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ing at Betty preparing the bread to-day, and you told me that leaven was of the same nature as barm.'
MRS. M. 'What did Betty do first?'
EMILY. Oh, I did not watch her closely, but I know she mixed a very little barm in a large pan of flour, and I looked at it very often, and I could not see anything doing, or hear any noise but when I came back two or three hours after, it was all raised up, and looked quite different from what it had done before; I said she must have done something to it, but she declared she had not; it was only the working of the barm.'
MRS. M. Well, Emily, and how do you apply that to the parable?'
EMILY. I know it is something about the Holy Spirit, but I cannot explain; you can do it much better.'
MRS. M. 'We have seen that the former parable relates to the spread of the Gospel amongst all nations: I think this one describes its effects upon the human heart. When I speak of the Gospel, I do not mean merely
the reading or hearing of it, but as it is by grace made to act upon the heart. As the leaven works silently though powerfully through the dough, changing altogether its qualities and appearance; so does the Gospel by grace change the affections of the heart of man, gives a new turn to his thoughts, a new motive for his actions.'
GEORGE. Why do you think that this parable relates exclusively to the effect of the Gospel upon the human heart?'
MRS. M. I do not say decidedly that it does so, but that it appears to me that our Saviour seldom uses two parables immediately following one another to illustrate precisely the same thing: however it has been by some otherwise applied. The Gospel though first preached by poor and illiterate men, yet caused a great stir and fermentation in the world, and gradually spread as the leaven does amid the dough, and will spread till, I said before, "It shall cover the whole earth."
EMILY. I think it will answer for both,
Mamma, and now let us go to the other parables in this chapter; there are four more; shall I read them?'
MRS. M. Do, my dear; and you need not hurry, if we have not time to consider them all to-night, we can return to them to
EMILY reads: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found he hideth ; and, for joy thereof, goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field." Matt. xiii. 4. GEORGE.
'Does the kingdom of heaven still mean the Gospel in this parable too?' MRS. M. 'It does; and as in the former parables we have seen its progress and effects amongst its various hearers; its gradual increase from small beginnings to universal dispersion so in this one which we are about to consider, we find its immense value compared to a treasure hid in a field.'
EMILY. 'What means the treasure hid in a field? Does it mean a large sum of money?'
No Emily; for the man need not for that have purchased the field; he could have carried it off as soon as he found it. I should rather think it meant a mine.'
MRS. M. 'No, no, George, you are wrong: you could not, you know, enter the field until it should become yours; nor could you have any right to touch a treasure were it not your own but I like your idea of the mine; the Scriptures may well be compared to an inexhaustible mine: and as it is in digging deep the value of the mine is discovered, so it is in searching and examining deeply the blessed Gospel, that the treasure which at first was hidden from our eyes will be discovered; and the deeper we dig, the more minutely we examine, the more valuable the treasure will be.'
EMILY. 6 I do not understand what is meant by the treasure being hid, and yet a man discovered it.'
MRS. M. Suppose you and I were walking through a field in which there was a mine, don't you think we might pass it unnoticed? EMILY. Yes, mamma, for we know nothing of mineralogy.'
MRS. M. 'Do you think it would escape your father's observation?'
EMILY. No, mamma, because he understands all about mines and such things.'
MRS. M. Just in the same manner is the treasure of the Gospel hid from those who do not look after it, do not know its value; but the man who is led by the Spirit of the Lord to search the Scriptures will surely find in them inexhaustable mines of wealth, treasures beyond all purchase.'
GEORGE. that field.'
But he is said to purchase
MRS. M. 'He selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field; that is, he gives up for the sake of the Gospel, all those things which he before considered of high value; he does not think that merely having found the treasure is sufficient to make it his own, he must give up other matters for it; thus a man finds salvation promised in the Holy Scriptures; but he does not feel that the promise is to himself, till he is willing to give up for that inestimable, inexhaustible treasure,-all