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them, and that it will not fail to produce an harvest “ fitted for immortality !"
That we may not be too much alarmed with the notion of what is expected from us, and that we may repose with tranquil minds on the consciousness of upright intention, it is salutary to attend to the expression which marks the different
proportions of the fruit produced. They “ which are sown on good ground hear “ the word, and receive it, and bring forth “ fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and
some an hundred.”—This variety may arise from many accidental circumstances of condition, of information, of abilities,and one person may thus attain a much higher progress in piety and virtue than another; yet, wherever there is the good soil, or the “ honest and good heart," there will be fruit in some proportion, and that fruit will finally be gathered into the garner of God! This, in truth, is the mighty object to which all piety and goodness finally aspire; and this the prospect which carries them with dignity and firmness through the temptations and disorders of the world. It is this high prospect of future exaltation which encourages them now “ to bring forth fruit with patience," and which lifts the eyes of the good above the fleeting shadows of the present lifes for the things which are seen are tem“poral, but the things which are unseen “ are eternal !"
A very interesting view is given us in another parable immediately following, of the silent, and often unnoticed progress of a pious life, from its first beginnings, to that lofty consummation which awaits it. The image is the same as that in the parable which I have illustrated, and it is applied in a beautiful manner, to point out the tranquillity with which every man, who aims at performing his duty, ought to look forward to that last hour, which,
while it carries the
of destruction, is sent by a watchful Providence to complete the great object of his destination.“And he said, So is the kingdom of
God, as if a man should cast seed into “ the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should
spring and grow up, he knoweth not “ how. For the earth bringeth forth « fruit of herself, first the blade, then the “ ear, after that the full corn in the ear. “ But when the fruit is brought forth, im“mediately he putteth in the sickle, be“ cause the harvest is come.”
A similar image is applied in the verses which follow, to the progress of the Gospel in the world, which bears, indeed, no faint analogy to that gradual advancement towards perfection to be traced in the life of a good man.-“ And he said, “ Whereunto shall we liken the king“ dom of God, or with what comparison
“ shall we compare it? It is like a grain 6 of mustard seed, which, when it is sown “ in the earth, is less than all the seeds that 66 be in the earth. But when it is sown, “ it groweth up, and becometh greater 66 than all herbs, and shooteth out great “ branches, so that the fowls of the air
may lodge under the shadow of it." These words, as applied to the progress of the Gospel, have undoubtedly been prophetic; and if it is a striking argument in support of Christianity, to compare its influences upon human society, so extensive and so constantly increasing, with the apparent insignificance of its origin, it must add no small weight to this argument to find, that all these
prodigious consequences were from the beginning foreseen by its Author; and that, while he himself had not where to lay his head, he could still predict, that the future generations of men would yet seek for
shelter under the shadow of that tree which he was then sowing in the earth.
Unto us, my brethren, who have been born beneath its branches, and to whom itis given to know “the mysteries of the king“ dom of God,” may he now of his goodness grant, according to the expressions with which our Saviour commonly closes his parables, that “seeing we may see, and “ hearing we may understand,"—that, as
hear the word, we may receive it, and bring forth fruit,”--that we may “ take “ heed to what we hear, since with what “ measure we mete, it shall be measured “ to us, and to them that diligently hear, “ shall more be given,"--and that, while we ponder the invaluable truths which have been conveyed to us under this simple form, as “ we have ears to hear, so “ we may hear!"