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deaf ear to the preaching of the Prophet Isaiah, aš the HOLY SPIRIT forewarned him they would do. God is said, in both cases, to have made their ears dull, and to have closed their eyes; for, knowing that they certainly would see and not perceive, and hear and not understand, through their ozun obstinacy and prejudice, God did not vouchsafe them the same light as he afforded to those who received his word with humility. Considering the disposition of the Pharisees, it would not have been pru. dent for our Lord to have spoken inore plainly before a mixed multitude.
From * the parable of the sower we may comprehend the method of God's proceedings, in respect to bestow. ing or withdrawing his Grace ; it likewise shews that, in order to obtain salvation, our oton will must co-operate with divine goodness. God illumines our understand ings à secret influence, suggests, and excites us to
is tight"; in consequence of this ability and assist. ancé, züe determine and act.
He instructs us, vités out obedience by the natural light of our own minds, by the express revelation of his will, and by thie secret whišpets and suggestions of the Holy Spirit; but the success of all these methods will turn upon our complying with or rejecting them. We may attend or not to the admonitions of our owri minds; we may ob. serve or neglect his revealed instructions ; we may zield to or oppose the impulses of his Holy Spirit. If we repay God's favour with ingrátitude, and continue un. profitable under the means of gracé, he may be próvoked to resume his slighted gifts, and withhold the grace which we receive in vain: in which case, the sinner is exposed defenceless to the assaults of temptation, and cut off from all communication with God. On the
* See Sermons by the late Rey, George Carr, Vol. II.
other hand, if we bend our mirds to a compliance with the will of our heavenly FATHER, and are obedient to his directions and guidance, his powerful, though unseen grace, will conduct us from virtue to virtue, and will n.ver be wanting to us, if we are not wanting to our. selves. Let us then open our hearts to the secret influence of his Holy Spirit, as a thirsty land drinks ia the rain as it silently descends, and then we shall be nei. ther barren nor unfruitful. Temporal good things God promiscuously bestows on the just and on the unjust, often on the evil and unthankful, who neither solicit nor acknowledge his favours; but his GRACE he accounts a pearl of higher price than to be thrown to the negligent and undeserving : He freely gives it to them that ask it; to them that piously implore and justly prize the hea. venly gift.---Let us avail ourselves of the light which has been afforded us by Divine revelation, that through God's grace we may know all things necessary for our salvation, lest we provoke divine justice to leave us to wander in the dark labyrinth of doubt and perplexity, which is our LORD's meaning in his declaration, that from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he bath,
As our Lord's Apostles had not, at the time he deli. vered this discourse, received the Holy GHOST, they could not understand the parables without explanation ; but he instructed them in the mysteries, or the spiritual sense of this parable, because they were disposed to un. derstand them, and were to instruct others; but to the multitude he made use of similitudes, for the reasons: above given.
SECTION XLV. i
THE PARABLE OF THE TARES, &c.
From Matthew, Chap. xiii. ANOTHER parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened onto a man which sowed good seed in his field :
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares ?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay ; lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root op also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather
ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundtes to burn them: but gather the wheat into
bam. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;
Which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree : so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof,
Another parable spake he unto them, The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in patables, and without a parable spake he not unto them.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables : I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house; and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
He answered and said unto thein, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man.
The field is the world : the good seed are the chil. dren of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one :: The enemy
that sowed them is the devil: the harvest is the end of the world : and the reapers are the angels,
As therefore the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world.
The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, - and them which do iniquity :
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto' treasure hid in a field : the which, when a man hath found, he 'hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant. man, seeking goodly pearls ;
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that: was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind;
Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels; but cast the
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the
And shall cast them into the furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gaashing of teeth.
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
Then said he unto them. Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure thing's new and old.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The fields, which lay near the sea.shore, seem to have furnished our LORD with allusions in the parables of the tares, the treasure hid in the field, and the grain of muse" tard seed; the sea itself naturally suggested those of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls, and of the net which gathereth of every kind. There was something pecu. liarly pleasing in this method of instruction, which was adapted to all capacities, and more likely to be retained than deep reasoning and learned discourse.
By our SAVIOUR's explanation of the parable of the taresye we are taught, that the Gospel, represented by the good secd, is calculated to produce righteousness in all minds; but its efficacy is frequently obstructed by the suggestions of the devil, who takes advantage of men's