Page images

this or that offender, we plead for delay: we say, as Christ said, "Let both (bad and good) grow together till the Harvest." It is not that we think lightly of evil. It is not that we take no notice of it: we see it, we do not shut our eyes to it. It distresses us, we feel as David did, "I am grieved at the wicked because they keep not thy word;" we plead with the sinner both in private and in public to turn from his evil course, to repent, and amend his life so that iniquity may not be his ruin. But we will not banish him altogether from our company, we will not put any hindrance to his coming amongst us; we will not say "I am holy, thou art un-holy," we will not anticipate God's judgment. The time will come when there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord, when the people shall be all righteous, but that time is not yet-not on this side the grave. So long as we are in the flesh the evil and the good will be mingled together, and we should be going not with our Lord, but against Him, if in our zeal for His honour we were to try to exclude all evil doers from our society, if we were to decide too hastily, too prematurely, who are not within the pale of His salvation.

And so our motto is the motto of our Church of England, "Let both grow together until the harvest"-judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of

darkness, and will make manifest the counsel of the wise, and then shall every man have praise, (or the contrary, rebuke, condemnation) of God.

And, brethren, there is wider charity in such a course in not separating the evil from the good at present, nor drawing too strict a line between them; there is wisdom, because it may turn out that those who at the present we look upon as tares, are in God's sight, who sees to the end, really His children; appearance may be against them, they may be much to blame in their conduct at present, but they may have in them, in spite of this, some seed of a better life, which in due time, under God's fostering care, may be developed. Those who now are His enemies through wicked works may come (even they) to be distinguished for zeal and Christian holiness. Wilt thou then, said the servants, that we go and gather them up? But He said, Nay! lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them. There is wisdom then, as I said, in not drawing too strict a line at present, and there is also charity, that "charity that hopeth all things." God in His mercy gives every sinner space for repentance. God's will is that all should be saved, but how will it be if we drive the sinner from the Church, shut him off from all good influence, treat him as an outcast? will he not in that case be all the easier a prey to Satan? Will he not become utterly hardened?

[ocr errors]

Will he or she not be driven to despair? And can that be agreeable to the mind of Jesus Christ? who came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance! But treat a man, even an evil man, with kindness, open to a sinner the door of hope, ask him to come among you, and join with you in Christian worship, tell him that God desires not his death, but that he should turn from his sin and be saved, and you will be acting I must think in the Spirit of the Divine Master, you will be seeking as He did to save that which is lost. For every reason then, because it is His will, because it is charitable, because it is in accordance with the Gospel of Christ, we decline to judge our brethren, we wait till the end, till He come who shall with unerring judgment make the decision-that there will be such a separation, this Parable, as we have seen, declares; though the evil be mingled with good now, they will have no part with the good hereafter, there is no place in God's Kingdom but for His servants-" There shall in no wise enter there anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they, and they only, who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."

Oh let us bear this always in mind; while we exercise patience, and make allowance, and indulge in hope for others, let us be very strict in dealing with ourselves; "Judge then yourselves, brethren, that

ye be not judged of the Lord." Sift and search narrowly your own hearts and lives, and pray God for His grace to do this thoroughly. Pray God that dealing strictly with yourselves, correcting and amending, as by His grace you may, you may for Christ's sake find mercy in the day of separation. Pray that your lot may be not with the tares, but with the blessed children of our Father, concerning whom He shall say to the Angel Reaper, "Gather the wheat into my barn."





"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached unto heaven: and behold the Angels of God ascending and descending on it."

The twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis is one of the first lessons for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, and that chapter carries on the history of Jacob after he left his father Isaac's house, to go into the country from which his ancestor Abraham had come-Padan Aram in Mesopotamia. The reason why Jacob quitted his home in Canaan, is told in the twentyseventh chapter. He had by a most treacherous stratagem, stolen away his brother Esau's blessing

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »