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the children of the wicked one have. As in the natural figure, the wheat and the tare standing together, and growing together, will entwine their roots the one round the other, so that to uproot the one would be to uproot the other also. So is it in our social condition; men are so connected together, that if we pluck up the one, we pluck up the other also. Where shall we find an unmixed community? Is there not the heathen husband and the believing wife? is there not the believing husband and the heathen wife, presented before our minds in the epistle to the Corinthians ? Does not our blessed Saviour tell us a man's foes shall be they of his own household? Can we find a family in which there is not a difficulty in their religious life? Can we find a congregation in which there are not the children of the wicked one deadening the influence and benumbing the power of the children of God in the same? Does not everything in life set before us the fact that men are so connected together that we cannot separate the evil from the good ? Our Saviour here does not speak of the danger of mistaking the tare for the wheat-nor of the danger of mistaking the wheat for the tare; it is because of their roots being so entwined together, that the plucking up the one would be endangering the rooting up of the other. Hence, he represents the servants as knowing the difference between the wheat and the tare, and that both must grow together until the harvest.

Let us again view this figure, so far as regards the guardian care of God. It is the same earth into which they have struck their roots, it is the same sun from heaven that has been shining upon both, it has been the same rain from heaven that fertilized and moistened the ground which gives vigour to both, and yet the one, the tare, only strikes its roots into the fertile ground to make itself the more strong, and the more perfectly unfruitful. What a picture here of the mercies of God, even towards sinful men, and of the depth and blackness of that corruption which out of the fertility of the soil in which God has placed it, and out of the bounties of grace which God has bestowed upon man, can bring poison, sin, and enmity. Who are the tares ? They may be in this congregation this morning. Who are the wheat ? They may at this moment be inspired by divine grace. Whose are the consciences that are at this moment hardening, instead of softening under the power of divine truth? There is this difference, while there is this analogy between wheat and tares, and men, that the tare cannot become wheat, but the wicked man may become a good man. The Lord deals with the wicked and says, “ Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel.” Every comparison between natural and spiritual things must fail in some thing, because, as I have already stated in explaining the principles of parabolic instruction, it is not in all things they agree, the comparison is simply in the point of agreement. Brethren, if, therefore, there be one heart here this morning, if there be one conscience here this morning which must feel itself to have been hitherto a tare, and not wheat, there is no reason why it should continue so. God's grace is standing at the door of your heart. God's Son is knocking there. God's transforming power is able to do that which the natural soil and natural rain could not do, to transform the character of the evil man into the character of

good man, and to make it a true saying, “instead of the thorn, shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar, shall come up

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the myrtle tree, and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Now, if this be the present condition of the kingdom of heaven, wheat and tares, evil principles corrupting men, and making them the children of the wicked one, good principles purifying men and making them the children of the kingdom,—the children of God,

II. We have the transition state of the same kingdom brought before us. • In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into

my

barn.” “ The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 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, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” The expression, “the end of the world,” the “harvest” leads us to a very solemn thought, that it is an appointed time, that it is a season bastening onward. Thus, each day in summer, in natural things, ripens the fruit of the earth, and prepares it for the harvest, and so each day's ripening brings the harvest

There is the same principle in the kingdom of grace, each day preparing the ripening of the root of the good seed for blessing, the ripening of the evil seed for cursing. The development of the principle of good, and the development of the principle of evil going onward the harvest. When our blessed Saviour said, “pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” he not only taught the great lesson of his compassion for souls, but a great warning that there was an appointed time, a day of salvation-a day that was to close, a season that shall come to an end. The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Thus Christ, when he comes again in his glory, and brings his holy angels with him, has pledged himself to gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, that he will take out of his kingdom the children of the wicked one and fill this world with the children of God. John the baptist declared of Christ, that "he will gather the wheat into his garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire ?" The transition state of the kingdom then, is the exercise of that judgment which is no longer intended for conversion, but for the exercise of separation, the time when the day of grace shall be past for a little season, the day of judgment, of separation, shall have come, and the awful division shall be made of the sheep on the right hand, and of the goats on the left. I need not dwell

nearer.

upon this transition state now, because in other parables, our blessed Saviour brings it more in detail before us, but pass onwards to the subsequent state as described by our Savour in these words, “then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father; who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

III. Its condition of glory.

You will observe that he makes here no difference in the location, the place is still the world, “the field is the world," but in another state, the offences taken out of it, the workers of iniquity taken out of it, and then the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. This is a very frequent description of the righteous in scripture, that they shine forth in great brightness when the wicked are removed, There is less of miracle, and more of natural operation in the earthly part of the glory that is to be in the millenial dispensation, than those who read the scriptures at first sight, would be apt to think. Another great feature that is given to us of the shining forth of the righteous is the removal of the obstructions to that shining forth. Our mutual influence upon each other is a subject of awful consideration, how much do the prejudices even of good people prevent the development of divine grace. The Spirit of God deepens the love of God in the heart, but when the love of God living within the heart desires to develope itself in works of love in the world around, it seeks to do good, it puts forth the budding of its renewed fruits, but it only finds itself in a wintry atmosphere, chilled and nipped with the coldness of this world's atmosphere. Others who have not come to the same warmth of love, to the same energy of purpose, to the same holiness of walk, cannot understand the deeper feelings, the more fervent love, the more holy walk, the more spiritual views of those who are more deeply taught of God, and the children of God shrinking back into themselves with their fruit, because of offences-cannot walk in the holiness of spiritual life as they would, their own graces so kept down, their spiritual faculties so undeveloped, and the field appears but a contracted field, and the growth is but a limited growth, it cannot be developed. The atmosphere is unfavourable, and grace is something that comes down from heaven; it is at present as it were an exotic upon earth, and men lower in grace hinder the work and spoil the life of those who are higher in grace. But Christ declares that there shall be taken away scandal, all things that offend, as well as them that do

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