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is more especially to be noted in the serm. last of his works: He created man in his own image', that is on the model of his own moral goodness. Such was his exalted nature, when he was first placed in paradise. But soon, too soon an Enemy intruded into the garden of the Lord, and sowed his tares among the wheat. And when by his subtle insinuations he had prevailed upon our first Parents to transgress that one command which their Creator had imposed, corruption and disorder entered into the world, And as he contrived at first to sow his tares in paradise, so he has continued ever since very diligent in sowing his tares in the human heart; in consequence of which there is a law in our body warring against the law of our mind, and striving to bring it into captivity to the dominion of sin 8.
All this is accurately seen by the Creator and Governor of the world. For his eye is in every place beholding the evil and the good. But though for a time he suffers evil to prevail, he does not suffer it to shoot in such luxuriance as to choke the better seed. Though
• Gen, i, 27.
$ Gen. iii.
& Rom. vii. 23.
serm, man is fallen from his primitive inno
cence, though our nature is corrupted and depraved, and we sensibly perceive in our hearts a strong propensity to evil, yet the God of mercies does not give us over into the hands of an Enemy. He employs every means consistent with the liberty of human -choice, to restore us to holiness upon earth, and to bring us to happiness in heaven, He has given us reason for a guide to enable us to discriminate between right and wrong: he has given us conscience for a monitor to direet us in chusing between good and evil. In support of the suggestions of reason and conscience he hath superadded a written word, which affords a certain rule of conduct; and administers a most prevailing motive taia wise and proper choice:ile continues to gite us the grace.-of-his Holy Spirit to defend us, if we be not wanting to ourselves, from the assaultst and devices of the Tempter, and to make us grow in grace in spite of every impediment and incumbrance.
. But another question may arise in this argument; since God has an absos lute authority over all his works, why should he be satisfied with counteract
ing evil, when he might suppress it al- seraf. together? Why should he permit in his 'V. creation a perpetual conflict with an av Enemy, when at a word he might reduce him to nothing? For this our reason is again at a loss to account: and for a satisfactory solution of this difficulty we must again have recourse to the word of revelation, which instructs us that this temporary alloy of evil is essential to the trial and even the subsistence of the good. And this corresponds with the answer given to the Servants in the parable, when they asked their Lord whether they should go and root out the tarès from among the wheat: but he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. ,
To constitute a state of trial, which the present life is designed to be, it is necessary that there should be some conflict in the choice we make. For unless there was evil to refuse, what virtue could there be in chusing good ? Unless we had passions to control and temptations to resist, what exercise could we have to prove and establish our spiritual character?
To constitute a state of trial it seems equally expedient, that the retribution of our works should be remitted to a distant period, even to that future life, when the evil shall be finally separated from the good. Let both grow together until the harvest, is the wise and temperate language of the spiritual Sower, If an instant recompence of reward or punishment were the immediate and invariable consequence of doing good or evil, what room could there be for trial, where there could not exist any liberty of choice? But when the rewards of virtue and the punishments of vice are removed into another world, our spiritual character is capable of trial, because we are left at liberty to chuse between the good and the evil. To determine us however to a wise and proper choice, life and death are set before us in the infallible word of God: if we chuse the good, we shall reap everlasting life; and if we chuse the evil, we shall incur everlasting death.
After this more general view of the parable, I. come now to consider that particular doctrine which it was intended more expressly to incul.
cate; namely, That for the present life serm. the Wicked are endured for the sake of the Righteous. That the good seed may take no damage by a premature attempt to eradicate the tares, they are suffered to grow together until the end of the world, when a final separation will be made.
If we look into the history of the Patriarchs and the chosen People, when God more ostensibly interfered in the government of the Universe, we may
find that the judgements of the Lord : have been frequently abroad in the
earth, and that at different times he has taken exemplary vengeance on guilty nations and a guilty world. Yet in all this display of avenging justice he has been always pleased to take the righteous under his more especial providence and protection. Thus when he brought a flood upon a world of ungodly men, he saved Noah a Preacher and a. Practiser of Righteousness with all his righteous house. And when he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, he delivered righteous Lot and his family from the general overthrow. Even in this awful exercise of justice we see a memorable instance of the in