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charge : " and like his blessed master, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." But we

are wandering away from our parable.'

EMILY. Indeed we are, Mamma, but I like to hear you speak in that way of the Roman Catholics ; for I cannot help pitying them, poor creatures, because they are not allowed to know the truth as we are, nor to read their Bibles, and so they cannot know what is wrong or right: but let us come to the thorns.'

MRS. M. "Yes, my child, and let us pray, that however they may wound us, they may never “ choke the seed” in our hearts. Our Saviour clearly explains to us what is meant by “ the thorns : " and the parable seems intended to shew, that the mere external professor is as liable to be lured away from the faith by the riches and pleasures of the world, as he is to be frightened away by its trials. Many professing Christians appear to have had the seed sown in their hearts ; in

many

it seems to have taken root; the word of God

apparently has influence; they seem outwardly religious; but when the things of the world, its cares, its affections, its riches, come in competition with the glory of God, the latter is disregarded; and so the seed, which at first appeared to have taken root, is speedily choked and bears no fruit.'

GEORGE. “What do you think is meant by the deceitfulness of riches, mother?'

MRS. M. “I think it means the delusive prospects and promises of happiness which they present, and by which they too often obtain a strong hold over the heart; riches are deceitful, when we expect happiness from them, when we consider them as a matter of such importance, as to engage our chief attention; they often prove deceitful in leading men to imagine, that in labouring to amass wealth for themselves and for their children, they are only doing what is laudable, and consistent with their profession as Christians; not considering, that in their zeal to “ heap up riches upon earth" they are neglecting to “ lay up treasure in heaven;” and that,

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“ where their treasure is, there will their heart be also."

GEORGE. • Is it then wrong, mother, to endeavour to acquire riches?' MRS. M. No, George, if we

" set not our heart upon them," and if the acquisition of them do not interfere with higher and more important concerns, do not engross our minds to the exclusion of the 66 one thing needful :” but they are often a great snare. Many a professing Christian, who while pursuing his honest calling, seemed indeed to be a child of God, has, when tempted by an opportunity to acquire wealth, given evidence that his profession was but external; that the seed had been sown in ground of which the surface only had been cleared; the tops of the weeds cut of, but the roots not dug out; these, therefore, growing up, “ choked the seed,” and prevented the fruit from coming to perfection.'

EMILY. • Now we come to the nicest part of the parable, “ the good ground.”'

MRS. M. Well, Emily, what is the proof of seed being sown in good ground ?'

6

EMILY. • Its being fruitful, mamma.'

GEORGE. • But we said before, that the ground is the human heart, and how can the heart be good when it is “ deceitful and desperately wicked ? »

MRS. M. • As the ground may be prepared by culture, and softened by the rain from heaven, and thus made fit to receive the seed and nourish it, so that it shall bring forth fruit: so does the Holy Spirit soften the human heart, and make it capable of understanding the blessed truths of the word of God; and the man into whose heart that word has sunk deep and there taken root, will bring forth the fruit of good works; will bear evidence in his conduct through life, that the seed has been sown in good ground.' GEORGE. • Mother, what do

you

understand by the expression, “ Bearing fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, &c. ?”?

MRS. M. • That has been explained by, learned commentators to mean, that all in whom the seed of the word has been sown have not the same opportunities afforded

man, but

them of shewing forth its fruits; their talents, their means, their various circumstances in life, making a difference in their power to give evidence of their faith : but I think there may be a difference in the desire to do so, even among the children of God. The seed is sown by grace ; and grace may impart to some, greater desire as well as greater capacity to do good ; but mark, George, when we speak of good works, we mean not merely such as seem good in the eyes

of such as flow from what our Saviour calls having “ the eye single ;” having for their root or foundation, zeal to promote the glory of God in shewing kindness to men.'

GEORGE. Dear Mother, I fear the seed has no root in my heart, for I am afraid I never consider whether the few right things I ever do, tend to promote the glory of God; I often think indeed, whether they will please you or my father, and whether people will say, ' that was well done in George Mansfield; he will be a fine young man; he is a very nice boy :' but I do not look further ;

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