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The angels knew that there was no enemy but the fallen spirits, and fearful that they would injure and overcome the human nature, asked leave to undo what the enemy had done. “ Wilt thou then, that we go and gather them up?" I have often thought that this was one of the occasions, upon which Jehovah might justly charge his angels with folly; for if our God would have permitted them to gather up what this enemy had sowed, could he not as easily have prevented the adversary from sowing the tares? but, said he, “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.”
When, I say, turning aside from the inventions of my own mind and the traditions of men, I accompany the disciples to him, who is the august fountain of all wisdom, and say, Declare unto me, O my God, the parable of the tares of the field, I listen to this divine preacher, and I hear him speak as never man spake. He that soweth the good seed, is the son of man. The field is the world ; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the deyil; the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels.
- As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity. “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Thus, blessed be God, we are presented by our omnipotent Redeemer, with an explanation as infallible as our text; and our explanation is like its great origin, truly divine.
We can be at no loss to designate the Son of man; he is the only wise God our Saviour. I am God the Saviour, said he, Isaiah xliv. 21, “ And there is no God else beside me; a just God, and a Saviour, there is none beside me.” “ By him, and for him all things were made,” Hebrew i. 2. And the spirit of God informs us, John, i. 3, “ All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made,” And a cloud of witnesses
might be cited to prove that all the seed which the immaculate Be-* ing soweth is good, very good. There is no one who acknowledgeth the existence of a God, and believes him the Creator of man, who will deny, that when God made man, he made him upright. The Heathens by the light of Nature, affirmed, that evil could not proceed from God. Evil, say they, is only suffered, not decreed. The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom. If we are solicitous to obtain an accurate idea of this kingdom, we have only to look into the prophecy of Daniel, iv.14 : “ And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”.
But the tares are the children of the wicked one. What is this? Did the adversary ever produce either the soul or body of a single individual among the family of man? Assuredly not. gels propagate, they would produce angels. Every tree produceth fruit after its kind. This wicked one produceth wickedness. Hence he is said to be a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies. He could sow none but his own seed, that is wickedness. This is the enemy who sowed the seed, the bad seed. Thus, it is the good and the bad, like light and shade in a well wrought picture, are contrasted through the whole of divine revelation. But the seed sown by the adversary will continue only until the harvest; that is the end of the world, and at that period when the visible heavens shall be thrown back as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, will be displayed that other, that better world, into which all the seed sown by the Son of man, the Son of God, shall be gathered ; and all the seed sown by the son of Perdition, shall be shut out.
Thus, those angels of God, who at the birth of time united to hymn the praises of the Most High, when they beheld his finished work, and who saw with astonishment the fruit produced by what they deemed so perfect, will not only be permitted, but will be sent forth to gather out of their Creator's kingdom, every thing which originates from the wicked one; with the enemy who sowed these tares, with the fiends who still propagate iniquity, and to send them into thạt fire, which, from before the foundation of the world, was prepared for the devil and his angels.
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Then will loud acclamations through all heaven resound, and every creature in heaven, and who dwell on earth, shall unite to celebrate the harvest home. When the husbandman hath returner, when he hath brought his sheaves with him, when his angels have gathered out of his kingdom whatsoever can injure or deform, then will the felicity of the subjects of this kingdom be complete.
David in the twenty-second Psalm, and Daniel in the seventh chapter of his prophecy, inform us, that this kingdom consists of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues : and although there are many things which at present offend in this kingdom, for offences will come, but woe unto him by whom they come ; yet when every thing which gives offence to God or his kingdom, shall be gathered out of it, and them which do iniquity, when the tares sowed and the doer of the deed is consigned to outer darkness, where is wailing and gnashing of teeth, every offence with its consequence shall cease. Is there, who, while investigating this passage, can forbear a recurrence to the garden of Eden? who doth not seem to hear their God and Father addressing the author of every evil-Because thou hast done this thou art cursed! We do not, my dear Sir, learn that any curse was pronounced upon Adam, or his companion ; the labour with which he was threatened was not a curse; the bread of the labourer is sweet : but again, and again, we say, that we anticipate a day, when the separation completely made, the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, and, give ine leave to say, that until that period there will be found no righteous man, except the man Christ Jesus; there are none righteous, no, not one. The sower continues to sow his seed, and the tares are multiplied, they will grow 10gether until the harvest, when the prophecy of Isaiah, in the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st verses of his 60th chapter, will be completely fulfilled :
- Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
“The sun shall be no more thy light by day ; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee : but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory,
« Thy sun shall no more go down ; neither shall thy moon with, draw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended,
“Thy people also shall be all righteous : they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."
Thus, my good 'Sir, you see the destruction of the seed sowed by the destroyer, is the salvation of the seed sowed by the Saviour ; and were I to be called upon in the face of the assembled world, to defend what you are pleased to call my testimony, to prove it true from the revelation of my God, and had I a voice loud as the trumpet of that angel who is destined to declare that time shall be no more, I know of no scriptures I would more cheerfully select, than those you have mentioned. . As to the chaff and the wheat, I am astonished I could ever think the souls of nien were intended by the chaff! Do but observe, every grain of wheat is encumbered by a coat of chaff, and if every grain of wheat be thus coated, then surely the spirits of those you call righteous, as well as those you call wicked, are found enrobed in chaff.
But to me it appears as clear as the light in the heavens, that the wheat, and the chaff, are figures of the children of men, and their iniquities. You know, my dear Sir, no husbandman ever sows chaff, or if he did he would not expect it would grow and produce grain. But no husbandman ever reaped wheat without chaff.
Thus, God made man upright; yet how soon are the children of men found seeking after vanity, every grain acquiring its coat of chaff! but as the husbandman would lose his labour, did he not render his wheat clean into his garner? so would the harvest of our God be lost, were it not separated from the destructive evils which cleave unto it, even as closely as the chaff adheres to the wheat. The wheat has neither will nor power to separate itself from the chaff. And what can be represented more helpless than our nature, if we recur to the testimony of scripture, or to the sentiments of those divines who are denominated orthodox, we are described as totally unable to help ourselves, and it is said by the spirit of God, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Blessed be the good hand of the Almighty, whose fan is in his hand, and who will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner, burning up the chaff which shall of course no more cleave unto it, with unquenchable fire. Yes, every disorder shall be rectified, and the Saviour will say to every son and daughter of Adam, “I will, be thou clean ;” and when thus he speaketh, “Let there be light," a flood of day will instantaneously succeed.
Mr. H. Well, Sir, it is granted these passages are not against your system. But does not the Bible contain testimonies of another description ?
M. How can you rest easy if it does ?
Mr. H. Perhaps I am not easy ; neither are you, I presume, quite satisfied, for I think you must see a contradiction between the scriptures you generally make use of, and those produced by your opponents.
M. I do not, Sir; and I liave repeatedly said, were that the case, I should renounce the Bible forever. I was once where you are; but I could not for my soul believe the yea, and the nay, it is, and it is not. In my opinion, the consistency of revelation is the best evidence of its divinity.
Mr. H. But, Sir, is it possible, do you really see no contradiction in Revelation ?
M. I repeat, I really do not. There are many passages in the scripture which I do not well understand; but I see no contradiction, no yea and nay. To me they all appear like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Yea and amen to the glory of God the Father. Be assured, Sir, I could never rest my hopes of happiness upon a contradictory testimony.
Mr. H. Would to God I could thus view these scriptures. I have taken down some texts. Pray, Sir, give me your opinion of the two last verses in the prophecy of Isaiah ; thus we read :
“ And it shall come to pass that from one new inoon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before
saith the Lord. “ And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched ; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Here, Sir, we find an account of the never dying worm, and the unquenchable fire.
M. Yes, Sir; and in the same place we find the gospel of the grace of God our Saviour, gloriously taught. Do but read it attentively; all flesh shall be gathered together to worship before God;. and they, who ? all filesh thall while thus engaged, for the purpose of augmenting the fervour of their devotional gratitude, look on the carcases of their abominable things, whose worm, the worm of the carcases, shall not die, neither shall the fire of these carcases ever be extinguished, or quenched ; and they, the carcases, shall be an abhorring, To whom, I pray ? To all flesh. What, my dear