Isaiah 9:3
You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people rejoice before You as they rejoice at harvest time as men rejoice in dividing the plunder.
Sermons
Christian JoyE. Temple.Isaiah 9:3
Harvest JoyF. J. Austin.Isaiah 9:3
Harvest JoyU. R. Thomas, B. A.Isaiah 9:3
Harvest JoyCharles Haddon Spurgeon Isaiah 9:3
Harvest Joy Among the JewsF. J. Austin.Isaiah 9:3
Harvest Joy, and How We May Share in ItJ. Mackie, B. D.Isaiah 9:3
Harvest Rejoicing Among the JewsJ. Mackie, B. D.Isaiah 9:3
Joy in HarvestE. Bell.Isaiah 9:3
Joy of RealisationH. O. Mackey.Isaiah 9:3
National Power and National CharacterT. Starr King.Isaiah 9:3
The Analogy Between the Joy of Harvest and Spiritual JoyHomilistIsaiah 9:3
The Icy of Spiritual IngatheringIsaiah 9:3
The Joy in HarvestA. E. Gregory.Isaiah 9:3
The Joy in HarvestR. M. Kyle, B. A.Isaiah 9:3
The Joy of Finding the SaviourIsaiah 9:3
The Joy of HarvestF. Wynne, M. A.Isaiah 9:3
The Joy of HarvestIsaiah 9:3
The Joy of HarvestIsaiah 9:3
The Joy of Men in a RedeemerR. Tuck Isaiah 9:3
The Joy of Spiritual IngatheringIsaiah 9:3
Clearest Promises of Christ in Darkest TimesIsaiah 9:1-7
Fulness of ChristW. Bridge, M. A.Isaiah 9:1-7
Good Things in the Days of the Great MessiahE. Erskine.Isaiah 9:1-7
Immanuel the Light of LifeIsaiah 9:1-7
Light Out of DarknessG. F. Pentecost, D. D.Isaiah 9:1-7
Lux in TenebrisIsaiah 9:1-7
NeverthelessD. Davies.Isaiah 9:1-7
Phases of Divine PurposeJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 9:1-7
The Nativity of Our LordClergyman's MagazineIsaiah 9:1-7
The Prophecy ExplainedBishop Perowne.Isaiah 9:1-7
The Remedy of the World's MiseryR. Watson.Isaiah 9:1-7
Vision of Future GloryE. Johnson Isaiah 9:1-7
They joy before thee, in view of the Redeemer thou hast sent. There can be no joy like that men feel in the acceptance of God's "unspeakable gift." Illustrate by the song and chorus of the angels at Bethlehem: "Unto you is born a Savior;" "Glory to God in the highest." And by the triumph-song of the redeemed ones in the glory: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, "etc. There had been times of great rejoicing in the history of Israel, such as in the days of Solomon (2 Kings 4:20; 2 Kings 22:13); and of riotous feasting, as in days of Uzziah (Isaiah 5:11-14). But such joy was merely passing excitement; it was as the "crackling of thorns under a pot" compared with the deep, lasting joy of the time when Jesus, the Redeemer from sin and all its consequences, bowed the heavens, came down, and dwelt among men. We ask

(1) why men should chiefly rejoice in a Redeemer; and

(2) what kind of joy theirs should be who have proved how he can redeem.

I. WHY MEN SHOULD CHIEFLY REJOICE IN A REDEEMER.

1. Because the one thing man needs above all others is redemption; not science, not revelation, not civilization, not morality, not social elevation. Man is in one condition whose interests are, to him, supreme - he is a sinner, and so his supreme need is a Savior. With the need and the supply the Word of God fully deals. It is the Divine message to man, the sinner. Its voice may be translated thus: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help found."

2. Because this one thing, redemption, is wholly beyond man's attainment. We are amazed at what man ear, do, in overcoming material obstacles and yoking to his service the giant forces of nature. Bat at redemption from sin man is arrested; there his power ceases. "No man can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him." God is represented as saying, "I looked, and there was no man... therefore mine own arm brought salvation."

3. Because man had no reason to expect redemption, and could make no claim to Divine intervention. Redemption is a sovereign device, a display of infinite mercy, a work of unbought love. Its root is, "God is love."

II. WHAT KIND OF JOY THEIRS SHOULD BE WHO HAVE PROVED HOW HE CAN REDEEM. There are two figures blended in the text. Joy of harvest. Joy of victors on dividing the spoil of battle-fields. They suggest-

1. The joy of possession - a harvest of supply for coming needs, spoil from the tents of the foe.

2. The joy of triumph. To possess the enemy's camp is proof that the foe is wholly vanquished. Jesus, as our Redeemer, has "led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." - R.T.







Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the Joy.
The difference between national power and national character, between the success and the worthiness of a State, is suggested by these words. Scientific insight shows us that a planet is under the dominion of the law of gravitation precisely as a pebble is; and religious insight leads us to study the life, and estimate the merits and the perils, of an empire in the same light and by the same standards that we should apply to any single person. And so religious insight prevents us from accepting the mere numbers, opulence, prominence, and power of a State as sufficient justification for joy in its existence, just as it forbids us to acknowledge such tests for private persons. If a man is a sensualist, a knave, a gambler, or a ruffian, no honest mind thinks of praising him because he is strong limbed and in florid health, because he lives in a handsome house, is worth a million, and adds largely every year to his meadows and park. These splendid circumstances only furnish a pedestal for a piece of incarnate depravity to make its vileness conspicuous and repulsive. And a nation may be vigorous in physical health, and may be gaining thus, while it is going backward and downward in character. The noble elements which a nation embodies and represents, and which gleam as expressions upon the lineaments which its countenance will wear in history, constitute its glory. Mere numbers, as of the Chinese, Hindoos, or Turks, awaken no satisfaction in the competent student. The brawny energy that tugs at the conquest of nature; that pushes out pioneers whose axes mow the wilderness, and whose ploughs furrow the prairies; that quarries counties for coal, and tames the torrents for its wheels, and makes the air over wide longitudes buzz with furious and cunning mechanism, — this, in contrast with lazy content or nerveless beggary, properly awakens joy in the aspect of a nation. And when, out of this groundwork of enthusiastic strength, an intellectual force is born that dots the land with schools which lead up to academies, and in turn are crowned with colleges, from which literatures blossom and shed the fragrance of culture and poetry in the social air, there is new and higher call for satisfaction and gratitude. And if a religious spirit presses for utterance out of the widening life of the State, so that churches grow as naturally from its soil as courtrooms, capitols, and schools; and if the religion of the people, instead of being a selfish commerce with Infinite power for private insurance against suspected peril, is a reverent and glad recognition of the Infinite mind as the source of truth, and the Infinite heart as unspeakable love, so that, if poverty begins to border the general plenty, the national genius turns to study for the wisest relief of it by the quick impulse of duty, and when vice and crime burst to the surface the conscience of the State is moved as quickly to devise cures as to build prisons; then a spectacle is seen grander than any miracle of genius, any individual heroism, any personal sanctity; for then a nation stands out with intellect on its forehead, chivalry in its carriage, and Christianity in its heart.

(T. Starr King.)

They Joy before Thee according to the Joy in harvest.
We may look upon the words of our text as a kind of double picture set in a single frame, so that its component parts may be contrasted as well as compared together. On one side is placed before us a merry harvest scene — just like what you might see going on in many a smiling cornfield of this happy English land. On the other side is depicted the confused noise of battle, and warriors with garments rolled in blood, exulting in that fierce joy which foemen feel in prospect of hard earned victory. Gradually the tumult passes on, and the ground is strewn with the dead and dying, with here and there a broken chariot and many a shivered spear. And then the camp followers issue forth to strip the slain, and to carry off the spoil to their tents until the pursuers shall return, when it shall be divided share and share to every man with boisterous mirth and songs of revelry. You will see, therefore, that our attention is directed first of all to the joy of harvest — man's triumph in the labours of the field. And then we can almost fancy that we hear the ringing shout of victory as the battle sweeps across the plain. Dissimilar though such things may be, yet there is more than one connecting link between them. For "peace hath her victories no less renowned than war." We might even say that they are more real, more complete, more generally shared in. The rejoicing after some successful campaign is often loud and great; the news comes in, the cities are illuminated, the joy bells are rung, the excitement is intense, and outwardly there is every appearance of extreme delight; but it is only a one-sided gratification after all. For many feel, alas! how keenly, that the victory has been purchased at the cost of many a valued life, and that warfare is always accompanied by desolation, and mourning, and woe. But in harvest joy this is not the case. Here we have an unmingled glad. mess; especially in a year when the crops are reported from all quarters to be unusually good — the triumphant result of toil and industry rewarded by the fruits of the ground.

(E. Bell.)

To a commercial people the expression is not so significant as it would be to a Jew. The Jews were essentially an agricultural people. God did not encourage them to trade with surrounding nations, lest they should fall into idolatry; and so we find that they were not a manufacturing community, and, except in the time of Solomon, they made no pretensions to a navy. The arts and sciences were but little cultivated; but the fields and vineyards gave them abundant occupation, and the soil and climate were favourable to the growth of the corn and the vine. God took special interest in their agricultural pursuits. He laid down minute laws respecting sowing and gleaning, and He reminded the people in the feasts which He appointed that they were dependent on Him for the gift of food, and should receive it with a devout and thankful heart. It has been well observed respecting the three chief Jewish festivals that one opened the harvest, the second marked a stage in it, and the third closed it. Joy occupied an important place in the religion of the Jews; and never, I suppose, was it so loud in its expression as at the Feast of Tabernacles, when they looked upon their full granaries, and brought in the last clusters of their fruitful vines.

(F. J. Austin.)

Christian people should be characterised by joy. While rejoicing on account of our spiritual blessings, we ought not to be indifferent to our daily temporal blessings.

I. THE NATURE OF THIS JOY. Joy in harvest is —

1. A reasonable joy. The prosperity of a nation depends very largely upon the character of its harvests; and, therefore, it is most natural that when the harvest is plenteous, our praise should ascend to God the Father, from whom this, even more directly than many blessings, has surely come. We have been taught to pray: "Give us this day our daily bread." If we thus recognise our dependence on God, is it not fitting that we should thank Him when He answers our prayer? Consider what would be the result of a complete failure of our crops for one year, notwithstanding that the balance might be restored, to some extent, from foreign lands. Or, consider what would be the result if there were failure in those countries from which we could draw our supplies.

2. A universal joy — a joy in which all sections of the Christian Church, all classes of the community, all nations and races may unite together. There are some occasions for joy which only affect small and select circles. But a good harvest hurts no one, and brings blessings to all. And surely anything that tends to soften prejudices, annihilate differences, break down the barriers of caste and sect is a national boon.

3. A holy joy. "They joy before Thee," says the prophet, "according to the joy in harvest." Among the Jews, joy in harvest was an act of worship. The first fruits were presented before the Lord with thanksgiving. And the joy of harvest should be regarded by us as a religious festival. Agriculture, more than any other branch of human industry, is seen to be under the superintendence of God. To rejoice in a good harvest, therefore, and to forget the Being to whom we owe it, would be an act of impiety.

II. THE GROUNDS OF THIS JOY. A bountiful harvest is —

1. A sign of God's activity. Very beautiful is the harvest festival hymn which David wrote and sang. Everything is there attributed to Divine agency (Psalm 65:9-13). Now, we are apt to forget sometimes how much we really owe to God. We talk of the laws of nature until we seem to lose sight of the Law maker. It is easy to say that the corn grows. But what is growth? It is, as one has described it, "the increase of a living body according to a fixed pattern, and by materials derived from without — materials changed into its own substance or substances. Here, then, are three wonders — the power of absorbing fresh materials from the earth and air; the power of changing them into living and vegetable substance, and the power of arranging these new materials according to a fixed pattern. But how does all this come to pass? Has the plant a mind? The more we reflect, the stronger is the conviction that there is some intelligent, powerful agent at work, to whom all nature is subject, and whose will it readily obeys. And for whom does God make this yearly provision of golden grain? For us who so constantly forget Him, and who, at best, serve Him in a half-hearted way.

2. A proof of God's fidelity. Once, long ago, God gave a promise (Genesis 8:21, 22). On the strength of that promise the farmer sows his seed. He may not always think of the promise. But it is, nevertheless, in accordance with this promise that his crops arrive at maturity. He must sow in faith, whether it be a blind faith or an intelligent faith. He can only fulfil certain rules and conditions. And when he has done this he must wait. If the rain does not fall he cannot bring it down. If the sun shines too powerfully he cannot ward off its scorching rays. But he is in the hands of a faithful God; and though here and there the fields may not look very promising, and in some districts there may be occasional scarcity, the harvest is always plentiful in some regions, and we are thus able to assist each other and ward offer mitigate human suffering and distress. Let us remember —(1) That God's faithfulness in providing for our physical necessities is only an illustration of His general character.(2) Every Christian is a husbandman. But, as in sowing corn, we have to work in faith and sometimes with sore discouragement. It was so with Christ. But we have promises, and upon these we must rest.(3) There is a grand harvest day approaching, when we shall have abundant evidence of the faithfulness of our God; and though there is a dark side to that picture, which we dare not conceal, we must not overlook the bright side, which is as plainly revealed "The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are the angels. Then shall He say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into My barn." What an ingathering of souls will be then! Oh, happy day! when those that sowed and those that reaped shall rejoice together. Oh, happy day! when much of the seed which we feared was lost shall prove to have been good and fruit bearing.

(F. J. Austin.)

Homilist.
I. THE HARVEST.

1. Its import. Seasonable gathering of fruits yielded by the earth, according to established natural laws — fruits of the field, orchard, vineyard, or the garden.

2. Its antiquity. It began with the dawn of created life. It is older than any human form of government, and it has the charm of having existed anterior to the division of humanity into tribes and nations, and before the formation of any landed estates. It is one of nature's first bonds to assure every living creature the right of existence.

3. Its universality. It is the heritage of all countries, according to their climates.

4. Its constancy. It is as firm from age to age as the Word of God, and an infallible witness to His faithfulness, as well as to the plenitude of His goodness.

II. THE JOY OF CHRIST. The harvest songs are no pretence without reality.

1. Its intensity. Joy of harvest signifies great joy.

2. Its reasonableness. It is grounded on realised goodness.

3. It is grounded on realised goodness in abundance.

III. THE ANALOGY BETWEEN THE JOY OF HARVEST AND THE JOY WHICH SPRINGS FROM FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

1. Both are God's gifts.

2. Both are sequels of human industry.

3. Both are teachers of impressive moral lessons.

(1)The goodness of God in providence and grace.

(2)The continual duty of gratitude.

(3)The real dignity of labour.

(4)The wisdom of looking for and hasting to the heavenly harvest home.

4. They differ in that one is temporal and the other eternal in its duration. Joy centred in God will never end.

(Homilist.)

is the joy of the reward, the joy of victory.

I. THE REWARD OF LABOUR. God gives us comparatively few things ready for use. The world is much more like a manufactory than a storehouse of ready made goods. God gives us the raw material, but we must work it up into the manifold forms in which we require it for the purposes of life. God does not give us bread, but the possibility of bread. Even so God gives His Word, not as life, but as the possibility of life. The seed stored in a cellar, though it has in it the possibility of life for a city, is valueless until it is sown broadcast in the fields; and the Word of God, though it has in it the promise of life eternal for the whole world, may be concealed in a convent cell or buried in a dead language, whilst all around the souls of men are perishing for lack of knowledge. Man lives by bread, but not by bread alone. As there is a life which bread sustains, so there is a life which truth sustains. To sow the truth, to prepare for its harvest, is as truly to save spiritual life as the sowing of corn in its season is the saving of natural life. Every man is a sower, and every man in due season shall be a reaper. "Whatsoever a man soweth," etc. Is not this the solemn lesson of the harvest time, that he who would reap hereafter must sow now, that he who would rest hereafter must work now?

II. THE REWARD OF PATIENCE. If the earthly husbandman has need of long patience, how mush longer patience does he need who seeks a spiritual harvest! The corn of wheat grows slowly, but God's truth grows more slowly still. What are the uncertainties of the changeful skies compared with the uncertainties of the changeful human life! Yet if he will let patience have her perfect work he shall have no need to complain of his harvest.

III. THE REWARD OF FAITH. Faith and patience always go together. The man who believes can wait. When a child puts seed into the ground, he does so without any of that strong conviction of its vital power which experience has given to his father, and so from want of faith in the seed he appeals to sight, and digs it up to see how it is getting on. There are many older children who make a similar mistake as to spiritual sowing. The Gospel sower must have faith in his seed. We cannot feel too strongly the truth that the power lies in the seed, not in the sower. This is as true in the Church as it is in the cornfield.

(A. E. Gregory.)

I. THE FACT OF THEIR JOY. "They joy." Who? Those who, embracing the light of the Gospel, and renouncing the hidden works of darkness, are made the children of the light and of the day.

1. It is Divine in its nature. The joy of the men of the world, however diversified it may be, has its spring and source in the world. The joy of the ambitious has its rise in the pride of the world. The joy of the miser has its spring in the riches of the world. The joy of the sensualist is derived from the pleasures of the world. But believers are taught better.

2. It is extensive in its grounds. God — their Christian privileges — their Christian principles — their Christian prospects,

3. Salutary in its effects. Its tendency is good.

II. THE PECULIARITY OF THEIR JOY. "Before Thee." This is an expressive term and intimates several things.

1. It is spiritual It is a joyful state of mind, connected with that Divine Being who is a Spirit. Every exercise of the mind that unites us to Him must be spiritual.

2. It is sincere. The Christian's joy is real, not imaginary. It will bear inspection.

3. It is secret. As the world knows not the extent of our sorrows, so it is unacquainted with the abundance of our joys.

III. THE RESEMBLANCE OF THEIR JOY. To what may it be likened? The sacred writers have used various similitudes. It may be compared to the joy of the captive, released from bondage; to the joy of a patient, after his recovery from a severe illness; to the joy of a mariner, after a storm. Two figures are here employed to set forth the Christian's joy —

1. The husbandman in the field of harvest. "According to the joy of harvest."

(1)It is a joy that results from labour.

(2)Connected with anxiety.

(3)Requires patience.

2. The soldier in the field of battle.Conclusion — This subject gives as a view of two things with regard to Christianity.

1. Its requirements. It is no easy thing. There is much to be done and suffered.

2. Its rewards. These are inestimable. Present and future — exceeding description and baffling conception.

(E. Temple.)

To some minds, and to all of us, perhaps, in some moods, autumn brings gloom, harvest sadness; but to others autumn brings rest — harvest, joy.(1) There is a joy in the harvest of agriculture.(2) In the harvest of commerce. Such is the often honest joy of the man who, after years of industry or enterprise, feels that he has realised a fortune, abundant in its provision for himself and his dear ones.(3) In the harvest of literature. As when, after the toils of intellectual endeavour, the mind is at home amongst "the fairy tales of science, and the long results of time."(4) There is a harvest of love, when parents rejoice over the maturity of filial affection; when friends approach the completeness of intelligent and sympathetic communion.(5) In the harvest of religion. In personal experience it is a glad. some thing to reach the autumn of faith, resignation, peace, after the earlier seasons of doubt, murmur, tumult. In Christian activities it is wondrous happiness to reap the results of sorrowing, anxious sowing in enlightened, comforted, and converted souls.

I. WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE JOY IN HARVEST? Is not the cause of joy the same in all these instances? For there is —

1. Joyful retrospect.

2. Joyful anticipation.

II. WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF THE JOY IN HARVEST? Do not two things regulate the measure of the joy that any feel, in any harvest?

1. The amount of its cost. The wheat field on which the farmer has expended most will be the one whose yield will the most interest him. So is it in every kind of harvesting, and so especially in what are distinctively the harvests of religion. In our own personal experience we value most in reaping that which has cost us most. The creed that we have fought out against doubts and difficulties, is inestimably more precious to us than that which has been handed down and adopted as a matter of course. The character which is pure after battle with impurity, sacrificial after contact with selfishness, peaceful after provocations to revenge and anger, is of far greater moral worth than that which has been seldom or feebly assailed. In our work for others, those results on which we have spent most time and thought and prayer are dearest to us. Harvest is valuable according to —

2. Its intrinsic value. In our English harvest homes there is rejoicing because of the intrinsic value of the wheat that is reaped and garnered. This is so because of —(1) Its necessariness. So ever the most joyful harvest will be the obtaining the greatest necessary. What is that! Is it mere wheat, or wealth, or learning, or even human love? No, a thousand times, no, for a man can be without food, or gold, or earthly knowledge, or human love, and yet live. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Religion is the greatest necessary. Christ is the Bread of Life. A harvest is of worth according to —(2) Its sufficiency. The results of an abundant corn harvest last on until, and even past, another harvest tide. Through successive seasons its bounties are being enjoyed. Because thus the permanence of the result of harvest is one measure of its value, the harvest of knowledge is worth far more than the harvest of gain, and that of religion most of all. Its ingatherings are "treasures in heaven, which neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."Two conclusions arise —

1. We ought to have some of "the joy in harvest" now. With souls it is not in every respect as with the soil For in them some sowing and reaping, dropping in of seed, and quickening of germ, springing of one blade of promise, and reaping of another harvest of result, go on contemporaneously.

2. We must have joy or sorrow in harvest by and by. There will be unmistakable, unavoidable harvest with us all soon. "The harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels." In solemn expectation of that harvest let us remember —(1) We shall reap what we sow.(2) We shall reap more than we sow. What an unparalleled, almost infinite, contrast between the grain carried from the field in harvest, to that which had been deposited there in the seed time.(3) We shall reap as we sow. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; but he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully." Be careless in sowing, and you will be ashamed in reaping.

(U. R. Thomas, B. A.)

This joy is used as a picture of the joy God designs for His Church.

I. OBSERVE A GREAT PRINCIPLE IN THE WORDS "BEFORE THEE." All true joy is "before God" — in His presence — with conscious reference to Him.

1. One use of harvest thanksgivings is to bring out this principle, to connect the gift of the harvest with the Giver.

2. All the joy of life is to be sanctified in the same way. Make it be "joy before God." Let it be deepened, purified, ennobled by the thought of the love that gave it, and the presence and sympathy of the Giver.

3. We learn from the same principle the limit of innocent joy. It must be "before God." Can you connect your pleasure with Him? Use this as a test.

II. THE PURPOSE OF GOD IS THAT HIS PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE JOY, DEEP, FULL, SATISFYING. You wish to be happy. God wishes it infinitely more than you do.

1. Are you happy? Yes? Because you have health, comforts, etc.? Is this all! Poor joy! Enough for animals, but not for immortal spirits. Not like the joy of harvest; no rest in it, no noble achievement, no permanence. God is not satisfied with this JOY for you.

2. Are you happy? No? Wishes unfulfilled, cares, bereavements, dissatisfaction with self, yam endeavours after goodness, sense of guilt, etc.? Your Saviour knows your sorrows, offers you joy.

3. Purpose accomplished in the final harvest. "Joy before Him"; the "rest"; the "well done"; the "evermore."

(F. Wynne, M. A.)

I. It is the JOY OF REALISATION. Harvest is the realisation of faith, of hope, and of labour. So with the conversion of souls.

II. It is the JOY OF CONGRATULATION. Let us congratulate one another that the Spirit of God is with us. Let us congratulate one another that our prayers, notwithstanding all the faults that mar them, and the infirmities that cleave to them, are being heard.

III. It is the JOY OF GRATITUDE. I envy not the man who can see the Church increased and yet not feel a sacred home felt joy.

IV. It is the JOY OF SYMPATHY.

V. And may I not ask you to REJOICE BECAUSE THERE IS ONE WHO LOVES SOULS better than I do, better than you do, who rejoices more than any of us?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT IS THE JOY OF HARVEST, which is here taken as the simile of the joy of the saints before God?

1. Sometimes the farmer only rejoices because he sees the reward of his toils, and is so much the richer man.

2. The joy of harvest has another element in it, namely, that of gratitude to God for favours bestowed.

3. To the Christian it should be great joy, by means of the harvest, to receive an assurance of God's faithfulness.

4. To the Christian, in the joy of harvest, there will always be the joy of expectation. As there is a harvest to the husbandman for which he waiteth patiently, so there is a harvest for all faithful waiters who are looking for the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our joy of harvest is the hope of being at rest with all the saints, and forever with the Lord.

II. WHAT JOYS ARE THOSE WHICH TO THE BELIEVER ARE AS THE JOY OF HARVEST?

1. One of the first seasons in which we knew a joy equal to the joy of harvest, — a season which has continued with us ever since it commenced — was, when we found the Saviour, and so obtained salvation. No husbandman ever shouted for joy as our hearts should when a precious Christ was ours, and we could grasp Him with full assurance of salvation in Him. The joy of harvest generally shows itself by the farmer giving a feast to his friends and neighbours; and, usually, those who find Christ express their joy by telling their friends and neighbours how great things the Lord hath done for them.

2. It is the joy of answered prayer.

3. We have another joy of harvest in ourselves when we conquer a temptation. Those know deep joy who have felt bitter sorrow. As the man feels that he is the stronger for the conflict, as he feels that he has gathered experience and stronger faith from having passed through the trial, he lifts up his heart, and rejoices, not in himself, but before his God, with the joy of harvest.

4. Again, there is such a thing as the joy of harvest when we have been rendered useful.

5. Another delight which is as the joy of harvest is, fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our condition matters nothing to us if Christ be with us.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Is a joy —

I. FOR HOPES FULFILLED. In the midst of all his anxieties the farmer had never abandoned hope. His fears were ended and his hopes realised, when the last sheaf was gathered into his garner. Thus the Christian, who has throughout his pilgrimage gone on through fears and doubts and infirmities, yet still cheered by hope, shall stand before his Saviour at the great morning of the resurrection.

II. FOR LABOUR REPAID. No matter how abundant the crop may be, so long as it stands in the field it is unprofitable to the farmer. But, when he looks at his well-filled barns, he feels that his labour has not been in vain. If this be true respecting the things of time, how much more with respect to those of eternity. The Christian's labour here is a labour of self-denial in hope of future glory. It is true that he has not the same uncertainty with respect to futurity which characterises the labours of the husband. man. But, when the conflict is at last over, and he receives that for the sake of which he had renounced all earthly objects and lusts, and finds that his labour has not been in vain in the Lord, he "joys before Him with the joy of harvest."

III. FOR REST OBTAINED. The farmer's year had been a year of labour, and often of very severe labour too; and when the period of harvest had commenced, his exertions were necessarily redoubled. At length, however, his heavy toil was for a season ended, and in that rest which is doubly sweet after labour, he "joys according to the joy in harvest." The rest of the husbandman is but for a time, and a short time, but the rest of the Christian shall be eternal. He has had his time of labour, such as far to exceed in its constancy and its steadfastness that of the husbandman.

IV. FOR PROVIDENCES COMPLETED. Notwithstanding all the care of the husbandman, he is constrained, from time to time, to acknowledge that the entire process of the growth and ripening of the corn has depended on circumstances over which he has had no control Had he been left to dispose of the seasons as he might have thought right, he would, in all probability, have destroyed his crop. Many a time had he complained that the frosts were too severe, the rain too heavy, the wind too strong, the sun too hot — measuring the goodness of the all-wise God by his own limited understanding. But now he admits that his fears were groundless, and that all things have worked together for good. May we not in this picture see the progress of the Christian whilst he is the object of Divine Providence here on earth; whilst, now sorrowing and now rejoicing, he is ready to murmur at every salutary check which he receives from the head of a Heavenly Father? But at the harvest time the "God who hideth Himself" shall he made manifest as having caused all these things to work for His own glory in the good of His people.

V. FOR PROMISES FULFILLED. The husbandman has one promise whose fulfilment gladdens him, the Christian has thousands.

VI. FOR MEETING WITH FRIENDS. Now the harvest home is proclaimed, and friends long absent meet together. We go to meet the friends whom we have known and loved in the Lord. And in this meeting with the dearest objects of the affections of the Christian's soul, there is One "whom having not seen, we love"; Him, we shall then meet and "know, even as we are known." If then these be the joys in harvest, how desirable it is that we should examine whether we are such as shall partake of them. Let me briefly call your attention to the character of those who shall partake of this joy.

1. The ignorant, self-conceited husbandman, who neither knows how or what to sow nor when to reap, shall not have "the joy in harvest."

2. Nor is there joy in harvest to the slothful.

3. And should we see anyone who laboured as though it were his design to make his land barren and unproductive we should at once declare him mad, and predict that beggary and starvation must be the inevitable lot of himself and his family.

4. Those who are indeed preparing for that great harvest are those who are applying to heavenly things the same diligence, the same care, the same watchfulness, and the same energy which the husbandman applies to this earthly tillage.

(R. M. Kyle, B. A.)

The idea of national prosperity being dependent on agricultural prosperity, true as applied to Israel, is really universally true. There may be many an industry that brings more wealth to a nation in the shape of money — as the coal industry, the iron industry, the shipping industry — but the primal industry is the agricultural industry. "Moreover, the profit of the earth is for all; the king himself is served by the field," says the writer of Ecclesiastes, thereby giving expression to the eternal truth that all wealth comes ultimately from the soil; even the king himself is not independent of it. One cannot help rejoicing over the ingathering of the harvest, for nature itself seems musical with joy. "The valleys are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing." This joy is —

I. THE JOY OF PROVISION SECURED. We can joy before the Lord — not before the world, for that would mean pride; nor before ourselves, for that would mean selfishness; but before the Lord, for that means thankfulness over provision secured. There is nothing meaner than to boast of one's prosperity before the world, or before one's own heart; but we can derive joy from it before the Lord, for the Lord means us to rejoice in all His gifts — material as well as spiritual.

II. THE JOY OF PATIENCE REWARDED.

III. THE JOY OF LABOUR REQUITED. What kind of harvest is your life to have?

(J. Mackie, B. D.)

Harvest crowns the year with God's goodness. When the harvest is abundant there is universal joy. Everybody rejoices. The owner of the land is glad, because he sees the recompense of reward; the labourers are glad, for they see the fruit of their toil; even those to whom not a single ear may belong nevertheless sympathise in the common joy, because a rich harvest is a boon to all the nation. It is a joyous sight to see the last loaded wain come creaking down the village road, to note the youngsters who shout so loudly, yet know so little what they are shouting about, to mark the peasant on the top of the wain as he waves his hat and gives vent to some gleeful exclamation, and to see them taking it all into the stack or barn. There is joy throughout the village, there is joy throughout the land, when the harvest time is come.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

It was a common saying of the Rabbis that he who had not seen the rejoicing of the people at that glad time had yet to learn what true joy was.

(J. Mackie, B. D.)

My heart was fallow, and covered with weeds; but on a certain day the great Husbandman came and began to plough my soul. Ten black horses were His team, and it was a sharp ploughshare that He used, and the ploughers made deep furrows. The Ten Commandments were those black horses, and the justice of God, like a ploughshare, tore my spirit. I was condemned, undone, destroyed, lost, helpless, hopeless, — I thought hell was before me. Then there came a cross ploughing, for when I went to hear the Gospel it did not comfort me; it made me wish I had a part in it, but I feared that such a boon was out of the question. The choicest promises of God frowned at me, and His threatenings thundered at me. I prayed, but found no answer of peace. It was long with me thus. After the ploughing came the sowing. God who ploughed the heart made it conscious that it needed the Gospel, and the Gospel seed was joyfully received. Do you recollect that auspicious day when at last you began to have some little hope? It was very little — like a green blade that peeps up from the soil: you scarce knew whether it was grass or corn, whether it was presumption or true faith. It was a little hope, but it grew very pleasantly. Alas, a frost of doubt came; snow of fear fell; cold winds of despondency blew on you, and you said, "There can be no hope for me." But what a glorious day was that when at last the wheat which God had sown ripened, and you could say, "I have looked unto Him and have been lightened: I have laid my sins on Jesus, where God laid them of old, and they are taken away, and I am saved." I remember well that day.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I cannot help being egotistical enough to mention the joy I felt when first I heard that a soul had found peace through my youthful ministry. I had been preaching in a village some few Sabbaths with an increasing congregation, but I had not heard of a conversion, and I thought, "Perhaps I am not called of God. He does not mean me to preach, for if He did He would give me spiritual children." One Sabbath my good deacon said, "Don't be discouraged. A poor woman was savingly impressed last Sabbath." How long do you suppose it was before I saw that woman? It was just as long as it took me to reach her cottage. I was eager to hear from her own lips whether it was a work of God's grace or not. I always looked upon her with interest, though only a poor labourer's wife, till she was taken away to heaven, after having lived a holy life. Many since then have I rejoiced over in the Lord, but that first seal to my ministry was peculiarly dear to me. It gave me a sip of the joy of harvest. If somebody had left me a fortune it would not have caused me one hundredth part of the delight I had in discovering that a soul had been led to the Saviour. I am sure Christian people who have not this joy have missed one of the choicest delights that a believer can know this side heaven.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Dickens describes how he. dropped his first published paper stealthily one evening at twilight, with fear and trembling, into a dark letter box up a dark court in Fleet Street: and his agitation when it appeared in all the glory of print. "On which occasion I walked down to Westminster Hall, and turned into it for half an hour, because my eyes were so dimmed with joy and pride, that they could not bear the street, and were not fit to be seen there."

(H. O. Mackey.)

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