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far and wide through this earth, east and west, and north and south, all is God's kingdom — all is Christ's kingdom-“the field is the world."
Another important matter is to settle what is the seed spoken of here.—A man sowed good seed in his field. Now, our Saviour declares the seed to be men; the good seed are the children of the kingdom: and he declares the tares to be men— the tares are the children of the wicked one. Yet when we come to examine this explanation, we must remember that all men are by nature the children of Adam, and, therefore, it must be men in their character, rather than men in their indi. vidual persons, which brings us to the thought—how was it that they became the children of God? or how was it that they became thus the children of the wicked one? St. James explains to us how it was that they became the children of God—“Of His own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” It was men, therefore, with the seed of divine truth, not the mere letter only, but with the living power of divine truth, renewing their hearts — it was men with hearts renewed by the living word of God in their hearts and consciences that formed the good seed spoken of here. And in the same way it was men with the power of evil sown in their hearts, that evil power penetrating through their whole being and making them wicked beings— these were the children of the wicked one, the devil sowing the principle of evil in their hearts, and making them the children of the devil, as we find in the gospel by St. John, where our Saviour was speaking of those who were the children of the wicked one; he says, in the 8th chapter of St. John and the 44th verse, “Ye are of your father the
devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” Here, therefore, our Saviour marks those who are the children of the devil by those who have the same disposition in their hearts, the same purposes in their minds, and the same self seeking and worshipping that the devil has ; they who have the lusts of the devil, or the desires of the devil — they are the children of the devil. It is, indeed, an awful truth that is thus presented to our minds-men, children of the same earthly father-men, living in the same world of God-men, redeemed by the same blood of Christ, and yet, one class the children of God, and the other class the children of the wicked
He who sowed the good seed is here declared to be Son of man. He may use instruments, and does use instruments in the sowing of his heavenly seed, but every good gift and every perfect gift is from above-it cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. The hand that reaches it to us, or the tongue that speaks it to us, may be the hand or the tongue of our fellow-man, but the hand that sends it down from heaven, and the tongue that speaks it from heaven, is the hand and the tongue of the Son of man in heaven. He that sowed the good seed is the Son of man. And, as we can see Jesus Christ, in glory, from heaven sending down the power of divine truth, though not visible to the natural eye of any man, so he that sowed the evil seed is the devil. The lips that speak bad principles, the hand that brings to us bad things, may appear to be the hand or the lips of our fellow-man; but there is another being sending that agent of evil-the devil - the wicked one, whose very name, devil, means the accuser, the one who can first corrupt, and then accuse of corruption, the sons of
Let us picture to ourselves, brethren, the view here given us of the field, the great field of God's providence
The field is the world.” Let us look at every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, not as they appear divided into their political parties, not as they appear in their various forms of religion, but as they appear to that eye which sees things in exact truth, and as they are unfolded, truthfully, by the lips of him who is “ the truth.” And how does the world appear ? One great class of human beings, the children of God, another great class of human beings, the children of the wicked
Our Saviour presents this field to us under thiee aspects :
I. Its present condition.
We have its present condition—the seed of divine truth growing up in the hearts of converted men. First, the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear, teaching us how it is that the purifying principles of divine truth strengthen, take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards, in the hearts of God's children. We are not all at once to expect these fruits of the Spirit which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God;
it is a gradual work that Christ describes here. A man does not appear all at once manifestly as a child of God; all men are by nature alike sunk in the depths of human corruption, and those who are the children of God, become by grace gradually transformed into the state of converted men ; for a time they may be as diffi
cult to discern from the tares, as one blade of wheat, in its youth and its greenness, would be difficult to discern from the small blade of the tare that is springing up. Gradually, as it grew, and gained strength, and formed an ear, there would be seen the fruit in it, and men could not mistake the character of the one for the character of the other. It was when the time of the fruit came, that the servants discovered that these were wheat, and that the others were tares.
Man was not intended of God to be a judge of his fellow-man; and there is a season in the history of every child of God, when he is scarcely discernible in his character from the child of the wicked one; but if he have the love of God in his soul, the renewing power of divine grace in his heart, the time will come when, in the eye of man, as clearly as in the eyes of angels, and of Christ, each one will be manifested as a child of God. They that are otherwise, says the Apostle, cannot be hid. It is the same way with the children of the wicked one.
Take the youthful heart, in its apparent innocence, the unhardened spirit, the yet docile mind-evil principles scarcely seen in it, yet the evil nature there, because man is by nature corrupt, and the devil-sown evil principles only barely planted; the little feeling of covetousness seems to be too small to be called by so rude and harsh a name; the various developments of evil that afterwards appear to be so bad, seem as yet to be small faults upon the surface of the character- it has not grown, or strengthened, or developed, or brought forth its evil fruits; but a time comes when the evil character is
There is, with every one, the crisis of his life, when he must declare himself to be on the Lord's side or on the devil's side ; and it is seen in the season of difficulty, in the time of trial, in the providentially appointed times of distinction between men, when we must say on whose side we are; the children of the wicked one begin to develope themselves by doing the work of their master, as the children of God manifest themselves by doing the work of their Heavenly Master. Christ represented his servants as saying, “Sir, didst 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, Wilt thou that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them." Man will be very speedy, but very rude in his remedies for evil — it seems the shortest way to remove evil to cut it down at once. Just as some unskilful sur. geon will think the best way will be to amputate the limb, but some better and more able one will be able to set it right, and cure it. The servants would say, let us pluck up these tares ; but the master valued the wheat too much to do this; he knows that the neighbourhood of a tare cannot hinder the wheat from ripe. ning; therefore, he
says, “Do not pluck up the tares, lest. ye root up also the wheat with them.” The Eternal can afford to be patient; and God, who sees the end from the beginning, can look upon the growing evil, can see that its day of uprooting is coming, he can bear with it in much long-suffering until the time of the har. vest come.
Let both grow together," because he knows that it will not be for ever - Let both grow together until the harvest." Here, then, is the mixed condition of the kingdom of heaven clearly set before our thoughts. But not only its mixed condition, but the close intertwining that the children of God and
He can say,