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doctrine of love, will bear the fruit of love; a doctrine of joy will bear the fruit of joy ; a doctrine of peace, like Christianity, which is peace on earth, and good will to men, will bear the fruit of peace; and hence Paul saith, “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,” &c. Gal. v. 22. In Peter the word bore the fruit of joy, even an hundred fold, for he saith, that believing he rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.' 1 Peter i. 8. Reader,, may it be your happy lot, to receive and understand the word of God; may you be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and inay you enjoy those rich consolations of the gospel of the blessed God' which the world can neither give nor take away.
Parable of the Tares of the Field.
MATT. XIII. 24–30.
“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. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 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 ? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then 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. Let both grow together until the harvest : and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye ether first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into
The Saviour, as will be seen by a reference to vers. 37–43 of this chapter, has himself explained the parable now before us; and it will, therefore, be highly proper that we make use of his explanation in coming to a right understanding of it. But as divines and commentators have differed widely in understanding the explanation as well as the parable itself, it will be our endeavor to elucidate the terms employed by a comparison of them with other instances of their use, in other parts of the Bible.
1. He that sowed the good seed was the Son of man. To whom did Jesus here refer?
2. The field is the world (kosmos.) What world is meant ?
3. The good seed are the children of the king. dom. Who are the children of the kingdom ?'
4. The tares are the children of the wicked one." Who are signified by the children of the wicked
5. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. What is here meant by the devil ?
6. The harvest is the end of the world (aion.) Vers. 39, 40. What world is here meant ?
7. The reapers are the angels. What angels are these ?
8. Those signified by the tares were to be cast into a 6. furnace of fire,” ver. 42. What was this furnace of fire ?
9. The righteous, after the destruction of the wicked, were to shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who were these righteous ?
In regard to the first question there will be no dispute, that by the son of man Jesus intended
self. This was one of the common terms by which he made himself known.
The field in which the tares and wheat were both planted, was the world. Here the word world is a translation of the Greek word kosmos, which usually signifies the material universe ; and world, therefore, is to be understood in its usual sense, in the instance before us.
It next devolves on us to consider who are intended by the children of the kingdom.” It is a fact well known to every Biblical student, that the Hebrews made a peculiar use of the terms son and child, and adopted them to signify any kind, and almost every kind of relation whatsoever.2 Hence
1 The word one is here supplied by the translators, and may, of course, be ommitted, if we think the sense does not require it.
2 The following passage from Prof. Stuart's Letters to the Rov. Dr. Miller, is the best illustration we can offer in support of what is here said.
“The word son was a favorite one among the Hebrews and was children of the kingdom' may signify either those to whom the kingdom was preached, or those who had actually embraced the gospel, and entered into it. In Matt. viii. 12, we read that "the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness." Here the unbelieving Jews are called the children of the kingdom,' because the kingdom of Christ was designed first for the Jews, and preached first to them; and hence, when the woman of Canaan came to Jesus, he declared that he was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and that it was not meet 6 to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs.' Matt. xv 24, 26. We know of but one other sense which we can affix to the phrase "children of the kingdom' in the parable before us-it must signify th?se who had actually and heartily embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, and who are said Matt. xxv. 34 to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.'
employed by them to designate a great variety of relations. The son of any thing, according to oriental idiom, may be either what is closely connected with, dependent on it, like it, the consequence of it, worthy of it, &c. But this view of the subject must be explained by actual examples from the Scriptnres. The following, I have selected from the Old and New Testaments.
". The son of eight days,' i. e. the child that is eight days old; the son of one hundred years,' i. e. the person who is one hundred years of age ; 'the son of a year,' i. e. a yearling ; 'the son of my sorrowing,' i. e. one who has caused me distress ; “the son of my right hand,' i. e. one who will assist, or be a help to me ; 'son of old age,' i. e. begotten in old age; 'son of valour,' i. e. bold, brave ; 'son of Belial, [literally, son of good-for-nothing] i. e. a worthless man ; son of wickedness,' i. e. wicked ; 'son of a murderer,' j. e. a murderous person ; 'son of my vows,' i. e. son that answers to my vows ; son of death,' i. e. one that deserves death ; ‘son of perdition,' i. e. one that deserves perdition ; 'son of smiting,' i. e. one that deserves stripes ; ‘son of Gehenna,'i. e. one that deserves Gehenna ; ‘son of consolation,' i. e. one fitted to administer consolation;
son of thunder,' i. e. a man of powerful energetic eloquence or strength ; 'son of peace,' j. e. a peaceable man ; son of the morning,' i. e. the morning star ; ‘son of the burning coal,' i. e. sparks of fire, ‘son of the bow,' i. e. an arrow, 'son of the threshing floor,' i. e. grain, 'son of oil,' i. e. fat ; 'son of the house,' i. e. a domestic slave ;
• son of man,' i. e. man as it is usually applied, but perhaps in a sense somewhat diverse in several respects as applied to our Saviour. Such is the wide extent of relation, similarity, connexion, &c. which the term 'son' is employed to designate in the Hebrew, and in the idiom of the New Testament, a latitude far greater than is given to it in occidental languages, and which no one who is not conversant with the Hebrew, can scarcely estimate in an adeqnate
The tares represented the children of wickedness, which, as we have shown, simply signifies wicked persons. These were such as had been incorporated into the church, and mixed with the sincere followers of Christ, and we find them referred to under various figures, in several of his parables. At the time the son of man sent forth
his angels, they were to gather owt of his kingdom j all things which offend, and them which do iniqui
ty,' which plainly shews that Jesus intended such persons as had professed to know him, but were unfaithful disciples.
Who did Jesus mean by the devil, that mixed the children of wickedness with his sincere and faithful followers? The Greek word diabolos signified an adversary in general; and was very often applied to human beings, instances of which are frequently occurring in the New Testament. In the instance before us, we s!ippose it to refer to that perverse and wicked spirit, so opposite to the true spirit of Christ, which led men to say Lord, Lord, while they performed not the will of God, and which induced them to profess to serve a master to whom they were not faithful.
To what time did Jesus refer by “the harvest” which he said should take place at the end of the