"ONE SOWETH AND ANOTHER REAPETH."
"Order," it is said, "is heaven's first law." Certain it is that the great designer and framer of all things had regard to order in all his works. "He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." How sublime the utterance: how worthy its divine source. Not less sublime the progressive steps in creation, extending, perhaps, through thousands and tens of thousands of years, until the completed universe in all its perfection appeared.
Notice the order observed in the various organizations endowed with life. Whatever department in nature we select, we pursue the same intricate pathway through various gradations, till we reach the highest order in the class. The variety and perfection in both the vegetable and animal kingdoms excite our wonder and admiration. But, however great may be the interest in the lower orders, man, the crowning act of creation: man, made only a little lower than the angels, endowed with reason, privileged with communion with his Maker, absorbs all our attention.
Not less real, though possibly less conspicuous, is the order shown in the work of man's recovery from the withering blight of sin.
God having foreseen all that would befall his creature, devised a plan of redemption [R628 : page 5] which could by no possibility fail to accomplish the purposes intended. Just here is where many well meaning people are at fault. It seems to be a common belief among Christians that God's plans are not only liable to defeat, but that they usually are defeated.
Such belief, however, is dishonoring to God, and comes from a faulty interpretation of the Scriptures.
In the light that now shines on the sacred page, God's children are enabled to more fully comprehend his wonderful plan than was formerly their privilege. The faith of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Prov. 4:18.) This light shining on the Word discovers in God's method a well-defined plan, embracing various steps or stages. It has been termed by some the "plan of the ages," because it embraces within its scope several different ages or dispensations, in each of which a special work was accomplished. We notice the patriarchal in which the knowledge of God was confined principally to one man at a time. The Jewish age during which this knowledge was confined principally to the Jewish nation; and the gospel age during which Christ is selecting a Church or bride to be associated with him finally in the work of blessing all the families of the earth. (Gen. 12:3.)
Scripture also mentions "ages to come," in which God will show the exceeding riches of his grace. (Eph. 2:7.) [R628 : page 6] These ages each have a definite time appointed them, and a definite work to perform. In each there is a seed time and a harvest. Christ came to harvest the fruit of the Jewish age. He sent his disciples forth, not to preach to the Gentiles, but only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In this harvest he burned the chaff, but the wheat he gathered into the garner. As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become sons of God. (Jno. 1:12.)
The disciples were sent forth to reap where others had sown. The prophets were God's messengers to the people; they sowed the seed. When a sufficient time had elapsed, the reapers came to do their part of the work.
The gospel age, Christ informs us, is also to have a seed time and a harvest. After the resurrection he sent his disciples into all the world to preach the gospel of the kingdom. At the end of the world (age, dispensation), the Son of man will send the reapers, who will gather the wheat into his barn. (Matt. 13:30.)
Many laborers, though very anxious to be at work, seem not to know whether they are to sow or to reap. Perhaps we should rather say, they want to sow and reap at the same time. Failing to comprehend God's plan, or, more likely, failing to discover any plan at all, they work hap-hazard as they suppose God is doing.
Wheat and tares have been growing together in the field. To the casual observer it promised an abundant harvest, but to him who needs not that any should testify of man, because he knows what it is in man, it presented a very different view. The harvest is now in progress, and to all appearances the tares far outnumber the wheat.
As stated above, many who seem anxious to labor for the Master, have no conception of God's plan. They work on human plans, and as a consequence those whom they endeavor to instruct are confused rather than enlightened.
"If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." It seems to be true of this harvest, as of that of which Jesus spake, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." S. T. TACKABURY.