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of the world! Learn of the good king, Hezekiah, how to think, in this matter; and ask with him, "Is it not good"," if such a blessing be indeed with us; "if peace and truth be in our days?"
1 Cf. 2 Kings xx. 19.
POINTS OF SELF-EXAMINATION.
Preached in Advent.
JEREMIAH viii. 20.
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
THE use which I intend to make of these very striking words of the prophet is, to take them as a groundwork for proposing certain points and tests of self-examination as to our Christian state; tending to show us what that state is, and how our hope and prospect of salvation may appear to stand, at this season, under a fresh remembrance of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to visit man in great humility, for his redemption.
But as this will evidently be to apply the language of the text, in chief part, in a spiritual sense, let me, in order to prevent misapprehension, first shortly state its literal meaning in the place of Scripture where it is found.
The meaning of the words, then, in their first intention, is altogether natural. They are supposed as language of the Jews in a season of calamity, when pressed sorely by their enemies, and neglected by their friends. They had been looking for assistance from the Egyptians, or some other like associates, and no help came. Summer had passed; the harvest was over; all the favourable season of the year had been allowed to go by, and no succours had been brought to them. The winter now was drawing on-the dreary time, unfit for any movement of those armies, in which they vainly trusted: they could not therefore any longer look for help, in such a season. Accordingly, they cry in their distress Our hope has perished! the harvest "is past, the summer is ended, and we are not "saved! (i. e. not rescued from the enemies "that threaten us) what shall our portion be !".. This will convey, I think, the first and literal meaning of the text. To us, of course, the prophet's words can speak in no such sense as this: but how, "though dead" in this sense, may they
yet speak" to such among us as have ears to hear, to our exceeding profit? Let the two former clauses of them ("the harvest is past-the summer "is ended") retain their natural and literal mean
ing; and let us listen to these latter words"and we are not saved"-as if they kindly meant to give us warning on the great subject of the salvation of our souls. And this particularly, as it now is pressed upon our thoughts by one fresh note of preparation more for the remembrance of our Saviour's coming.
In what manner these awakening words may practically be applied to this effect, will very easily be seen, if we imagine any Christian communing upon them with his own heart, in some such terms as these that follow.
Truly it is even so! another year has seen "its round; another summer is ended, and "another harvest past; Advent is here again;"and where am I? or what have I been doing, "since its last return?-since last I heard the "warning voice, that now it is high time to "awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is "far spent, the day is at hand let us therefore "cast off the works of darkness, and let us put
on the armour of light"." How have my thoughts been occupied, and where, since the glad tidings were proclaimed, to me and every
Rom. xiii. 11, 12. Epistle for Advent Sunday.