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kingdom of heaven, in that sense in which our second lesson this morning teaches us ; there may be children of God who shall be cast into outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And here, brethren, is another view of divine grace given to us by the blessed Saviour. And he has given us a new comparison of the kingdom of heaven, to teach us to return and examine the state of our hearts - not in that ordinary grace of God which every baptized person alike experiences, but in that renewing power of the grace of God in which men are born not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever—“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, 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."
Our blessed Saviour introduces to our thoughts, upon another and very solemn occasion, this idea of the grain of mustard seed, because he knew he was approaching to the great act of faith which he had himself to perform-it was when he was coming to that hour when the power of darkness, and when the prince of this world was to come and see if he could find anything in him- it was when he was to call upon the apostles to follow him, not only to danger but to death - it was when he was to call upon his beloved followers to look at him nailed upon cross, to see him crucified and dead, to see him the object of the world's scorn, and the rejected one of the church of God -- it was then that Christ, looking at the mountain of difficulty which was before
himself, and the mountain of difficulty which was before the little assembly of believing men that surrounded his person, he said to them, · If
have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall not only say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, but all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." There we have our blessed Saviour showing us one application, at least, of the grain of mustard seed; how it was that, through faith in the heart of men, they can remove mountains, they can make every
hindrance to vanish, and can triumph over every obstacle ; for “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." And now, if we have Christ thus explaining the mustard seed and its result-- the mustard tree—to us, we have St. Peter showing us the nature of the seed. We find it in the 1st chapter of the 1st epistle of St. Peter, and the 23d verse, where he says, “ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever, for all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass; the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever; and this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” It was not the preaching of the word by the Spirit, it was the power of that word implanted in the new born heart, that new birth, the test of which is this, that “ unto you that believe Christ is precious.” Here, therefore, are the persons of whom our Saviour himself says that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field the heart of the converted man— the recipient of the power of the
living God, that word bringing forth fruit to the praise and glory of God. Now, in the 3rd chapter of the 1st epistle of St. John, we have that incorruptible seed again brought before our thoughts, where the apostle says (in the 9th verse) « Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” There is here the birth and the holiness in that birth "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;" and there is the seed here, that incorruptible seed of the word which abideth, it is the abiding seed—“His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” That seed is the power of God's truth implanted in the renewed heart of man; it is thus the power of God's living word, not his spoken word, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life—it is the power of his word, as Jesus himself said to his disciples, “ The words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and they are life.” Now, it is to direct our thoughts to this character of the kingdom of heaven, that our Lord says “ The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field.”. It is, I say, the human heart in a converted state of which he speaks here, and, therefore, the kingdom of heaven here is not a location, as it was in the former parable— " The field is the world”but it is the heart renewed by grace. If we speak of the kingdom of heaven as a locality, then the kingdom of heaven is the world, the great field of this world's cares ; if we speak of the kingdom of heaven as a power of grace, then the kingdom of heaven is the power of the Spirit of God in the hearts of the children of men. It is with this view that our Saviour thus speaking, not of the locality but of the power, says, “The kingdom of
God cometh not with observation". -“ The kingdom of
St. Paul, taught by the same Spirit, says in his epistle to the Romans, " The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteoụsness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Now, if in this point of view, we come to consider a grain of mustard seed as the living word of God, sown by the Son of man in the converted heart. We need not speculate upon the mystical nature of that word ; we can more profitably examine it in its power. The human mind cannot conceive of things in their essences; we must see them in their development before we can comprehend them ; first causes are seen alone by God; second causes are the only things that can be seen by God's creatures. Now, in looking at the seed in this point of view, in its development, we have our Saviour teaching us, not to regard its smallness; the power of God does not consist in size, but in power. The infinity of God is as beautifully revealed to the understanding of man in the infinite smallness disoovered to us by the microscope, as it is unfolded to the understanding of man in the infinite space partially discovered to us by the telescope. And the same principles of divine truth are as much seen, and as much acted upon, in the smallest and, apparently, most trivial action, as they are in the government of kingdoms and the regulation of worlds. The same principles of eternal justice that make God himself to govern the whole universe, are the same principles that enter down into the smallest events of our lives, and make us act honourably, and justly, and holily in the minutest details of ordinary life, quite as much as if we had to bring them to bear upon the greatest events. We should,
therefore, remember that power does not consist in magnitude, but in energy. The power of the kingdom of Grace in the converted heart of man may be as small, apparently, as the grain of mustard seed ; but if it have that divine energy within it, it will develope itself into a great tree, and will be one in which the fowls of the air may come and lodge in the branches thereof.
The first thing to which our thoughts are directed, is the
power of that living word that is hidden in the heart of man.
All that is visible in our external life is the simple development of all that is hidden in our inner life. “Ye are dead,” says the Apostle, “and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The busy scenes of the world around us-the conflicts of men and nations the struggles of parties — the toils of business — the contentions and the storms of life ; all those cares and per plexities, and labours of life— all originate in that silent and secret recess of thought which is hidden from every human eye. And this our Lord brings to our thoughts, when he says, the power of the kingdom of heaven is hidden in the heart as the little grain of mustard seed is hidden by a man who sows that seed in his field ; and yet it does not remain there ; energy from God cannot be deprived of its power by anything in the creature. The energy of divine love, when implanted by the hand of God in the converted heart, will not remain dormant. Energy, coming from him, whose nature is active, is itself active ; whose nature is powerful, it is itself energizing; and, therefore, it will develope itself, until it burst the bonds of every superincumbent weight - will spring out, and come forth in the bright daylight of heaven, to manifest itself in all the variety that the tree sets before us, springing from the