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dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish : I the Lord have spoken and have done it." xvii. 22-24. It was common among the Jews to represent any thing which flourished greatly, under the figure of a tree. Nebuchadnezzar's vast kingdom was shown to him, in a vision, under the like figure; and the Psalmist said of the righteous man, that "he should be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." i. 3. Jer. xvii. 8. The rest and peace which men would enjoy under the influence of the gospel, is shewn by the “birds of the air lodging in the branches ;" or, to use the more comprehensive expression of Ezekiel, "under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing, in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell."

Parable of the Leaven.


"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."-Matt. xiii. 33.

THE object of this parable is precisely that of the one last noticed-to shew, as Kenrick observes, that although the religion of Christ was small and insignificant in the beginning, it would be diffused throughout the world. "The gospel hath such a secret invisible influence, on the hearts of men, to change and affect them, and all the actions that flow from them, that it is fitly resembled to leaven,

so mixt thoroughly with the whole, that although it appeareth not in any part of it visibly, yet every part, hath a tincture from it.”1

We are enabled, by the help of this parable, to illustrate a truth, to which we have already refered, viz. that it is the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ to conform every thing to itself. As leaven operates on meal, and assimilates it to its own nature, so the gospel operates on the hearts of men, and transforms them into a moral likeness to itself. It is for this reason, that it is important, above all things, to preach the truth, in its purity, to mankind. The doctrine of divine love will make men lovely-the doctrine of divine mercy will make them merciful-the doctrine of divine grace will make them gracious-the doctrine of divine benevolence will make them beneficent-the doctrine of divine kindness to sinners will make them kind to sinners-the doctrine of divine impartiality will make them impartial. Contrary doctrines must and will have contrary effects. The doctrine of vengeance will make them revengeful-the doctrine of cruelty will make them cruel-the doctrine of hatred will fill them with its spirit, and the doctrine of partiality will make them partial. Wherever these doctrines have any effect, they have such an effect, as every one must know who has examined their influences upon the world. What doctrine have all the persecutors believed that ever lived in the world? What doctrine has the holy catholic church believed-she who has been drunk with the blood of saints, and to whom the groans of burning martyrs have been the most delightful music? The history of that church is a history of usurped power, of blood, and fire and oppression.

1 Hammond, in Paraphrase and Annotations.

Had her priests believed in the doctrine of divine love for all mankind, is it not reasonable to suppose that the influence of that doctrine on their hearts, like the operation of leaven on meal, would have softened and subdued their angry passions, and awakened the spirit of compassion and love? The persecutions of Protestants, one against another, have been generated by the influence of the same unwholesome doctrines. When Servetus was burned at Geneva, it was not the doctrine of "peace on earth, and good will to men," that actuated Calvin, and the rest of his murderers. When Christianity pervades the whole earth, men will learn, like their master, to "have compassion on the ignorant, and those who are out of the way"-they will not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."


Another fact confirmed by the parable under consideration, is this, that all mankind shall at last know God, and feel the power of his truth. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." The reason why three measures of meal are mentioned, is that this was the quantity of meal used at a time for making bread." The apostle says, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." 1 Cor. v. 6. Gal. v. 9. Did not Jesus, in the parable, mean to intimate, that the triumphs of his gospel shall be universal? The same great and glorious truth is taught in several passages of scripture. "All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." Psalms xxii. 27. "All nations whom thou 1 Kenrick's Exposition.

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hast made shall come and worship before thee, 0 Lord, and shall glorify thy name." lxxxvi. 9. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John xii. 32. "In thee shall all nations be blessed." Gal. iii. 8. "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him." Eph. i. 10. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. ii. 10, 11. The passages to this point are too numerous to be all quoted in this place.

Parable of the Treasure.



"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."


By the kingdom of heaven, in this passage, we are to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had previously likened to a grain of mustard seed,' and to leaven.' This kingdom was represented by a treasure hidden in a field, which, when a man had found, he concealed, or did not make it known that he had found it, and for joy went and sold all he had, and bought that field.

The object of this parable appears to have been, to set forth the great value of the gospel, and the

wisdom of parting with all earthly treasures for the sake of obtaining it. The man who purchased the field, is represented as surrendering all he had to obtain it; by which Jesus impressed on his disciples the important fact, that the love of glory, of riches and of pleasure, must be renounced, when brought in competition with the religion he bestowed upon the world. The character which our Lord here draws for the imitation of his followers, is put by way of opposition to that of the man mentioned in ver. 22, in whom the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choked the word, and he became unfruitful.'

When Jesus wàs on earth, the greatest personal sacrifices were necessary in those who would be faithful to him. Such was the opposition he had to meet, and such the bitterness of his enemies, that any man who should profess his name, might reasonably expect to be called on to give up all that the world would call dear. Of this he fairly gave mankind warning. He did not entice them to become his disciples through the hope of earthly gain, and aggrandizement, but forewarned them that they must forsake all, and follow him. In doing this they would not really be losers-they would exchange the paltry toys of earth, for heavenly and substantial good. The gospel is the = greatest of all riches. It is the riches of God's grace, Eph. i. 7, the exceeding riches of his grace,' ii. 7, the unsearchable riches of Christ,' iii. 8, and hence the reproach of Christ is said to be greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. Heb. xi. In him, it is said, 'are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' Col. ii. 3. These were the treasures of the kingdom of heaven; and when people obtained these, they were said to lay up



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