Page images

the scorching rays of the sun, and, of course, withered away. This certainly was a beautiful figure by which to represent those who, to use the apostle's expression, were not "rooted and grounded" in the faith. Eph. iii. 17: Col. ii. 7.

3. There were those who heard the word, and who became unfruitful because the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choked it, and prevented its growth in their minds. When preached to them, it was represented by the seed sown among thorns, which the thorns sprung up and


4. There were those who heard the word, and understood it, in whose hearts it bore fruit, to some in a greater, to others in a less proportion. The word to them was like seed sown in good ground, which "brought forth fruit, some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.”

In drawing moral instruction from this parable, it should be remarked, that we here perceive the way in which the truth is received by different classes of men, and the reasons by which some men are induced to renounce and abandon the truth. All the seed that was sown, was represented as being good seed. That which was sown by the way side did not germinate, because it was caught away by the fowls; that which fell in stony places sprang up, and withered only for want of soil; that which fe among thorns, was good seed, and would have borne fruit, had it not been choked; while that which fell into good ground was no better seed, but it bore fruit, even to an hundred fold, on account of the soil into which it was received. The word of truth met with all these different kinds of reception; and it may be remarked, that the truth meets with the same reception now, as the

experience of every true preacher of the gospel will enable him to testify.

In the first place, there are at the present day, the 'way side' hearers-those who do not understand what they hear. No lasting impression can be made on such persons. If they profess to have received the truth, they never can defend it; they cannot give a reason of the hope that is in them; and they are continually liable to abandon the cause they may have espoused. The enemies of the truth will find them fit subjects for deceptiou, and they will artfully catch away from their hearts what little of truth they may have in remembrance, as the fowls caught away the seed from the way side.

There are those again who hear the word, and receive it with great joy and zeal at first; but they do not understand it; the root of the matter is not in them; and they endure only for a while. Opposition causes them to tremble. Not having the love of truth in their hearts, they know not how to suffer any thing in its defence; and "when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word," they are offended, and they abandon the cause which they at first embraced with so great joy. And here it should be remarked, that these people will never acknowledge the real reasons why they profess to renounce the truth; they will not say that it is on account of the opposition with which they meet, and that they are offended because tribulation and persecution ariseth. No, they will say they have ascertained that what they professed to believe, is a dangerous error, ruinous to the souls of men, and they will profess to have renounced it on that account. But Jesus makes manifest the real reason, why such renounce the truth-they have not sufficient magnanimity and courage, and

devotion to truth to endure tribulation and persecution.

In the third place, there are those who hear the word, but in whom the love of the world predominates. "The care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." Are there not many such at the present time-men who cannot defend the truth, because it interferes with their worldly interest, and their money making concerns? Such may at first receive the word, but their love of the world, and the power that riches have over them, choke it, and they abandon it. This is no disgrace to the truth itself, and never should weaken our confidence in it. Such men would be as likely to renounce the truth as any thing else, if it interfered with their mere worldly interests. Gain is the only god they worship, and any thing that deprives them of this they cannot endure.

Lastly, we find those in this age of the world, who hear the word, and understand it. The word in them is the seed sown in good ground. They understand it well, they know the evidences on which it is founded, they can see the fallacy of the objections brought against it, and they cannot be persuaded to give up the word. The opposers of the truth cannot uproot it from their hearts; they are willing to suffer shame, tribulation and persecution for the name of Christ; and as they love the truth above every thing else, so no worldly consideration can induce them to abandon it. It bears fruit in their hearts, "some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty." And it is worthy of remark here, that the fruit which the word brings forth is always like itself. "Men do not gather grapes of thorus, nor figs of thistles." A

doctrine of love, will bear the fruit of love; a doctrine of joy will bear the fruit of joy; a doctrine of peace, like Christianity, which is peace on earth, and good will to men, will bear the fruit of peace; and hence Paul saith, "the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace," &c. Gal. v. 22. In Peter the word bore the fruit of joy, even an hundred fold, for he saith, that believing he rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.' 1 Peter i. 8. Reader,, may it be your happy lot, to receive and understand the word of God; may you be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and inay you enjoy those rich consolations of the gospel of the blessed God' which the world can neither give nor take away.



Parable of the Tares of the Field.

MATT. XIII. 24-30.

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto 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 not thou 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 up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye toget first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

THE Saviour, as will be seen by a reference to vers. 37-43 of this chapter, has himself explained the parable now before us; and it will, therefore, be highly proper that we make use of his explanation in coming to a right understanding of it. But as divines and commentators have differed widely in understanding the explanation as well as the parable itself, it will be our endeavor to elucidate the terms employed by a comparison of them with other instances of their use, in other parts of the Bible.

1. He that sowed the good seed was the Son of man. To whom did Jesus here refer?

2. The field is the world (kosmos.) What world is meant?


3. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. Who are the children of the kingdom?'


« PreviousContinue »