa little by taking the wife and the children into the circle of self, but still, that is all-they have no care for God, nolove for Christ, no wish to help the poor, no thought about eternity. That is a life of sowing the wind and it will end, sooneror later, in reaping the whirlwind, for no man lives unto himself without earning for himself a fearful reward! Selfishnessis often like the serpent that stings itself to death. It is not possible, within the compass of a man's own soul, that heshould satisfy the cravings and desires of that soul. When he loves God and loves his neighbor-he is really most of all blessinghimself-for then is he living to true purpose.
But when self is everything to a man, he confines his soul within the morgue of his own ribs-his spirit dies within him andbecomes like a stone. In the case of the man who lives only for self, it may be said of his life, in the words of the text,"It has no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal." He gathers riches, but has no happiness or contentment in them. He is likeSolomon, who, with all his possessions, had to cry, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" Or if he gets to be rich and seemsto enjoy himself a little, he suddenly dies and strangers swallow up his estate! All that is left of him is a massive tomband the notice in the newspapers that he died worth so many thousands of pounds-which is not true, for he never was reallyworth a farthing all his life! He was a worthless man whose only value consisted in the money he possessed.
O my dear Hearers, I implore you, with all my soul, not to live unto yourselves! If you desire the highest, grandest selfishnessthat can ever be attained, I charge you, throw selfishness away, remembering our Savior's Words, "He that loses his life forMy sake, shall find it." He who casts his life away for the sake of Christ and for love of the Truth of God, shall be theman who shall really save his life and find true joy and blessedness! But for anyone to live for self is to sow the wind andto reap the whirlwind.
So, once again, will it be if a man lives a self-righteous life. A self-righteous man is generally very great at sowing- somany prayers-so many almsgivings-so many sermons-so many ceremonies. Yes, wind, wind, wind! He is sowing wind, but what willcome of it all? This very good religious man-I forget whether his name is Good Enough, or Too-Good, but I believe the familiesare cousins-is, in his own opinion, so very excellent that he does all he ought to do and perhaps a little more. Yet he isonly sowing the wind! And what will he reap from it? Well, if God is very gracious to him, he will soon reap the whirlwind,for he will find, to his confusion, that all his righteousnesses are as filthy rags and they shall be like the sere leavesof the forest borne away by the wind! I pray that he may, in this sense, reap the whirlwind very soon, for, if not, he willdo so in the next world when all his pretended good works and all his formal observances of external religion will be nothingbut so much whirlwind to blow in his face, and to fan the flames of Hell forever! O dear Friends, shun self-righteousnessand trust, alone, to the righteousness of Christ! May the Spirit of God lead you to wash in the atoning blood and then coveryou with the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ! Then it will be well with your soul-but all self-righteousness shallend in delusion and confusion forever and ever. May God grant that none of us may, in this sense, sow the wind!
The text is pre-eminently true of every man who leads a deceitful life. Oh, have I the misery of speaking to one who makesa profession of religion and who wishes to be thought to be a Christian, but yet is not really so? It is hard for a true Believerto maintain a Christian character, but it is very much harder to keep up that character when there is nothing at the backof it! Oh, how desperately does the man who is a hypocrite have to labor! He has to patch up here, and patch up there-daubwith untempered mortar here, and whitewash there, and he never has any peace. And all the while he is only sowing the wind!There is nothing real in his religion-what will come of it when that hypocrisy is discovered, when he stands revealed beforethe bar of God? Will his hypocritical religion do him any good? No, "it has no stalk" even now! It cannot yield him even presentcomfort! If there is a "bud" that looks a little like self-respect, it "shall yield no meal." I have already quoted the oldproverb, "The devil's meal is all bran," and I may add that the hypocrite's meal is all bran. There is nothing substantialin it. And even if he should seem to die in the odor of sanctity, yet the stranger shall come in and devour his supposed religiousness,for somebody shall tell the truth about him and so his fine reputation shall be utterly blasted.
Now, Brothers and Sisters, I have come to the end of this discourse. And what should be the practical result of it but thatif we have been sowing anything that we ought not to sow, we should pray God to come and plow it all up! Lord, drive the plowstraight through every life that is not according to Your Word! Oh, to have all the evil obliterated- every seed of sin crushedand destroyed! Would God that it might be so with all of us!
What next? Well, let us then go-oh, may the Divine Spirit lead us!-to Jesus Christ and ask Him to give us the good seed! Letus have our hands washed from the evil in which we formerly delighted and He, alone, can cleanse us. Then let us take theclean good wheat which He will give us out of His own granary and let us go and sow it. God help us to sow it right and left,from morn to eve, without weariness, that, at the last, we may gather in a glorious harvest, not to our own glory, but tothe praise of Him by whose rich, Free and Sovereign Grace we were enabled to sow to the Spirit, and of the Spirit to reaplife everlasting! Amen.
Before we go, we will sing that very solemn hymn in Mr. Sankey's book, "What Shall the Harvest Be?" It will help to impressthe subject upon our memories and hearts-
"Sowing the seed by the dawn-light fair,
Sowing the seed by the noon-day glare.
Sowing the seed by the fading light,
Sowing the seed in the solemn night-
Oh, what shall the harvest be?
Sowing the seed with an aching heart,
Sowing the seed while the teardrops start,
Sowing in hope till the reapers come,
Gladly to gather the harvest home-
Oh, what shall the harvest be?
Sown in the darkness, or sown in the light,
Sown in our weakness, or sown in our might,
Gathered in time, or eternity,
Sure, ah, sure, will the harvest be!"
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: GALATIANS 5:13-26; GALATIANS 6:1-10.
Remember, beloved Brothers and Sisters, that the Epistle to the Galatians is one in which Paul, with especial clearness, provesthe Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. So much is this the case that the famous Commentary of Martin Luther upon thisEpistle is, perhaps, the strongest work extant upon the Doctrine of salvation by Grace through faith. But that doctrine wasnever intended to be separated from the Scriptural teaching concerning the fruit of faith, namely, good works and, therefore,we find, in the close of this very Epistle, the strongest possible declaration that if men live in sin, they will reap theresult of sin-and that only if, by Grace, they are brought to walk in holiness, will they win the rewards of Grace.
Galatians 5:13. For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh. "Do not make licenseout of your liberty. Remember that liberty fromsin is not liberty tosin."
13, 14. But by love serve one another For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighboras yourself The condensation of the whole Law of God is contained in that one word, "love." In the First Table we are taughtto love God. And the Commandments of the Second Table teach us to love our neighbor.
15. But if you bite and devour one another. Finding fault, slandering, injuring, bearing malice and so on-"If you bite anddevour one another."
15. Take heed that you are not consumed, one of another. ' 'You will eat one another up. You will, each one, condemn his neighbor."Paul represents the great Judge coming and waiting outside the door. And when He hears two men condemning one another, Hesays to Himself, "I will confirm their verdict. They have mutually condemned each other, I will say 'Amen' to it." What asad thing it is if professed Christians are found thus condemning one another!
16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Walk under the Spirit's power,following His guidance. The Spirit never leads a man into sin. He never conducts him into self-indulgence and excess.
17. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary, the one to the other,so that you cannot do the things that you would. How often that is the case! You would be perfect, but, "you cannot do thethings that you would." We would, if possible, escape from every evil thought-we would not even hear of anything sinful ifwe could help it.
18. 19. But ifyou are led ofthe Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the works ofthe flesh are manifest, which are these;Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. Any kind of sensual indulgence-whatever it may be-a lustful glance, thecherishing of an unclean desire-the utterance of a foul expression-all this is condemned, as well as the overt acts of adulteryand fornication.
20. 21. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness.Is drunkenness actually put by the Apostle afermurder, as though it were something worse than that terrible crime? Or is itnot, oftentimes, the case that drunkenness lies at the bottom of the murder?
21. Reveling and such like: ofthe which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such thingsshall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul never said, nor ever thought of saying, that a man might live in sin that Gracemight abound. No, no-these evil things must be given up! Christ has come to save us from every evil work. And this is thesalvation that we preach-not simply salvation from Hell, but salvation from sin-which is the very fire that has kindled theinfernal flame. But how different from all this evil is the fruit of the Spirit!
22. But the fruit ofthe Spirit is love. Universal love, first, to God. Next, to His people and, then, to all mankind. Havewe that fruit of the Spirit? If so, it will make us of a very amiable disposition. It will dethrone selfishness and set upholy affections within our heart.
22. 23. Joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Joy and peace seem to blossom and ripenout of love. Long-suffering, too, is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You will be hourly tried, but the Spirit of God willgive you patience to suffer long and to endure much. You will also have gentleness. Some people are very hard, stern, severe,quick-tempered, passionate-but the true follower of Christ will be gentle and tender, even as He was.
23. Against such there is no law. Neither God nor man has ever made a law against these things-the more there is of them,the better will it be for everybody. Oh, that they prevailed all over the world!
24. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. A crucified Christ is the leader ofa crucified people! Oh, to have all the affections and lusts of the flesh nailed up! They may not be actually dead, for thosewho are crucified may still live on for some hours, but they are doomed to die. Their life is a very painful one and it ishastening to a close. A man who is crucified cannot get down from the cross to do what he wills and, oh, it is a great blessingto have our sinful self thus nailed up! Ah, Sir, you may struggle, but you cannot get down! You may strive and cry, but yourhands and feet are nailed-you cannot go into active, actual sin. The Lord grant that the nails may hold very fast, that noneof the struggling of our old nature may be able to pull out those nails that have fastened it up to the cross!
25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit If that is our real life, let it also be our course of action.
26. Let us not be desirous of vain-glory. Do not let us want to be accounted as somebody, for, if we do, we prove that weare really nobody! Nobody is anybody till he is willing to be nobody-as long as he wants to be somebody, he is nobody andnothing!
26. Provoking one another, envying one another God save us from that and every other form of evil!
Galatians 6:1. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a fault. He is a slow traveler. He is not speeding swiftly on the way to Heaven, so thefault overtakes him. Had he been quicker of pace, he might have outstripped it, but he is "overtaken in a fault." What then?Throw him out of the Church? Have done with him? No. "If a man is overtaken in a fault"-
1. You which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness. Pick him up, help him to run better than he didbefore.
1. Considering yourself, lest you, also, are tempted. Paul does not say, "Lest you also fall," but, "Lest you, also, are tempted"-asmuch as to say, "You will be sure to fall if you are tempted," and that man who thinks that other people ought to be castoff because they have committed a fault is so proud in his own heart that he only needs to be tempted and he would fall, too!This is a very expressive way of putting the matter! "Considering yourself, lest you also be tempted."
2. Bear you one another's burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ Help your Brothers and Sisters. If you see that they havemore to do than they can accomplish, take a share of their labor. If they have a heavier burden than they can bear, try toput your shoulder beneath their load and so lighten it for them.
3. For if a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself Paul does not say, "He deceives otherpeople." No, "he deceives himself" As a general rule, other people find him out, they learn what he really is, but, "he deceiveshimself."
4. 5. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, alone, and not in another For everyman shall bear his own burden. There is, after all, a burden which we cannot carry for others and which we cannot shift uponothers. There are burdens of care, sorrow and trouble which we can take from other men's shoulders, but the great burden ofresponsibility before God, each man must carry for himself.
6. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teaches in all good things. Those who are taught and so receivespiritual things, should maintain those who are their teachers as far as they are able to do so.
7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. That is true under the Gospel aswell as under the Law.
8. For he that sows to his flesh shall ofthe flesh reap corruption. That is what always comes to the flesh-it decays and corrupts.
8. But he that sows to the Spirit shall ofthe Spirit reap life everlasting. No corruption shall come to that which belongsto the Spirit! "He that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
9, 10. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not As we have therefore opportunity,let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are ofthe household of faith.