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if he might gain three times that amount, so must he that has set his heart upon heaven be willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord ; that he who has brought forth thirty fold, may, by the aid of divine grace, be fitted, the next year, to bring forth a hundred-fold, to the praise and glory of that grace. And in doing this we must be in such a state of mind, as will make us feel that our poverty may be turned into a blessing - our riches be turned into a blessing. Will he, who desires to bring forth a hundred-fold — will he close the hand that holds the purse that God has given to him, for the glory of God, and refuse to supply the need that God, in his providence, casts in his way? Will he who desires to be an hundred-fold producer of fruits will he shrink from the care of that poverty that will make him have a deeper trust, and a love in that Saviour, who, though poor, and not having where to lay his head, brought to this world the unsearchable riches of eternity ? Will not he who desires to bring forth an hundred-fold, with a whole heart and mind, take all his associations in life and so weigh them in the balance of the sanctuary - and so brighten them with the light of heaven's truth, as that they will all be made stepping stones to bring him higher towards heaven, and nearer towards Christ? What will be the feeling of such a man iu all the opportunities that are given to him? If we were all desirous of being the producers of fruit an hundred-fold, would it be that so small a portion of us would be found at the holy Communion every Sabbath morning? Would it be a few of us that would be found labouring for the wants of Christ's Church, whether in the neglected family-in the deserted streets—in the houses of sin and infamy? Would there not be those that would find time— who would be ingenious in finding time for the good of others, for the culture of their own hearts, and for the bringing forth the fruit of patience to the praise and glory of God.
Brethren, let us pray that we may profitably hear the parable of the Sower
• He that that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
THE WHEAT AND THE TARES.
Matt. xiii. v. 24, 25.-" Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field ; but while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”
The great expectation of the Jews in our blessed Saviour's time was Messiah's kingdom; they called it indifferently, “the kingdom of God," or “the kingdom of heaven;" each phrase was an abbreviation of that longer expression which we find in the second chapter of the Prophet Daniel, where Daniel is explaining the vision or dream that was given to Nebuchadnezzar by God. Daniel declares, in the 44th verse, And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." They called it, therefore, “the king dom of the God of heaven," or "the kingdom of heaven,” or “ the kingdom of God.”
Matthew's gospel was the one specially written for the Jews, and it is striking that it is the only gospel that uses this phrase, “ the kingdom of heaven.” From the parallel passages of the other gospels, where we find
“the kingdom of God” used, we learn that the two phrases mean precisely the same thing—that very kingdom spoken of by the prophets —the very kingdom that was to have been set up by God upon
earth. The second condition of that kingdom (which is in this chapter described as a mountain-its first condition being a stone) — we find described in the 7th chapter of the Prophet Daniel and the ļ3th and 14th verses, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him ; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed.” In reading the gospels, we must bear in mind these two conditions of the same kingdom, or we shall often be perplexed. The location is on earth under both circumstances; the condition, in the one case, is of struggle and war- in the second, of victory, quiet, and glory. The time of the one is our present condition --- the time of the other is when our blessed Saviour shall come in his glory. Now, this parable before us includes both these times. As far as concerns the time of the parable, it is our present history down to our Saviour's coming, and then the subsequent history onwards, when “the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
The more we examine our blessed Saviour's parables, the more we shall find that each one is not intended to be a full description of that kingdom; for the word parable means a comparison -some one striking thought or principle connected with the kingdom of heaven.
On last Sunday we examined the parable of the Sower, what our Saviour intended to teach us respecting the state of the heart of each individual hearer of God's truth. In this parable our Saviour gives us two classes of persons contained within the kingdom of heaventhe one the children of the kingdom, the other the chil. dren of the wicked one; and, in passing, I may just observe how important it is to bear in mind Scripture's own explanation of its phrases. In this parable the children of the kingdom means only those who are renewed in heart and mind; and yet, the same phrase, the children of the kingdom, we find in the 8th chapter of St. Matthew, applied to those who have gained admission into that kingdom in membership, but had no preparation in heart for the same. In the 11th and 12th verses of the 8th chapter of St. Matthew, we read, “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is one important illustration to us of the two-fold application of words--their higher and holier application to things as they really are — their outward and more formal application to things as they appear to be.
But to return to the exposition of this parable. Our blessed Saviour is here setting before us especially this thought, that the kingdom of heaven contains two classes of persons — the one the children of God, the other the children of the enemy of God. The place where they are found, though designated the kingdom of heaven, is declared by our Saviour himself to be the world, (in the 38th verse, “the field is the world,") spread