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BY REV. EBENEZER PORTER, D. D.

PRESIDENT OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, ANDOVER.

PROBATION.

Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to

his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the spirit

, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.–GALATIANS, 6:7, 8.

The figure contained in these words is a perfectly familiar one,

, derived from the art of husbandry. The apostle refers to that standing law of the vegetable creation by which “like produces like.” “A fig-tree does not bear olive berries, nor a vine figs;” nor does any tiller of the ground sow tares in his field when he hopes for a harvest of wheat. The same principle is here applied to the moral world, illustrating the connection between human actions and their results. To an important extent we see this connection running through the present life. If we know what are the precepts and examples of a parent, we estimate, with a good degree of exactness, their probable influence on his children. If he sows in the mind of his son the seeds of licentiousness and contempt of religion, we expect that son to become a reprobate in character. If he trains him up in the way in which he should go, we expect him not to depart from that way. On this principle the best maxims of education have always been founded; and experience has authorized us to tell the young, that the habits they now form will give complexion to their whole character, and that the prospects of manhood can be estimated only by the promise of early life.

But the principle is far more extensive in its application to our eternal interests. The single duty which Paul had in his eye he designedly enforced by an illustration that extends to every other duty, “He that soweth to the flesh,”-that is, governs his conduct solely by his own sinful inclinations, and limits his views only to the Vol. XIV.

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