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First-fruits of the Harvest

First-fruits of the Harvest

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY EDWARD EELLS


** Evciy good gift and every perfect gift is from aboT^
and Cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom
is no variablenessy neither shadow of turning. Of his own
will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should
be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."— /omM i, 18.
BY EDWARD EELLS


** Evciy good gift and every perfect gift is from aboT^
and Cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom
is no variablenessy neither shadow of turning. Of his own
will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should
be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."— /omM i, 18.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 15, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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FIRST-FRUITS OF THE HARVEST BY EDWARD EELLS ** Evciy good gift and every perfect gift is from aboT^ and Cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variablenessy neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."— /omM i, 18. It is thrilling to remember how small a circle James was addressing when he wrote this keen letter to Christian believers among the Jews of the Dispersion, making this sweeping claim for them that, few as they were, they constituted the first-fruits of an infinite harvest — even of God*8 whole intelligent creation. The first-fruits rep- resent the harvest: they also give the promise of the harvest. Here were a few thousand believers in Christ widely scattered through the roaring hea- then world which was indifferent, hostile, darkly prejudiced, intolerant, almost utterly irrational, and seemingly beyond all persuasion. The odds were a thousand to one that the new faith would be choked, annihilated, trodden under foot in its birth. Yet the apostle looking abroad upon this thin dotting of Jewish believers upon the vast map of humanity, dares to call them a kind of first-fruits of God's creatures. That was because he believed with the vision of inspiration in the unswerving purpose of God, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He who, 95 Digitized by
 
Google 96 GOSPEL FOR BOTH WORLDS of His own infinite will had begotten the first- fruits could and would also beget all the others to form his complete soul-fiock, soul-harvest. The miracle of one soul bom again leaves the new birth of all the others an easy matter of detail. The -firstling represents the flock, the first- fruits represent the harvest. It was because Je- hovah's rightful claim extended to all a man's increase, that he was to make his acknowledg- ment of this rightful claim by honoring God with the first-fruits of all his increase. Paul says, " If the first-fruits are holy ; the lump also is holy." The first sheaf of the harvest, the first spring lamb of the flock, also the first-bom of his household were sacred to Jehovah; simply because these stood for all the others. So God's first-bom Son stood for us all in the infinite sacrifice of Calvary. And so these early Jewish Christians to whom James wrote, the first converts to Christ both at Jerusalem and in each city of the outer world — because the gospel in each was first proclaimed in the synagogue — these as a sort of first-fruits of God's great coming family of believers in Jesus, represented and stood for all the others. They were doubly sacred and precious because they were so few. The experts of our agricultural department in their develop- ment of a new variety of wheat of larger grains and heavier heads, or one capable of ripening during a short northern siunmer, wiE first pro-
 
Digitized by Google FIRST-FRUITS OF THE HARVEST 97 duce a few grains, or a cup full. Every gi'ain of this seed is worth many times its weight in gold. Years of thought and care and outlay have gone into producing it. The waving harvests of the future are bound up in it. So with the prize tulip, the latest perfection of carnation. Thousands of dollars are required to buy them: they are first-fruits, and they are precious. The -first-fruits also give the promise of the harvest. The same sunshine which has ripened the earliest yellowing ear will ripen the million others. The weak birth-cry of the first little lamb of spring tells of the bleatings of the doubled flock a few weeks later. It sounds the clarion of fecundity. So Eve's first baby came as the first tiny drop of that infinite stream of human lives which has flowed through this world of ours. When the Israelites came into their promised land, when they had conquered it and laid aside their weapons and plowed and sowed, and were about to reap their first harvest, they were to bring each the first-fruits of his first crop, the first cluster of his first vintage, as especially holy to Jehovah. This was all carefully enjoined upon them through Moses away back in the wilderness. The reason was that their first harvest and vin- tage and fruit-gathering in Canaan was to be

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