Brethren Archive

A Word For the Husbandman

by W.T.P. Wolston


Blessed are they that sow beside all waters” (Isaiah 32:20).

“He that observeth the wind shall not SOW; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not REAP . . . In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Eccl. 11:4-6).

“They that SOW in tears shall REAP in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bearing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:5-6).

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that REAPETH receiveth wages, and GATHERETH FRUIT unto life eternal: that both he that SOWETH and he that REAPETH may rejoice together” (John 4:35).

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37).

“Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall REAP, IF WE FAINT NOT” (Gal. 6:9).

“Watch not the clouds above thee;

Let the whirlwind round thee sweep.

God may the seed-time give thee,

But another’s hand may reap.

Have faith, though ne’er beholding

The seed burst from its tomb;

Thou know’st not which may perish,

Or what be spared to bloom.

Room on the narrowest ridges

The scattered grain will find,

That the Lord of the harvest coming,

In the harvest sheaves may bind.”

These verses were sent to me some time since by an unknown contributor. As the year closes they come with great sweetness to the heart, and should cheer the dear fellow-labourers that have scattered the Gospel Messenger so assiduously and prayerfully in the past. They should stimulate writer, editor, and scatterer to fresh energy should the Lord tarry a little longer. The work of the gospel is unspeakably blessed, but it has its trials and its hindrances as well as its fruits and rewards.

Many a labourer is apt to get discouraged and say—“I see no fruit of my toil.” What is God’s reply to such a plaint? “Blessed are they that sow beside all waters.” It is blessed if only to sow. But that is not all. “They that sow in tears SHALL REAP in joy.” When, is not added. If we are not suffered of the Lord to see the harvest now, we shall assuredly by and by. But even now the fruit of our labours often appears; and I have lately received a letter, part of which I append, which speaks for itself, and should be a real cheer to the heart of some Somerset fellow-labourer who may have thought his labour in vain. It is dated 15th September 1890:—

“I had reason to believe that my soul was quickened in the year 1859. I was in my teens, and two years previous to an early marriage. During the year 1874 a bitter trial came to our domestic hearth, when I sought to cast the burden upon the Lord, feeling sure that the grief would be somewhat assuaged; but, to my horror and dismay, no answer to my prayer came, nor relief to the circumstances. I then felt like one utterly cut off from God, and, sad to relate, I ceased to pray, and quite despaired of ever obtaining mercy.

“In the above state I remained five years, when an occasional longing to be a real Christian entered my heart. That desire deepened to severe convictions of sin. The long estrangement from God became intolerable. I wanted a Saviour, but the answer appeared to be “You are cut off for ever,” and my soul was filled with anguish. I looked on every side—there was no help. I made an effort to speak, but no one understood, and my heart failed within me. I dreaded the daylight, and avoided my fellow-creatures; the burden of sin was great; my life was a weary life, and of course I feared to die because of the unknown future.

“While in the state above described, in the early part of June 1889, I took a morning walk by Grosvenor, Bath, and met a gentleman who briefly asked me to accept a small book, and he passed on. I grasped the book, but felt very sorry that he did not say a few words to me about my soul.

“On looking into its pages I read the words—

“No man of greater love can boast,

Than for his friends to die;

Thou for Thine enemies wast slain!

What love with Thine can vie?”

“Again I read, ‘He wants you to know Him in grace, to know Him now. He is seeking you with outstretched arms. Oh, come and taste the blessedness of belonging to Him, of having Him as the friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ I also read of the security the believer in Jesus has, that ‘as he is, so are we.’ In a word, that little book was The Gospel Messenger. The article was entitled, ‘Christ’s Three Appearings,’ written by yourself it brought a message of Divine love to my weary soul, and enabled me to bend before the throne of grace with earnest cries and tears for mercy. I at once was encouraged to search the Word, and to plead the promises. Day and night I sought the Lord, asking that I might be made ‘free’ through the blood of Christ; also that the remaining years of my life might be spent entirely to His glory.

“Three weeks thus passed away, when two verses of Scripture were applied to my heart with both sweetness and power, ‘All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him’ (Ezek. 18:2); and ‘But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness’ (Rom. 4:5). I had not one good thought to offer to God, so that such a complete forgiveness well suited my helpless case. My joy in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour became excessive. I could only praise Him day and nights with such words as ‘Bless the Lord, oh my soul;’ ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits unto me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.’

“Being with gay worldly people, I felt unable to speak of sorrow or joy in their presence, but longed to speak of the things of God to a real Christian, but did not know where to find one. I went often to church, and greatly wondered that no one spoke of a personal salvation, of the Spirit’s teachings, of sins put away for ever, as you had explained in The Gospel Messenger; also that sinners were not invited to listen to the gospel sound. But the want of Christian fellowship led me often to private prayer, to talk with God, also to search the Word; and many very blessed times I had alone with God, especially before the duties of the day commenced. The early morning’s communion with God, and the sacred awe that filled my soul, will ever be remembered; great peace was mine. But I still felt untaught with regard to the Word. I wanted so much to see you, or write to you, but did not know to what people you belonged, and Edinburgh was too far off to see you face to face; but I was confidently assured that your God was my God.

“However, strange to relate, the early part of this last summer (1890) a large gathering of God’s people took place at—, two miles from my native place, and a lady spoke to me about my soul. I told that lady that I had found Christ to the joy of my heart, but that I could find no one to understand me. She kindly sent me some books to compare with Scripture, which proved helpful. And what more can I tell you, save that I was received into fellowship on the Lord’s Day morning of August 17th of the present year, having been led by God’s grace to see my place clearly with those gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I still hope some day to see you in the flesh. All that I have written will never convey to your mind the worth of your words to my soul, as you pointed out to poor sinners a present Saviour, yearning and waiting to save. The joy I felt at finding a people who believed in the forgiveness of sins, and the Spirit’s teachings, was unbounded; it brought such rest and quiet to my soul.

“The little pamphlet given me at Bath (The Gospel Messenger, May 1889) is still precious to me. I carried it in my pocket all last summer; its pages are soiled and worn, but the truths are more precious to me now than at the time I first read them.

“On the Lord’s Day morning that I was received into fellowship, the hymn was sung containing the verse—

‘No man of greater love can boast,

Than for his friends to die,

Thou for Thine enemies wait slain!

What love with Thine can vie?’

My cup of happiness was full, especially as I took a retrospective glance at the time that I first beheld those words, and remembered that in those days of ‘small things’ I used to repeat to myself constantly, in order to comprehend the full meaning of the words—

‘Thou for Thine enemies wait slain!

What love with Thine can vie?’

“If the above lines, prayerfully written, will help one poor, seeking soul, or strengthen your own soul in telling of the Saviour’s love to the heavy-laden sinner, may God have all the praise.

“May God our Father ever bless and keep you. That I may be kept ‘walking worthy of the Lord’ ‘till He come,’ is the sincere prayer of

Yours in Christ,

——

This is but one of the many cases that from time to time God brings under one’s notice of how anxious yearning souls are met by the Word of His grace. Go on, therefore, dear scatterer of the Gospel seed, let nothing discourage you. Sow the seed. God will bless it.

But perhaps the reader of this is still an unsaved soul. Dear friend, the foregoing words can then have no application to you. You can sow nothing but “to the flesh,” and of that God says you will reap “corruption.” But, I would ask you have, you no desire to be the Lord’s? Let the experience of the writer of that letter be yours. Did not the beauty of the quoted verse strike you? Let me cite it again for your special benefit—

“No man of greater love can boast,

Than for his friends to die;

Thou for Thine enemies wast slain!

What love with Thine can vie?”

What love indeed! This is the love of Jesus—His love to you and me, poor wretched sinners of the Gentiles. Will not you believe it? I do from the bottom of my heart. “Thou for Thine enemies wast slain,” is the sweet truth of the Gospel in a single line. The Gospel is the unfolding of God’s love to man when he lived in sin and hatred, at a distance from God. That love showed itself on the cross. Jesus died—died for sinners—for His foes, His opposers, for me—and not for thee, reader? Ah! be in earnest at last; be real, be true to your own poor immortal soul; be in time too. Don’t despise grace any longer, and risk judgment for ever. Come to Jesus now. Come just as you are. It is still blessed and true that He is yearning over you, calling you, waiting for you. With outstretched arms He still says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Heed His word, obey His call—come to Him. One look of simple faith at Jesus, and your many sins are all forgiven, your guilty soul cleansed and justified, your conscience purged, your heart relieved, and you—yes, you—who have hitherto been the slave of sin, and the dupe of Satan, stand on new ground, viz., that of redemption, and are a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus, an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ.

On the other hand, just go on simply as you are going, living in your sins, and the day is not far distant when you will most certainly die in them, be buried with them, rise again and stand before God in them, be judged for them, and, as a natural consequence, find that as you never parted company with your sins in time, they and you are companions for eternity. Dear friend, the outlook of an unsaved soul is hopelessly sad. Well might Dante write over the portal of hell—“He who enters here leaves hope outside.” Yes, the bitterest part of hell’s eternal judgment is the deep and ever deepening sense of its unalterableness. Hope has been the relieving angel of man in every sorrowful circumstance. Hope has helped the shipwrecked mariner, the struggling bankrupt, the defeated soldier, the sick-child-watching mother, the toiling gold-digger, the straining racer, the aspiring student, to hold on and go on; but the solemn fact is patent, that when the great gulf is “fixed,” hope is no more, and despair possesses the lost soul.

Only think for a moment, my friend, of what it would be to be LOST FOR EVER, and I am sure you will turn to Jesus now, and then your will be saved for ever. Is not that better? Thank God! it is. One simple look of faith at the Saviour brings immediate blessing to the soul. His work, not yours, it is that atones for sins. His love, not yours, it is that furnishes redemption. Well, then, just believe on Jesus now, as you read this little paper, and eternal life is yours. God grant you to be decided for Christ from this moment. Amen!

W.T.P.Wolston

The Gospel Messenger 1890, p. 325






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