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corruptions gathered strength; your difficulties increased; your comforts vanished?---)
God has inseparably connected prosperity with diligence, and with remissness want] APPLICATION
[If the true light now shine around you, be thankful for it, and walk in the light, lest the candlestick be removed, 4 and ye be left in utter darkness—And “ let all make their light to shine before men;" that, being “ as lights in the world,” they may “ win by their holy conversation” those, who have resisted the light of the written word, and shut their ears against the preached gospels)
p Prov. x. iv. Matt. xxv. 28, 29.
a Rev. ii. 5. r John xii. 35.
s 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2. Phil. ii. 15, 16.
CCXXXIV. THE TARES.
Matt. xiii. 36. His disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
THERE is much in the holy scriptures which unenlightened reason cannot comprehend
Hence the proud and self-sufficient continue ignorant of many truths.
But they, who seek divine teaching have more enlarged views
God can "reveal to babes what he hides from the wise and prudent?—
Nor will he leave any in darkness who pray for his Spirit
The apostles set us an example worthy of our imi. tation
Our Lord delivered many parables which none clearly understood
But while the Scribes and Pharisees stumbled at them, the more teachable apostles entreated their Lord to explain their import
Both the parable of the tares and the explanation of it are contained in this chapter
* Ver. 24-30, and 37443,
To elucidate it more fully, we observe, that the members of Christ's visible church resemble wheat and tares growing together I. In their present growth
The church, like a field in which different grains are sown, contains persons of very different characters
[Jesus sows much “ good seed” in this wretched worldWhatever use he makes of his ministers, the glory is his alone
But “Satan" is indefatigable in “gowing bad seed” in the church
He takes advantage of the sloth and carelessness of Christ's Servants
And raises up hypocrites wherever Christ raises his elect-]
These grow together to the grief of all who are truly upright
(Faithful ministers carry their complaints to their Lord and master
And from zeal for his honour would pluck up the tares
But God will not suffer them to make this arduous at. tempt
No man whatever is capable of distinguishing all characters
Many, who have specious appearances, would be left by us as wheat
While many, who are inwardly sincere, would be plucked up as tares
From regard to these God commands us to forbear.
He suffers us indeed, and commands us, to exclude the notoriously profligate
But he reserves to himself the office of judging the hearts of men
Till the harvest day therefore we must expect this mixtureNor will it, in the issue, prove injurious to the saints
They are now stirred up the more to watchfulness and prayer
And hypocrites themselves have the offers of grace and mercy continued to them
The reproach occasioned by this will all be wiped away II. In their future separation
bo Ver. 25.
c Ver. 27.
d Ver. 29. and Matt. xviii. 14. g Ver. 30.
The day of judgment is as the harvest
[The angels are represented by our Lord as his angels And these he will use as his reaperse
He will endue them with wisdom to discern the characters of all
And will guide them infallibly in the execution of his will—]
Then the different characters shall be separated from each other
[The “ tares” are they who “ offend,” that is, by a false profession cause others to stumble at the ways of God
And they, who making no profession, “ commit iniquity” without restraint
All these shall be gathered first and “ bound up in bundles”
Thus will they, who have been partners in sin, be made partners in misery
Alas! what groups of profane persons, formalists, and hypocrites will then be bound together!
May “our souls never be gathered with these;" but be “ bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord our God!"h
The “ wheat” are “ the righteous," who are renewed in the spirit of their minds
They too shall be gathered in order to receive their por tion-]
What a wonderful, but awful separation will there then be!
[Among the tares, not so much as one grain of wheat will be found
Nor among the righteous will there be left one ungodly person
The ungodly husband shall be torn from the arms of his compassionate wife
And the profane child from the bosom of his religious parent
God will shew no respect to one rather than another
The wicked, stript of their veils, will be consigned over to punishment
And the righteous, freed from mutual jealousies, shall unite in perfect harmony-]
The awfulness of this separation will be more fully seen III. In their eternal destiny
e Ver. 39.
? Ver. 41. h Ps. xxvi. 9. 1 Sam. xxy. 29.
The wicked will “ first” receive the doom for which they are reserved
[They will be cast, like worthless tares, into the furnace
Nor, however God pities them now, will he shew them any
Not that the fire shall consume them utterly as it would tares,
To prevent this mistake, the metaphor is intentionally changed
They will “ wail” for the mercies they have despised and the opportunities they have lost They will “ gnash their teeth” with anguish and vexation
of spirit-against themselves (like a ruined gamester) for their
folly-against each other, for having enticed each other
to sin -against God, with impotent malice, for so punishing
their transgressions And this doom will be inflicted “ first” in the very sight of the godly
Thus will the godly see how great mercy they have received-]
The righteous will then receive the kingdom prepared for them
[They, as wheat, shall be treasured up in the granary of heaven
Not that they shall continue there in a state of inac. tivity
To correct this idea the metaphor here is also changed
God himself will not be ashamed to be called their Father"
They shall shine forth in his kingdom like the sun-
They delighted to enjoy God; they shall now see him face to facem
They longed to glorify God; they shall now have every faculty employed in his service for evermore-]
The most suitable IMPROVEMENT is suggested by our Lord himself"
1. Let the profane “hear”
i Ver. 30.
i Ver. 42.
k Rev. xvi. 9, 11.
[You can be at no loss to determine whether ye
be tares or wheat
Your conduct will decide that point beyond a doubtoAnd are you willing to be daily ripening for the furnace?
Know that, as ye are at death, ye will continue to all eternity
But ye may now be changed from tares to wheat
Though this change cannot take place in nature, it can in the kingdom of grace
Entreat the Lord then that ye may become new creatures
All that are now in the granary of heaven were once as ye are
And ye, if ye will seek the Lord, shall become as they are ] 2. Let self-deceivers hear
[It is in vain to think yourselves the Lord's people when ye are not
Enquire whether ye have been truly born again? "
See whether ye differ from the world, and from your former selves, as much as wheat differs from tares
Be not satisfied with “ a form of godliness,” and “ to'live”
The day of final separation is near at hand
Let every day therefore be spent in earnest preparation for it-] 3. Let the upright also hear
[The unavoidable mixture in the church is doubtless a burthen to you And, if
you be not careful, it may also become a snare But without judging others, strive to approve yourselves to Gods
Speedily will the period of your happiness arrive
Look forward then to death, with composure and gratitude
Regard it as the waggons sent to convey you home
And, till it arrive, be praying for the influences of the sun and rain
So shall you be gathered in due season as a shock that is ripe
And be transported with joy to your eternal rest-}
01 John jii. 7, 8.
P 2 Cor. y. 17:
9 Eph. ii 3. and