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high degree of exaltation, which at present he possesses at the right hand of his Eternal Father, and having acquired a name which is above every other name, by the humiliations and sufferings of his mortal life. Shall Christians, then, with so many great and substantial advantages of afflictions before their eyes, with so many splendid and encouraging examples proposed to their imitation, abandon themselves in the hour of distress and trouble to disquietude and dejection? Shall they not rather embrace them like St. Paul, with alacrity and thankfulness? Oh! contemplate that glorious and blissful reversion reserved for you in a future state. Think on that resplendent crown, that uninterrupted repose, those ineffable and everlasting joys which will succeed ere long the vexations, fatigues, and troubles of this transient life. Remember that it is written, “ that if you sow in sorrow, you shall hereafter reap in joy;" “ that if you suffer with Christ, you shall reign also with him ;” and “ that the tribulations of this present time, light and momentary, work for you above measure exceedingly, an eternal weight of glory.”

SERMON VI..

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE

EPIPHANY.

ON THE PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND TARES.

GOSPEL. St. Matthew, xiii. v. 24-30. At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the multitudes : The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle

among the wheat, and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. And the servants of the goodman of the house coming, said to him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field ? whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him, Wilt though that we go and gather it up? And he said, No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, bnt the wheat gather ye into my barn.

In the parable of this day's Gospel, the kingdom of heaven, or the conduct of Christ in the economy of his Church diffused throughout the world, is assimilated to that of a man who had sown his field with wheat ; among which an enemy, taking advantage of a favorable opportunity which presented itself for his purpose, when the husbandmen, to whose care the field was committed, were asleep, disseminated a species of noxious weeds, in the original termed šišavia, and in the English language usually translated tares, although very different from the produce known at present by that name. Our tares, besides, being easily distinguished from wheat, are of great use to cattle, whereas the parable under consideration implies a vegetable production of a prejudicial description, and which can not, without difficulty, be distinguished from the corn, till both have arrived at an advanced stage in their growth. Having premised thus much respecting the nature of the plant sown by the enemy among the wheat, I shall continue, in conformity with common usage, to express it by the word tares, and proceed immediately to the consideration of the parable. As the application of this parable to the object which it was intended to elucidate, has been made by our blessed Saviour himself, I can not, I think, do better, than present you with the exposition of it which he has given. The man, according to that exposition, who soweth the good seed, is the Son of Man, (an appellation which Christ was accustomed to assume, as one of his characteristic titles.) The field in which he deposits the seed is denominated the world. The seed itself are the children of the kingdom; that is, they are the faithful subjects of Christ's spiritual kingdom, who with sound principles of doctrine unite the sanctity of exemplary conduct. The tares, on the other hand, are represented to be the children of the wicked one, by whom are to be understood all those persons, who professing themselves members of the true church of Christ, dishonor it by their irregular and disorderly lives; or others, who being in a state of separation from it, reject with obstinacy the doctrines it inculcates. By the enemy who sows the tares is meant the devil, that irreconcileable enemy of God and man, of God's glory and of man's salvation. The harvest is stated to be the end of the world, or that great day of general retribution, when the angels of God, whom the reapers mentioned in the parable are designed to represent, will separate the wicked from the just, as tares from the wheat, and cast the former into that unextinguishable fire, where they shall burn for ever without being consumed; whilst the latter, gathered like wheat into the barn, will be preserved for ever in the rich storehouse of God's everlasting kingdom. Such, my friends, in substance, is the interpretation which our blessed Saviour has graciously condescended to leave us of this parable, which forms this day's Gospel. But there is one circumstance, as perhaps you may have remarked, which he has omitted to explain; and that is the application made by the servants to their master for permission to root up the tares from his field. By these servants are obviously to be understood those among the disciples of Christ, who actuated by an honest, though mistaken zeal in the cause of their Divine Master, would willingly have recourse to violent and coercive measures, for the effectual extermination of error and vice. “And the servants said to him, wilt thou that we go and gather them up?” The answer in the negative given by the master to this application, should be considered as a clear and decisive disapprobation, delivered by Christ himself, of the use of external force for the destruction of the enemies of truth and virtue. “And he said, No: lest, while you gather up the tares, you root up the wheat also together with them.” This reply, however, of our blessed Saviour, though distinct and positive, is, it is to be observed, at the same time perfectly calm and gentle, unaccompanied with violent or reproachful language, indicating feelings of indignation or displeasure at the proposal of the question, because he may be thought to have viewed it as the result of an error in the understanding rather than of any malignity of heart. And hence, perhaps, may his omission to interpret this part of the parable be accounted for; since having said sufficient under the cover of the parable to discountenance the error, he may have allowed the veil to remain over it, lest its removal by an undisguised interterpretation, might expose to uncharitable animadversions, the characters of those, by whom it should be conscientiously maintained.

Having thus expounded the parable to you, in conformity with the explanation which Christ himself has given of it, I will now endeavour to develope to you the important lesson which it was designed to inculcate.

The object which the parable has principally in view, appears to be a

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