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and praise for his goodness in creating it. Nothing but mere goodness could have possibly moved him to form the great and benevolent design of creation. He was under no natural necessity to create the heavens, or the earth, nor any intelligent creatures in them. self-sufficient for his own blessedness. He might have enjoyed everlasting rest in the contemplation of his own glorious perfections. And he musi have known before hand, that if he should create the heavens and the earth, and fill them with rational creatures, how much care and labour it must cost him and them, to accomplish the great, and complicated, and arduous design. But in the full view of all this, his benevolent. heart moved him to create the world, and to exert all his perfections in upholding and governing it, until he had brought millions and millions of rational and immortal beings to the highest perfection in knowledge, holiness and happiness. As this state of perfection will be the result of the work of creation, so we may safely conclude, that this was his ultimate end in bringing all things into existence. And we cannot conceive that he should have formed a greater, wiser, or better end'in the creation of the world. He will always have occasion to rejoice in all his works, and so will all his holy creatures. He will not be indebted to them for any of their labours, but they will always be indebted to him for all the good that his labours and theirs will finally produce. For they will fully and for ever enjoy his rich and happy harvest at the end of the world. They cannot look backward to the beginning of the world, nor forward to the end of it, without seeing their indispensable obligations, to thank and praise him for creating goodness. And if we felt as the heaven. ly inhabitants
feel, we should joyfully join with them in saying, “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
3. If God will have a vastly rich and plentiful harvest at the end of the world ; then we have no reason to expect, that he ever will have more than one har
vest. At the end of the world, God will have created the heavens and the earth just as he originally intended to create them; he will have preserved and gov- . erned them, just as he intended to preserve and govern them; he will have brought as many intelligent creatures into existence, as he intended to bring into existence; he will have brought them to that state of perfection in knowledge, holiness, and happiness, to which he intended to bring them ; and he will have completely answered his original and ultimate end in the work of creation. And this will be the largest and richest harvest, that he could possibly propose, desire, or produce. We cannot conceive, therefore, that after he has actually reaped this great and valuable harvest, that he should desire to produce and reap another. The very supposition would argue imperfection. It would imply, that he was not able to form the greatest, wisest, and best end in the creation of the world, at first. It is as absurd to suppose, that God will have more than one harvest, as to suppose, that he will have a thousand, or two thousand, or a million harvests. When God formed his original and eternal design of creation, he formed as great, as wise, and as good a design, as his , boundless wisdom and goodness could devise, and his almighty power could accomplish. And unless, after the end of the world, he should increase in power, wisdom, and goodness, it will be both naturally and morally impossible, that he should devise or accomplish any new design in the work of creation. I know that some have supposed, that God will not gather in all his harvest at the end of the world. They suppose that after he has separated the wheat from the tares, or after he has separated the righteous from the wicked, and cast the wicked into a lake of fire, he will there ripen, and purify, and prepare them for the kingdom of heaven, and be reaping a rich harvest from the regions of sin and sorrow, for ages and ages, after the end of this world. And indeed some have suppose), that he will continue to destroy old worlds and create new ones, through the endless
nges of eternity. But these suppositions are plainly contrary to the natural and moral perfections of the Deity, and to his own declarations concerning the end of the world, and the complete accomplishment of his original design in the creation of it.
4. If God shall have such a rich and plentiful harvest at the end of the world, then all his faithful labourers have a bright and glorious prospect before them Though they are now really wheat and the excellent of the earth'; yet they are in a green and imperfect state, and can scarcely be distinguished by themselves and others from the tares in the field. But all intelligent beings are constantly labouring to ripen them for the harvest, and bring them to maturity and perfection in knowledge, holiness, and happiness. Though they are now the sons of God, yet it doth not yet appear what they shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, they shall be like him in every natural and moral excellence, and shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. They will rejoice to find themselves, and so many myriads of rational and immortal creatures brought to a state of perfection, and completely prepared for everlasting rest and enjoyment. But above all, they will rejoice, that God had perfectly obtained his supreme and ultimate end in the creation of the world, by his rich and plentiful harvest. For his harvest will be their harvest, and they shall enjoy the fruits of all his and their own labours, so far as they shall be capable of enjoying them. Thus light is continually sowing for the righteous, and gladness of heart for the upright. Though the harvest they are preparing will not be ripe until the end of the world, yet let them not be weary in well-doing: for in due season they shall reap, if they faint not. Success in any business is the most animating motive to activity. It was the prospect, which Moses had of the recompense of reward, that animated him to labour so long and so faithfully for God. It was the prospect of success in bringing home many sons unto glory, that ininced Christ to endure the pains and reproaches of
And the apostle urges christians to the greatest activity in the service of God, from the same motive of success. “ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ; for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
5. If God always has been, from the beginning of the world, carrying on his original design of producing a rich and plentiful harvest at the end of it; then none can cordially approve of any part of his conduct, without approving of the whole. Many, however, imagine, that they approve of many things he has done, who say they do not approve of his eternal purpose, nor of innumerable instances of his conduct in the dispensations of his providence and grace.
But none can really and heartily approve of any one thing he has done, in creating, preserving, governing, and redeeming the world, who do not approve of his ultimate design in the creation of the world, and of every thing he has done, and employed others to do, to produce a rich and plentiful harvest at the end of it. His design is uniform and consistent, and in its very nature and operation, deeply affects all his intelligent creatures, who either approve, or disapprove of it. Some approve of it, and desire and endeavour to promote it; and some disapprove of it, and desire and endeavour to prevent its accomplishment. None are neuters. Every one is on the Lord's side, or against him; every one gathers with him, or scatters abroad. All in the invisible world, are openly for him, or against him; and all in this world, are really, though not visibly, for him, or against him. And it is because mankind are not so well
acquainted with God's ultimate end in creation, as the good and evil angels are, that they do not as openly appear and act for him, and against him. Did
now only know and realize that design which God formed in eternity, and which he has been pursuing, and will finally accomplish at the end of the world, there would not be a doubting christian, nor a doubting sinner on the face of the earth. When
the tares and the wheat are ripe for the harvest, there will be no difficulty in distinguishing them one from another; so when saints and sinners are ripe for God's harvest at the end of the world, there will not be a doubting saint or sinner. And it is in the view of God's harvest, that both saints and sinners, can now best discover, whether they are really for him or against him. Let them then only consider what he has plainly told them concerning his harvest, at the end of the world, and what a separation he will make between the tares and the wheat, the sheep and the goats, and his faithful and unfaithful servants, and they can scarcely doubt, whether God's harvest will be a day of the greatest joy, or of the deepest sorrow to them.
6 This subject calls upon you all, to inquire, for what, and for whom, you have been labouring. There is no doubt but you have generally been industrious and laborious about something; but for what have you been labouring? Have you been labouring for the meat that perisheth, or for that which endureth unto eternal life? Have you been labouring to lay up treasures in heaven, or to lay up goods for many years, and to become great, and rich, and happy in this present life only ? Have
Have you been labouring for God, or for yourselves? Have you been seeking his interest or your own ? Have you been workers together with him, or with his enemies ? It is easy to answer these questions in the view of this subject. If you have approved of God's ultimate end in the creation, preservation, government, and redemption of the world, wbich he has been pursuing, and which he will certainly accomplish at the end of it ; and if you have been labouring to prepare yourselves and others for a state of
perfection, in knowledge, holiness, and happiness ; you have been labouring for God; if not, you have been idle and worse than idle all your days. God says of Israel, “ He is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself. “ Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, to those who bring forth fruit unto themselves, consider your ways, ye have sown much, and bring in little ; yo