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Beautiful as heaven is,
Mamma, I should like to hold you fast here a little longer.'
GEORGE. And I too, Mother, should like to keep you at least till I feel sure of meeting you again.'
MRS. M. May that time speedily come my beloved child! may you soon feel within yourself that "witness" which can alone assure you that you are of the "good seed." May you evidence by your "fruits," by the holiness of your life, by your steady resistance to "the world, the flesh, and the devil," that you are amongst those who when "the harvest comes shall be gathered into the barn;" that you shall shine in the kingdom of your Father.'
This prayer was offered up with a fervour which again drew tears from the children's eyes; but on the entrance of their father, they once more resumed their cheerful smiles. We shall now leave them till the next evening, when the conversation on the parables was renewed.
THE MUSTARD SEED.-THE LEAVEN.-THE HIDDEN TREASURE.- THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. -THE NET CAST INTO THE SEA. Matt. xiii. 31-34, 44-51.
Well, George, you
have not been rambling to-day; the rain has kept you at home.'
EMILY. 'He has not been idle, Mamma, however, for he has been helping me to shell my seeds; the mignonette seed is so small, it is hard to collect it.'
MRS. M. And yet is it not to one of the least of seeds, that man's greatest blessing has been compared?'
EMILY. 'Oh, you mean the grain of mustard seed, Mamma, to which the Gospel is compared.'
MRS. M. “I do, Emily; and let us see what is that comparison. George will read the parable for us.'
George reads :—“The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Matt. xiii. 24-31. But we have no such thing here, mamma, as a tree growing from the mustard seed; our mustard is a very small plant.'
MRS. M. In these countries it is as you say a very small plant; not so in warmer climates; there it grows to a very large size, and becomes woody like a tree. Now why, do you think, is it that the Gospel or the Kingdom of God" is compared to it?'
Emily looked puzzled. George said,-' The Gospel was first preached by very poor and illiterate men, so it had a small beginning. Mother go on, I cannot continue my explanation.'
MRS. M. You have begun very well; even the Divine Author of the Gospel of Grace was, in his earthly tabernacle, despised for the meanness of his appearance; but the blessed Gospel which he preached, although from a commencement so small, by degrees grew and spread itself, and is still continually spreading; yes, and will spread, till it covers the whole earth,
as the waters cover
EMILY. What is meant by the birds of the air lodging in it?'
The mustard plant, as we have said before, goes on increasing till it becomes a tree; the birds of the air then lodge in it; its branches afford them shelter, and its seed food. So is the Gospel like a tree to the people of God: they find in it shelter from all the storms of life; shade from the scorching sun of persecution; and never-failing food for their souls. And as birds of various kinds, different in plumage and in song, lodge in the branches of the same tree, so will nations differing in colour and in speech all
be lodged securely in the gospel tree, be safely housed within the Church of Christ; the branches of a tree spread in all directions; thus also will that blessed Gospel extend its arms far and wide, to embrace the believing penitent, whether from the north or from the south, from the east or the west. This is beautifully expressed in the prophecy of Ezekiel xvii. 23. "In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell."'
EMILY. 'Shall I read the next parable, Mamma?'
Do my love; read it slowly,
and consider it as you
EMILY reads:" Another parable spake he unto them. The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." Matt. xiii. 34. I ought to understand about the leaven, for I was look