ELEVENTH MEDITATION. GROWTH IN GRACE

So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed
into the ground;

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed
should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the
blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he
putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. — St.
Mark, iv. 26—29.

The seed sown into the soil is not yet the
harvest. Many influences that we know,
and others that we know not, may hinder
its growth in the best soil. Not all the
blossoms on the tree come to ripe fruit;
and there are abortive growths on the best
tree. This is a mystery in nature even as
in grace; and yet we know that grain can
grow to maturity only when planted in the
soil, and that fruit can grow and ripen only
on the tree. In like manner, by the neglect
of your parents, by the neglect of the Church,
or by your own neglect, you may fall short
of eternal life, and become a fruitless branch
even in the vine, and at last be cut off, cast
forth, and destroyed!

Though this be so, yet what a blessed
thing it is to be in covenant by baptism, and
thus to be planted in the soil of the Church!
In this position we can say to you: “Be-
lieve on the warrant of your baptism. You
are grafted into Christ; claim your position.
You have the spirit, you are a child of God;
do not live as if you belonged to the devil.”
You are planted into Christ; grow in Him.
You have risen with Him; live with Him.
You are in the bosom of the Church, the
nursing “mother of us all;” break not
away from her to feed on the beggarly ele-
ments of the world. You are in your Fa-
ther’s house, and share in His love; go not
away, like the prodigal, to feed on husks in
the far country of the world. You are
among the children; seek not the bosom of
strangers.

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