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“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 hint, Sir, did'st 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 until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." Matt. xii. 24–31.
Mrs. M. In going through the parable of the sower, we have found described the various errors and failures that arise amongst those who have the privilege of hearing and reading the word of God, as well as the fruits that flow from its being received into a heart softened by divine grace. This next parable, so clearly elucidated by our Lord himself, seems intended to point out that whatever differences may appear in the outward conduct, the external profession of men here on earth, whatever varieties of doctrine there may
be amongst them, all shall at the last great day be divided into two classes, tares and wheat, children of God and children of the devil; and that, however hidden from the eye of man, the Lord knows his own people " who shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of his Father," while the tares or the children of the wicked one shall be bound not in the “ bundle of life,” i Sam. xxv. 29. but in “ bundles to be burned."
EMILY. But, mamma, is it not easy to know good people from bad, even in this life?'
Mrs. M. “It would seem so, my love, for “by their fruits ye shall know them; and if other men's actions appear good, we
have no right to question the motive from which they ftow,(though with regard to ourselves, our scrutiny on this point should be most strict :) but it is a melancholy truth that even amongst the professed members of the church of Christ, (the outward church) even amongst those who appear to have had the seed sown in good ground, there may
be hypocrites. But this is certain ; however they may on earth have worn the semblance of the people of God, yet at the last great day of final judgment these shall be amongst the tares, amongst those to whom our blessed Lord shall say, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Such instances we must hope to be but rare ; and on the other hand there are many of God's people, and known only to himself, who, however they may pass unobserved by the human eye, are yet truly amongst the wheat that shall be gathered into the barn.'
GEORGE. Mamma, what sort of plant do you think tares are ?'
EMILY. I think they must be some ugly plant with a nasty smell; and yet I have heard vetches called tares, and they are very pretty.'
GEORGE. I don't think vetches can be the plant that is meant; because they are useful, and would not be thrown into the fire; and besides, they would be distinguished from the wheat the moment they began to grow,'
MRS M. Translators and Commentators vary as to the nature of the plant; some think it means a degenerate species of wheat. The Persic translator calls it, bitter grain'; but it is of little importance what the literal word is, if we rightly understand what it is meant to represent!'
EMILY. What is meant by the tares and wheat both being allowed to grow together till the harvest ? '
MRS. M. That is what we see every day; the same sun warms the children of God, and the children of evil; the same rain waters their fields and their gardens; their outward comforts and privileges are the same; in worldly wealth or any worldly enjoyment, there is no distinction, save that the ungodly have often a larger portion of this world's goods. This our Saviour plainly teaches. • The harvest,” he says, " is the end of the world,” “ the reapers are the angels,” and at the last day the Lord shall send them and they shall “ gather his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth, to the uttermost part of the heaven.” And then shall be made manifest the difference between the tares and the wheat; then shall be heard these precious words, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, enter into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But though, my children, it is not permitted to us to decide with regard to others, who are the tares, and who are the wheat,- let us ever with watchful care examine ourselves, that we may be enabled to discern which we are among.'