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The Golden Harvest-fields. We want Vicat Cole, R. A., with us now as we sit by field and shade, and watch the waving corn and the rolling sea. He could well give us the picture of this soft, delicate haze, this purple-tinted distance, this golden foreground of corn—this sharp, clear, crisp contrast of rock and sea. I cannot ! All I can do is to talk with you a little about these harvest-fields themselves. And what a world-old, worldwide word it is. Harvest!—everywhere that season comes. Some Naomi is watching the old harvest-fields in Palestine. This same year some grain is being stored in the vicinage of Joseph's granaries in Egypt. This same year golden fields of red Indian wheat are waving in the valleys out there where the Pilgrim Fathers found to their intense joy a little sand-heap newly done, for “they saw how the Indians had paddled it with their hands.” Oh, moment of joy ! how the aisles of the neighbouring forests must have rung with their cry of delight : they found a basketful of red Indian corn! Yes, everywhere wide as the offer of a Saviour's mercy is the provision for earthly bread-and harvest is the spectacle that greets, and the supply that gladdens, the whole family of man. It is perhaps the most beautiful season of the year in England. Our summer-time is short, and the harvest month brings out the fulness and sweetness of fruit and flower! God has linked use and beauty together. The useful is not unlovelythe bloom of the grape—the blue of the sea—the russet of the applethe silver of the river—the gold of the cornfield—these teach us that God “has made everything beautiful in its time." It may be that the teachings of harvest have been the theme of so many minds that it is difficult to avoid the beaten paths of old reflections, but one or two thoughts suggest themselves which may quicken in us

some useful meditations. There are, for instance, thoughtless persons everywhere, and you see the edges of these corn-fields are trodden over, and the beautiful grain is crushed. Why? Because there is no room in the path? No. Two persons can walk abreast there. It is done simply from carelessness and unconcern, and so it happens that if you

could measure the wasted places, whole acres of wheat in England are this year thus destroyed. How true is it that “Evil is wrought from want of thought, as well as want of heart.” So, too, is it with the better seed of the Kingdom of grace. Words quick and powerful, uttered on God's holy day, are trodden under fcot by some trifling talker, who thus desecrates God's grain, as he comes home from the sanctuary, and a sister has the first beginnings of heavenly life crushed by a brother's flippancy, or a companion's careless converse. There may even be depth of earth in the heart where the precious seed is dropped, but as it begins to sprout it is trodden under foot. I have thought, too, of a strange fancy in looking at these autumn fields. Perhaps a dead hand planted

a some of it! Yes, it may be that some seed-sower has fallen on sleep before this fruitful harvest came. But the grain grows all the same.

So, too, it is in higher things. Many a harvest over the graves of those who planted it--in mission fields abroad, and in our home acres too. I remember John Angell James saying in a sermon he preached shortly before my old friend Dr. Morison's death, “ The wheels of the Redeemer's chariot stop at no man's grave.” And this represents the same thought. We plant in anxiety, in hope, and yet sometimes in tears, but even in our own children's hearts the harvest that is the result of our planting may not come until after we have entered into rest. Then, too, my vision changes, and in a a moment I see the stubble and the reaped fields, and remember that over the same brown earth ploughs and harrows must do their work again, and fresh seed be dropped into the furrows. So is it with our churches and our schools, and all our fields ! Children and fathers die, and as new generations arise, the like work must be carried on. But what comfort there is in the thought that as these ears of wheat do not wearout theirquickening power, but, dropped into the earth, bring forth and bud again ; so the seed of the Gospel is a living seed, amid all natures, and in every age. And then another thought comes to one. What a pity it is that we are not more thankful. Harvest-fields are associated in my mind with some of the sweetest songs. There the lark carols forth in high heaven its thrilling notes, and drops down in sharp descent to the earth. There is music in the


fields; the very rustle of the corn is a melody, and the various songsters constitute a perpetual orchestra of praise to God. Admiration is not enough. We may have an asthetic taste cultivated enough to appreciate the amber light in the landscape, and the varied greens and purples of the sea,

and what the old Greeks called “ the rosy fingers of the dawn;" but we must have poor hearts if we do not feel more than admiration. Gratitude, real and fervent, to the Father-God, who gives us all things richly to enjoy, should surely have a place in every heart. How true is HE. There is no flaw in His promises. Harvest never fails. Then meditation takes a pensive turn. We enjoyed these same harvest-fields once with others—fathers, mothers, wives, little ones. They rest now! Many of them can greet the vision no more here. It seems at first like mockery to try to enjoy harvest scenes without them. The merry laugh, the wistful question, the loving glance—where are these? True, with many of us there are “graves in the garden;" and we shall never feel, can never feel as we once did. God does not expect this of us. Human nature cannot achieve it. But we are Christians. We


not be able to triumph over tribulation, but we can rejoice amidst it. All things are ours-life, death, things present and things to come! Yes, to come! We are all the while looking for a better country, and there

no enemy ever comes, and no friend ever goes away.” But the shadows are falling over the harvest-fields even as we are meditating, and they are flecked with broken lights. Still, evening is beautiful even amid its shadows, and so ought it to be with us.

“ Even to your old age I am He.” Yes, and instead of going to the grave like disappointed men or women, querulous and full of chagrin, how blessed it is when the evening comes to see Christians whose work is bringing forth blessing still, and they themselves richer in faith, holier in influence, and mellowed, not soured, by time. Yes, ready, like this harvest-field for the reapers. So goes the Christian to the grave like “a shock of corn fully ripe !” In a little time in these fields the waggons will be all laden, the reapers will go to harvest home, and then the gleaners will come in. What a lesson! There is always something to be done in this world, and even in a field that seems well reaped there are some ears to secure ! I love to see the gleaners—it drives one's thoughts back to Old Testament stories. There is ever room for kindly charity. The loss of the ears these gleaners gather does not hurt the farmer, and the slender gain blesses them. There was a picture in this year's Academy called “ Toilers in the Field,” admirably done by Aumonier. There is the soft light, the winding river, and the toilers as they go home seem to be moving, so easy is their attitude, so exquisitely are the distances arranged. Let my young readers remember that the morning


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