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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 before him? At that awful 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 contrile and penitent offender!

LECTURE XIII.

Matthew xiii. continued.

THE

HE Lectures of the last year con

cluded with an explanation of the parable of the sower; and 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

.

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

his way

* Matt. xiii. 24.

didst thou' not 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 unto the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will

ye together first the tares, and bind them up in bundles to burn them : but gather the wheat into

say to the

reapers, Gather

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 kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one.

The
enemy

that sowed them BB 3

is

is the devil: the harvest is the end of 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 shal! 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 weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father: who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

This parable well deserves our most serious consideration, as it gives an answer to two questions of great curiosity and great importance, which have exercised the ingenuity and agitated the minds of thinking men from the earliest times to the present, and perhaps were never, at any period of the world, more interesting than at this

very

hour. The first of these questions is, How came moral evil into the world?

Thc

The next is, Why is it suffered to remain a single moment; and why is not every wicked man immediately punished as he deserves ?

The first of these questions has, we know, in almost all ages, and in all countries, been a constant subject of investigation and controversy among metaphysicians and theologians, and has given birth to an infinity of fanciful theories and systems, to one more particularly in our own times, by a man of very distinguished talents * all which however have failed of solving the difficulty, and have proved nothing more than this mortifying and humiliating truth, namely, the extreme weakness of the human intellect, when applied to subjects so far above its reach, and the utter inability of man to fathom the counsels of the Most High, and develope the mysterious ways of his providence, by the sole strength of unassisted reason t. That

those

;

* Soame Jenyns.

+ Among the dissertations of Plutarch (which go by the name of his Morals,) there is a very curious B B 4

and

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