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Mark iv. 26-29.-And he said, So is the kingdom of
God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and
should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed
should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For
the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade,
then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But
when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth
in the sickle, because the harvest is come.......................................... 218
Acts xiii. 38, 39.-Be it known unto you, therefore, men
and brethren, that through this man is preached unto
you the forgiveness of sins. And by him all that be-
lieve are justified from all things from which they could
ENCOURAGEMENT IN DIFFICULTIES.
(PREACHED AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF A NEW YEAR.)
Exodus xiv. 15.-Speak unto the children of Israel, that Page
Luke xxiv. 45.-Then opened he their understanding that
Rom. viii. 16.—The Spirit itself beareth witness with our
spirit that we are the children of God..................... 296
John xiii. 17.—If ye know these things, happy are ye if
Ezek. ii. 7.—And thou shalt speak my words unto them,
whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear:
Hos. vii. 2.-And they consider not in their hearts that I
3 John 4.-I have no greater joy than to hear that my
children walk in truth..................................................
THE WAY TO LIFE.
ISAIAH lv. 3.
Hear, and your soul shall live.
NOTHING is so near to us as the soul: nothing is of such immense value; for "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" The Psalmist prays, "Leave not my soul destitute." He prays again, "Let my soul live." The prophet, in the text, instructs us how this life is attained; and the attainment must be unspeakably desirable.
Man will encoun
Life, in every respect, is sweet. ter the greatest difficulties-he will suffer the severest privations-he will make the most painful sacrifices, with a view to prolong only his temporal existence. «Skin for skin; all that a man hath will he give for his life." The life of the soul, therefore, the happy existence of the immortal spirit, must be a concern of infinite moment.
And how is this to be secured? "We bring unto you glad tidings." In the name of the Lord, we announce the words of this life." We preach unto you the Gospel of salvation;" and urge you, with
affectionate earnestness, to believe and embrace it. "Hear, and your soul shall live."
Three things are proposed to our consideration: The MESSAGE implied-The REGARD demandedand The ADVANTAGE promised.
I. The MESSAGE implied.
When we are commanded to "hear," it is supposed that something is spoken: there is a voice which, in one way or other, addresses us. This is none else than the voice of Jehovah, the God of truth, the God of love, the God of all patience and consolation. He speaks to us in his good word, in the whole of his revealed will contained in the holy Scriptures. In this chapter he addresses us with peculiar energy and feeling. It is replete with evangelical truth, with affectionate entreaty, with "exceeding great and precious promises." Take the first verse as a specimen of the rest, and as an epitome of the whole Gospel: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." This is the message implied in the text, the pleasing report to which it clearly refers. "Hear, and your soul shall live."
The Gospel is here represented under the emblem of waters." The language is figurative, but sufficiently plain. "Come ye to the waters." It denotes the rich plenitude of gospel blessings: they spring like a fountain; they flow like a river; they spread like the ocean. Here is the largest abundance, the greatest variety: come, and draw for yourselves !-But the property of water is to cleanse, to cool, and to refresh. Nothing is more exactly descriptive of the Gospel and its blessings. These refresh the weary, fainting spirit: