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CHRIST'S PARABLES,— THE GROWING SEED

CHRIST'S PARABLES,— THE GROWING SEED

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


St. Mark iv. ^8, 29.

For the earth hringeth forth fruU ofhersdf, first the Hade, then the ear,
after that the fuU com in the ear. But when the fnUt is brought
forthy immediately they put in the sickUf because the harvest is come.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


St. Mark iv. ^8, 29.

For the earth hringeth forth fruU ofhersdf, first the Hade, then the ear,
after that the fuU com in the ear. But when the fnUt is brought
forthy immediately they put in the sickUf because the harvest is come.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 05, 2013
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CHRIST'S PARABLES,— THE GROWIG SEEDBY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.St. Mark iv. ^8, 29.For the earth hringeth forth fruU ofhersdf, first the Hade, then the ear,after that the fuU com in the ear. But when the fnUt is broughtforthy immediately they put in the sickUf because the harvest is come.The short parable from which these two verses are taken isvery remarkable. It is to be found only in St. Mark'sGospel, although his account, geuerally speaking, is verymuch confined to the miracles of our Lord, and gives fewerof His parables and discourses. And it is one of thoseparables which in the general view which they give of human life and character are so peculiar to our Lord.It speaks literally of the kingdom of God, that is, of thestate of Christians considered together as a body ; but itdescribes no less truly the state of individual Christians,and it is in this point of view that I am proposing now toconsider it.It begins, ' So is the kingdom of God, as if a manshould cast seed into the ground, and should sleep and risenight and day, and the set'd should spring and grow up, heknoweth not how.' ow the seed cast into the ground isundoubtedly to be understood of the knowledge of goodwhich may be at any time laid before the mind of another.We have an opportunity, it may be, of doing this ; aCHRIST'S PARABLES.— THE GROWIG SEED. 141person is with us for a certain time, and then perhaps isremoved from us ; we must even leave the seed to itself and go on our way, trusting that God in His good provi-dence will preserve it, and make it spring up in its season.
 
It does spring up, and the plant begins to grow, verysmall at first, then larger, then showing signs of cominginto ear, then coming into ear, and lastly ripening. Wemay be impatient for its appearing sooner, but it waits itsown time ; we may wish to forward its growth, but we cando nothing for it ; it comes on and ripens in its season ;and when it is ripe, then they put in the sickle, becausethe harvest is come. Then we are repaid, and much morethan repaid, for any labour which we may in the beginainghave bestowed on it. Its fruit speaks for itself, and wesee and taste its benefits.Still however it may be asked, what is the lessonwhich we are to learn from this ; for it is not the customof our Lord merely to state a thing as a matter of factactually occurring in life, unless there may be somethingderived from it practically useful. And we cannot supposethat He means to advise us to be careless, to take no painsof our own, but to leave the event wholly to God ; tosleep and rise night and day without taking any thoughtfor the welfare of those whom we wish to benefit ; in thehope that God will be watching for us though we may beasleep, and that He will bring forward and ripen the fruitwhich we have neglected.Undoubtedly it does not mean this ; for how does ourLord represent Himself? — as the gardener digging aboutand dressing the barren fig-tree, in the hope that it mightperhaps at last bring forth fruit. He did not leave it toitself, saying that God would take care of it, and eithercure it in His own time or destroy it; but He labouredupon it that its nature might be altered, and that so Godmight not destroy it. And what Christ teaches us in one142 CHRISrS PARABLES.— THE GROWIa SEED.parable will never contradict what He teaches us inanother.
 
Yet the two parables teach us diflferent lessons, eachmaking that of the other complete. We should do allthat we can do, and then leave the event to God withconfidence. To provide for the future by any present actis wise and good; but to be anxious about the future,where no act of ours can affect it, is a weakness and awant of faith. The parable of the fig-tree teaches us theduty of the first, the parable of the growth of the comwhile men slept, teaches us the foolishness of the second.But together with a vain anxiety, the parable alsocondemns a vain impatience. ^ The earth brought forth,first the blade, then the ear, after that the full com in theear.' Each in its own order, but not all at once, and stillless the last first. What we should look for in the springis promise, in the simmier and autumn, it is performance.What should disappoint us is to find these wanting; itwere a strange folly that should seek in siunmer for thefiresh leaves and delicate flowers of spring, or in springshould require the deep foliage and abundant fruits of summer.ow why does all this fit particularly the present occa-sion ? Or is it merely the explanation of a part of the Scrip-ture which may be given on one day as well as on another ?It does suit the present time, I think, particularly. Forunreasonable expectations are sure to be followed by dis-appointment no less unreasonable. If from confirmation,from this day's communion, from our serious thoughts andearnest prayers, we expect too large or too early a return,we shall siu-ely be disappointed, and apt to think, becausewe found not the good which we looked for, that thereforethe ordinances, the prayers, and the resolutions were all invain. Then follows a greater and more desperate careless-ness, because we think that care has done no good already.CHRISrS PARABLES— THE GROWIa SEED. 143

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