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the talents improved, ten cities being assigned to him who had improved ten talents, and five cities to him who had improved five; but then the magnitude of the reward was infinitely beyond the merit of the service-a city for a talent. Even so shall it be at the end of the world. “He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth plenteously, shall reap also plenteously ";" but how different will be the fruit from the seed! He that soweth, soweth in this world, his best seed corrupt, his good mixed with evil; but he that “ reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal 2!" And as it is in the natural world—“ that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but base grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain : but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body : ;" i. e. the stem which shoots up is far different in magnitude and appearance from the seed which we
2 Cor. ix. 6. 2 John iv. 36.
31 Cor. xv. 37, 38.
sow; and though the seeds which we sow may be apparently not unlike each other, and may by us be scattered at random, and without discrimination, yet God giveth to each, as it grows up, a body far different from the seed, and that body also which he has appropriated to that particular species of grain. So also, or very similar to it, will it be in the spiritual world. The good actions which the humble Christian performs, can have no merit in themselves,—they may be comparatively poor and mean,—they may be forgotten by all, even by himself; but they are not therefore lost, nor will they be finally unproductive. They have a power of vitality in them by the Holy Spirit, through which they were wrought; and though choked in this world, they shall certainly spring up into maturity in the next. The stem will indeed be different from the seed—it will be a glorious and wide-spreading shoot. The bounty of our blessed Lord will clothe it with beauties not its own, and at the final harvest it shall be gathered into the garners of the Lord, having borne good fruit, whether it be an hundred, sixty, or thirty-fold. Doubtless also, to every action will be given its appropriate reward ; according to the analogy by which God, in the natural world, assigns to every seed that shoots, its own proper body. But whether this be so or not, one thing at least is certain —that the reward will be great beyond our conception, and will last for ever. “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him?" Such is the prospect of reward to which the Christian is emboldened to look forward, by the promises of God's holy word. With respect to the nature of the torments of the wicked, beyond general and awful denunciations of them the Scripture has observed a mysterious silence. But it has said enough to fill the sinner with the most just alarm. The eternal banishment from the presence of God—the outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth—the worm that never dieth-and the lake of living fire--are all pictures which fill the mind of the thoughtful with the deepest awe, and inspire us (as they are intended to do) with an overwhelming dread of the terrible vengeance of the Almighty.
Such being the circumstances, and such the object and end of the day of judgment-such being the reward of the Christian, and such the punishment of the wicked—what then, to repeat once more the all-important question—what manner of persons ought we to be? At that awful tribunal we must all appear; and whatever, even the most trivial, action we may do here, we shall then have to account for its motive, and to abide the consequences. Ought not this consideration, in one sense, to diminish the importance of the world in our eyes, and to magnify it in another? Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, and that the earth, with all the works that are therein, shall be burnt up, it is surely unworthy of a Christian, who is the heir of an eternal inheritance, and a kingdom of glory beyond the grave, to esteem any thing here to be really worth possessing, or to be desired for its own sake. The world's best gifts are but perishable trifles, “ whereof the mower filleth not his hand, neither he that bindeth up the sheaves his bosom." But how much does the world rise in importance (not, indeed, as a possession, but as an instrument,) when we reflect that every temporal event has an eternal consequence—that our slightest actions incur a heavy responsibilityand that “ every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment ?!” Then it is, that the world appears to us in its proper light. As a thing to be desired for its own sake, it is not worth a Christian's thought. Be its gifts great or small, they are comparatively of no value, for they bring with them little gratification at the best, and soon vanish away. But