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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

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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

mercy then

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-
Their splendor shall burst forth as from behind a cloudm-

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.

*Εκλάμψεσιν.

k Rev. xvi. 9, 11.
n Ver. 43,

[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-}

a name

01 John jii. 7, 8.
Gal. iv. 12. in the Greek.

P 2 Cor. y. 17:
r John iii. 3.

9 Eph. ii 3. and
SI Cor. iv.5.

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