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Putting the Hand to the Plow.

Putting the Hand to the Plow.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY NATHANIEL W. TAYLOR, D. D.,


LUKE ix. 62.

" And Jesus said unto him, Ko man haying put his hand
BY NATHANIEL W. TAYLOR, D. D.,


LUKE ix. 62.

" And Jesus said unto him, Ko man haying put his hand

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 14, 2013
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PUTTIG THE HAD TO THE PLOW.BY ATHAIEL W. TAYLOR, D. D.,LUKE ix. 62." And Jesus said unto him, Ko man haying put his hand to the plow,and lookingback, is fit for the kingdom of God.'*There are few persons to whom the solemn alternative of the gospel is presented, who do not feel the importance of deciding the simple yet momentous question, What toili I do f Its overtures must either be accepted or rejected, and thatunder the pressure of the most weighty obligations, and withthe prospect of the most tremendous consequences. ow itis, we believe, impossible that these things should be clearlybrought before the mind, without producing a state of anxioushesitation between opposite determinations, which leads themind to incline first to the one, then toward the other.It was to a person in such a state of mind that our Lord ad-dressed the declaration in the text. On hearing the call of the Saviour, he said: "Lord, I will follow thee ;" but, at thesame time, proposed first to go and bid them farewell that wereat home at his father's house. Thus, in the very act as it wereof forming the resolution, he betrayed its weakness. He dis-covered a purpose far below that strength of decision, and thatunqualified devotedness which the case demanded, and thusvirtually surrendered the enterprise in which he professed toengage.By a proverbial mode of speaking, our Lord then mostpointedly reproves this indecision of purpose in religion. Toput the hand to the plow^ is to enter ostensibly upon someundertaking, to embark in some pursuit with an apparent pur-pose of securing its object; and to look hack, implies that
 
414 PUTTIG THE HAD TO THE PLOW.divided state of mind, and that irresolateness of purpofie wbick are a virtaal abandonment of the end propoeed, and are, there-fore, fatal to success. We are thus taught that a wayeringand undetermined state of mind in religion is as fatal as it isin any other pursuit, that it can never form that characterwhich qualifies for the kingdom of Ood*My design is to consider — First, Some instances of this indecision of purpose in re-ligion; andSecond, Its utter insufficiency to form the Christian char-acter.L Among those who, in the language of the text, put thehand to the plow and look back, may be mentioned the fol-lowing classes.1. those who would become religious were it not that theywish first to secure some worldly good.The reality, the excellence, and the necessity of religion,Buch persons readily acknowledge. Often they feel a painfulinternal conflict, a self-dissatisfaction and yexation of mindthat they cannot obtain some new thought, or feeling, or mo-tive, that they have not more sense, more resolution, more anything, which shall secure them from such disgraceful inde-cision, and constrain them to a course so obviously rationaland so vastly important. Every such person, at times, thinksthat ho will begin to make religion his grand object Theend is too glorious, the interests at stake too momentous to belonger neglected. The feeling seems to be, " Lord, I will fol-low thee." But just when the first decisive step toward exe-cuting the purpose by a full surrendering of the whole man toGod, just when the turning-point comes, new thoughts occur.
 
Religion is, indeed, a good thing; it is too important to befinally abandoned. But, then, how can all the happy pros-pects which the world spreads before its votaries — ^how canall these promising schemes of wealth, or honor, or pleasurebe abandoned, be sacrificed, by an immediate surrendry of the whole heart to Christ f Let these be first secured, andPUTTIG THE HAD TO THB PLOW. 415Aen religion shall have an nnreeenred attention — an unhesi-tating porpose. Thns religion is not ultimately abandoned,God's dominion and favor are not finally abjured, Jesns andhis salvation are not forever renounced ; but all their claimsmost be deferred till a portion on earth is first secured. Thusthe weakness of the resolution is betrayed; the object on whichthe purpose seems to fix as one of unrivaled importance, and of indispensable accomplishment, is abandoned. Every such per-son has put his hand to the plow, and looked back.2. The same thing is true of those who are prevented fromcoming to a decided purpose in religion by certain embarrass-ments and difficulties.Often under the clear exhibition of its divine excellence, itshigh obligations and supreme importance, they resolve tomake it the grand concern, and to begin immediately, or atleast to resolve that nothing shall long detain them from sodoing. Thus they are often brought to the very point of making firm resolve in this highest, noblest enterprise of man.But then there are many things to be considered. Is the pres-ent the best time ; will not circumstances become more favor-able by delay ; will not more leisure, less care and bustle inbusiness, or fewer worldly engagements, be found to preventor hinder the effectual accomplishment of the purpose here-after} At present friends are not pious, and how difficult toseparate from them ; perhaps the time may come, and oh thatit might, when they shall be willing to enter on a religiouscourse. What awkwardness and difficulties will be felt in

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