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or not to understand them. Deliver us from all prejudices against the truth, and make us sincere and diligent inquirers into it, with dependance upon thy grace. Give us ears to hear, and hearts to understand. How happy were thy first disciples, who had access to see thee work the works of thy Father, and to hear the truth from thy mouth, and to propose their doubts to thee! Many prophets and righteous men desired to see and hear the things which thy disciples saw and heard, but could not. Blessed be thy name, though we have not seen thee in the flesh; thou canst now open our understandings to understand the scripture. Do it, Lord, by thy blessed Spirit, and make thy words food and medicine to our souls; may we derive from them that light, that conviction, direction, comfort, edification, which they were intended to convey.

tion ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the

18. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which re-word, and he becometh unceived seed by the way side. fruitful. 23. But he that re20. But he that received the ceived seed into the good ground seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also anon with joy receiveth it: 21. beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, Yet hath he not root in him- some an hundred-fold, some self, but dureth for a while; sixty, some thirty. for when tribulation or persecu

[See the Reflections on this part of the parable, in the exposition of v. 1-9. p. 62.]

SECT.. XLIV.

The Parable of the Tares.

24. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good

seed in his field: 25. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

them up? 29. But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30. Let both grow together until the harvest and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the

26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27. 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? 28. He said unto them, Antares, and bind them in bundles enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather

to burn them but gather the wheat into my barn..

[See the Reflections on v. 36—43, (Sect. XLVI.) p. 65.]

SECT. XLV.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven.

31. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: 32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33. 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. 34. All these
things spake Jesus unto the
multitude in parables; and with-
out a parable spake he not unto
them:
them: 35. That it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by
the prophet, saying, I will open
my mouth in parables; I will
utter things which have been
kept secret from the founda-
tion of the world.

Here we learn that thy kingdom of grace is of a growing and spreading nature; and, from small beginnings, rises to a great height. Oh may the gracious principle grow in our hearts; may our faith and love grow exceedingly, so as to give undoubted evidence of their reality; and may the example of thy saints be blessed to those among whom they live: may thy grace flow from heart to heart, till a little one become a thousand.

SECT. XLVI.

The Parable of the Tares explained.

36. Then Jesus sent the mul- | house: and his disciples came situde away, and went into the unto him, saying, Declare unte

us the parable of the tares of the field. 37. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man: 38. The field is the world: the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one: 39. The enemy that sowed them is the devil: the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40. As therefore the tares are gathered and

burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

In the explication of this parable thou hast plainly said, that the children of the wicked one (who is a liar, and a murderer, and unclean, quite opposite to thy light, and love, and holiness) shall at the end of the world be all gathered out of thy kingdom, in which they are now mixed with the righteous, and shall be cast into a furnace of fire, where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Thou hast used the very same words in explaining the parable of the net: " They shall be cast into a "furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of "teeth." Such, therefore, will certainly be the dreadful end of all those scandalous persons, who by their principles or example lead others to sin, and of all workers of iniquity. Lord, save us from being in the number. They shall be cast into a furnace of fire! Surely wicked men do not believe this, when they run on in sin. Lord Jesus, give us a continual and lively impression of it, which all that we see in this life may not be able to weaken. Give us also a lively view of the blessedness of the righteous, who shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. What glory in such a kingdom! what safety and happiness with such a Father!

SECT. XLVII.

Parables of the hidden Treasure, and of the Pearl.

44. Again: The kingdom of | in a field; the which when a heaven is like unto treasure hidman hath found, he hideth, and

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for joy thereof goeth and selleth | pearls: 46. Who when he had all that he hath, and buyeth that found one pearl of great price, field. 45. Again: The king-went and sold all that he had, dom of heaven is like unto a and bought it.

merchant-man seeking goodly

Lord, thou art that hidden treasure, and that rich pearl, which enricheth our souls and makes them happy. We long sought happiness elsewhere in vain. Glory to thee for convincing us of the vanity of the world, and of our own misery by sin, and our own emptiness, and discovering thyself to us. Thou art our chief good : most gladly do we give up all for thee: Lord, help us to do it sincerely and fully.

SECT. XLVIII.

Parable of the Net.

47. Again: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49.

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just. 50. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

This is the third parable after that of the sower and of the tares, which refers to a mixture of good and bad in thy church. Lord, what will it profit us to be Christians in name, if we be not so in reality? We beseech thee, make our hearts good by thy Spirit. When the trial is made at last, may we be found among those who shall not be rejected: O grant this for thy name's sake.

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51. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. 52. Then said he unto them, Therefore every, scribe

which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

May the ministers of thy word be helped to imitate thee in their manner of teaching; winning the attention of their hearers to the truth, by setting it in an agreeable

variety of lights, and bringing forth things new and old. May we understand it, and love it in all views; and do thou make it to produce its blessed fruits in our hearts and lives.

SECT. XLIX.

Jesus teaches in the Synagogue.

53. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55. Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his bre

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thren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57. And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58. And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

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Lord, how unhappy were those of thy own country and thy own house, who were offended at the meanness of thy external appearance! Their sin brought its own punishment along with it; their unbelief prevented thy doing many mighty works among them. Almighty Saviour, let it not be so with us: we believe thou art the ever-blessed God, though in the form of a servant; and that thou canst, if thou wilt, perform the greatest and mightiest works in our souls. Lord, help our unbelief; we are persuaded thou canst make these dark, unholy, and melancholy souls of ours, to be full of light, and purity, and joy. O do it then, Lord, to the glory of thy power and grace.

SECT. L.

AT

Herod's Opinion of Christ. John the Baptist beheaded.

CHAP. XIV.

and therefore mighty works do T that time Herod the te- shew forth themselves in him. trarch heard of the fame of 3. For Herod had laid hold on Jesus; 2. And said unto his John, and bound him, and put servants, This is John the Bap-him in prison for Herodias' tist: he is risen from the dead; sake, his brother Philip's wife.

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