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hearts whether, at the very time when your Redeemer is supposed to have passed through all those dreadful scenes for your sakes and for your salvation, from his first agony in the garden, to his last expiring groan upon the cross, whether at this very time you can bring yourselves to pursue the pleasures, the vanities, and the follies of the world, with.the same unqualified eagerness and unabated ardour as if nothing had happened which had given him the slightest pain, or in which you had the smallest interest or concern. Your hearts, I am sure, will revolt at the very idea, and your own feelings will preserve you from thus wantonly sporting with the cross of Christ. And if to a prudent abstinence from these things you were to add a careful inquiry into your past conduct, and the present state of your souls, if you were to extend your views to another world, and consider what your condition there is likely to be; what reasonable grounds you have to hope for a favourable* sentence from your Almighty Judge; how far you have conformed to the commands of your Maker, and what degree of affection and gra
titudeyou have manifested for the inexpressible kindness of your Redeemer; this surely would be an employment not inconsistent with your necessary occupations, and not unsuitable toe the humble candidates for pardon, acceptance, and immortal happiness.
Is this too great a burthen to be imposed upon us for a few days; is.it too great a sacrifice of our time, our thoughts, and our amusements, to an invisible world and a reversionary inheritance of inestimable value? It certainly is, if the Gospel be all a fabricated tale. But if it contain the words of soberness and truth; if its divine authority is established by such an accumulation of evidence of various kinds as never before concurred to prove any other facts^or events in the history of the world, by evidences springing from different sources, yet all centering in the same point, and converging to the same conclusion; if even the few incidental proofs that have been offered to your consideration in the course of these Lectures have produced that conviction in your minds which they seem to have done; what then is the consequence? Is it not that truths of such infinite importance
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well deserve all that consideration for which I am now contending; and that we ought to embrace with eagerness every appointed means and every favourable opportunity that is thrown in our way, of demonstrating our attachment and our gratitude to a crucified Saviour, who died for our sins, and rose again for our justification, and will come once more in glory to judge the world in righteousness, and to distribute his rewards and punishments to all the nations of the earth assembled befbr^ehim? At that aweful tribunal may we all appear with a humble confidence in the merits of our Redeemer, and a trembling hope of that mercy which he has promised to every sincere believer, every truly contrite and penitent offender!
Matthew xiii. continued.
THE Lectures of the last year concluded with an explanation of the parahle of the sower; tmd immediately after this follows in- the Gospel the parable of the tares, which will be the subject of our present consideration *.
The parable is as follows: "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 thou not sow good seed in thy field; from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. * Matth. xiii. 24.
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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 unto the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them up in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." /•-.*-. After our Lord had delivered this parable, and one or two more very short ones, we are told that he sent the multitude away, and went into the house; and his disciples came unto him, saying, "Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that sowed the good seed is the Son of man. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the king-i dom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end ,pf the world, and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send fof tb.; his . . ii.- :..- • angels,