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M'Cheyne, was fond of " similitudes," and in the first of the following extracts we are reminded of that “master of assemblies” who, as nails to fasten the truths of God, used so dexterously the every-day employments of his hearers.

We hope that the reader will be pleased with the subjoined meditations. It might be interesting to compare them with similar effusions from the pen of Bishop Hall and the Rev. James Hervey. Not so terse and trim--perhaps we might even say, not so starched and stiff—as the former, they are not so gorgeous and flowing as the latter; but with their simple language, and natural reflections, we are disposed to prefer them to either.]

Corn fully ripe is reap'd, and gather'd in ;
So must yourselves, when ripe in grace or sin.

OBSERVATION.

When the fields are white to harvest, then husbandmen walk through them, rub the ears, and, finding the grain full and solid, they presently prepare their scythes and sickles, send for their harvest-men, who quickly reap and mow them down; and after these follow the binders, who stitch it up; from the field where it grew it's carried to the barn, where it is thrashed out; the good grain gathered into an heap, the chaff separated and burnt, or thrown to the dunghill. How bare and naked do the fields look after harvest, which before were pleasant to behold! When the harvest-men enter into the field, it is before them, like the garden of Eden, and behind them, a desolate wilderness; and in some places it's usual to set a fire to the dry stubble, when the corn is housed; which rages furiously, and covers it all with ashes.

APPLICATION.

The application of this, I find made to my hands by Christ himself:-" The field is the world, the seed are the children of

the

the kingdom, the tares are the children of the wicked one, enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world, the reapers are the angels."

The field is the world ; there both the godly and ungodly live and grow together, till they be all ripe, and then they shall both be reaped down by death; death is the sickle that reaps down both. I will open this allegory in the following particulars :

1. In a catching harvest, when the husbandman sees the clouds begin to gather and grow black, he hurries in his corn with all possible haste, and houses day and night.

So doth God, the great husbandman; He hurries the saints into their graves, when judgments are coming upon the world. “The righteous perish, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come” (Isa. lvii. 1). Methuselah died the year before the flood, Augustine a little before the sacking of Hippo, Pareus just before the taking of Heidelberg, Luther a little before the wars broke out in Germany. But what speak I of single saints ? Sometimes the Lord houses great numbers together, before some sweeping judg. ment comes. How many bright and glorious stars did set almost together, within the compass of a few years, to the astonishment of many wise and tender hearts in England! I find some of them thus ranked in a funeral elegy :

The learned Twisse went first (it was his right),
The holy Palmer, Burroughs, Love, Gougo, White,
Hill, Whitaker, great Gataker, and Strong,
Perne, Marshal, Robinson, all gone along.
I have not named them half; their only strife
Hath been, of late, who should first part with life.
These few who yet survive, sick of this age,
Long to have done their parts and leave the stage.

The Lord sees it better for them to be under ground than

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above ground, and therefore, by a merciful providence, sets them out of harm's way.

2. Neither the corn or tares can possibly resist the sharp and keen sickle, when it is applied to them by the reaper's hand; neither can the godly nor ungodly resist the stroke of death when God inflicts it. “No man can keep alive his own soul in the day of death, and there is no discharge in that war.” The frail body of man is as unable to withstand that stroke, as the weak reeds, or feeble stalks of the corn, are to resist the keen scythe and sharp sickle.

3. The reapers receive the wheat which they cut down into their arms and bosom. Hence that expression by way of imprecation upon the wicked, “ Let them be as the grass upon the house-top, which withers before it grows up, wherewith the mower filleth not his hand, nor he that bindeth sheaves, his bosom” (Psalm cxxix. 6, 7). Such withered grass are the wicked, who are never taken into the reaper's bosom ; but as soon as saints are cut down by death, they fall into the hands and bosons of the angels of God, who bear them in their arms and bosons to God their Father (Luke xvi. 22). For look, as these blessed spirits did exceedingly rejoice at their conversion (Luke xv. 10), and thought it no dishonour to minister to them whilst they stood in the field (Heb. i. 14), so when they are cut down by death, they will rejoice to be their convoy to heaven.

4. When the corn and weeds are reaped or mowed down, they shall never grow any more in that field ; neither shall we ever return to live an animal life any more after death. the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more; he shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more" (Job vii. 9, 10).

Lastly, the reapers are never sent to cut down the harvest till it be fully ripe ; neither will God reap down saints, or sinners, till they be come to a maturity of grace or wickedness.

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Saints are not reaped down till their grace be ripe.

“ Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, as

a shock of corn cometh in its season” (Job v. 26).

The wicked also have their ripening time for hell and judg. ment; God doth with much long-suffering endure the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. Of their ripeness for judgment the Scripture often speaks. "The sin of the Amorites is not yet full ” (Gen. xv. 16). And of Babylon it's said, “O) thou that dwellest upon many waters, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness” (Jer. li. 13).

'Tis worth remarking, that the measure of the sin and the end of the sinner come together. So Joel ü. 13, “ Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest of the earth is ripe, for the press is full, the fats overflow, for their wickedness is great." Where note, sinners are not cut down till they be ripe and ready. Indeed, they are never ripe for death, nor ready for the grave; that is, fit to die ; yet they are always ripe for wrath, and ready for hell before they die. Now, as husbandmen judge of the ripeness of their harvest by the colour and hardness of the grain ; so we may judge of the ripeness both of saints and sinners, for heaven or hell, by these following signs :

THREE SIGNS OF THE MATURITY OF GRACE,

1. When the corn is near ripe, it bows the head, and stoops lower than when it was green. When the people of God are near ripe for heaven, they grow more humble and self-denying than in the days of their first profession. The longer a saint grows in this world, the better he is still acquainted with his own heart, and his obligations to God; both which are very humbling things. Paul had one foot in heaven, when he called himself the chiefest of sinners, and least of saints (1 Tim. i. 15; Eph. iii. 8). A Christian, in the progress of his knowledge and grace, is like a vessel cast into the sea; the more it fills, the deeper it sinks. Those that went to study at

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Athens (saith Plutarch), at first coming seemed to themselves to be wise men ; afterwards, only lovers of wisdom ; and after that only rhetoricians, such as could speak of wisdom, but knew little of it; and last of all, idiots in their own apprehensions ; still with the increase of learning laying aside their pride and arrogancy.

2. When harvest is nigh, the grain is more solid and pithy than ever it was before ; green corn is soft and spongy, but ripe corn is substantial and weighty : so it is with Christians; the affections of a young Christian, perhaps, are more fervent and sprightly, but those of a grown Christian are more judicious and solid ; their love to Christ abounds more and more in all judgment (Phil

. i. 9). The limbs of a child are more active and pliable ; but as he grows up to a perfect state, the parts are more consolidated and firmly knit. The fingers of an old musician are not so nimble, but he hath a more judicious ear in music than in his youth.

3. When corn is dead ripe, it's apt to fall of its own accord to the ground, and there shed; whereby it doth, as it were, anticipate the harvest-man, and calls upon him to put in the sickle. Not unlike to which are the lookings and longings, the groanings and hastenings of ready Christians to their expected glory; they hasten to the coming of the Lord; or, as Montanus more fitly renders it, they hasten the coming of the Lord ; i. e., they are urgent and instant in their desires and cries, to hasten His coming; their desires sally forth to meet the Lord, they willingly take death by the hand; as the corn bends to the earth, so do these souls to heaven. This shews harvest to be near.

SIX SIGNS OF THE MATURITY OF SIN.

When sinners are even dead ripe for hell, these signs appear upon them, or by these at least you may conclude those souls not to be far from wrath, upon whom they appear.

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