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The Hidden Leaven.

The Hidden Leaven.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
STEPHEN OLIN, D.D., LL.D.,


The kingdom of heaven is hke unto leaven, which a woman took and
hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. — Matth.,
xiii., 33.
STEPHEN OLIN, D.D., LL.D.,


The kingdom of heaven is hke unto leaven, which a woman took and
hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. — Matth.,
xiii., 33.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 18, 2013
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THE HIDDE LEAVE.STEPHE OLI, D.D., LL.D.,The kingdom of heaven is hke unto leaven, which a woman took andhid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. — Matth.,xiii., 33.There is a very important sense in which the divine ad-ministration over the world and its inhabitants does not con-form to the analogy here employed to shadow forth its char-acter and its action. The government of the material uni-verse — the laws which produce and modify the various con-ditions and changes of our physical state, are not subject toprogress or variation, but are absolute and perfect. earlythe same may be said of the Divine providence which is inces-santly exercised over human affairs. Many deep questionshave arisen, and many more may arise, as to the extent andinfluence of this supervision — as to the degree and kind of its interference, and the sphere and mode of its operation ;but no doubt can be entertained, by either a pious or a phil-osophic mind, in regard to its free action and uncontrolledauthority within its appropriate, allotted orbit. Here, noless divinely than over physical nature, " the Lord reigneth,"though certainly under such conditions, and with such an in-violable respect for human freedom and agency, as the wis-dom of the Most High is wont to prescribe to its own plansand operations.The kingdom of heaven, that " is like unto leaven, whicha woman took and hid in three measures of meal till thewhole was leavened," is unlike God's reign over physical na-ture, or the ministries of his providence. It is capable of enlargement. It advances by growth. It proceeds fromTHE HIDDE LEAVE. 285
 
small beginnings to universal dominion. Such is the king-dom which the adorable Redeemer seeks to establish in theM^orld and in the human heart.1. The doctrine of the text finds apt and instructive illus-tration in the first propagation and subsequent history of theGospel. We never more clearly discern what are the realelements of power and progress in our holy religion thanwhen we contemplate the Church in its infancy. Twelveunlettered men, the most obscure in their social position, andutterly destitute of all the usual means of extending theirauthority or propagating their opinions, were then the soledepositories and apostles of the religious system which aspiredto no less an achievement than the subversion of all existingforms of idolatry, and the universal establishment of a newcreed in religion and ethics, and of new principles and modesof worship. Verily, the leaven was " hidden." obody wouldhave suspected that the little company, assembled with theirpersecuted Master, in an upper room at Jerusalem, were tobe the chief instruments of the mightiest of revolutionsHerod, who slew the innocent babes of Bethlehem, lest theremight be in some one of them the undeveloped germ of greatpowers and high destinies, could hardly have feared a dozenpeasants and fishermen, of simple, blameless habits, and themost unambitious pretensions. In this humble band, how-ever, were hidden the elements of a power absolutely unlim-ited. It was a divine power ; and the Almighty is wont toconceal rather than to display his resources. The windswhich stir the depths of the ocean are unseen. The all-per-vading agency which controls the heavenly bodies, and im-poses its laws on every particle of matter upon or under theface of the earth, Avorks wdthout friction, and gives forth nosound.It was for the glory of God that the excellent treasuresof his truth were committed to earthen vessels, and it wasfavorable to the spread of the Gospel among the common peo-
 
286 THE HIDDE LEAVE.pie that its ministers were too humble to provoke the jeal-ousy and interference of the government. The Gospel waspreached to the poor, and soon made effectual lodgment inthe faith and the love of the multitude. Thenceforth it hadfoothold and power for progress among men. This is theorder in which pure religion makes its advancements. otmany wise, not many rich are at first called. The leavenis hidden and works in the masses, and by-and-by rises tothe higher places of society. Religion works upward, sel-dom downward ; and they who adapt their plans and op-erations to the few, rather than to the needy many, arelikely to discover, in due time, that they lack a basis for ex-tensive usefulness and success. Stately towers, and gilding,and ornaments must totter when the winds blow and thefloods come, if they do not rest upon massive and solid foun-dations. To follow more closely the figure of our parable,the process I have indicated may produce dainty confection-ery for a few pampered appetites, but not wholesome breadfor the thousands of hungry souls who are ready to perish.2. Still guided by our parable, we may learn from it thatit is the duty of the Church to make a strenuous use of themeans of saving the people by spreading the Gospel. Theleaven must be put in the meal in order that its peculiarpowers may be brought into action, and that it may accom-plish its proper function. It is else good for nothing. It is,as to all valuable results, as " salt without savor." otonly is the meal the proper material to be transformed intowholesome food by the leaven, but it is the only element towhich the leaven is adapted and in which it can operate. Ifear that our covetousness and our backslidings of heart arefast at work to transform us, as a Church, into Antinomians."We have, no doubt, a sound faith in the Gospel as the onlyway of salvation, but we honor it so much or so little, thatwe are doing decidedly less than others, our obligations con-sidered, to propagate its doctrines and carry out its measures.

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