D Gibb Mitchell
On that vera day gaed Jesus oot o the hoose, an sat doun bi the side o the Loch. An great gaitherins o the folk cam thegither ti Him, that He gaed inti a boat, an sat doun; an the hale o the folk stuid on the shore. An He spak mony things ti them in parables; an qo He, "Tak tent: the sawer gaed oot ti saw. An in his sawin a nieffu wis miscuisten on the fit-road, an etten up wi the birdies. Some fell on stanie bits whaur the syle wis jimp; an it brairdit bonny, for the muil wis thin. An whan the sun rase hiegh, it birslt up; an for that it haed nae ruit, it dwined awa. An some fell whaur thorns haed been, an up cam the thorns, an smuired it; an some fell on the guid grund, an brocht forth a crop, varyin frae a hunder ti saxty or therty times as muckle. Wha haes lugs for hearin, lat him hear!"
Whan ony ane hears the Wird o the Kingdom an understauns-it-na, then comes the Ill Ane, an cleeks awa that sawn in his hert; this is him sawn bi the fit-road. An him on the stanie bit sawn, is him that hears the Wird, an blythely receives it; yet haes he nae ruit in himsel, an bides but for a wee; an on duil or fash comin, he stumbles by an by. An him sawn amang the thorns, this is him that hears the Wird, an then the cark o the warld, an the glamour o riches, smuirs the Wird, an naething comes o it. But him sawn on the guid grund, this is him that baith hears an understauns the Wird, that raelly produces fruit, varyin frae a hunder ti saxty or therty times as muckle.--Matt. xiii
Div ye no say, "Fower months, an syne the hairst. But unsteek yer een an see the fields--they'r whitenin ti the hairst e'en nou! An the shearer wins his fee, an gaithers ti him a Eternal hairst; an the sawer an the shearer is baith blythe thegither! An the auld proverb comes true ower again, 'Ane saws, anither shears.' A bade ye ti a hairst whauron ye haedna toiled; ither men toiled, an you ar entered on their reward."--John iv.
At the Hint o Hairst
Men likes the warld they live in. There's nane but's taen wi't. Aabody lilts its praises. Frae mornin sun ti the gloamin o the day--throu aa its moods an phases--there's a sang o joy. Oor hert can finnd nae faut wi its moods. Sunshine or rain, sleet or snaw, we tak it aa wi guidwill. We canna thraw wi't, for Providence haes the makkin o't. In ilka hert there is a big warld, fou an rinnin ower. God haes pat it there for oor delite.
We grudge naething a place: e'en a muckle stane, as it sits lanely on the brae, we wadna like ti see the warld athoot it. The auld tree that stauns ower the cottage ruif, we canna thole ti brak it doun. We wadna like the hillock made less or mair, but juist ti staun aye as we'v seen it frae the first. The singin o the burn as it turns the corner o the road--in its flude, an in its murmur o paece--wis the souch o the sang that cam ower the cradle; it is there, an maun aye bide. Aathing is love, an bonny is the sichts! There's naething in the warld but what is needit, an onything less we wad be shuir ti miss.
In the spring an autumn times we see twafauld wonders: the openin bud, wi the faain leaf; the green girse, wi the grey fields; the buddin corn, wi the hairst rig. There is promise in the spring, but there's a haunfu o fulfilment in the autumn. Spring is wild, an in a hurry, an streetchin forrit ti something; the autumn is quait, an paecefu, an complete: nae hurry, but couthy oors glides slowly by, an aathing taks time in its mellaein day! There's a lowp in the spring, a wild hilarity o muisic in the universe, an a dance o natur ti the tuin that is piped inti the widland an the dell. The autumn stauns grand in its majesty, hingin fou o aa the year's endeavour, the ootcome o the spring: an the dance is ower, an the rapture is by, an the guid God haes completit aa His plans.
Spring an autumn winna bide apairt--they will aye leuk inti ane anither's faces. Spring nods ti autumn wi meikle promise, an sweers a aith ti fulfil it; an a big hert an a thankfu sits on the face o autumn as she leuks ower ti spring, weel content.
What taks man oot o his thrawn moods an surly gait is a glower in at the Makar's wark. What a joy he haes in it! What a inspiration he gaithers up for the sair bits on the road o life! An aye he taks the ither glint o it, an he canna win awa frae it. For it's that that gies him hert an speerit ti dash agin the fates, that maks him brave ti meet the burdens, an the teer an weer o life. What fills him wi the sang, but juist the warld aroond him, an the joy that he is livin in sic a place? What lifts the load frae the back but the sun-glint in the ee? What brings the thraw frae the thocht but his muisin ower the sicht? What lifts the step frae the trudge an maks him joy that he is a man--that he haes got life, whether wi little or mair--but a warld like this ti enjoy? What maks fate's strang strokes bearable? What is it that maks the haurd knocks an the sair dunts no sae haurd ti thole? What maks the weary oors gang by wi a smile, but juist the warld--the aefauldness o't, an aa the kindly thochts it seems ti hae for man, as he tries ti fecht the wrangs that fain wad birze him doun?
Man's moods is like thae o Natur's: they never miss him, gin his ee is open, an his hert pure. Whether it be the lang trudge frae the hill, or the short road ti the watterspoot, natur's blythe thocht bides bi him, an lends him its chairm an its cheer. Man hislane, pairtit frae natur! never think o't; it's ower sair a want, an a waur exile than hell. An yet it's but the guileless, an the pure-hertit, an the simple-mindit, that haes the freedom ti wander inti natur's sacred neuks an live ti love the hodden ferlies o its life!
Passna yer innocence awa an think that wrang-daein will tak the place o natur's joys; but aye haud siccar the mood an speerit that will like the coortesy an grace o God's ain warld. For gin ye sin yer sowel oot o the Makar's grip, sair is the duil ye'll hae ti thole for it--an naething will mak it up. Yer ee gets blinnd ti the bonny flouer, yer hert cauld ti the sunlicht, yer mind closed ti the haunsome day. Yer feelins is airn, an yer hert canna ken, for haurd thochts, what the warld is like, as God means ye ti ken!
Trudgin, trudgin--dreary is the cauld sad hert o a ill-daein man! His lanely life is weary. Naething wiles him ti like what's richt. Naething is God's, an naething is his. Aathing's wrang, an naething's richt whaur lies a heap o sin. Man haes tint his likin for Natur; he's lost his sowel that it winna leuk at it. Oh! what a joy for a man ti forfeit--for a lifetime! A believe that the curst deevils in hell wad be feart ti tine the sicht o a universe! But man haes niffered it awa, for a glower in at the swine trochs, or a cog o the deil's brochan!
A man that rins awa frae Natur canna leuk for God's blessin. A man that's oot o touch wi God's ain gates--that haes lowpit the ditch, or speeled the dyke, or crawled throu the hedge--canna think on God's guid gree, canna think that a kindly haun will law him; but only the lash o wild fate will haunt him for his vagrant stravaigin. Ay, ye mey think it's fun, but it's no. Ye think ye'r a maister ti mak law o yer ain. But God kens that yer likin haes gaen wry, an yer raeson's gaen gyte, an yer faith gaen aff ti mooldy haunts! There's nae flouers there, nae ripe aiple trees hings fou o their fruit, nae wimplin burn sings throu the clachan, nae hairst fields is yellae, nae bonny braes at gloamin is blythe wi the settin sun. Duil! duil! Sad an wae is the warld, sair is the wark, weary is the hert that gangs whaur the hymn is a dirge, whaur wark is slavery, an the warld is a jyle.
What is Autumn? It is the haun o God, fou an scaillin. Ripe Natur is the Creator's glory. Ilka berry an ilka flouer, ilka leaf an ilka fruit, fou ti the brim--packit an ripe! It's a canty time whan ye see the hinmaist dab pat upon ilka aiple an ilka fruit. It is like the Creator's finest touches whan the great pictur o the year is feenished. Whan the colours is aa blendit thegither, whan the widland an the loch, the hills an the dales, is aa wrapped inti their set glory an grandeur. The pictur is duin an the wark is perfete. A body wad think that in autumn the Great Artist pat by His brush, an bade quait awhile, efter completin the grand scene!
Autumn fills the hert o man: he is crouse an satisfied. There's a giff-gaff guidwill atween him an his Makar an the warld aroond. Ilka man's happy hert is the trystin-place for God's gifts, an yirth's treasurs. Man's mou praises, an his hert sings lang sangs for the comin o the hairst time, the faain o the leaf, an the fillin o the husk.
God disna cleed the yirth wi the same garb in the autumn as He dis in the spring. In the springtime there's a saftness, a swaetness, a blushin hope, a unborn thocht, a langin ti unfauld! Nathless throu aa, the universe o natur moves briskly forrit!
Autumn time is solemn. It is like the Great Thocht realised. The vera air is heavy. The spirit o the forest, the orchard an the field, is like a benediction on the yirth. Aathing hings its heid in the mood o solemn reverence, as if the great God wis sayin His hinmaist wird o guidwill ti man. The branch hings ower wi its heavy load, the stalk bous doun wi its gowden ear, the mellae leaf droops waitin on the tree, the tufts o girse is bent thegither. The big dock blades is broken doun, the garlics an the soorick seeds is faain frae their husks. Ilka whin buss cracks its pod an scails its pea!
Man's thochts growes tender whan he thinks aboot his Makar. He canna see His gowpens o guid athoot wonderin at His kindness an His love. It wad be wrang for man ti see the beauty its lane, an ti tak the gifts, athoot a thocht o thankfuness ti the Gier. Dis a love-lowe no kinnle for His likin for us? Is there nae thochts for Him for aa the thochts He thinks o us? Is there nae blythe hert brimmin ower ti Him? We wonder at the bonny warld aroond us; but whan we think o Him that haed the makkin o it, we wonder nae mair. For there there's rowth o beauty, wisdom, an love.
Hou winsome is the aye-gaun chainge on aa aroond--the clood, the wind, the sunshine, an the shaidae! The warld is fixed doun ti its wey, but yet nae sameness hings lang upon it. It chainges an chainges. It moves an bends. Ilk meenit sees it differ. Shaidae an shine, fair an rain, wind an calm, chase ane anither in an oot throu aa the year. What trouble there is in ae meenit is gien ye back again wi joy in the neist. As Natur is born ti joy an trouble, sae man is. What sorrae ye hae in the nou is gien ye back again wi a smile the morn. What ye mey loss for the time will come again anither day. Sic a trauchle Natur haes haed wi hersel comin up throu aa the year, throu frost an cauld, throu the heat an the rain, the mischance o the drouth, an the bitin blast. Wi trouble aa throu haes the fruit cam forrit. Mony a time frae the blossom ti the ripened grain it wis like a sair fecht throu ti the oor o gledness, whan man clappit his hauns an lauched at the bonny, bonny, warld hingin galore wi a gowden hairst!
Ilka man haes his ain wey o leukin at the warld, an his ain wey o takkin the gifts that's in it. It is aye the hert ye hae that maks the warld aroond ye bonny or ugly, fou o chairm, or dreich an dowie. The warld is naething athoot man; man maks the warld. Whaur man is he reads the meanin o what is aroond him bi his ain likins. Some men is cuifs that lives as blinnd as nowt. They can see nae faurer than juist the girse ablo their fit. The beauty o't, the plan or purpose o't, the Divine grandeur an glory an love aa throu--they never see, they hinna een ti see it wi. There's twa men in the warld: the man wi the heeven-erectit face; an the man wi the sodden glower. Ane mey see in a field o wheat juist the price it'll bring in the mercat; the ither thinks nocht o the price, but is pleased wi the bonny sicht o the ripe crap rustlin in the passin wind. He sees it is a love-gift frae the haun o Providence, an he joys in it alang wi his Makar!
This warld wis made for man, an hou kindly oor thochts gangs oot ti the shielin as it sits in the lithe o the brae. It is hame--the couthiest bield in the warld. It is the biggin whaur man bides. It is the centre o the fields an wids aroond. There the bairnies is born, whaur hope an joy an love twines roond the hearth. It is like the place whaur hings the weird o heevin on earth!
Hou lanely a warld it wad be athoot man; hou cauld a landscape gin there wis nae hamesteeds on the slope o the brae! Wad God like it as weel? Wad He come doun ava ti this lanely spot gin man's haudins wisna here? Wad He be happy in His hairst gin there war nane ti reap it? Wad he tak pride in the ripenin rigs if man warna here ti heuk them for the barn? What wad it be athoot man ti tak God's gifts wi a gratefu hert, ti leuk ower His warld wi Him, an thank Him for its rowthie gowpenfus? It is man an God that maks the warld: the Gier an the getter, the gifts an the thanks, the invoker an the Blesser!
Oh man! what a chance ye hae ti be thankfu in this warld--for aa that God wants frae man is a hert that's thankfu. There is nae souch in the ear o God bonnier an swaeter than the tongue utterin the prayer o a fou an lovin hert. Wha could breathe in a warld like this, an wi a God that's sae true ti His seedtime an hairst, that brings aye the rainfaa an the sunshine ti fill the stackyaird an the granary, athoot a psalm o praise an thankfuness?
The Creator haes made this yirth for man. He means him ti be pleased in it, enjoy it, an mak the best o't. Ilka paradise is no alike. Some bits haes mair stanes in it than ithers, an that maks the trauchle aa the waur, but the stress o thanks nane the less. God is no abuin pairtnership wi man. Man's standard o wark is hichtened whan he kens he is neeborin God. An God canna want him in the tillin o the grund, the sawin o the seed, the plantin o the trees. For aa that, man is no the maister; he canna strike wark. Man's wark is no a drudgery whan he plods alang wi his Makar. It maks the labour sacred whan he kens he is in the yoke wi Providence! Man maks ready; God waits till the ploo sheuchs throu the furrae. Man's duty is upon him, an he kens it. He maun be in time, an he maun dae his pairt wi a conscience. He brings ti it a thocht an a will. He kens that he maun help natur ti dae its best for him. Aathing maun be richt an up ti time as the saeson bids him!
Throu aa owerturns an new-fangled weys, naething taks the wark aff man's haun. The swat o his brou maun aye be there. The sod maun aye be bored up an the seed thrown in. The swish o the scythe, or the whir o the reaper, will aye be heard. The plooman's whistle an the gleaner's sang will aye be the notes o the hairster's day. The best o aa joys comes whan the stooks is gaithered in.
Man's hert dances wi a psalm o praise whan he taks stock o the muckle rucks o grain. Then he is maist independent o his Makar. Yet that's the time his hert is fouest o guidwill an love ti his Divine Pairtner. He kens the Haun that gaed him aa, an he lippened ti Providence ti croun the year. Nae prayer is sae fou-hertit as the prayer o the autumn time; nae muisic is happier than whan man leads hame the hinmaist cairt an the land lies bare in stibble!
God haed nae ither thocht but man in aa the wey He brocht the big year forrit. He telt wild natur ti become man's freend an be tamed bi him. "Ilka blossom, bud, an fruit fling ower an lay at his feet, Ma favoured ane. Man is Ma trustit freend. He haes stappit alang wi Me throu the simmer's hopes. Lat his horn be fou an scailin, lat his bicker be rinnin ower!" An whan man saw the ungrudgin Haun, the big unstintin hert, he wished ti rooze his God. He kent hou guid a warld it wis, hou kind wis Providence, hou siccar an swaet wis natur!
Ay, but is oor giein back quits wi what we get? Dae we keep in mind oor Makar as he keeps us in mind? Dae we pit His gate what He pits oors? Dae we gie Him back again onything in return? Is oor hert as leal ti Him as His ti us? Is it only the lift we see an the green-clad yirth, an dae we forget ti gang ti Him that likes an langs ti hae a crack wi us? A wird frae man ti God is a gledsome soond--ti lat the ee sicht Him, or gar the hert dirl wi mirth, is eneuch for Him. God canna dae athoot that. He maun get His meed. He maun hae His ain pairt--the gratefu sowel o a thankfu man!
Some taks aa an gies naething. There's a plain stane an pebble aside the clod. The sun sklents doun on baith alike. The stane taks aa in an gies naething back, but the pebble throws oot the rays again--it's the brichtest spot in aa the braeside; the plain stane is ne'er seen.
It is mair happy ti gie oot than ti tak in. There is mair joy in the sparklin spirit wi a smile, an open haun an kindly grace, than in the cauld hert, the frozen face, the dull ee, an the haun aye closed on itsel!
There wis a time langsyne whan we wisna sae happy as we ar the day. Providence didna think we wis richt wi only a bonny warld an a hame ti bide in. He sent His Son--for He ettled something mair for us. He kent that life wis something mair than the brose caup an the cleedin. An yet He thocht it wisna wrang ti send His Son doun an lat us ken that Providence wis a Faither, an haed a Faither's hert. That there wis a bonnier hame than this an bonnier hame-haudins in the warld up Abuin--whaur aa gangs hame ti be wi Him, whan the shaidaes lengthens oot an the days is drawin in!
Man gangs ti his lang rest--oot o this shiftin fit-rest--a dwallin for his body--ower ti the ither warld, the hame o his sowel. It is a blythe upliftin hope ti ken that the God that haes dawtit on us here, will tak us in ti bide wi Himsel owerby. Aabody will forgaither frae their hamesteeds there, an aa that haes gane on aheid will be waitin for the freends that's here.
What a buchtin-time, what a hame-bringin, an what a hervest-hame whan we gaither ane an aa ti be for aye wi Him!
The Hairst Prayer
Thoo Gier o aa Guid,--We come wi a gledsome sang for aa that the Yirth haes yieldit an laid in oor hauns. We praise Ye for the big stacks, for the fou barns. We praise Ye for the grain that's ti feed man an baest. Oor thochts rins back ower the simmer ti the spring. We mind the hinmaist blasts o winter whan the grund wis turned up wi ploo an spade. We mind the snell mornins o spring whan the seed wis sawn. We see the plooman happin it up, field efter field.
Man did his pairt, syne bidit Yer wird for the growth. The rains fell saft an seepit weel in; the sun shone brichter an warmer as the weeks sped on. We saw the green blade, the growin stalk, the an syne the fou ear. It wis a bonny sicht whan the fields grew gowden an the wavin taps rustlt an boued wi the wind. At last cam the reaper's time. The hairst rig wis busy wi the scythe an the cuttin doun. The stooks wis set up, an the country wis fair wi its big hairst. The cairts cam, an gaed. Day efter day the stackyaird grew fou, an the hairsters sang in the muinlicht as they led in the hinmaist load.
Nou it is Sabbath mornin, whan oor worship is mair rael the day than ever. Ye ar the Ruler o hairsts. Ye rowe the saesons roond, an ilka faa brings the corn inti oor hauns. Ye see ben ti oor thankfu herts. Ye see hou blythe an satisfied we ar. We ar gled ti be here an awn Yersel as the Provider. While we'r liltin praise for the year's seckfus o fruit, lat us pray that we oorsels mey bring a rich hairst ti the Kingdom o Heeven. Lat us be halesome, fresh an soond--like the craps we'r keen for! Latna oor sowels wither in oor care for the girse ti growe. Mak us guid an honest, God-fearin an sober. AMEN.