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ruptions should appear, Men should not be offended, or entertain unfavourable Thoughts of Christianity on this Account. In the following Part of the Parable, it is intimated that this Mixture of good and bad Men, and of Corruptions with the Purity of Faith and Practice in the Christian Church, is permitted for wife Ends in this present State, and that no Methods of Compulsion and Violence must be used for extirpating those Corruptions. This is signified in Ver. 27, 28, 29. So the Servants of the HouJholder came and said unto him, Sir, didji 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, V/ilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lejl, while ye gather up the Tares, ye root up also the Wheat with them. Let both grow together until the Harvejt. Here we have a lively Representation of that hasty and forward Zeal, that, under Pretence of securing the Purity of the Church, would be for using harsh and violent Methods, for rooting out false Doctrines and Heresies; under which Pretence many ofChnsi's faithful Disciples have suffered grievous Persecutions; and the Wheat hath been rooted up with the Tares. What a comprehensive and foreseeing Mind P 4 doth doth our Lord here discover, that so clearly penetrated into the State of Things in the Church in future Ages; and at the fame Time what a wife and benevolent Instruction is that which he giveth concerning the exercising Forbearance for the Present; which, if duly attended to, would have prevented many and great Mischiefs in the Christian Church!
The last Part of this Parable carries our Views to the State and Time of future Retributions at Chri/l's second Coming, and the End of the World, when he shall effectually purge his Church and Kingdom from all Corruptions and Offences, and shall puj an open eternal Discrimination between the Righteous and the Wicked, and (hall raise the one to unspeakable Joy and Felicity, and cast down the other into a State of Misery and Torment: In the Time of Harvest, I will Jay unto the Reapers, gather ye together first the Tares, and bind them in.Bundles to burn them; but gather the Wheat mto my Barn. Ver. 30. Which is thus admirably explained by our Saviour himself from Ver. 39. to Ver. 44. The Harvest is th? End of the World, and the Reapers are the Angels. As therefore the Tares are gathered and burnt in the Fire; so stjall it be in the End of the World. The Son of Man shall send forth bis Angels, a^ul . 1 - they 'they flail gather out os his Kingdom all Things that offend, and them which do Iniquity j and Jhall call them into a Furnace of Fire: There jkall be Willing and Gnashing of Teeth, 'V hen Jhall the Righteous Jhine jorth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. What a noble and grand Representation is this? How fitted to strike Mens' Minds and make a deep Impression upon all that duly consider it! And, as this is a Matter of very great Importance, he repeateth the Substance of it again in another Parable, which is the seventh and last of the Parables recorded in this Chapter. Ver. 47, 48, 49, 50. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Net that was cajl into the Sea^ and gathered of every Ktnd; which, when it was Jull, they drew to Shore, and fat down, and gathered the Good into Vessels, but cajl the Bad away. So Jhall it be in the End of the World: The Angels Jhall come jorth, and fever the Wicked from among the JuJt, and ft^ all cajl them into the Furnace of Fire; there shall be Weeping and Gnajliing of Teeth.
The third and fourth of the Parables here mentioned relate to the extraordinary Progress of the Gospel from very small Beginnings. In the former of these Parables, the Kingdom of Heaven, or Gospel Dispensation, is likened to a Grain of Muf
tard~ tard-Seed, which a Man took and sowed in his Field, which is the least of all Seeds, but, when it is grown, is the greatest of Herbs, and becometh a Tree. Ver. 31, 32. In the latter it is compared to Leaven which a Woman took and hid in three Measures of Meal, till the Whole was leavened. Ver. 33. These Parables signify the marvellous Diffusion of Christianity, contrary to all Appearance; and which no Man could have foreseen by any merely human Prudence or Sagacity. As this was highly remarkable, and of great Importance to be carefully observed and considered, our Lord repeateth the fame Parables on another Occasion, Luke xiii. 18, 19, 20, 2t, that, when it was accomplished in the Event, it might be the more taken Notice os, as exhibiting an illustrious Proof of his Foreknowledge, and of the Divinity of the Gospel. In the fifth Parable here mentioned, the Kingdom of Heaven i s said to be like unto Treasure hid in a Field: The which, when a Man hath found, he hideth, and for Joy there of goeth and selle thall that he hath., and buyeth that Field. Ver. 44. The sixth Parable is to the fame Purpose j in which the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a MerchantMan seeking goodly Pearls: Who, when he had found one Pearl of great Price, went and fold all that he had, and bought it. Ver. 45, 46. In these Parables the transcended inestimable Worth and Excellency of the Gospel Benefits, and of that great Salvation which is offered to us through Jesus Christ, and which we have the Advantage of having clearly made known and exhibited in the Christian Church, is signified in a familiar and lively Manner; and that a due Sense of this should put us upon all proper Endeavours for obtaining an Interest in them. It is also signified, that these Gospel Benefits tend to produce a Divine Joy, far exceeding what is to be found in any earthly Possessions and Enjoyments; and that no Man can be in a right Disposition for receiving them, who doth not prefer them to all worldly Advantages, and who is not ready, on the Account of them, if called to it, to renounce those Things that are dearest to him on Earth. An Instruction this of the highest Importance, and which conveyeth to us this most excellent Lesson, that the Love of God and Religion must be the governing predominant Principle in the Soul, to which the Love of the World and every corrupt Lust and fleslily Interest must give Place; and that this is absolutely necessary to our approving ourselves faithful Chrjiians, and to our being intitlcd to the Gospel Benefits.