James Smith, 1859
"Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the tares and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn!" Matthew 13:30
What strange mixtures we see in the world, and in the Church. Sinners — where only saints ought to be; and saints — where only sinners ought to be. The Lord permits this for the present, he says, "Let both grow together until the harvest."
The field is the world, and in that field — both wheat and tares grow. The Church is God's barn, and in that barn — both corn and chaff are found. The Church is Christ's sheepfold — but in that fold, both sheep and goats are seen. The Church is God's family — but in that family both sons and servants are employed. The gospel is Christ's net — and that net encloses both bad and good fish. I must not therefore conclude that a man is God's enemy — because he is in the world; nor that anyone is certainly born of God — because he is in the Church.
Everywhere I see mixtures, and all through time it has been the case. In the first family — there was a Cain, as well as an Abel. In the most noble family — there was an Ishmael, as well as an Isaac. In the purest Church — there was a Judas, as well as a John. At the great supper — there was one without a wedding garment.
But in Heaven, there will be no mixtures — all will be pure there; and in Hell, there will be no mixtures — all will be filthy there. But the separation is not yet. The harvest is coming, and then the tares will be separated from the wheat — and the chaff will be removed from the barn. The sheep will then be severed from the goats; and the servants from among the sons. The net will be drawn to land, and then the good will be gathered into vessels, and the bad will be cast away. Cain, Ishmael, Judas, and all who hate the brethren, mock at the saints, or barter the Savior for self indulgences — will go to their own place. The place prepared for them, the place deserved by them, the place that will eternally retain them!
And now my soul, let me bring home the subject to myself.
What am I? Wheat — or tares? Wheat — or chaff? A goat — or a sheep? A
servant — or a son? A piece of rubbish — or a good fish? Whom do I resemble?
Abel — or Cain? Isaac — or Ishmael? John — or Judas? Demas — or Paul? Am I
at the great supper? If so, do I have on the wedding garment? Is Christ
formed in my heart? Are my hopes and affections in Heaven? Do I . . .
live by faith in Jesus,
breathe the Spirit of Jesus,
walk in the steps of Jesus?
If so, all is well — and all will be well with me forever. If not, whatever I have, or whatever I do — I am in a dangerous state. Separating day will come soon, and how will it be with me then? Shall I go to the right hand — or to the left? Which will be my own place, Heaven — or Hell? For which am I prepared, or preparing?
Is holiness my element?
Is Jesus the object of my love?
Is the service of God my delight?
Reader, where are you now? In the world — or in the Church? What are you now? A careless sinner — an undecided hearer — or a thorough Christian? Only the last are right. Only the last are safe. Let me advise you to be thorough — one thing or the other. Enjoy the world — or the things of God. Enjoy carnal pleasure — if you despise true happiness. Of all folly, that is the greatest — to stand between Christ and the world, enjoying neither. Either be decided for God — or for the world. Be a thorough Christian — or make no pretensions to religion. You may think this strange advice — but the Lord Jesus gave it, and with his Words I close. "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were either cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot — I will vomit you out of my mouth!" Revelation 3:15, 16