Jeremiah 8:20
"The harvest has passed, the summer has ended, but we have not been saved."
Sermons
An Aged Man's RemorseJeremiah 8:20
At the Dose of the YearD. Merson.Jeremiah 8:20
Autumn ThoughtsThe Literary ChurchmanJeremiah 8:20
Cautions and ConsolationsE. Cooper, M. A.Jeremiah 8:20
Harvest HomeJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 8:20
Harvest Past, Summer Ended, and Men UnsavedJeremiah 8:20
Harvest TimeJ. D. Davies, M. A.Jeremiah 8:20
Life's Solemn OpportunityJ. Farren.Jeremiah 8:20
Lost Opportunities DeploredH. Belfrage, D. D.Jeremiah 8:20
Lost OpportunityChristian ObserverJeremiah 8:20
Not SavedJ. O. Keen, D. D.Jeremiah 8:20
Occasions of Hoped-For Salvation that have not AvailedA.F. Muir Jeremiah 8:20
Promising Seasons of Salvation LostR. Brodie, M. A.Jeremiah 8:20
Seasons of GraceW. Naylor.Jeremiah 8:20
Soul-Restoring Seasons NeglectedHomilistJeremiah 8:20
The Arrival of AutumnT. De Witt Talmage.Jeremiah 8:20
The Course of TimeE. Scobell, M. A.Jeremiah 8:20
The Goodness of God a Motive to GratitudeT. Binney.Jeremiah 8:20
The Harvest PastN. W. Taylor.Jeremiah 8:20
The Harvest PastJeremiah 8:20
The Harvest PastW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Jeremiah 8:20
The Life is More than the MeatD. Young Jeremiah 8:20
The Prophet's LamentS. A. Tipple.Jeremiah 8:20
The Summer is EndedJ. Freeman Clarke.Jeremiah 8:20
The Twelfth HourJeremiah 8:20
The Two HarvestsT. Starr King.Jeremiah 8:20
The Unavailing LamentationJ. Burns, D. D.Jeremiah 8:20
Too LateJeremiah 8:20
A Discourse for a Revival SeasonJeremiah 8:19-20
Manifestations of the Presence of GodW. Naylor.Jeremiah 8:19-20
The Royal PresenceThe Christian Witness.Jeremiah 8:19-20


Probably a proverbial expression. It is not admissible for us to understand the words of help expected from Egypt, which would be to make them an anachronism. They well describe the result of hoping against hope, and in this sense might be spoken by those who have been reduced to extremity by worldliness of spirit and unholiness of life. "It is plain that a great part of Israel imagined, like their heathen neighbors, that Jehovah had need of them as much as they had need of him; that their worship and service could not be indifferent to him; that he must, by a natural necessity, exert his power against their enemies, and save his sanctuaries from profanation. This, indeed, was the constant contention of the prophets who opposed Micah and Jeremiah (Micah 3:11; Jeremiah 7:4, seq.; Jeremiah 27:1, seq.); and from their point of view the captivity of Judah was the final and hopeless collapse of the religion of Jehovah, (W. Robertson Smith).

I. HOW MANY OCCASIONS HAVE THERE BEEN ON WHICH WE HAD EXPECTED AN IMAGINARY GOOD, OR LOOKED FOR A DELIVERANCE WHICH NEVER CAME! The man who has sought for wealth becomes rich only to find that his possessions fail to yield him the satisfaction he expected. False expectations have been entertained by the victims of misfortune that God would deliver them. True, they have no claim upon him, and they know that, if they were to be requited as they deserved, they would be left alone. The victim of unhallowed desires, hurried and driven as by an inward demon, fancies that, in his own nature or the course of life, he will come to a turning-point. He will "sow his wild oats" now; by-and-by he will settle down and marry and be respectable and virtuous. The events of life to which he looks forward take place, but there is no deliverance wrought by them. So many seek the Divine favor in formal religious observances, and do not find it. When many around us are being awakened from their indifference and converted to God, we are alarmed at our own spiritual deadness. The time of grace has slipped past unimproved. God has been gathering in his children, and we are left out.

II. To WHAT CONCLUSION OUGHT THIS TO LEAD US? That we ought to be anxious and in earnest there can be no question. Our chances appear desperate. Our power of moral recovery is greatly lessened as compared with the freshness of childhood's days. But whilst there is life there is hope. We have reason to congratulate ourselves that we have not been cut off in the midst of our sins. The door is still open. Let us, as those "born out of due time," awake to righteousness, and seek with tears an offended but loving Father. "Now is the accepted time;... now is the day of salvation." - M.









The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
The passage is full of lamentation and woe, and yet it is somewhat singular that the chief mourner here is not one who needed chiefly to be in trouble. Jeremiah was under the special protection of God, and he escaped in the evil day. Even when Nebuchadnezzar was exercising his utmost rage, Jeremiah was in no danger, for the heart of the fierce monarch was kindly towards him. "Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee." The man of God, who personally had least cause to mourn, was filled with heavy grief, while the people who were about to lose their all, and to lose their lives, still remained but half awakened; complaining, but not repenting; afraid, but yet not humbled before God. A preacher whom God sends will often feel more care for the souls of men than men feel for themselves or their own salvation. Is it not sad that there should be an anxious pain in the heart of one who is himself saved, while those who are unsaved, and are obliged to own it, feel little or no concern? See yonder man about to be condemned to die, standing at the bar, the judge putting on the black cap is scarcely able to pronounce the sentence for emotion, and all around him in the court break down with distress on his account, while he himself is brazen faced, and feels no more than the floor he stands upon I How hardened has he become! Pity is lost upon him, if pity ever can be lost.

I. The language of COMPLAINT. These Jews said, "The seasons are going by, the year is spending itself, the harvest is past, the vintage also is ended, and yet we are not saved." In effect they complained of God that He had not saved them, as if He was under some obligation to have done so, as if they had a kind of claim upon Him to interpose: and so they spoke as if they were an ill-used people, a nation that had been neglected by their Protector. This complaint was a very unjust one, for there were many reasons why they were not saved, and why God had not delivered them.

1. They had looked to the wrong quarter: they expected that the Egyptians would deliver them. The same folly dwells in multitudes of men. They are not saved, and they never will be while they continue to look where they do look. All dependence upon ourselves is looking to Egypt for help, and leaning our weight upon a broken reed. Whether that dependence upon self takes the form of relying upon ceremonies, or depending upon prayers, or trusting in our own attempts to improve ourselves morally, it is still the same proud folly of self. dependence. All trust but that which is found in Jesus is a delusion and a falsehood. No man can help you. Eternal barrenness is the portion of those who trust in man and make flesh their arm.

2. Those people had prided themselves upon their outward privileges; they had presumed upon their favoured position, for they say in the nineteenth verse, "Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her King in her?" Faith in Jesus is the one thing needful; vain is the fact that you were born of Christian parents, ye must be born again; vain is your sitting as God's people sit in the solemn service of the sanctuary, your heart must be changed; vain is your observance of the Lord's day, and vain your Bible reading and your form of prayer night and morning, unless you are washed in Jesus' blood; vain are all things without living faith in the living Jesus.

3. Them was another and very powerful reason why these people were not saved, for, with all their religiousness and their national boast as to God's being among them, they had continued in provoking the Lord. Thou must have done with the indulgence of sin if thou wouldst be clansed from the guilt of it. There is no going on in transgression, and yet obtaining salvation: it is a licentious supposition. Christ comes to save us from our sins, not to make it safe to do evil.

4. Another reason why they were not saved was because they made being saved from trouble the principal matter. Was there ever a murderer yet who did not wish to be saved from the gallows? When a man is tied up to be flogged for a deed of brutal violence, and his back is bared for the lash, depend upon it he repents of what he did; that is to say, he repents that he has to suffer for it; but that is all, and a sorry all too. He has no sorrow for the agony which he inflicted on his innocent victim; no regret for maiming him for life. What is the value of such a repentance?

5. There was another reason why these people were not saved and could not be. "Lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them?" Do you read your Bible privately? Did you ever read it with an earnest prayer that God would teach you what you really are, and make you to be a true believer in Christ? Have you read it with regard to yourself, asking God to teach you its meaning, and to make the sense of it press upon your conscience? Do you reply, "I have not done that"? Why then do you wonder that you are not saved? To put a slighter test than the former: when you hear the Gospel, do you always inquire, "What has this to do with me?" or do you listen to it as a general truth with which you have no peculiar concern?

6. There is a further reason why some men are not saved, and that is because they have a great preference for slight measures. They love to hear the flattering voice whispering, "Peace, peace, where there is no peace" and they choose those for leaders who will heal their hurt slightly. He who is wise will go where the Word has most power, both to kill and to make alive. Do you want a physician when you call upon him to please you with a flattering opinion? Must he needs say, "My dear friend, it is a very small matter; you want nothing but pleasant diet, and you will soon be all right"? If he talks thus smoothly when he knows that a deadly disease is commencing its work upon you, is he not a deceiver? Do you not think you are very foolish if you pay such a man your guinea, and denounce his neighbour who tells you the plain truth? Do you want to be deluded? Are you eager to be duped? Do you want to dream of heaven, and then wake up in hell?

7. All this while these people have wondered that they were not saved, and yet they never repented of their sin. Repentance was a jest with them, they had not grace enough even to feel shame, and yet they made a complaint against God, saying, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." What monstrous folly was this!

II. Now, may the Spirit of God help us while we would lead unconverted persons into the CONSIDERATION of this matter.

1. First consideration, "We are not saved." I do not want to talk, I want you to think. "We are not saved." Put it in the personal, first person singular.

2. Furthermore, not only am I not saved, but I have been a long time not saved. What opportunities I had! I have been through revivals, but the sacred power passed over me; I remember several wonderful occasions when the Spirit of God was poured out, and yet I am not saved.

3. Worse still, habits harden. Harvests have dried me, summers have parched me, age has shrivelled my soul: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer, I am getting to be old hay, or as withered weeds fit for the burning.

4. The last summer will soon come, and the last harvest will soon be reaped, and you, dear friend, must go to your long home. I will apply it mainly to myself: I must go upstairs for the last time, and I must lay me down upon the bed from which I shall never rise again; if I am unsaved my room will be a prison chamber to me, and the bed will be hard as a plank, if I have to lie there and know that I must die, — that a few more days or hours must end this struggle for existence, and I am bound to stand before God. O my God, save me from an unready deathbed! Souls, I charge you by everything that is rational within you, escape for your lives, and seek to find eternal salvation for your undying spirits.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is no much sadder and heavier burden than that borne by him who is profoundly conscious of evils, and of threatened disaster, in some popular policy — some policy with which all around him are content and pleased, and of the happy issue of which they are confident who, while his friends and fellows are entirely satisfied with things as they are, and flatter themselves that the course pursued will be surely productive of or conducive to good, carries about with him daily a deep conviction of existing serious defects, and of involved mischief and woe. No hope, no hope! That was the peculiar burden of Jeremiah, that was the vision forced upon him, the message he was constrained to deliver, while the people and their leaders were nursing the assurance that all was going well, that a work was being prosecuted which would secure salvation. Few things are more unpalatable and painful, than to feel it incumbent on you to say to any for whom you entertain sentiments of friendship and affection, what is calculated to damp and dishearten, to spoil the dreams of those who are dreaming pleasantly, deliciously, to destroy or disturb fond hopes; than to feel it incumbent upon you, instead of sympathising with the joy of such hopes, — as you fain would, were it possible, — to shake your head and contradict them. There are cases in which upon the whole it may be best to refrain from meddling with hopes, the baselessness of which we perceive with pity, to let the possessors go on indulging them without any interference from us, until they shall awaken at length, in the course of events, to the chill of the disappointing reality. Unfounded and fallacious as their hopes are, and certain ere long to be painfully shattered, they may be less harmful, less fraught with mischief, than our present interruption of them might be. But eases there are, on the other hand, in which the right thing, the wisest and the kindest thing, will be at once to attack and scatter, or endeavour to scatter them, however unwelcome the task, and whatever suffering we may cause. The sooner the subjects of them can be shaken out of their hold, can be made to recognise their falsity, and be set face to face with the severity of the actual, the better. It was thus with the people of Judah in Jeremiah's time. Their hope that the reforms in progress were securing them against the rod that had been threatened, was not only a delusion but a snare; it was creating and fostering within them a false spirit, was preventing any true discernment on their part of what was really wanting in them, of their real unwholesomeness and corruption, and was unfitting them to bear the rod when it should fall, with the meek resignation, the humble submission, requisite to render it a purifying and chastening discipline. But this cry of his over his country in the streets of Jerusalem, — by how many has something like it been breathed inwardly, with sorrow and bitterness, concerning themselves, as they have stood contemplating what they have, and what they are, after seasons in their history, seasons that had enfolded golden opportunity or shone bright with promise. Who is there, beyond the boundaries of youth at all, who has not had his seasons of promise, that have left him sighing forlornly over broken hopes? Infinite, in this respect, is the pathos of human life, crying dumbly evermore for the infinite pity of God. Or again, is it not frequently the case that bygone circumstances and situations are recalled with a sorrowful, humiliating sense of our not being the men in moral stature, in moral fibre and feature, which they should have contributed to make us, which they gave us in vain the opportunity of becoming — that remembering them, we feel with a pang of grief and shame, the good thing they might have wrought in us which they have not wrought; how we might have been disciplined by them, or stimulated to larger growth, to culturing action and endurance, — and were not? "Oh, could we weep," some are saying to themselves. "Oh, could we weep as once we wept, when similar situations and circumstances returned. If the recurrence now and again, of former scenes, of former contacts and conjunctures, could but stir in us the transient hopeful emotion which they used to excite, could but set us temporarily sighing, aspiring, resolving, as they used to do, when they always brought with them the promise at least, of our going on to better things; but the promise, alas! was never fulfilled, the transient hopeful emotion faded without producing aught; and now, the recurrence of the former scenes, the former contacts and conjunctures, ceases to awaken the emotion. The birthdays, the anniversaries, the quiet Sunday mornings, the hours of silence and solitude, that once agitated us with rushes of unwonted tenderness, with little wavelets of earnest thought, and higher impulse, which might have led to something further, to something of permanent effect, — they no longer touch us thus as they come and go; they have no longer the slightly quickening influence that they had: our harvest in them is past, our summer in them is ended, and we are not saved." Is not such the secret cry of some, who yet, however, are not unsalveable by any means, since they are still able to weep that they cannot weep? What is it, in conclusion, with the best of us, but failure? Let the pity of the Lord our God be upon us! And yet may we not believe, do we not feel to our solace, that at the least, something has always been reaped? — reaped for sowing, albeit with tears, in fields beyond; nay, that even in the mere lowly and penitent sense of shortcoming, which seems perhaps almost all that has been gained, we shall be carrying away with us from hence, a gathered seed grain, to be for fruit, perchance for the fruit we have hitherto missed, "behind the veil."

(S. A. Tipple.)

What different emotions prevail in the mind, through different periods of human life! In our early hours, when health is high, and the heart warm, hope is the feeling that takes the lead; and who, that calls to mind the events of his youth, can fail to remember his train of lively and sanguine opinions. The boy views everything through the magic telescope of an eager fancy. He longs for the future: every day seems to him to go on tardy pinions; keeping him from he knows not what, but still from something which strongly impresses his mind with imaginary beauties, and which he is sure is to make him happier at some approaching period. But as time advances, the spirit of the dream is changed; manhood begins to find out what the world is really made of. When we come to mingle, as interested actors, in its schemes and tumults, its winding and turnings; when we come to perceive its selfishness and its rigour; to mix up in the everyday exertions of its dull routine; and to suffer the various disappointments of its fickle favours, — we then conclude that hope and reality are two different things; and that like the clouds about the evening sun, though at first they are brightly coloured, yet that they are but clouds after all, and that when the light is gone, the tempest often remains. Then it is that another feeling arises in the mind: we fly from hope to memory. It is with these reflections I would desire you to consider the text. What is hope, if it enter not within the veil, sure and steadfast, an anchor of the soul? And what is memory, if it look back on worldly pleasures only, and be not accompanied by that "looking forward," and that "pressing towards the mark," which will induce us rather "to forget the things which are behind" in the anticipations of "that blessed hope," and that "glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"? It often happens to us to walk over those scenes of nature in winter which we had visited in summer; and the contrast is sometimes peculiarly striking. "Is this the spot that gave us such pleasure? are these all the remains of our former entertainment?" Alas! the same reasoning often comes upon us in the strange realities of a chequered life. Nature in her revolutions is but a model of the existence of man. We, too, have our summer of pleasure, and our winter of sorrows. Let it teach us this — not to value the world at more than it is worth; to use it without abusing it; and to find out a surer refuge for our hearts to fix on. This brings me to another way, less allegorical, of considering the text. "The earth bringing forth grass; the herb yielding seed; and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself," all bespeak a design from the great Designer, and the workmanship of a Divine hand. No art can imitate the nicety of nature. The brightest robe of Solomon in all his glory must yield to the lily of the field. The meanest insect that preys upon a fruit tree is the workmanship of Him who made the universe. "Shall He not take care, then, of you, O ye of little faith?" "The summer is ended, and we are not saved." We have not looked from nature up to nature's God. We are not led by gratitude and affection to love the Author of all this assemblage of mercies. We cannot yet say to Him with filial truth, "Abba, Father." This is what every summer should teach us, and the state it should bring us to. This is what the bounty of God should encourage in our hearts, namely, "to love Him, because He has first loved us." This is taking, like Moses, a distant view of the heavenly Canaan, and making the wilderness of earth, while it leads us towards the promised land, "to rejoice, and be glad, and blossom as the rose." But we come now to a still more personal sense in which the words of the text may be applied. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended": you have had your spring time of youth, with all its hopes; your summer of manhood, with all its bloom; and the autumn of enjoyment, with all its maturities. These seasons have passed from you, and the winter of age is arrived, — that gloomy time which we once shrunk back from even in idea, and which we always determined, whenever it did come, should find us servants of God, and sincere candidates for "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Let me ask you, first, how it has found you Has it found you with lamps trimmed, and with oil to burn in the night of the grave? Are you in a state of salvation? As earth retires from before you, does heaven arise the more to your sight? As you grow older, do you grow wiser? — wiser, not in art, or science, or human philosophy, but in the wisdom of the heart, in a knowledge of yourselves, of your own insufficiency, of the power and riches of Christ, of the vanity of the world and its vexation of spirit, of the necessity of resting your all in the ark of a covenant God? But the words of the text by no means apply exclusively to the aged. Their sound is gone out unto all ages; and they utter intelligible language to the young. The winter of age, or the winter of another year, may never arrive to you. Why do you not put on that armour of your Saviour which will carry you unharmed through every change and chance of this mortal warfare? You are as much answerable to God for the talents committed to you, as the oldest man alive. Employ them in the service of Him who gave them, and who gave them also for this very purpose — to redound to His glory, and to work out your own salvation. If pleasure be your aim, Jesus Christ will interfere with no real pleasure, and will give you new ones of the choicest kind. Is tranquillity your object? Christianity has a "peace which passeth understanding"! Are sublime and noble contemplations the employment of your mind? What facts are so noble as the eternal truths of the Gospel? Is fancy your delight? what field for imagination can be so brilliant as those bright visions which human eye hath never seen, where the future destinies of the faithful in the Lamb are mysteriously but gloriously pointed out; where every present faculty of the soul shall be expanded and perfected; and new ones and better ones added an hundredfold? And all this accompanied, in the united testimony of God's Spirit with our spirit, by a happiness which every converted man must feel in the sacred consciousness that he is justified through Christ, and reconciled in the sight of God.

(E. Scobell, M. A.)

There is scarcely a more painful reflection to the mind of man, than that the season of avoiding great calamities, and of securing great blessings, has been neglected, and is irrecoverably gone. The distress will be heightened in proportion to the magnitude of the evil which might have been avoided, and of the blessings which might have been secured.

1. The season of youth passed in impenitence, is to multitudes such a season. The sensibilities of the soul are more easily touched, conscience is more susceptible and faithful, the affections are more easily moved, the soul is capable of receiving more permanent impressions — the whole inner man is peculiarly accessible to the influence of eternal things.

2. The same precious season is often terminated by some single acts of wickedness, or by yielding in some single instance to temptation. Could we draw aside the veil that conceals the providence of God, we should doubtless see, in the history of every soul that is lost, some act, some purpose, some state of heart, some violence done to conscience, which was the fatal step away from the grace of God — the commencement of that downward career, in which mercy was never to reach him — the turning point of life and death eternal — the hour in which his day of grace terminated, and from which the only result of his protracted life, was the accumulation of wrath — the hour when the harvest was past, when the summer ended.

3. The same precious season is often terminated by the abuse and perversion of distinguishing grace. It is related that in a place where Mr. Whitefield preached, and was greatly opposed by many, that not me of his opposers was known afterward to give evidence of piety, and that nothing like a revival of religion was known there, until every such opposer was dead. When, in addition to the more ordinary means of grace, opportunities of hearing the Gospel preached, are multiplied — when religion and the concerns of the soul become extensively the topics of conversation in families and among neighbours — when the professed followers of Christ awake to a faithful discharge of these duties and converse with sinners, solemnly and pungently, about the neglected concerns of the soul — and when these extra opportunities and means are resolutely shunned and neglected, or when, in any way, their influence is resisted, then it is that multitudes put themselves beyond the influence of the most powerful means that will ever be used for their salvation, and live only to "treasure up wrath against the day of wrath."

4. This season of mercy often terminates with a season of peculiar Divine influence. There are periods in the life of almost every one when the truths of religion have peculiar efficacy. The Spirit of God carries those truths to the conscience with a power which cannot be wholly resisted. Such intervals of conviction may be longer or shorter, the conviction itself may be more or less pungent, but let the subject resist and grieve away the Spirit of God, and the last state of that man is worse than the first. At such a season, God seems to make His last, highest efforts to save; and those unhappy men who resist them, and still persevere in impenitence, of all others run the most fearful risk of final abandonment of that God who has done so much to save them. It is of such that God says, "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone."

5. Death ends the day of grace to all. It ushers the soul that is unprepared into the presence of its Judge to receive its unchangeable doom. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment." The end of probation must come. The mighty angel standing on the earth and the sea shall lift his hand to heaven, and swear that time shall be no longer. Then all will be eternal, unchangeable retribution.

(N. W. Taylor.)

I. LIFE IS MADE UP OF A SERIES OF PROBATIONS. Its various parts are favourable periods for affecting the future. The present may be so used as to be of advantage to us hereafter.

1. Life is a probation in regard to the friendship and favour of our fellow men. We do not at once step into their confidence without a trial. Many a man toils through a long and weary life to secure by his good conduct something which his fellow men have to bestow in the shape of honour or office, content at last, if even when grey hairs are thick upon him, he may lay his hand on the prize which has glittered before him in all the journey of life.

2. Especially is this true of the young. Of no young man is it presumed that he is qualified for office, or business, or friendship, until he has given evidence of such qualification.

3. The study of a profession, or apprenticeship, is such a probation. It is just a trial to determine whether the young man will be worthy of the confidence which he desires, and it will decide the amount of honour or success which the world will give him. There is an eye of public vigilance on every young man from which he cannot escape. The world watches his movements; learns his character; marks his defects; records and remembers his virtues.

4. The whole of this probation for the future often depends on some single action that shall determine the character, and that shall send an influence ever onward. Everything seems to be concentrated on a single point. A right or a wrong decision then settles everything. The moment when in the battle at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington could say, "This will do," decided the fate of the battle, and of kingdoms. A wrong movement just at that point might have changed the condition of the world for centuries. In every man's life there are such periods; and probably in the lives of most men their future course is more certainly deter. mined by one such far-reaching and central decision, than by many actions in other circumstances. They are those moments when honour, wealth, usefulness, health, and salvation seem all to depend on a single resolution. Everything is concentrated on that point — like one of Napoleon's movements at the bridge of Lodi, or at Austerlitz. If that one point is carried, the whole field may soon be won. In the decision which a young man often makes at that point, there is such a breach made on his virtuous principles; there is such an array of temptations pouring into the breach — like an army pouring into a city when a breach is made in a wall — that henceforward there is almost no resistance, and the citadel is taken.

II. WHEN A TIME OF PROBATION IS PASSED, IT CANNOT BE RECALLED. If it has been improved aright, the advantages which it conferred in shaping the future life, will abide; if it has been misimproved or abused, it will be too late to repair the evil. A young man is fitting for a profession, or for commercial life. If he suffers the time usually allotted to such a preparation to pass away in idleness or vice, it will soon be too late to recall his neglected or wasted opportunities. There are advantages in preparing for a profession in youth, which cannot be secured at a subsequent period of life. A young man is professedly acquiring an education. If he suffers the time of youth to be spent in indolence, the period will soon arrive when it will be too late for him to repair the evil. In the acquisition of languages; in the formation of industrious habits; in cultivating an acquaintance with past events, he has opportunities then which can be secured at no other time of life. At no future period can he do what he was fitted to do then, and what ought to have been done then. Whatever opportunities there were then to prepare for the future, are now lost, and it is too late to recall them. The period has passed away, and all that follows must be unavailing regret. I need not pause here to remark on the painful emotions which visit the bosom in the few cases of those who are reformed after a wasted and dissipated youth. Cases of such reformation sometimes occur. A man after the errors and follies of a dissipated early life; after he has wasted the opportunities which he had to obtain an education; after all the abused care and anxiety of a parent to prepare him for future usefulness and happiness, sometimes is aroused to see the error and folly of his course. What would he not give to be able to retrace that course, and to live over again that abused and wasted life! But it is too late. The die is east for this life — whatever may be the case in regard to the life to come.

III. THERE ARE FAVOURABLE SEASONS FOR SECURING THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL, WHICH, IF SUFFERED TO PASS AWAY UNIMPROVED, CANNOT BE RECALLED. The grand purpose for which God has placed us on earth, is not to obtain wealth, or to acquire honour, or to enjoy pleasure here; it is to prepare for the world beyond. On the same principle, therefore, on which He has made future character and happiness in this life dependent on our conduct in those seasons which are times of probation, has He made all the eternity of our existence dependent on the conduct of life regarded as a season of probation. And on the same principle on which He has appointed favourable seasons for sowing and reaping, He has appointed favourable seasons to secure our salvation. For it is no more to be presumed of any man without trial that he is prepared for heaven, than it is that a young man will be a good merchant, lawyer, or physician, without trial. There are periods, therefore, which God has appointed as favourable seasons for salvation; times when there are peculiar advantages for securing religion, and which will not occur again.

1. Foremost among them is youth — the most favourable time always for becoming a Christian. Then the heart is tender, and the conscience is easily impressed, and the mind is more free from cares than at a future period, and there is less difficulty in breaking away from the world, and usually less dread of the ridicule of others. The time of youth compared with old age has about the same relation to salvation, which spring time and summer compared with winter have with reference to a harvest. The chills and frosts of age are about as unfavourable to conversion to God as the frosts and snows of December are to the cultivation of the earth. But suppose that youth is to be all of your life, and you were to die before you reached middle life, what then will be your doom?

2. A season when your mind is awakened to the subject of religion, is such a favourable time for salvation. All persons experience such seasons; times when there is an unusual impression of the vanity of the world, of the evil of sin, of the need of a Saviour, and of the importance of being prepared for heaven. These are times of mercy, when God is speaking to the soul. Compared with the agitations and strifes of public life, they are with reference to salvation what gentle summer suns are to the husbandman, compared with the storm and tempest when the lightnings flash, and the hail beats down the harvest which he had hoped to reap. And the farmer may as well expect to till his soil, and sow and reap his harvest, when the black cloud rolls up the sky, and the pelting storm drives on, as a man expect to prepare for heaven in the din of business, in political conflicts, and in the struggles of gain and ambition. But all — all that is favourable for salvation, in such serious moments, will soon pass away, and when gone they cannot be recalled.

3. A revival of religion, in like manner, is a favourable time for securing salvation. It is a time when there is all the power of the appeal from sympathy; all the force of the fact that your companions and friends are leaving you four heaven; when the strong ties of love for them draw your mind towards religion; when all the confidence which you had in them becomes an argument for religion; and when, most of all, the Holy Spirit makes your heart tender, and speaks with any unusual power to the soul. But such a time, with all its advantages, usually soon passes away; and those advantages for salvation you cannot again create, or recall — any more than you can call up the bloom of spring in the snows of December.

IV. VARIOUS CLASSES WHO WILL UTTER THIS UNAVAILING LAMENTATION, AND THE REFLECTIONS OF THE SOUL, AS IT GOES UNFORGIVEN UP TO GOD.

1. Such words will be uttered by the aged man who has suffered his long life to pass away without preparation to meet his Judge.

2. The language of the text will be uttered at last by the man who often resolved to attend to the subject of religion, but who deferred it until it was too late.

3. These words will be uttered by the thoughtless and the gay. Life to them has been a summer scene in more senses than one. It has been — or they have tried to make it so — just what a summer day is to the gaudy insects that you see playing in the rays of the setting sun. It has been just as volatile, as frivolous, as useless. But the time has come at last when all this gaiety and vanity is to be left. The beautiful summer, that seemed so full of flowers and sweet odours, passes away. The sun of life hastens to its setting. The circle of fashion has been visited for the last time; the theatre has been entered for the last time; the pleasures of the ball-room have been enjoyed for the last time; music has poured its last notes on the ear, and the last silvery tones of flattery are dying away, and now has come the serious hour to die.

( A. Barnes, D. D.)

I. THE FEELINGS THAT OUGHT TO BE SUGGESTED TO OUR MINDS BY THE LITERAL HARVEST.

1. The recollection of God's faithfulness. We ask for the corn, and the wine, and the oil; we cry to the earth, by which they can be produced; the earth calls to the heavens, by whose genial influences alone the earth can yield them; the heavens look up to God, and God hears the heavens, and the earth receives, and the earth gives us all that we need; and thus we receive it directly from the hands of God Himself.

2. To feel our dependence. All the science and ingenuity of mankind united together, cannot produce one drop of water, or a single blade of grass.

3. The exercise of gratitude. Fears we may have had on account of the apparent unfavourableness of the season, but we have reason to rejoice that these fears have, in a great measure, been disappointed; that God has fulfilled His promise, and given us plenty in our borders for man and beast.

4. God's forbearance. Only reflect upon it, that while men are never thinking of God, while they are blaspheming His holy name, putting away His Gospel, finding reasons in this very world He has made in order to deny His existence and providence, while men are doing this, He is pitying them and giving them of His fulness, opening His hand and supplying liberally their wants!

5. We should regard the end that God must be supposed to have in view in all this. Every putting forth of His beneficence, every ray of light that comes on our world, while they furnish us with a beautiful manifestation of the Divine character, are designed as invitations to come to be reconciled to that God who has been giving us all things richly to enjoy.

6. A recollection of the flight of time. What do we mean by the "harvest"? That the seasons have again rolled around — that we are so much nearer death, and eternity, and the final destiny of our immortal spirits. It is a solemnising thought!

II. NOTICE SOME OF THOSE USES WHICH ARE MADE OF THE SEASON BY THE SACRED WRITERS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ILLUSTRATING AND CONVEYING RELIGIOUS TRUTH.

1. The completion of religion in the soul. Contemplating an individual as the subject of God's grace, we have an illustration in the figure before us of the rise, progress, and completion of religion in the soul. We find this very beautifully described by our Lord Himself (Mark 4:26).

2. Another idea is suggested — the secret and mysterious origin and operation of religion in the heart. To this our Lord has Himself beautifully alluded in the parable I have read, "The seed springs and groweth up, he knoweth not how."

3. Another thing that is beautifully taught us in this parable is the progressive nature of the advancement of religion in the character. "For the earth bringeth forth fruit in itself, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."

4. The last idea is the termination of all the anxiety which was necessarily connected with the watching of this progress, and the bringing forth of this fruit. The end of the present dispensation of things in the world and in the Church. There will be an end of the preaching of the Gospel, of prayer, of the Saviour's intercession. All these things are to come to an end. "Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

5. The appearances of things at that time will be connected with all that is passing now. All the results of the present dispensation of things will be observed. Everything will appear as it really is.

III. THE FIGURE SEEMS, IN THIS PASSAGE, TO REFER, NOT SO MUCH LITERALLY TO THE HARVEST ITSELF, AS THE RESULT OF AGENCIES, BUT RATHER TO THE ENJOYMENT OF THESE AGENCIES — THE ENJOYMENT OF THE SUMMER AND AUTUMN, WHEN OPPORTUNITY WAS GIVEN, AND IMPROVEMENT MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." We might take up the property of sufficiency as expressing the particular feature of the harvest to which I wish to advert.

1. What a sufficiency of knowledge you have! God hath spoken once, yea, twice; He hath given you line upon line, precept upon precept; He hath taught you to conceive rightly of Himself, of His nature, His designs, His will, in regard to us; He has revealed man to himself, as well as revealed Himself to man.

2. There is a sufficiency of provision.

3. You have abundance of motives and inducements. Think of God's exceeding great and precious promises — think of their freeness, their universality, their adaptation to your rotate and circumstances — think of God actually waiting to be gracious, inviting you to come to Him.

4. Do you lack opportunity! Have you no cessation from labour, no hours for retirement? Have you not time — have you really not time to reflect, to reason, to read God's Word, to offer prayer to God, to scrutinise and examine the real state of your own character?

5. You have a sufficiency of capacity. God does not require of you to do that by your own efforts of which you are incapable; He does not require you to find a Holy Spirit for the purification of your hearts; but He does require that when He has found these, when He has found this Saviour, when He has provided this Holy Spirit, He does require you to receive His truth, to come to that Saviour, to accept His salvation, to ask for the influences of that Sanctifier. So that "if ye have not," says our Saviour, it is for this reason, "because ye ask not."

(T. Binney.)

I. TO PROMOTE OUR SALVATION FROM THE DOMINION AND CONSEQUENCES OF SIN, WE ARE GRACIOUSLY FAVOURED OF GOD WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS.

1. The teaching of His Gospel. By it we are instructed concerning —

(1)The necessity of salvation.

(2)The provision of salvation.

(3)The method of salvation.

2. Warnings of His providence.

(1)Jehovah warns by dreadful calamities.

(2)By prevailing sickness and disease.

(3)By sudden death.

3. Influence of His Spirit.

(1)Convincing men of the evil of sin.

(2)Drawing men from sin.

(3)Reproving men for sin.

4. Labours of faithful ministers.

II. TO PROMOTE OUR SALVATION, WE ARE NOT ONLY FAVOURED OF GOD WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS, BUT ALSO WITH NUMEROUS GRACIOUS SEASONS AND FAVOURABLE OPPORTUNITIES.

1. A summer season of youth.

2. Summer seasons of affliction. They afford opportunities for solemn thought, holy meditation, serious inquiry, important reflection, and faithful self-examination.

3. Summer season of special visitations of grace.

III. IT IS POSSIBLE FOR SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AND FAVOURABLE OPPORTUNITIES TO PASS AWAY, AND LEAVE MAN A STRANGER TO SALVATION.

1. The Word of God asserts the truth.

2. Numerous facts establish the truth.

IV. THE STATE OF THOSE WHO ARE NOT SAVED BY GRACE IS MOST DEPLORABLE AND PERILOUS.

1. unsaved state is a state of guilt.

2. An unsaved state is a state of misery.

3. An unsaved state is a state of danger.

V. APPLY THESE IMPORTANT TRUTHS. In doing so, we would consider the language of this Scripture as the language of —

1. Penitential regret — for having abused such precious blessings, and neglected such favourable opportunities.

2. Awakened fear — the fear of a person who discovers his danger, and is concerned about it.

3. Serious inquiry. "Can I, after abusing so much goodness — after placing myself in such circumstances of jeopardy, yet obtain salvation?" Thanks to the long-suffering grace of God, it is possible.

4. Affectionate warning. Your privileges are passing away — your time is consuming — your careless conduct is inexcusable — and your eternal destiny will soon be fixed.

(W. Naylor.)

Christian Observer.
To understand fully the import of these words it would be useful to consider the state of the people in whose name they were uttered by the prophet, namely, the Jews, who were at this period on the eve of destruction. But there are many situations in the life of every man to which this lamentation may be applied with the utmost propriety and force.

I. EVERY PERSON WHO STILL REMAINS IN SIN MAY, AT THE CLOSE OF A YEAR, OR THE RECURRENCE OF ANY OTHER MARKED INTERVAL OF TIME, USEFULLY ADOPT THIS LAMENTATION. Every passing hour removes the sinner farther from eternal life. Mankind are never stationary in their moral condition, any more than in their being. He who does not become better, becomes worse. Nor is this all. The declension is more rapid than we ever imagine. Blindness is a common name for sin in the Scriptures, and is strongly descriptive of one important part of its nature. Nor is it blindness to Divine things only, to God and Christ, to its duty and to its salvation; but it is also blindness with respect to itself. Hence his state is in every respect more dangerous than he does or will believe, and his declension more rapid than with these views he can possibly imagine. This is true of every period of his life. Of consequence, the loss of a year, a day, an hour, is a greater loss than he can be induced even to suspect. He ought to remember, that he has not only lost that period, but converted it into the means of sin and ruin; that he is more sinful, more guilty, and more odious to God, than at the beginning of it; that all the difficulties which lie between him and salvation are increased beyond his imagination; his evil habits strengthened, and his hopes of returning lessened, far more than he is aware. He ought also to cast his eyes around him, and see that all, or almost all, others, who have, like himself, trusted to a future repentance, have from year to year become more hardened in sin by these very means; have thought less and less of turning back, and taking hold of the paths of life. Such as they are, will he be. Their thoughts, their conclusions, their conduct have been the same; their end, therefore, will be his. God has, with infinite patience, and mercy, prolonged your lives; and, in spite of all your sins, has renewed His blessings to you every morning. The gate of salvation is still open. The Sabbath still smiles with peace and hope. The sceptre of forgiveness is still held out for you to touch and live. In what manner have you lived in the midst of these blessings? Have you solemnly, often, and effectually, thought on the great subject of religion? Are you nearer to heaven, or nearer to hell? To what good purpose have you lived? Is not the harvest, in one important sense, past to you?

II. Another situation, to which this melancholy reflection is peculiarly applicable, IS THAT OF A DYING SINNER. Human life is one continued scene of delusion. Present objects too often gain all our attention, and all our care. To them alone we attach importance, and that, an importance far beyond what their value will warrant. They engage, they engross, our labours, our anxiety, our hopes, our fears, our joys, and our sorrows. By such men the health and well-being of the soul are contemned and forgotten; and the soul itself is scarcely remembered amid the vehement pursuit of wealth, honour, and pleasure. But do these things accord with truth and wisdom? The blessings of this world are necessary to the life, support, and comfort of man, while he is here; and they are also means of enabling him to do good to his fellow men, and in this way to benefit his soul. In this view I acknowledge their value. But for what else can they be valuable? They are means, not ends. As means, they are useful; as ends, they are but dross. Future things, on the contrary, have far less value in our eyes than they really possess, especially eternal things. We think them distant, but they are near; we think them uncertain, but they are sure; we think them trifles unconnected with our happiness, whereas they are things of infinite moment and of infinite concern to us. This delusion not uncommonly travels with us through life, and is not shaken off till we appear before the bar of God. On a dying bed, however, it often vanishes; and, if sickness and patience leave us in the possession of our reason, juster views prevail, with respect both to things present and things future, things temporal and things spiritual. Under the influence of this clear discernment, in this new state of the mind, the following observations will show with how much propriety he may take up this despairing lamentation. Among the objects which may be supposed most naturally to arise to the view of a sinner on his dying bed, his youth would undoubtedly occupy a place of primary importance. In what colours will his various conduct during this period appear? He is now on the verge of eternity, and just bidding his last adieu to the present world and all its cares, and hopes, and pleasures. Where are now his high hopes of sublunary good? Where his lively, brilliant spirits, his ardent thirst for worldly enjoyment, for gay amusement, for sportive companions, and for the haunts of festivity, mirth, and joy? These once engrossed all his thoughts, wishes, and labours. Where are they now? They have vanished with the gaiety of the morning cloud, they have fled with the glitter of the early dew. In this precious, golden season God called to him from heaven, and proclaimed aloud, "I love them that love Me, and those who seek Me early shall find Me. Receive My instruction, and not silver; and knowledge, rather than fine gold. For wisdom is better than rubies, and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I will cause those that love Me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures." His face was then clothed in smiles, and His voice only tenderness and compassion. Christ also, with the benignity of redeeming love, invited him to come and take the water of life freely. The Spirit of grace, with the same boundless affection, whispered to him to turn from every evil way, and every unrighteous thought, to the Lord his God, who was ready to have mercy on him, and abundantly to pardon him. With what amazement will he now look back, and see that he refused these infinite blessings; that he turned his back on a forgiving God; closed his ears to the calls of a crucified Redeemer; and hardened his heart against the whispers of salvation, communicated by the Spirit of truth and life! Riper years will naturally next offer themselves to his view. The bustle of this period seemed at the time to be of real importance; and, although not devoted to godliness, yet to he occupied by business serious and solid. But now, how suddenly will this specious garb drop, and leave, in all their nakedness, his avarice, his ambition and his graver sensuality! Of what value now are the treasures which he struggled to heap up? On what mere wind did he labour to satisfy the hunger of his soul! How will his boasted reason appear to have been busied! Instead of being employed in discovering truth, and performing duty, he will see it, throughout this most discreet period of life, labouring to flatter, to justify, to perpetrate iniquity; to persuade himself that safety might be found in sin Blind to heaven, it had eyes only for this world. Deaf to the calls of salvation, it listened solely to those of pride. Insensible to the eternal love of God, it opened its feelings only to the solicitations of time and sense. Behind manhood, we behold age next advancing; age, to him the melancholy evening of a dark and distressing day. Here he stood upon the verge of the grave, and advanced daily to see it open and receive him. How will he now be amazed, that, as death drew nigh, he was still in no degree aware of its approach. In all these periods with what emotion will he regard his innumerable sins! How many will he see to have been committed in a single day, a month, a year, of omission, of commission, of childhood and of riper years Among the sins which will most affectingly oppress his heart, his negligence and abuse of the means of grace will especially overwhelm him. How will he now exclaim, Oh, that my lost and squandered days might once more return, that I might again go up to the house of God. "Oh, that one year, one month, one Sabbath, might be added to my wretched forfeited life! But, ah! the day of grace is past; my wishes, nay, my prayers, are in vain." Such will be the natural retrospect of a dying sinner. What will be his prospects? Before him, robed in all his terrors, stands Death, the messenger of God, now come to summon him away. To what, to whom, is he summoned? To that final judgment, into which every work of his hands will be speedily brought, with every secret thing. To the judgment succeeds the boundless extent of eternity. Live he must: die he cannot. But where, how, with whom, is he to live? The world of darkness, sorrow, and despair is his final habitation. Sin, endless and in. creasing sin, is his dreadful character; and sinners like himself are his miserable and eternal companions.

(Christian Observer.)

I. THE OCCASION. Jeremiah represents this as the cry of the captive Jews in Babylon. He contemplates them as already in captivity, although it had not yet actually taken place. He forewarns them that it would take place. At the time he wrote, the Jews did not believe his warning of a Chaldean expedition against them. They were filled with vain confidence, boasting that God was their defender and their city impregnable. It is when this doom has overtaken them that they are represented as taking up the language of the text. In the preceding verse the prophet records the tenor of their language in exile, and also God's reply: "Hark the voice of the cry of the daughter of My people from distant land, Was not God in Zion? Was not her King in her?" This would be their complaint against God on finding themselves deprived of their country and overtaken with calamity. They would begin to expostulate as if they had been unfairly dealt with. Why, then, did not God defend the city and protect His people? The Divine reply shows how groundless this charge was. "I have not forsaken you, but ye have forsaken Me. Why have ye provoked Me with your graven images and your strange vanities!" God had, indeed, promised to dwell in Zion, and to cast His protecting shield over the descendants of Abraham, on condition that they faithfully worshipped and served Him. But they, by their carvings and foreign vanities, had polluted the holy temple, trusting more to the temple than to the God of the temple. Thus they forfeited their right to Divine protection, and are now left to take the consequences of their choice. They see their mistake when too late. The text implies an acknowledgment that their calamities were the just reward of their disobedience, and they accept their doom in desperate agony.

II. THE MEANING.

1. Opportunity acknowledged. As a nation we have received privileges greater than ever the Jews enjoyed, but with all these privileges comes a corresponding responsibility. "To whom much is given, of them also shall much be required." The temple did not save the Jews, so neither will the mere institution of a religion in our midst save us from national decline without the righteousness which exalteth a nation. But our opportunities as individuals are not less conspicuous than our privileges as a nation, and a mere profession of religion will not save us. To every man on earth there comes, at some time or other, an opportunity sufficient to make him an heir of a better portion if he embraces it; sufficient also to condemn him if he rejects it.

2. Neglect confessed. How apt are we to throw the blame of our wrong-doing on others, to plead the force of circumstances, the pressure of business, and so forth, as reasons for neglect. Such reasons may obscure for a time the real issues, but when memory lights her flaming fires and concentrates thought on the actions of a misspent life, everything will then be seen in its due propertions. Forgotten acts of iniquity, secret sins, will come to light and cluster round the memory.

3. Doom incurred. "We are not saved." This is the result of neglected opportunities, the necessary consequence of continued transgression. The Jews, in putting their trust in human allies, neglected the moral defence, and therefore fell before the invader. Carnal weapons cannot be used with impunity by spiritual men.

III. THE APPLICATION. The sentiment of the text may be appropriately adopted —

1. By those who have been the subjects of deep religious impressions without being led to repentance. There is no greater danger than that of playing fast and loose with one's feelings. The original impression may return, but it will return with diminished force. Act while the Godward impressions are strong.

2. By an impenitent sinner at the close of life. This is the saddest application that the words can possibly have.

3. At the close of the year, by every one who continues in sin. Begin the New Year with God. When Christopher Columbus, four hundred years ago, landed on the shores of America, the first thing he did was to plant the Cross on the newly-discovered land. What Columbus did in the New World let us do in the New Year. Let us enter upon it in the name of heaven's King, and whatever may be before us, joy or sorrow, prosperity or disaster, life or death, all will be well, for God is with us.

(D. Merson.)

Homilist.
I. HEAVEN VOUCHSAFES TO MEN HERE SEASONS FOR SOUL RESTORATION. Whole of life a season; day of grace. But periods and moods specially favourable; youth, leisure, association with godly men. Moods of mind too. Soul has its seasons as well as nature — pensive, thoughtful, susceptible, and impressed with moral considerations. All such specially favourable to soul restoration. Hours dawn in a man's life specially favourable for the effectuation of certain purposes.

II. The departure of these seasons, leaving the soul unrestored, is LAMENTABLE BEYOND EXPRESSION. "The harvest is past." Awful wail in this language.

(Homilist.)

I. GOD HAS SPECIAL SEASONS FOR CONVEYING SPECIAL GIFTS.

1. In nature. Must sow in spring, or season lost. Must gather in harvest time, or fruit spoilt.

2. In the spiritual kingdom. Youth. Sabbath. Days of affliction and bereavement.

II. THESE SPECIAL SEASONS OUGHT TO BE IMPROVED.

1. Men improve the natural seasons.

2. Spiritual realm. God has done His part: Atonement made; Spirit given. We must repent, believe, abandon evil, fight the good fight, etc.

III. THESE SPECIAL SEASONS SPEEDILY PASS. Life short. Health uncertain. Refusal of mercy today may be irreparable ruin.

IV. SPECIAL SEASONS OF GRACE MISUSED END IN UNSPEAKABLE RUIN. Past feeling. Conscience seared.

(J. D. Davies, M. A.)

Then there are measured opportunities in life, times of limitation, times of beginning and ending. Even now there are little circles not complete. The universe is a circle, eternity is a circle, infinity is a circle; these can never be completed; they live in continual progress towards self-completion: but there are little circles, small as wedding rings, that can be quite finished, — the day is one, the year is one, the seasons constitute four little circles, each of which can be completed, turned off, sent forward with its gospel or its cry and confession of penitence and failure. "The harvest is past"; the barn door is shut, the granary is supplied: it is either full or empty; one or the other, there it is. We cannot get rid of these views of doom. There are those who would try to persuade the young that after all the sun is but a momentary blessing, and when he is gone there will be as good as he come up again. Them is no authority for saying so; experience has nothing to say in corroboration of that wild suggestion. Scripture bases its appeals on a totally different view, saying, Work while it is called day, the night cometh wherein no man can work. The whole biblical appeal is towards immediacy of action: "Buy up the opportunity" is the Gospel appeal to the common sense of the world. "The harvest is past." Then we are or we are not provided for the winter. It is of no use repining now. Harvest finds the food, winter finds the hunger. We know this in nature: we have no difficulty about this in all practical matters, as we call them, — as if spiritual matters were not practical, whereas they are the most practical and urgent of all. Why not reason from nature to spirit, and say, If it be so in things natural, that there is a seed time, and that the harvest depends upon it, there may also be a corresponding truth in the spiritual universe: hear it: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It is his own harvest; he must put into it his own sickle. The harvest may be very plentiful, and yet very much may depend upon the way in which it is gathered. Some people do not know when to gather the harvest in any department of life; they have their opportunities and never see them. Others spend so much time in whetting their sickle that the corn is never cut at all. Others spend so much time in contemplating the golden fields that they forget that the fields were intended to be cut down and the fruits thereof garnered for the winter. God has given us everything we need, and all we want; but we must find the sagacity that discerns the situation, we must find the common sense that notes the beginning, continuance, and culmination of the opportunity. A meditation of this kind brings several points before us that may be applied usefully to our whole life. For example, there is brought before us the time of vain regrets — "The harvest is past." The coach has gone on, and we have missed it; the tide flowed, and we might have caught it, but we have waited so long that it has ebbed. We neglected our opportunities at home, we were disobedient, unfilial, hard-hearted, and now we stand at the gate post and cry our hearts out, because we had not a chance of doing something for the father and the mother whom we neglected in their lifetime. Oh, the time of vain regrets that we should have spoken that cruel word; that we should have been guilty of that base neglect; that we should have been lured away from paths of loveliness and peace by some urgent temptation; that we should have done a thousand things which now rise up against us as criminal memories! They are vain regrets. You can never repair a shattered crystal, so that it shall be as it was at first; you can never take the metal, the iron, out of the pierced wood, and really obliterate the wound. A nail cut is never cured. The old may hear these words with dismay, the young should hear them as voices of warning. Such points bring before us also the times of honest satisfaction. Blessed be God, there are times when we may be really moved to tears and to joy by contemplating the results of a lifetime. The hard working author says, I have written all this; God gave me strength and guided my hand, and now when I look back upon these pages it is like reading my own life over again; I do not know how it was done, God taught my fingers this mystery of labour. And the honest merchantman has a right to say in his old age, God has been good to me, He has enabled me to lay up for what is called a rainy day, He has prospered my industry, He has blessed me in basket and in store, — praise God from whom all blessings flow! How are we going to treat our own harvests? We can treat them in three different ways. There are men who treat everything as a mere matter of course. They are not men to be trusted or reverenced: keep no company with them; they will never elevate your thought, or expand and illuminate your mind, or give a richer bloom to your life. There is another way of receiving the harvest which our Lord Himself condenmed parabolically (Luke 12:16-20). What about the barns? what about the stored granaries? The man never said what he would do for the poor, the famishing, and the sad-hearted; he never said, God has given me all these things, and to His glory I will consecrate them. We may receive our harvests gratefully, claiming no property in them beyond the right of honest labour. See the harvest-man: he says, I sowed for this; thank God I have got it; I meant my fields to be plentiful, I spent myself upon them, I did not work in them as a hireling, but I worked in them as a man who loved them, and here are the fruits, blessed be God: here, Lord, is Thy tithe, Thy half, here is God's dole; He shall have a handful of this wheat, anyhow; He won't take it, but the poor shall have it; the harvest is only mine to use in God's interest.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I remember once passing by a bleak hillside in Scotland, when winter was already far advanced, and seeing a field of oats still green, though harvest had long since been closed. There was some. thing most melancholy and almost weird in the aspect of that ill-starred crop, There it stood in the cold hillside, seeming as if nature and man had alike over looked and forgotten it. You could almost have thought you heard those green ears, shrivelled with the early frost, but still unripe, sighing, as they swayed to and fro in the wintry gusts — "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." I wonder what became of that crop? Perhaps it may have been given to the dunghill; perhaps it may have been eaten down and trampled under foot by the cattle where it stood; but very sure I am the shout of harvest home was never heard in that field that season, as the laden cart passed to the granary with its golden freight. It had failed, for some reason or other, to answer its proper purpose; it had missed its season; and there it was, rubbish rather than treasure. Each of us has a season allotted to us in which we may bring forth "the peaceable fruits of righteousness," and with each of us this season is a period necessarily limited in extent, a period which it is possible to trifle away, so that when the time for the harvest comes there shall be nothing for God to gather, nothing that can be saved into the eternal garner and treasured among the precious things of heaven. Heaven's resources have been taxed to the uttermost to make earth spiritually fruitful; no expense has been spared, and He who is the Lord of the soil has a right to expect some adequate return. How is this living harvest to be produced, and from whence shall it spring? Christ Himself shall give us an answer, as we hear Him say, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." He was the spiritual "corn of wheat" from which the spiritual harvest is ordained to spring, and He fell to the ground and died in order that from Him, as from the true seed, we might spring up into newness of life, and grow up as the harvest crop of living souls in a world which He hath redeemed. And "He shall see His seed." In every age of the world's history the harvest will continue to be produced, until at last the great harvest day comes. Then, when a multitude that no man can number stands before the throne, with joyful acclamations ascribing "salvation unto our God and unto the Lamb," it will be seen at last how vast a product has sprung from that solitary corn of wheat which fell to the ground and died eighteen hundred years ago. What and if any of you should be found left behind in that great harvest day, like the bundles of tares that lie there waiting for the burning, while the wheat is carried into the barn? There is something strangely sad in these familiar words of our text, in whatever sense they are employed, but surely this will be the saddest sense of all. Oh, think of that moment, that terrible and tragic moment, when the gates of the heavenly granary shut, as the last sheaf passes in, and some of you, perhaps, find yourselves left behind l With what unspeakable anguish, with what dire despair, must this cry then be wrung from your sinking hearts, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!" And then to have to thank yourselves for it all! For think how inevitable, how righteously inevitable, is this doom of exclusion! You have not answered the end of your existence; you have failed of the proper purpose and object of life. How can you hope to be stored amongst the precious things of eternity, and to add in your own persons to the treasures of heaven! You might as reasonably expect to see a sane farmer crowding his barn with thistles and darnel as to see Almighty God filling heaven with those who have never been "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God." But now I want to point out to you further, that with us, as with the Israelites of old, the harvest is a thing of the present as well as of the future. It is possible even now to be garnered in safety, by being brought into our proper relations with the Saviour. And just as from time to time God was pleased of old to give special seasons of visitation to His ancient people — times of religious revival, when many no doubt were gathered in, and when the nation as a whole might have been — even so now He sends from time to time a special call, and moves upon localities and individuals with special power. But, remember, no mission, no season of special visitation, can leave you as it found you. With each fresh opportunity wasted the heart necessarily becomes harder, and thus the harvest season of your life must needs at length be lost. The time in which God might have reaped a harvest in you will at last have passed away, and then, — What then? What then! Surely such a curse as fell upon the barren fig tree of old: "No man eat fruit of thee henceforth and forever." What then l Then the terrible sentence: "Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone." But why should this be so? "Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her King in her?" Here in our very midst He is today, willing to enter your heart, and bring His own salvation with Him. You need not be left behind; you need not continue unsaved. "Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no Physician there?" There is! There is! A thousand joyous voices can attest it — voices of those who once were wounded and stricken and dying. It seemed as if they were once like a blighted crop, too sorely diseased to be capable of any satisfactory harvest; but in their barrenness they found a Healer, and now they are themselves the harvest of the Lord. Why should not you be healed too? Ah, think of what it has cost Him to obtain the right and the power to heal such sin-stricken souls as we! Some physicians amongst ourselves risk their lives in attending their plague-stricken patients, and who can deny to such their meed of praise; but our good Physician actually laid down His life as the preliminary condition of His being able to exercise His healing skill. Only because He has taken our diseases upon Himself, was it possible for Him to cure them. Only because He died our death, is it possible for Him to bring life and immortality to light by His Gospel. But He has borne our sicknesses, and died our death, and now He has the right to heal and to save, and He is in our midst to do it today. I saw an interesting inscription on the wall of a country church, not long ago, on a stone erected in memory of God's preserving mercy shown to a man wile fell from half-way up the steeple in the year 1718, and yet escaped with his life, and actually lived to be seventy-three. But the inscription went on to state that he died in the year 1761, some forty-three years after the accident. As I stood there reading it, more than a hundred years after the man's death, what a small acquisition after all did it seem, those forty years added to the life that had been so nearly cut short — what were they now? Passed as a watch in the night. Yet we do not wonder at his being grateful for even such a prolongation. But here is a good Physician who offers to heal your dying soul and to impart the blessing of life for evermore — to do it freely, and to do it now. Why, then, oh why, in the name of reason, is not your health recovered?

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

The text sets nature in solemn contrast with human life, — suggesting to us for serious thought, not merely that a certain length of time has elapsed and we have been spiritually listless, not simply that an opportunity has gone by which we have not filled with duty, but that something beneficent and sacred has been going on in the outward world with which we have not been in harmony; that the elements have been doing their work while we have been misdoing ours; and that, measured against nature, at the close of one of its fruitful seasons, we seem out of order, discordant, away from God, unserviceable, and unprofitable: in a word, "we are not saved." The harvest is past. Not a spear of wheat has grown, not a kernel of corn has hardened, not a beet has reddened in the ground, not an apple or a plum has nursed sweet juices through the tree out of the ground, that has not revealed or illustrated, in the process of its growth, a principle which ought to be carried out in nobler ways by human souls. Our dependence on God, our reception of His light and His spiritual rain, our fidelity to the duty of the circumstances in which we are set, our success in bending chilly days and gusts of adversity to usefulness in strengthening character, ought to fulfil the lessons which every vine and every tree publish in their use of sunshine and soil and dew and storm. And the bounty of the harvest is for this purpose. Think what that bounty has been. If the whole bounty of Providence during the creative season of the year should be massed by the Almighty, and our people should be obliged to go, person by person or family by family, to such a monstrous bin to receive their share of the land's exuberance, how poetic and how impressive would the munificence of God through the harvest seem, how vividly would our dependence be revealed to us, how unnatural would the taking of the heavenly gifts without gratitude appear! And if now we take the fruit of the earth, which is only the varied expression of the punctuality of Providence in the weaving of the seasons and the alternations of sunshine and shower, and if we renew our strength from it day after day with no reverence in our thought and no thankfulness in our heart to the unsparing and unwearied Giver, then the truth of the text is directly revealed in our state; the harvest stands as the background to show off the truth that "we are not saved," — that we are out of harmony, through the coldness of our sentiment, with the boundless beneficence, — since, while every loaded ear of grain bends as if in adoration of creative liberality, we, for whom it was designed and nourished by the Infinite, receive from it no motive to reverent thanksgiving, no impulse to joyous prayer! Suppose that the human race should be turned by miracle into portions of the natural world, — should be transformed into a part of the vegetable domain, and should express there the same qualities that they exhibit now in human ways, the same passions, the same bitterness, the same impurity, the same selfishness, the same hatred, instead of the beauty and bounty that now adorn and load the valleys and the hills, what a scanty, shrivelled, sour, and ugly harvest would appear! Suppose that you, leading a life unregulated and alien from God, should be turned, just as you are, into a tree, and should act, as a tree, precisely as you now act as a man. Your disobedience of spiritual laws would be shown in the refusal of the tree to throw out its roots to be rightly balanced in nature. Your lack of spiritual growth would be exhibited in the neglect of the tree to widen its rings, and stretch its bark, and rear its trunk, and push out its boughs every year, in order to reach its intended stature. The poverty of your spiritual sensibilities would appear in wan and shrivelled leaves; your denial of heavenly grace in the opposition of the tree to quickening sunshine, and its resistance to mellowing rains; the wrong thoughts you cherish, in foul insect webs and broods that would net the branches with their vile and deadening threads; your lack of service, in the refusal of the tree to bear any fruit, although it was the intention of God that it should glorify His providence in branches laden with sweet benefactions to the race; your vices, in the rust, the mould, or the canker on the bark, telling of corrupt juices within. The wealth of the harvest, you know, is, in large measure, from the seed scattered or planted in the spring. And see how, in this aspect of it, the faithfulness of nature supplies a serious background to set off the poverty, the unsaved and unsafe condition, of human life. What a terrible calamity it would be to society if the readiness of the earth to receive and welcome the seeds dropped into her bosom, and protected by human watchfulness, should be broken! What a dreadful judgment upon us all, if the soil should have the power and the tendency to cast them out from its furrows, to refuse them shelter and nutriment, and, instead, to take down into its mellowed substance the germs of briers and weeds! And yet, would such a change in the disposition and forces of the soil do anything more than bring nature, which we live in, into accord with the tendencies and habits of our inward life? God is showering seed upon your soul continually. He does not leave you a day without sending a quickening lesson or a noble thought or a conviction of sinfulness or a pure motive into your soul. Another truth which the contemplation of nature in contrast with humanity suggests, and especially of the harvest in comparison with human fruitfulness in virtue, is the openness of the external world to the inflowing of as much of the Divine life aa it can hold. Here we touch the deepest lesson which our subject can yield. All goodness comes from reception of the Divine Spirit. All increase of goodness comes from enlarging or multiplying the channels for the reception and absorption of the Divine life. All evil is from the shutting out of God, or the perversion of His bounty and vitality by disease or sin, in the forms which He has fashioned to receive it. We are nothing of ourselves. "Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." "Our sufficiency is of God." Now nature is always open to God. The harvest is the beneficent transmutation of God's quickening vitality through vegetable veins into palpable sustenance for the children of men, the annual proof that there is no sin in the arteries of nature. But we are not in accord with it. We are not saved in this supreme sense. God is ever striving to pour Himself through humanity as freely as He does through nature. We resist Him. We beat back the infinite truth and love. We close the valves through which He must enter. Do you ever ask why there is so much evil, wretchedness, wrong, in the social world? — why God does not stay it or cripple it or annihilate it, why He suffers it under His pure and loving eye? I tell you, my troubled friend, God is trying to reach it. He can reach it only through human affection, human labour, human organisation. When He makes a perfect apple it is not by dropping one from the skies, but by effusing His Spirit through the substance of a tree made as the form for His life, and until the tree is ready the fruit must be delayed. And so God does not, perhaps we may say cannot, come immediately into society, into history, to grapple with evil. He must move against it by His charity through human hearts, the form of charity; by His justice, through human consciences; by His truth, through human intellects; by His energy, through human wills. "Behold I stand at the door and knock" is the keynote of His relations to humanity. In nature there is no sinful choice or will to stop Him. In us there is. That we have such a will is our glory, the stamp of our heavenly birth, the possibility of our sonship. That we use it so is our shame, guilt, and peril.

(T. Starr King.)

Nature is a school, — primary school, grammar school, high school, university, all in one. She teaches little children their alphabets, while they are at play; teaches them elementary lessons of the qualities of things, of hard and soft, heavy and light, resistance, momentum, ductile, malleable, and elastic. These are her object lessons. Then she takes those a little older, and shows them the grammar of the world, the laws of language in sea and sky. The men who dig and plant and mine and manufacture, who make shoos and hats, who spin and weave, manufacture glass, make watches, print books, — learn necessarily the qualities of things and the laws of nature. Children playing are in the primary school; man working is in the grammar school. But we only enter the high school and university when we go further, and take up that greatest work of life, of which the elements are conscience, liberty, and love. To this all things lead, all invite. Summer and winter, nature and society, success and failure, life and death, — all point to this highest aim of all — spiritual growth, religious progress, the salvation of the soul. If the summer has brought you only passive pleasure, only selfish indulgence, then it has been wasted. Rest is good, and joy is good, but as they lead to something higher and better. For man is so made that he can never rest contented in any merely passive joy. He can only be contented when he is making progress. There are no landing places on the stairway of human ascent. You may give a man or woman every wish of their heart. You may give them the purse of Fortunatus, never empty; the miraculous carpet, on which they can journey through the air, from place to place, over sea and land, by a mere wish. They may have St. Leon's gift of renewed youth; they may go to the tropics, and have a perpetual summer. But all this is not heaven. All this, by itself, will not satisfy them for more than a few weeks. The soul is not made to be satisfied so. The only thing which satisfies it, and makes a perfect rest, which turns all things to gold, and earth to heaven, is a heavenly life; that is, a life in which we have plenty to know, plenty to love, and plenty to do, and are making progress to more knowledge, love, and use, all the time. It was to teach us this that Christ came; to teach us this that the Holy Spirit comes daily to our soul; that God knocks at the door of our hearts. This teaches us that we only have plenty to know, when we see God in all things; only plenty to love, when we love God in all His creatures; only plenty to do, when we serve Him by making ourselves useful to all. I have taken my text from the passage in Jeremiah which says, "The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." I also would ask, "Are we saved? "Summer rest and joy will not save us. All the joy in the universe heaped on us would not save us. Put us into heaven, put us by the right hand of God, — that will not save us. It is to drink of the cup which Christ drinks of, and to be baptized with His baptism, that saves us. We are safe, then, — safe from the perils which belong to the great power of freedom which is in all of us, — only when we are doing what Christ did; seeing God in all things, loving God in all things, and serving God by serving all His children. He who is living in this spirit, even though he has a thousand faults, though he is stumbling and falling day by day, though he seems to himself a poor creature, and does not seem much better to anyone else, is safe — safe here, safe hereafter. All things will work for his good, and he will not be afraid of any evil tidings. Evil tidings are always arriving. Danger is always near. We seem to have been living, even in this peaceful summer, in the midst of terrible dangers and fearful crimes. The sweetness of nature has not saved us. Fiends in the form of men commit awful crimes in the midst of our peaceful villages, and pollute serene nature with their brutal deeds. What shall make us safe? Not summer days, not the shield of devoted love, not all the bulwarks which civilisation and fortune place around us: nothing can make us safe but a life hid with Christ in God. And by this I mean nothing mystical, nothing extraordinary: I mean the simple purpose and habit of living with our heavenly Father wherever we are, — being in His presence; seeing Him in nature, history, life; and going, as Christ went, about His business, while we do our own. Then we are safe. Then, if we fall, struck dead by sudden accident, we fall, through death, into the arms of God outspread to receive us. We fall from love into larger love; from know. ledge into deeper knowledge; from usefulness here into the uses, whatever they may be, of the great world yonder. The sun, which makes summer, seems the natural type of Deity. Astronomers tell us, indeed, that in winter the earth is nearer the sun than in summer. So sometimes we are nearer God in the chill and loneliness of our heart, than in our joy. We feel that we are wandering away into outer darkness; but God holds us near Himself, waiting till our hearts turn towards Him, and so receive their summer affluence and influence out of His radiance. Summer comes, not because the sun is any nearer to us, but because our part of the earth is turned up to it. Turn up your hearts to God. Sursum corda. Lift them up towards God, — the God of peace and love, — who images Himself in nature, in this magnificent orb of day. All life, movement, activity, it is well said, come from the sun. It hides itself from us, like God, in an excess of light. The most brilliant light which man can produce, even the electric light, makes only a black spot on the surface of the sun, and so our brightest wisdom is only folly before God. As the sun marches through his twelve houses he creates the seasons — spring, summer, autumn, winter; and so God creates evermore in human life the revolving seasons of childhood, youth, manhood, and age. As the sun reaches out into the farthest depths of space with irresistible force, and yet moves all things according to a great unchanging order, so God governs the universe, not by pure will, but by will and law. Even the spots on the solar surface are now found to have their law of periodic return, and come and go in cycles of years. So the darkness which seems to hide the face of God, the total eclipse of faith which chills the heart and mind, and the doubts which pass across our belief like spots on the sun, have also their laws, which we shall one day understand, as we now understand the laws of the solar eclipse, which once terrified impious nations with fear of an eternal night. So, as we never tire of sunlight, let us rejoice in the sunshine of God. The final question is, Are we saved with a Christian salvation? Are we living with or without God in the world? Have we, with this human peace which makes our land rejoice, also the peace of God which passes all understanding? So, though summer he ended, the better part of summer need not be ended. We shall take it with us into winter. Whatever we have seen of God in nature, felt of God in our hearts, and done for God with our hands, makes a perpetual summer within. The outward summer comes and goes: the summer of the heart shall abide for evermore.

(J. Freeman Clarke.)

The Literary Churchman.
Just now all nature is saying to us, "The summer is ended." The plashing rain and fierce winds proclaim it, the lightning writes, it in fiery letters on the sky. The dying leaves lie like monuments bearing the epitaph, "The summer is ended." And now that the harvest is past, and the summer ended, and the fruit gathered, will you not think a little of yourselves, about the time that is past, about the harvest for which God looks, about the future of your souls? There are various classes among us to which the text applies.

1. "The summer is ended." This is true of the old and feeble. The winter of age has sprinkled snow on the hair, and sent a chill frost into the bones, and frozen the current of the blood. For the old the summer is ended. But though the summer be ended for the body and the mind, though it be winter with the limbs, and the eyes, and the ears, and the brain, it need not be winter for the soul.

2. For those, too, who have endured severe affliction the summer is ended. For those whose house is left unto them desolate, whose fireside shall never more be bright with happy faces, or merry with the music of children's voices, and who know that on earth they shall see their dear ones no more, except in memory, for such as these "the summer is ended." And for those who have lost their worldly property, whose savings have been swallowed up in bankruptcy when they are too old and infirm to retrieve their fortunes; for those families left destitute by the death of the bread winner, and reduced from ease and comfort to poverty and dependence, for such as these, also, "the summer is ended." But every one of these cases is but the type and parable of the deepest meaning of all. The wise man tells us that "there is a time to get and a time to lose." You know that this is true of worldly matters. It is thus with the things of daily life, it is thus with the things of life eternal. There is a time to get a chance of repentance and amendment, a time to escape from the clutches of some bad habit or besetting sin; a time to get, and a time to lose. Shall not the gathered harvest remind you of God's goodness to you and to all men, and warn you that the Lord of the harvest is looking for fruit from you, the fruit of a holy life and the flowers of purity and meekness? You who live in the summer time of pleasure, sitting down to eat and rising up to play, flitting through life as a summer butterfly flits from flower to flower, will you not be serious when you remember that the summer is ended, and that your gay, useless life must likewise end one day? And you who are living in the summer dream of careless indifference, who say, "Tomorrow shall be as today," how long will you sleep before the awakening comes? Think of the death bed of the worldling, of the indifferent, of the careless. It is related that a certain Eastern slave was once bidden by his master to go and sow barley in a certain field. The slave sowed oats instead, and when his master reproached him, he answered that he had sown oats in the hope that barley might spring from them. The master reproved the servant for his folly, but the man answered, "You yourself are ever sowing the seeds of evil in the field of the world, and yet expect to reap in the resurrection day the fruits of virtue." You have doubtless heard of the great painter who, when asked by a brother artist why he produced so few pictures, answered, "You paint for time; I paint for eternity." We must sow for eternity, if we expect to reap the harvest of eternal joy.

(The Literary Churchman.)

The soul of the intelligent Christian reflects the natural world from all sides. The year is to him a great temple of praise, on whose altar, as an offering, spring puts its blossoms, and summer its sheaf of grain, and autumn its branch of fruits, while winter, like a white-bearded priest, stands at the altar praising God with psalm of snow, and hail, and tempest. The summer season is the perfection of the year. The trees are in full foliage. The rose — God's favourite flower, for He has made nearly five hundred varieties of it — flames with Divine beauty. Summer is the season of beauty. The world itself is only one drop from the overflowing cup of God's joy. All the sweet sounds ever heard are but one tone from the harp of God's infinite melody. But that summer wave of beauty is receding. The sap of the tree is halting in its upward current. The night is fast conquering the day. Summer, with fever heats, has perished, and tonight we twist a wreath of scarlet sage and China asters for her brow, and bury her under the scattered rose leaves, while we beat amid the woods and by the water courses this solemn dirge, "The summer is ended!" There are three or four classes of persons of whom the words of my text are descriptive.

1. They are appropriate to the aged. They stop at the top of the stairs, all out of breath, and say, "I can't walk upstairs as well as I used to." They hold the book off on the other side of the light when they read. Their eye is not so quick to catch a sight, nor their ear a sound. The bloom and verdure of their life have drooped — June has melted into July. July has fallen back into August. August has cooled into September. "The summer is ended." I congratulate those who have come to the Indian summer of their life. On sunny afternoons grandfather goes out in the churchyard, and sees on the tombstones the names — the very names — that sixty years ago he wrote on his slate at school. He looks down where his children sleep their last sleep, and before the tears have fallen, says, "So much more in heaven!" Patiently he awaits his appointed time, until his life goes out gently as a tide, and the bell tolls him to his last home under the shadow of the church that he loved so long and loved so well. Blessed old age, if it be found in the way of righteousness!

2. My text is appropriate for all those whose fortunes have perished. In 1857 it was estimated that, for many years previous to that time, annually there had been 30,000 failures in the United States. Many of those persons never recovered from the misfortune. The leaves of worldly prosperity all scattered. The day book, and the ledger, and the money safe, and the package of broken securities, cried out, "The summer is ended." But let me give a word of comfort in passing. The sheriff may sell you out of many things, but there are some things of which he cannot sell you out. He cannot sell out your health. He cannot sell out your family. He cannot sell out your Bible. He cannot sell out your God. He cannot sell out your heaven! You have got more than you have lost. Instead of complaining how hard you have it, go home tonight, take up your Bible full of promises, get down on your knees before God, and thank Him for what you have, instead of spending so much time in complaining about what you have not.

3. The words of the text are appropriate to all those who have passed through luxuriant seasons of grace without improvement. You remember the time — many of you do, at any rate — when the engine houses were turned into prayer meetings; when in one day, to one of our ports, there came five vessels with sea captains, who had been brought to God in the last voyage. Religion broke out of church into places of business and amusement. Christian songs floated into the temple of mammon, while the devotees were counting their golden beads. A company of merchants in Chambers Street, New York, at their own expense, hired Burton's old theatre, and every day, at twelve o'clock, the place was filled with men crying after God. Some of you went through all that, and are not saved. It required more resolution and determination for you not to be saved than, under God, would have made you a Christian. But all that process has hardened your soul. Through all these seasons of revival you have come, and you are tonight living without God, on the way to a death without hope. "The summer is ended!"

4. The text is appropriate to all those who expire after a wasted life. There are two things that I do not want to bother me in my last hour. The one is, my worldly affairs. I want all those affairs so plain and disentangled that the most ignorant administrator could see what was right at a glance, and there should be no standing around about the office of the surrogate, devouring widows' houses. The other thing I do not want to be bothered about in my last hour is the safety of my soul God forbid that I should crowd into that last, feeble, languishing, delirious hour questions momentous enough to swamp an archangel! If you have ever slept in a house on the prairie, where in the morning, without rising from your pillow, you could look off on the prairie, you could see the prairie miles away, clear to the horizon: it is a very bewildering scene. But how much more intense the prospect when from the last pillow a soul looks back on life, and sees one vast reach of mercies, mercies, mercies unimproved, and then gets upon one elbow, and puts the head on the hand to see beyond all that, but seeing nothing beyond but mercies, mercies, mercies unimproved. The bells of sorrow will toll through all the past, and the years of early life and mid life wail with a great lamentation. A dying woman, after a life of frivolity, says to me, "Mr. Talmage, do you think that I can be pardoned?" I say, "Oh, yes." Then, gathering herself up in the concentrated dismay of a departing spirit, she looks at me, and says, "Sir, I know I shall not!" Then she looks up as though she hears the click of the hoofs of the pale horse, and her long locks toss on the pillow as she whispers, "The summer is ended."

5. The text is appropriate to all those who wake up in a discomfited eternity. I know there are those who say, "It don't make any difference how we live or what we believe. We will come out at the golden gate." No! No! The good must go up, and the bad must go down. I want no Bible to tell me that truth. There is something within my heart that says it is not possible that a man whose life has been all rotten can, in the future world without repentance, be associated with men who have been consecrated to Christ. What does the Bible say? It says that "as we sow we shall reap." It says, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal." Does that look as though they were coming out at the same place? "And there was a great gulf fixed." "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever." Now, suppose a man goes out from Brooklyn — a city in which there are as many religious advantages as in any city under the sun — and suppose he wakes up in a discomfited eternity — how will he feel? Having become a serf of darkness, how will he feel when he thinks that he might have been a prince of light! There are no words of lamentation sufficient to express that sorrow. You can take the whole group of sad words — pain, pang, convulsion, excruciation, torment, agony, woe — and they come short of the reality.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. THE IMPORT OF THE LAMENTATION.

1. It implies a full conviction that those who use it are not in a state of salvation. Once the aged sinner imagined his state was safe, that he was rich and increased with goods, and stood in need of nothing; yet now he sees that he is poor and miserable, wretched, blind, and naked. How immaterial does it seem to him in such a state of mind what he is in a worldly point of view. The sad reflection, I am not saved, makes him cry out, in the bitterness of his spirit, "Yet all this availeth me nothing."

2. It implies the recollection of the various opportunities of salvation with which they have been favoured, and their regret for the loss of these. Loathsome insects rioting on the blossoms of the tree are an emblem of the blasting influences of the vices of youth.

3. It implies a conviction of their folly and guilt in suffering those opportunities to pass away unimproved. The sinner uttering the lamentation in the text is like one who has gone to a rock far within the course of the sea. In vain is he reminded before he goes, that the way to it is open only while the tide has retired, and that when it swells, the rock and the surrounding sand will be covered. He despises these cautions, and amuses himself on the rock till the gathering of the waters forces him to remain and to perish; he then condemns the objects which absorbed his attention, the security which made him deaf to warning, and the presumption which rendered him insensible to the voice of passing time, and to the advance of the devouring sea.

4. There is in this lamentation a dreadful apprehension of utter perdition. I am not saved, and never may be, is the fear which the expression suggests.

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH, IN THE CASE OF THE AGED SINNER, GIVE TO THIS LAMENTATION PECULIAR BITTERNESS.

1. The length of time during which he has enjoyed these opportunities. Had there been but one offer of mercy, the disregard of it would have been felt as highly criminal; but most aggravated is the guilt and inexcusable the folly of rejecting offers of mercy without number.

2. The idea that others haw been saved under these opportunities aggravates this regret. He calls to remembrance the young who remembered their Creator in the days of their youth, and laments that the kindness of his youth was devoted to objects which he ought to have abhorred and shunned; and the sick, who rose from beds of distress, to show, by their wisdom and sobriety, that the discipline of affliction had reclaimed them completely from folly, while he returned "like the dog to his vomit," etc.

3. Despair of their renewal. With regard to the season of youth, it is as impossible to restore its simplicity, its docility, its pliableness, its ardent feeling, its detachment from engrossing cares, as it is to bring back its fresh bloom to the wrinkled face of age, and its brisk movements to its palsied limbs. And with regard to other seasons of mercy, we have reason to think that God will not still vouchsafe them to those who, after His long patience with them, remain foolish and disobedient.Conclusion —

1. Let the young be admonished by this text.

2. Let me address some exhortations to those who are in the situation which I have been describing. Your state is indeed awful, but do not conceive it to be desperate.

3. Let true Christians be thankful to Him who hath made them to differ. Pity the wretched sinner described in the text, and pray that he may obtain mercy.

4. Let me call on the aged, who feel no regret at the loss of religious opportunities, to consider their ways and to be wise. Amidst the words of eternal life you are dying in your sins, and amidst the dispensation of the Spirit you are ending in the flesh.

(H. Belfrage, D. D.)

I. SOME FAVOURABLE SEASONS FOR THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL, WHICH IF LOST, MUST BE THE SUBJECT OF BITTER REGRET.

1. The season of youth. Young prayers, young vows, and young services, are most acceptable in the sight of heaven — most useful to the subject of them; and most beneficial in the way of example to others.

2. The season of health. When it is not till sickness over. takes us that an attention is paid to religion, it will be regarded as forced on us and it will be regarded with pity rather than admiration. The consequences of deferring religion to a death bed, are equally unhappy as respects the individual himself.

3. The period of the present life. Imagination itself cannot picture the horror felt by the impenitent disembodied spirit when the dread realities of an eternal world burst upon the view. What earthly condition so dreadful, that it would not give ten thousand worlds to regain, might there be but another opportunity of listening to the Divinely commissioned messengers of mercy, and of escaping from a miserable hereafter?

II. THE CAUSES WHY THESE HOPEFUL SEASONS ARE LOST.

1. Inconsideration and unbelief. It is the insensibility of the victim filleted for the sacrifice, of the mariner sleeping on the mast, or of the patient in the delirium of fever.

2. The spirit of procrastination. To defer our religious concerns while the truth of the Divine threatening is admitted, argues an aversion to that temper and conduct which form a meetness for heaven which is strong and permanent.

(R. Brodie, M. A.)

I. "NOT SAVED," AND SALVATION PROVIDED SO DEARLY! Do you ask "How dearly?" Inquire of the Son of God, who, though He was the heir of all things, the outshining of the Father's glory, the equal of God, and rich — transcendently rich — in all the honours, treasures, splendours, and resources of eternity, for "your sakes became poor," ignoble, despised, and distressed, that you, "through His poverty, might be rich." Follow Him in all His travels of mercy, in all His errands of good, in all His miracles of love, in all His sayings of truth. Track Him on His walks from Jordan to Golgotha, — in His sorrows, His sighs, His sufferings, His tears, His anguish, His reproach, His persecutions, His agonies, His terrible, terrible death, and you may form some faint idea of the "cost price" of that salvation for you provided, but by you despised.

II. "NOT SAVED," AND SALVATION OFFERED SO FREELY! I could understand the reason of your delay if the conditions of salvation were difficult, complex, and severely exacting; if so much intelligence, or so much suffering, or so much money were demanded. Such conditions might suit the philosophic, the superstitious, or the millionaire, but not the poor, the simple-minded, and the illiterate. Whereas the terms laid down are such as admirably suit all classes, all ranks, all parties, ranging from the rustic with narrow brains and shallow mind bordering on the fool, to the giant in letters and lore, and from the beggar in his rags to the king in his robes of state and splendour. Your delay, therefore, cannot be excused on the ground of impracticable conditions; yet, perhaps, some of you may feel your paltry pride mortified by the simplicity of the means and the cheapness of the blessing; so that the conditions are a hindrance and a "stone of stumbling" to you. Like Naaman, the Syrian nobleman and leper, you feel proudly indignant because the terms and method of the cure are so simple. But I reply to you tonight, in words analogous to those of Naaman's servants, "If you had been bidden to do some great thing, would you not have done it?" How much rather, then, when you are commanded to "wash and be clean, believe and be saved"? Would you despise the dew which gems the hedgerows, refreshes the flowers, and mirrors the sun, because it comes silent and free? Would you disdain the cooling, teeming, beautiful rain which fills the pools and wells, quickens the drooping, freshens the withering, stirs the decaying life in vegetation, and falls indiscriminately on mountain and dell, on desert waste and meadow bloom, on garden and graveyard, on cottage growths and palace rarities, because it is free? Would you refuse and despise the sunlight because it is free for all and to all? Emphatically, No. Then will you dare reject, madly refuse and despise salvation, God's greatest gift to man, because it is free to all without distinction, and for all without money and without price?

III. "NOT SAVED," AND SALVATION SO NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT! Perishing amid the foaming frenzied breakers of sin, you refuse to get into the lifeboat of mercy, which hastens to your rescue. Blinded by the "god of this world," you stumble in the dangerous dark, and refuse the eyesalve and anointing of grace that you might see. Dying from the gnawings of soul-hunger, you refuse the "Bread of Life." Trembling in nakedness of spirit, and cramped by the awful chills of moral winter, you refuse "the garment of praise," and the mantle of righteousness, and the fire baptism of the Holy Ghost. Full of "wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores," afflicted, stricken with the leprosy of evil, of necessity perishing, and it may be speedily and it must be forever; yet, you refuse the "Balm of Gilead" and the Physician there; you won't have the healing touch, the restoring word, the saving remedy!

IV. "NOT SAVED," AND TIME PASSING SO SWIFTLY! The orbs are slow in their motions, the cataract is tardy in its rush, compared with the swift on-rushing of time. What you do, then, you must do quickly. Your opportunities are fast hurrying by, your heartbeats are growing less, your circle is hourly contracting; the road behind is lengthening, but the path before is shortening; grim death is stealing marches on you, and eternity is on tramp to meet you! Soon! soon! will its heavy footfalls send a shudder through the chambers of your being, if "not saved" quickly. Time! it is either fitting you for a throne or for a dungeon; either preparing you as jewels for the diadem of Immanuel, or preparing you for perdition, according to your use or abuse of it. Time! it is increasing the volume and value of your being, or shrivelling you into a despicable dwarfism of soul; it is building for you a fortune, a mansion, a kingdom forever and ever, or hurling you in swiftest speed to beggary, bankruptcy, and servitude to all eternity!

V. "NOT SAVED," AND LIFE PENDENT ON SO GREAT UNCERTAINTY! Nothing, perhaps, is so precarious as human life, and yet nothing do men trifle more with. We are ignorant of the issues of the next hour; still we plan, and plod, and purpose for future days; or like the wealthy fool of sacred story, say, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry"; not thinking that the "years" are God's property, and that at any moment the awful decree may ring like a death knell in our ears, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee!" If you value your life, if you respect Christ, if you love heaven, if you dread hell, if you desire an immortality of brightness, and beauty, and bliss, then trifle not with salvation, live not without forgiveness, wait not for a more "convenient season," lest it never come. Procrastination is a wholesale destructionist. It has swung into the dark and woeful abysses multitudes of souls. Be careful! lest it allure you too far, and then recompense you by adjusting the fatal rope, and giving the fatal swing; by branding "too late" on your coffin lid, and "not saved" on your soul.

(J. O. Keen, D. D.)

I. GOD HAS GIVEN YOU THE GRACIOUS SEASONS OF SUMMER AND HARVEST.

1. The summer of —

(1)Life.

(2)Reason.

(3)Opportunities.

2. The harvest of —

(1)Knowledge.

(2)Privileges.

(3)Blessings.

II. THESE MAY PASS AWAY UNIMPROVED. Many —

1. Do not think.

2. Will not forsake their sins.

3. Will not believe.

4. Will procrastinate.

III. THE REGRETS OF SUCH WILL BE AWFUL AND UNAVAILING.

1. Sometimes their regrets are expressed in this world.

2. They will surely be uttered in eternity.

(1)Regrets of intense agony, of recollection, of self-condemnation.

(2)Regrets will be unavailing.

(3)Regrets of black despair.Conclusion —

1. None would choose this portion.

2. Who would risk it?

3. Who will flee from it?

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. WHAT CONSIDERATIONS INVOLVED.

1. The object. "Harvest."

2. The opportunity. "Summer."

3. The limitation. "Past." "Ended."

4. The neglect irreparable. "We are not saved."

II. TO WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES APPLICABLE.

1. Neglect of decision for God.

2. Neglect of spiritual culture.

3. Neglect of Christian service.

III. LESSONS. Importance of —

1. Present opportunity.

2. Present dedication.

(J. Farren.)

I. LANGUAGE OF FINAL AND ABSOLUTE DESPAIR. That, having neglected means, wasted opportunity, resisted Spirit, now no longer hope of mercy: nothing to expect but judgment and misery.

II. LANGUAGE OF DEEP AND HUMBLING CONVICTION. That, having abused their only opportunity for seeking salvation, for fulfilling the solemn object of life, it is gone forever. Awakened at last to interests of souls, but too late.

III. LANGUAGE OF DISTRESSING AND GLOOMY DESPONDENCY. Such despondency as the afflicted and tempted servants of Christ sometimes experience: their minds clouded, peace gone, hope perished, they take up cry of text.

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

William III made proclamation, when there was a revolution in the north of Scotland, that all who came and took the oath of allegiance by the 31st of December should be pardoned. Mac Ian, a chieftain of a prominent clan, resolved to return with the rest of the rebels, but had some pride in being the very last one that should take the oath. He consequently postponed starting for this purpose until two days before the expiration of the term. A snowstorm impeded his way, and before he got up to take the oath and receive a pardon from the throne the time was up and past. While the others were set free Mac Ian was miserably put to death. In like manner, some of you are in prospect of losing forever the amnesty of the Gospel. He started too late and arrived too late. Many of you are going to be forever too late. Remember the mistake of Mac Inn, and decide for God and heaven today.

Mr. Moody used to tell of a man who raised his hand in one of the meetings. The evangelist went to him and said, "I am glad you have decided to be a Christian." "No," said the man, "I have not decided, but will later on." His address was taken, and Mr. Moody visited the man when ill, and said, "Now decide." He replied, "No. If I decide now, people will say I was frightened into being a Christian." The man recovered and went into the country and again had a severe relapse, Moody again visited him, and urged him to decide. The sick man said, "It is too late now." "But," said Mr. Moody, "there is mercy at the eleventh hour." He replied, "It is too late for me; this is my twelfth hour." A few hours afterwards he died. Mr Moody said, "We wrapped him in a Christless shroud, we put him in a Christless coffin, buried him in a Christless grave, and he went to spend a Christless eternity, outside the kingdom of God." To profess anxiety for your soul's welfare, and stop short of real conversion to God, will end in going right back into sin, and final loss.

An old man took a little child into his arms and put his fingers into the abundant curls of his sunny hair, and he said, "Oh, dear child, while your mother sings to you, and tells you about Jesus, think of Him and trust Him." "Grandpa," said the little boy, "don't you trust Him?" "No, dear," he said, "I might have done so years ago, but my heart has got so hard now, nothing ever touches me now." And the old man dropped a tear as he said it. "I wish," said he, "that I had a curly head like yours, and was beginning life like you."

Links
Jeremiah 8:20 NIV
Jeremiah 8:20 NLT
Jeremiah 8:20 ESV
Jeremiah 8:20 NASB
Jeremiah 8:20 KJV

Jeremiah 8:20 Bible Apps
Jeremiah 8:20 Parallel
Jeremiah 8:20 Biblia Paralela
Jeremiah 8:20 Chinese Bible
Jeremiah 8:20 French Bible
Jeremiah 8:20 German Bible

Jeremiah 8:20 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Jeremiah 8:19
Top of Page
Top of Page