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If the Saviour had before judged those people to an endless state of punishment, or had represented their sins as unpardonable, where is the propriety of his praying to his Father, in the hour of his death, to forgive them? Here was a glorious display of the power of that love which triumphed over sin and death in the person of Jesus. How contrary is it to the very spirit of the gospel, to suppose that the sin of the Jews triumphed over the love of him who died for them, and prayed his Father to forgive them? Can we reasonably suppose that this prayer was contrary to the will of God in the plan of grace? Will it do to conclude that Jesus made this prayer without faith?
The plain fact is, the common opinion makes the death of Christ void, makes his prayer void, makes his faith void, and, in a word, makes his gospel void. Hence it is evident that we ought to be cautious not to explain the scriptures in such a way as to confound them, or to contradict the grand design of the gospel dispensation. We ought to remember and keep it in mind, that God will never suffer any opposition to his gospel, to defeat his own plan of divine grace.
PARABLE XIII. Another parable put be forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man whicb sowed good seed in his field ; but while men slept, his coemy came and Bowed tares among the wheat, and went bis way. But whea the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then ap. peared the tarcs 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 barvest, and ia the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather se together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my baro."
Mat. xiii, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. The reader, by casting an eye on the preceding paragraphs of this chapter, will find the above text introduced by an explanation of a preceding parable, in which a sower is represented sowing his seed; the seed falling in different situations and on different grounds, &c. Different effects were the consequence, as is shown in the accurate explanation. Christ then goes on to give further intimations of what would happen, or come to pass, likening his kingdom, in the gospel dispensation, as follows: Ist. Himself, a sower of good seed. 2d. The word of the kingdom, by good seed :hat was sown. 3d. Man to whom the
gospel was preached, by a field, whose owner is Christ. 4th. He foresheweth a declension in the religion which he was introducing, even a state of carelessness and inattention, by men sleeping.
5th. The introduction of false doctrines into the church, is signified by an enemy's sowing tares
6th. He shows that falsehood would be mixed with truth, in the understandings of christians, by the tares appearing among the wheat. 7th. The desire of professors of purging false ideas and notions out of the church, is represented by servants asking leave to gather tares from among wheat. 8th. The unskilfulness of those professors, even all of those who vainly fancy themselves capable of purging Christendom of er. rors, is shown in the answer to the servants, “ Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.”' 9th. That it was the will of the Saviour that false doctrines should be imbibed until their fruits should come to maturity, is shown in that he saith, “ Let both grow together until the time of harvest.” 10th. The close of the mediatorial kingdom is represented by a harvest, or (as in the explanation of this parable by Christ himself) the end of the world; the word world having the same signification as that of kingdom in the text. 11th. An all glorious manifestation of the gospel of reconciliation in its divine purity through the ministry of the servants of the Lord, is represented by reapers sent forth, which reapers, or angels, (as in the explanation) signify to us the faithful laborers whom the Lord of the harvest will send forth into his plenteous harvest. I view them by an eye of faith; my eyes are greatly satisfied, and my heart leapeth for joy : O my God, make me more like them. The time is coming, when the Lord will make his angels messengers, and his ministers a flaming fire indeed; when Zion's watchmen shall see eya
to eye ; and to them shall be given power to bind error with the strong cords of argument, and to burn it with the fervent fire of divine truth and love; and to gather the glorious truths and
promises of the gospel into a safe situation, secure from being any more adulterated with falsehood; which is
represented by wheat gathered into the barn separated from tares.
II.LUSTRATION. To make the foregoing parable signify the endless misery of the wicked part of the world, it is usually understood as follows:
1st. By good seed is meant good men, who believe in Christ, and are his true disciples in this world.
2d. By tares is meant impenitent unbelievers, who, from hardness of heart and blindness of mind, reject the invitations of the gospel, and refuse the light which God has sent.
3d. By the tares and wheat growing together until the time of harvest is meant, that the righteous and the wicked live together, in this world, sharing the privileges of Providence in common.
4th. The harvest, or end of the world, means the dissolution of this material earth by fire.
5th. The gathering of the tares together, binding them in bundles and burning them, is to be understood to mean the casting of the wicked unbelievers into a state of inconceivable torment, where their misery will never end.
6th. The gathering of the wheat into the barn, means the acceptance of the righteous in the kingdom of everlasting bliss.
Let us now look and see how such an explana
misunderstand, 70 tion may be justified by the text. Iftares, in the parable, mean wicked men, what does the text mean by saying that while men slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way ? Here the reader is called upon to exercise candor. Who were those men, who slept at the time this enemy sowed tares among the wheat? Were those men righteous or wicked ? It seems that their getting so much off of their guard as to be asleep, gave this enemy an opportunity of sowing his tares. But the above explanation supposes that the wicked are the tares. Jesus says, in the explanation of this parable, that he who sowed the tares is the deyil. If then tares mean unbelievers, what is meant by the devil's sowing them among the righteous, or the wheat? It is disagree able even to state any thing so absurd as this erronenus opinion appears to be. But that the matter the facts may stand thus : If the wheat mean righteous people, then the Son of man sowed righteous people in this world. If wicked people are the tares, then the devil sowed wicked people in this world, while the righteous were asleep! As no reasonable person can believe that the devil sowed wicked men in this world, so, it would seem, no reasonable person in the free exercise of rationality, can believe that tares, in the text, mean wicked men. Yet if we admit the wild notion of Christ's sowing the righteous in this world, and of the devil's sowing the wicked here among them, what will be the consequences ? Who did Christ come to save? The righteous? No, he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If tares can be converted into wheat, which must be