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wicked for ever! Those who have not really given themselves to Him here, must then be cast away from Him for ever. But not one of his own people shall be overlooked. Every one of them shall be safely gathered into the heavenly barn, “and they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Malachi iii. 17.)
Now listen to two short parables, both of which have the same meaning. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and cast into his garden, and it grew, and became a large tree, so that the birds of the air lodged in it.” Again, “ The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
Now, dear children, this little grain of mustard seed and this leaven are like the first beginnings of God's grace in your hearts. If it has been really sown there, it will be sure to grow, just as the mustard seed grew to be a great tree; and the little leaven leavened the whole of the meal. If God's Spirit has begun to work in your hearts, it will work more and more (that is, if
you go on seeking it,) until it is seen in everything you do and
will long that others should be blessed too, and as you grow older, you will be always thinking what you can do, to lead them to seek the same Spirit.
There is only one more parable I wish to explain to you now. It is about a fig tree which a man planted in his vineyard. For three years he went and looked for fruit, but the fig tree bore none. At last he said to the dresser of his vineyard, “ Cut down that fig tree, that it may make room for some other tree, which will bear fruit." The dresser was grieved to think of cutting down the tree. “Lord,” said he, “ let it alone yet one year longer.” He said, he would take more pains with it, and perhaps it would yet bear fruit. “If not, after that thou shalt cut it down.'
Ah! dear children, we are like this fig tree. God has planted us in his vineyard. He has caused us to be born in a Christian country. He has given us his Word, his day, his sacraments, his ministers, his Gospel. He has entreated us all to look to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. He has promised to give us his Holy Spirit, if we will only ask for it. And what does He expect from us? He expects us to make a good use of all these blessings. He comes and looks for fruit. Now, many of us do not bring forth any fruit.
God has great patience—He often waits year after year, to see if we will give ourselves up to Him; but if we will not, the time must come when He will say, “Cut it down.” Why is it, do you think, that God has not cut down some of us long ago? Who do you think is the good and kind vine-dresser ? Oh, it is the Lord Jesus Christ! He intercedes
with the Lord of the Vineyard for us. He begs that we may be left a little longer, that we may yet turn to God.
Dear children! think what a pleasant vineyard you have been planted in! You may well
“ I thank the goodness and the grace
Which on my birth have smiled,
A happy English child !”
Give Him your heart (Prov. xxiii. 26), and beg Him, even now, to make you bring forth fruit to his glory
JESUS WORKING MORE MIRACLES.
I THINK you will now be glad to hear some more of our Lord's wonderful works. I told you
that He often taught in a ship on the sea,
, while the people stood on the shore. This sea was the Sea of Galilee, or Lake of Tiberias. You had better find it on your map:
One evening, when Jesus had finished teaching, he asked his disciples to cross over to the other side of the lake. As they were sailing a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat so violently into the ship that it was full of water. But where was Jesus? He was asleep on a pillow. Do you think He did not know what a storm they were in ? Could He not have prevented it ? Oh, yes! But He