Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | July 5, 2009


“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass.”  GENESIS 1:11

THE reading of the first chapter of Genesis, on the present Sunday, can hardly fail to arrest the attention of a churchman.  It tells him that another year is gone, and that another season of the church is again come round.  It reminds him too, that the minister of his Church has turned back the leaves of the great Bible, and has begun it again, with the reading of its very first page.  And then the solemn recital of the origin of our world, which no other book can tell us, is itself an interesting circumstance.  What is more, it is impossible for a really thoughtful mind to hear that chapter annually read, without finding some new topic start up for contemplation.
   But who, on hearing of the wonders of the creation-week, gives a thought about the production of so simple and so common a thing as grass?  And who thinks of making a sermon upon it? Many a whispering heart is ready to reply, the grass we tread on is so common a thing, that nothing need be said about it; or, if anything is said about it, it can amount to no more than what
every child knows, and every rustic well understands.
   But how unwise are such whisperings, and how prone are we to forget that the commonest things are often the most important, and the most instructive!  Were an angel to come down from heaven, and call around him a class of the cleverest natural philosophers in the world, how would they be astonished at the thousand things which he could tell them about a single blade of grass!  And, if he were to summon a conclave of the most learned theologians, and proceed to preach about that blade, what babes in divinity would they all appear!
   Dear brethren, the mysteries of grace, and the practical truths which are represented by the grass which God made, are worthyof an angel’s teaching, and absolutely necesary for our learning. It is only our ignorance, or our iniquity, which makes us insensible to the instruction which God has attached to the commonest things around us.  Our blessed Lord often took the text of his parables, or discourses, from those very things:  he consequently preached about sparrows, ravens, lilies, grass.  Let none dispise what such things, by the aid of the Bible, teach us.  May the great Teacher help us, at this pesent, to understand and receive his own lessons upon grass.  “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass.”

Note:  This was preached in the parish Church of St. Nicholas, Worcester by the Rev. William Henry Havergal, A.M., Rector of St. Nicholas’s and Honorary Canon, Worcester on Sunday Morning, February 18, 1851.  This is the Introduction to the sermon, the following four parts to be posted sequencially.   (William Henry was the father of  F.R.H.) 

William Henry Havergal from Sermons, Chiefly on Historical Subjects from the Old and New Testaments:  Volume I

Frances Ridley Havergal from Memorials, Letters and Biographical Works


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