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PAR T I.
MATTHÈ W xiii. 29. But he faid, Nay; left, while ye gather up the Tares, ye root up also the Wheat with them.
*$$*et*O understand the Text we must
look back as far as the twentyfourth Verse of this Chapter,
where our Saviour puts forth a 张 GGV
Parable, comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a Man who fowed good Seed in his Field ; but while Men sept, his Enemy came and fowed Tares When they both sprung up and appeared in the Field, the Servarits, under a Surprize at the Disappointment, report it to their Master;
among the Wheat.
Sir, didst not thou fow good Seed in thy Field? from whence then hath it Tares? He said unto them, An Enemy hath done this, The Servánts reply, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? In Answer to whïch follow the Words of the Text, But he said, Nay; left, while ye gather up the Tares; ye root up also the Wheat with them.
Take away the Dress of Parable, and what our Saviour here delivers amounts 'to this: There will always be a Mixture in the World of good and bad Men, which no Care or Diligence can prevent; and though Men may and will judge, that the Wicked ought immediately to be cut off by the Hand of God, yet God judges otherwise, and delays his Vengeance for wife and just Reasons; sparing the Wicked at present for the fake of the Righteous; reserving all to that great Day in which the divine Justice shall be fully displayed, and every Man shall receive according to his own Works.
The View of this Parable has, in some Parts of it, I think, been misapprehended. It is intended to represent the necessary Condition of Mankind, some being good, soine bad; a Mixture which, from the very
Nature of Mankind, is always to be expected;
and to justify God in delaying the Punishment of those Sins, which all the World think are ripe for Vengeance. This being the View of the Parable, it is going out of the Way to consider the particular Causes to which the Sins of Men may be ascribed ; for the Question is not, from whence the Sins of Men arise, but why, from whatever Cause they spring, they are not punished ? In the Parable therefore our Lord assigns only a general Reason of the Wickedness of the World, An Enemy hath done this. But there are, who think they see another Reason assigned in the Parable, namely, the Carelessness of the public Governors and Rulers, intimated in those Words, But while Men fept, bis Enemy came and fowed Tares
among the Wheat: And this Text always finds a Place in such Complaints. And there is indeed no Doubt, but that the Negligence of Governors and Magistrates, Civil and Ecclefiastical, may be often one Cause of the Ignorance and Wickedness of the People: But that it is affigned as a Cause in the Parable cannot be proved; for these Words, while Men Nept, instead of charging the Servants with Negligence, plainly shew, that no Care or Diligence of theirs could prevent the
Enemy. Enemy. Whilst they were awake, their Care was awake also, and the Enemy had no Access : But sleep they must, Nature requires it; and then it was the Enemy did the Mischief. Had it been said, while Men played, or were careless, or riotous, that would have been a Charge upon them; but to say, while Men sept, is so far from proving that their Negligence caused it, that it plainly proves their Diligence could not prevent it. For, what will you say ? . Should Husbandmen never Neep? It is a Condition upon which they cannot live, and therefore their sleeping cannot be charged as their Crime. This Circumstance therefore in the Parable is to shew, not the Fault of the Husbandmen, but the Zeal and Industry of the Enemy to do Mischief. Watch him as narrowly as you will, yet still he will break through all your Care and Diligence. If you do but step aside, compelled by the Call of Nature, to eat, to drink, or to sleep, he is ready to take the Opportunity to low his Tares; and the Ground, which will not answer the Hufbandmian's Hope without his Toil, and Labour, and Cost, will produce the ill Seed of its own accord, and yield but too plentiful a Crop. Farther, the Character of the Huf