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Sermon No. 1, page 11, line 41, for throught he valley, read through the valley. Sermon No. 2, page 9, line 11, for nor the will, read nor of the will. Page 11, line
46, for worth of grace, read work of grace. Sermon No. 3, page 5, line 30, for the words read these words. Page 10, line 30, for
into living waters, read unto living waters. Sermon No. 4, page 12, line 23, for I am Lord, read I am the Lord. Sermon No. 6, page 7, line 1, for firey mount, read fiery mount. Sermon No. 9, page 2, line 41, for bright side fit, read bright side of it. Page 5, line
36, for mountains of rocks, read munitions of rocks. Sermon No. 11, page 5, line 48, for their, read there.
St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, the 3rd Chapter,
and part of the 9th Verse.
6 YE ARE God's HUSBANDRY.”
THERE are three points I am about to speak to this evening. The first is—the husbandman; the second is—the husbandry ; and the third is this—the different seasons to which this husbandry is exposed.
Now, you will be able to carry away these three points, I think, and, perhaps, build upon them something for beneficial thought and reflection.
The different seasons will be regarded by us as figurative expressions, under which we shall endeavour to bring out important spiritual truths.
Firstly, then, the Husbandman. That God is a husbandman I scarcely need remind you.
Our Lord himself says, in John xv., “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman." Now
will observe in this verse that there are two figures of speech, the one referring to the Lord Jesus Christ—the true Vine—and the other to the Father—the husbandman. The children of God are spoken of in the same parable as branches. I may just at the outset make a remark with regard to figurative language. You know that our Lord frequently uses it. Thus,
. He says
that He is a door. Now in one sense He is not a door, but in another sense He is. And in the sense in which our Lord meant it He was a door, and is a door now. Our Lord
He is a vine. Now in one sense He could not be a Vine, but He was a Vine in the sense in which He meant it. There is again also this figure, “This is My Body." Now, it was not in one sense His body, but in the sense in which He meant it, it was His body. So that you see it is not sufficient for us to read the Scriptures, but it is important for us to do as the Scribes of old did; when they read the Scripture they gave the sense of it. Now, this is the thing that I shall aim at this evening, and if you should imagine, from some expressions which I may use, that I make a little bit of a bungle in mixing figurative expressions, well, be it so, but you may rely upon it that I have a reason for it. I
may use the language of the husbandman, as the husbandman of a field, of an orchard, or of a vineyard, because the word husbandman means a worker in the earth ; this is the simple meaning—a worker in the field, a worker in the garden or vineyard, a worker in the orchard, a worker in the earth. Jesus said, “ My Father is the husbandman.”
I take it, then, that "ye are God's husbandry," and that God the Father is the husbandman.
I am about to speak, in the first place, to you of God the Father, as the husbandman. The word means, as I stated above, a worker in the earth. Now, you know, that the husbandman generally, though perhaps not always, owns the land which he cultivates. God owns His land, the Church, which He cultivates. You will find that God is the great Owner of all things. I read in Psalm 1. 10–12, and find there—The earth is the Lord's and all that is therein, that if He were hungry, He would not tell anyone, for the world is His and the fulness thereof, and that if He were thirsty He would not ask anyone for drink, because the rivers like every beast of the forest are His, even the cattle upon a thousand hills are His. All these things are at His command. He is, then, after all, you see, the great Owner of the land, the Husbandman, taken even in a literal sense. But taken spiritually, the same thing is true of Him as the Husbandman of the Church of God. Jesus said, “My Father is the Husbandman” of His church, He is the great Worker in this earth; the Church is the earth in which He works, and when He works in it He works effectually.
Now, a second point with regard to the husbandman is this, that when he has a particular field, or orchard, or vineyard, you know that he separates it from the rest. I suppose, as the owner, he has the right to do so,—no one will dispute this. Now look at the parallel between this and God the Father as the Husbandman of His Church. I find that God separated a nation for Himself (that was Israel of old).
66 This people have I known above all people upon the face of the earth;” this people He formed for Himself. And just as it was with that nation, so it is as regards the Church of God as a whole, and every member of that Church in particular. The language of the Psalmist is true in the experience of every child of God,—that the Lord hath set apart the man that is Godly for himself—Psalm iv. 3. Well, I presume, brethren, God had the right to do this. And when He gives the reason for choosing and separating Israel for Himself, He gives no higher reason than this.—but because He loved them and would keep His oath He separated them. Now, I daresay that this at first sight may not appear a very strong reason why G uld separate Israel old. God loved them because He loved them, and He would keep the oath which He had sworn by Himself, for He could swear by no greater. Men swear by the greater, which puts an end to all controversy. God could swear by no greater, so He sware by Himself; and He could assign no greater reason why He separated Israel of old, nor why He should separate any particular person for Himself, than this,-because He loved them and would keep His oath. He could give no higher or stronger
Now, then, look at this, when God separates His people He puts (shall I call it) a wall or fence round about them, just as a husbandman would put a fence, or hedge, or wall, about his garden, orchard, or vineyard, to separate them as special spots for himself. I think we gather this as it is set forth in the 4th chapter of the Song