I. Grass, as to its author, its variety, and its growth, is an emblem of divine grace.
1. Strange as it may sound, it is strictly true, the God of the grass is “the God of all grace.” He, who created the one, imparts the other. Both are utterly beyond the power of man to produce. Were all the philosophers and all the agriculturists in the world to meet together, they could not of themselves make one blade of grass. Neither could all the angels in heaven, or all the divines upon earth, bestow one particle of grace to a sinful soul. All is of God. He is jealous of his power, even with re spect to the prodction of grass. Though men, under the name of science, talk arrogantly, or, through forgetfulness, speak flippantly, yet does God constantly assert his sovereignty with respect to the gift of grass. The creation of it is, in the chapter before us, as solemnly annouced as the creation of light, or the
formation of the sun and the moon, or of any of the grandest objects in our universe. In Deuteronomy 11:15, Jehovah says, “I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle.” In Psalm 104:14, David says, “He causeth the grass to grow for cattle.” The like in Psalm 147:8, “Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.” And our Lord, in his sermon on a mountain, reminded his hearers that it was God who clothed the grass. Equally, too, is God the sole author of all grace. It requires the same power to produce a blade of grass as to create a soul and save it. This is what the Bible everywhere asserts, and what every saint feels. “Thou renewest the face of the earth,” says David: and who but the same God can renew the heart of sinful man? “By the grace of God I am what I am,” is the grateful and adoring acknowledgement of every saved sinner. Let thoughtless ones also be reminded that, as grace is covenant grace, so also is grass covenant grass. The very verdure of our meadows can come round to us, in coming months, only by virtue of that covenant which God made with Noah. “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22.) With what double, yea more than double interest then, does the spiritual naturalist look upon the pleasant green of the springing grass, beyond anything that the mere natural naturalist can possibly feel!
2. As to the value of grass, who can estimate that? Were God to destroy it, all the world over, what an upturn and overthrow would it make in all the essential departments of animal life. What then the earth would be without grass, the church must be without grace. Where grass has been withheld, there a desert has been formed; and where grace has been stopped, there a moral wilderness has followed. What is a heathen land but a graceless country? It is a desert in which grows no grass. Ah, and what are graceless hearts but dreary wastes of sin and evil imagination? Grace is everything to us, much as we may slight it, and little as we may seek it. Grass is provendar, and grace is our very life. If the cattle perish without grass, so do we die the second death, if destitute of saving grace.
3. Though grass is so common, and we speak of it as one and the same thing, yet are its varieties both numerous and wonderful. Botanists tell us of not merely scores of species, but hundreds of varieties; and yet countless as are the blades of all those varieties, not two are alike.
After the same manner, the grace of God is very diversified, both in itself and in its effects upon different persons.
When too all the sons and daughters of God shall be assembled in the last great day, and they shall be spread out like a beauteous field of grass which the Lord hath blessed and scented, not one will be found exactly like another. All indeed will resemble Christ, and be one with him, but each will bear a distinct and separate likeness: so wonderful will the wisdom and the power of our God be in the article of variety alone!
4. The growth of grass, like the growth of grace, is not only remarkable but, mysterious.* We often speak of seeing the grass grow. The process of its growth certainly is at times rapid; still no human sight can perceive its actual gradations.
Far more mysteriously does divine grace advance its growthin the human heart. “It groweth up,” as our Lord said of the sower sowing grain, “he knoweth now how.” This however we all know, that Christians are to “grow in grace;” that their growth in it will be perceptible, if not always to themselves, yet often to others; and that some things hinder, and other things forward its growth.
Think for a moment of this last named fact! The frost and the chilling wind check the growth of grass, while a rainless and scorching sky soon parch it up. On the other hand copious dews, warm rains, and genial suns promote its growth abundantly.
And does not sin and evil passion of every kind, from rampant lust to sordid covetousness, check, even to annihilation, the growth of grace in the soul? Will not even pride and prejudice do much the same? And, as to pleasure and prosperity, who has not beheld the seemingly fair and verdant professor gradually drained of all spiritual moisture by them, so as to be-
come like scorched grass, useless for all the purposes for which it was destined? If, dear brethren, we would grow as the grass, which rejoiceth the cattle and repayeth the husbandman, we must both pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our souls, and cherish it carefully, when it has been vouchsafed to us.
*Grass is remarkable as being a sort of universal vegetable. The earth everywhere produces it. It grows, more or less, in every clime and during every season. In like manner divine grace is subject to no restrictions of time or place. The Holy Spirit dispenses it “to every man severally as he will.” Hence the heathen wilderness and the christian city are alike capable of receiving its implantation and witnessing its growth. “There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon; and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.”–Psalm 72:16.