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And how agrees this too frequent and patriotism and disinterestedness, case with the sketching of our parable ? all beautiful and splendid things, have We look upon men, whose virtues make only helped to confirm men in rejecthem the ornaments of society, and tion of the Gospel, and have strengthwhose zealous attention to the various ened that dislike to the peculiar docduties of life deservedly secures them trines of christianity, which is natural respect and esteem. You would gather to the heart, but which must be expel. from their deportment, from their ap- led, else we perish. And when we are parent readiness to discharge faithfully asked whether it can indeed be, that every known obligation, that the set- men, so amiable and admirable, who ting before them what God requires have a yearning heart for every tale at their hands would suffice to secure of sorrow, and an open hand for every their unwearied obedience. If you say case of destitution, and an instinctive to them, in the name of the Almighty, aversion to whatever is mean and de"Son, go work to-day in my vine- grading, are treading the downward yard,” their answer, as furnished by all path which leads to the chambers of that seeming desire to act rightly which everlasting death, we can only say that has forced itself on your attention, is the very qualities which seem to you one of sincere and hearty compliance. to mark a fitness for heaven, have preBut so soon as they come to know vented the passage through that strait what working in the vineyard means, gate of the vineyard, which is wide alas, it is with them as it was with the enough for every sinner, but too narpharisees and scribes, who, with every row for any sin; and that thus has been profession that they waited for Mes- paralleled the whole case of the second siah, no sooner saw him "without form son, who said to his father, "Igo, sir," or comeliness," than they scornfully and went not. refused to give him their allegiance. And now we must have said enough These self-righteous men are ready to convince you that the delineation of enough to work, because it is by works our parable is not local or temporary, of their own that they think to gain but may justly be extended to all ages heaven. But when they find that their of the church. We make this assertion, great work is to be the renouncing because though, as yet, we have only their own works, and that the vineyard, examined the case of one son, our rein which you invite them to labor, is marks have had an indirect bearing on one in which man's chief toil is to that of the other. We have shown you humble himself, that Christ may be ex- that the obstacles to the reception of alted—this gives the matter altogether the truths of the Gospel are often a new aspect; they would labor at build- greatest where appearances seem to ing the tower of Babel, but they have augur the readiest welcome. Where no idea of laboring at pulling it down. the promise is most freely given, how
And thus does it come to pass, that frequently is the performance withheld. the ministers of the Gospel are repulsed And though the converse of this may with a more than common vehemence; not be necessarily true, namely, that, and that their message is thrown back, where we have refusal at first, we may as though the delivering it had been an expect ultimate compliance, yet, uninsult. We can but mourn over men, doubtedly the case of the second son who, with every thing to recommend prepares us to feel no surprise at that them to their fellows, honorable in of the first. If there be final refusal, their dealings, large in their charities, where there is most of present contrue in their friendships, are yet dis- sent, it can be no ways strange that honest to themselves and false to their there should be final consent, where God-dishonest to themselves, for they there is most of present refusal. put a cheat on their souls; false to This it is which is represented to us their God, for they give him not what in the instance of the first son. His fahe asks, and all else is worse than no. ther came to him, and said, "Son, go thing. Yes, we could lament, with a work to-day in my vineyard." "He andeeper than the ordinary lamentation swered and said, I will not; but afterwhich should be poured over every ward he repented and went." There lost soul, when integrity and generosity, could be nothing more discourteous, as well as nothing more peremptory, of the first son, that, " afterward he rethan the reply. He addresses his fa- pented and went.” We do not believe ther with nothing of that respectful that the precious seed of the word is language which the second son used, all lost, because there is no immediate and which might at least have soften- harvest. We remember that great ed the refusal. There is a harshness principle in God's dealings, which is and bluntness in the answer, which, in announced by St. Paul, " That which dependently of the disobedience, prov. thou sowest is not quickened, except it ed him of a churlish and unmanagea- first die.” It is often, we are persuaded, ble temper. And we know, from the in spiritual things, as it is always in application which Christ himself made natural—the grain is long buried, and, of the parable, that this first son is the to all appearance, lost; but then sudrepresentative of those more depraved denly come the signs of vegetation, and profligate characters, who make and the soil is pierced by the fresh no profession of religion, but treat it green blade. with open contempt. There are many We now address ourselves to those who will even go the length of boldly amongst you who have never entered proclaiming their resolve to live "with- the vineyard, who have never broken out God in the world,” who glory in up the fallow ground, and sown to their shame; and who think it for themselves in righteousness. We know their credit, as marking a free and un- not whether the number who fall under shackled spirit, that they have got rid this description be great or small; nor of the restraints which the dread of whether it be mainly composed of those future punishment imposes. Others living in open sin, or of those who are again, who have not hardened them- only indifferent to the high claims of selves to this desperate degree, seem religion. But we say to these men, and yet wholly inaccessible to warning and these women, go, work to-day in the reproof; for they have, at least, per- vineyard. We call upon them, and ensuaded themselves that they shall have treat them, that, whilst God yet strives a long lease of life, and that it will be with them by his Spirit, and the free soon enough at the eleventh hour to offer of salvation is made them in his go and work in the vineyard. And in name, they would consider their ways, all such cases, whether we meet with and turn unto the Lord, lest the evil the contemptuousness of unblushing day come upon them "as a thief.” We immorality, or the coldness of deter- anticipate what will be practically their mined indifference, we have the un- answer. There may indeed be a soli. qualified refusal which the first son tary exception. Even now may there gave his father-sometimes in a harsh- be the casting down of some strong. er, and at other times in a milder tone hold of unbelief; and there may be one -but always the "I will not,” which in this assembly, in whom our word is seems to preclude all hope of obedi- working energetically, convincing him
of sin, and persuading him to make These are the cases which seem trial of Christ's power to save. But most calculated to dispirit a minister; from the mass of those whom the first for it is even more disheartening to son represents, we can look for nothing find that he makes no impression, ihan but his answer; and if we could single that, where it has been made, it has out the individuals, and bid them to the been quickly effaced. It is manifestly vineyard, "I will not” would be but only the treacherous nature of the sur too faithful an account of their reply. face, which is in fault in the latter And yet we do not necessarily con. case; but in the former, he may fear clude that we have labored in vain. Oh that much of the blame is chargeable no, far enough from this. The word, on his own want of energy in wielding which we have spoken, may in many his weapons. He may even, in mo- cases have gained a lodgment, though ments of despondency, be wrought in- long years may elapse ere it put forth to a suspicion that these weapons are its vigor. If we could follow, through not as mighty as he had been instruct. the remainder of their lives, those with ed to believe. And therefore it is a whom we now seem to plead wholly in marvellously cheering thing to be toldvain, we can feel that we should find a
day breaking upon some of them, full of animate to righteousness. They may the memory of this very hour and this be verified in the instance of some Fery sermon; and perceive that one one who now hears me. I feel so encause or another had suddenly acted couraged by the account of the first on the seed now sown, so that what we son, that I could even dare to prophesy supposed dead was rapidly germina- the history of one or more in this asting. It is marvellous how often, in sembly. There may be some to whom sickness or in sorrow, there will rush I never before preached the Gospel, into the mind some long-forgotten text, and to whom I may never preach it some sentence, which was little heeded again. I speak in ignorance. I know when first heard, but which settled it- not how far this may be true on the self down in the inner man, to wait a present occasion. But I can imagine, time wben, like the characters which a that, in the throng which surrounds mysterious hand traced before the As-me, there is one to whom I speak for syrian in his revels, it might flash dis- the first time, and who will never see may through every chamber of the spi- me again till we meet at the judgmentrit. The father's bidding, go work seat of Christ. He may be in the vigor to-day in my vineyard,” will rise into of his youth, life opening attractively remembrance with a sudden and over before him, and the world wearing all coming energy; it may not have been that freshness and fairness with which heard for years, it may not have been it beguiles the unwary. And he will thought of for years; but when the have no ear for the summonses of reman is brought low, and health is fail. ligion. It is in the name of the God of ing him, and friends are forsaking him, the whole earth that I conjure him to he will seem to hear it, not less distinct. mortify the flesh, and fasten his affecly, and far more thrillingly, articulated, tions on things above. It is by his than when it fell disregarded from the own majesty, his own dignity, as an lips of the preacher; and he will won- immortal being, that I would stir him der at his own perverseness, and weep to the abandoning all low pursuits, and over his infatuation.
engaging in the sublime duties of righWe are sketching to you no imagi- teousness. But he will not be persua. pary case, but one which all, who have ded. He has made his election : and, opportunities of reading men's spiritual when he departs from the house of histories, will tell you is of frequent oc- God, it will be to return to the scenes currence. The son who harshly says, and companions of his thoughtlessness "I will not,” remembers the command and dissipation. Yet I do not despair of and the refusal on some long after day, this man. I do not conclude my labor repents of his sinfulness, and hastens thrown away. I am looking forward to to the vineyard. The pathetic remon. an hour, which may be yet very distant, strance of a parent with a dissolute when experience will have taught him child is not necessarily thrown away, the worthlessness of what he now seeks, because that child persists in his disso. or a broken constitution have incapaciluteness : it may come up, with all the tated him for his most cherished pleatouching tones of the well-remembered sures. The hour may not come whilst I voice, when the parent has long lain in am on the earth; I may have long bethe grave, and work remorse and con- fore departed, and a stranger may be trition in the prodigal. The bold ad- ministering in my place. But I shall be dress of the minister to some slave of in that man's chamber, and I shall stand sensuality is not necessarily ineffectual, at his bed-side, and I shall repeat my because its object departs unmoved and now despised exhortation. There will unchanged, and breaks not away from be, as it were, a resurrection of the the base thraldom in which he is held. present scene and the present sermon. That address may ring in his ears, as The words, which now hardly gain a though unearthly voices syllabled its hearing, but which, nevertheless, are words, when the minister's tongue has burying themselves in the recesses of long been mute. "He, being dead, yet the mind, that they may wait an apspeaketh," are words which experience pointed season, will be spoken to the marvellously verifies in regard of those very soul, and penetrate to the quick, whose office it is to rebuke, vice and and produce that godly sorrow which
worketh repentance. And when you this or that, or whether they both shall. ask me upon what I am bold enough be alike good.” to ground such a prophecy, and from Our second caution is to those who what data I venture to predict that may be ready, with the first son, to give my sermon shall not die, but, though a direct refusal, when bidden to go long forgotten, start finally into power and work in the vineyard. Let not the and persuasiveness-my reply is, that thought, that you may afterwards repent, the case of the first son in the para- encourage you in your determination ble must have cases which correspond that you will not yet obey. The man who to it in all ages of the church, and presumes on what is told us of the first that we read of this son, that, though son will never, in all probability, be rehe refused, when bidden, to work in presented by that son. I may have the vineyard, yet "afterward he re- hopes of a man whose moral slumbers pented and went."
I cannot at all break; I almost despair There are two cautions suggested by of a man whom I can so far awaken this latter part of our subject, and with that he makes a resolution to delay. these we would conclude. The first is to The determining to put off is the worst parents, and guardians, and ministers; in of all symptoms: it shows that conshort, to all whose business it may be science has been roused, and then pato counsel and instruct. Let not the cified; and wo unto the man who has apparent want of success induce you to drugs with which he can lull conscience relax in your endeavors. You see that to sleep. Again therefore we tell you he who gives you a flat refusal, may that the exhortation of the text is limultimately reward you better than he ited as to time. "Go, work to-day in who gives you a fair promise. Be not, my vineyard.” To-morrow the pulse therefore, disheartened; but rather act may be still, and there is no work nor on the wise man's advice, "In the morn- wisdom in the grave.” To-day ye are ing sow thy seed, and in the evening yet amongst the living, and may enroll withhold not thy hand; for thou know- yourselves with the laborers whose est not whether shall prosper, either harvest shall be immortality,
THE DISPERSION AND RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto
thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."-St. Matthew, 23 : 37, 38, 39.
These words occur in the Gospel of undoubtedly different. As given by St. St. Luke, as well as in that of St. Mat- Luke, they form part of Christ's anthew; but the times of delivery were swer to certain Pharisees, who had
come to him with intelligence that He• Preached on behalf of the London Society rod sought to kill him. At this time, for the conversion of the Jews.
as it would seem, our Savior was making his last circuit of Galilee, before from the unfaithful husbandmen. We his arrival at Jerusalem at the fourth may therefore suppose, that, in quoting passover. But, as given by St. Mat- from this Psalm, the people designed to thew, the words appear to have been express their belief that Jesus was the last which Christ uttered in public, Messiah. We may further suppose, having been delivered just before his that, in declaring that Jerusalem should final departure from the temple, on the not see him again, till ready to apply evening, most probably, of the Wed to him the words he adduced, our Lord nesday in Passion-week. You cannot had respect to some future acknowhave any doubt, if you compare the ledgment of his kingly pretensions. passages in the two Evangelists, that We wish you to bear carefully with the words were uttered on very differ you these preliminary observations, as ent occasions, so that, if what they necessary to the settling the right incontain of prophecy may have had a terpretation of our text. Whatever seeming accomplishment between the may be your opinion of the import of two deliveries, we should still have to the passage, as delivered by St. Luke, search for an ampler fulfilment. you can hardly fail to allow, that, as
We make this remark, because, as delivered by St. Matthew, it can have you must all remember, when Christ respect to no events recorded in the made his public entry into Jerusalem Gospels. The words were uttered by from Bethany, a few days before his Christ, when concluding his public min. crucifixion, he was attended by a great istry: he left the temple so soon as he multitude, who saluted him in the lan- had pronounced them, and never again guage of our text. "And they that entered its precincts. We are, therewent before, and that followed, cried, fore, to take the text as Christ's partsaying, Hosanna, blessed is he that ing address to his unbelieving country. cometh in the name of the Lord.” | men; so that, in whatever degree they Had our text been found only in St. are prophetic, in that same degree must Luke, delivered on an occasion which they belong to occurrences which were preceded the triumphant reception of to follow his departure from earth. Christ, it might have been argued that Now it will be admitted by you all, what occurred at this reception fulfill- that there is something singularly paed all its prophecy. Yet it would then thetic in the text, when thus regarded have been easy to show that Christ as the last words of Christ to the Jews. must have referred to some more per- The Savior is taking his farewell of manent reception of himself than that those whom he had striven, by every given by an inconstant multitude, who, means, to lead to repentance. He had within a few days, were as vehement wrought the most wonderful miracles, in demanding his crucifixion as they and appealed to them in proof that he had been in shouting Kosanna. We are came forth from God. He had deliverhowever spared the necessity of ad- ed the most persuasive discourses, setvancing, or pressing, this argument, in- ting forth, under variety of imagery, asmuch as the words, as recorded by the ruin that would follow his being reSt. Matthew, were uttered subsequent-jected, and offering the largest blessly to Christ's entry into Jerusalem, and ings to all who would come to him as could not, therefore, have been fulfill. a deliverer. But all had been in vain : ed by that event.
and he knew that the time was at hand, It should further be remarked, that when the measure of guilt would be the saying, "Blessed is he that cometh filled up, and their Messiah be cruci. in the name of the Lord,” is taken from fied by the Jews. Yet he would not dea Psalm, the 118th, which the Jews part without another and a bolder rethemselves interpreted of the Christ. monstrance. The chapter, of which It is the Psalm in which are found the our text is the conclusion, and which, remarkable words, "The stone which as we have already stated, is the partthe builders refused is become the ing sermon of Christ, is without paralhead-stone of the corner” – words lel in the Gospels for indignant rewhich Jesus brought to bear on the buke and emphatic denunciation. The chief priests and scribes when they preacher seems, for a while, to have deprecated the taking the vineyard laid aside his meekness, and to have