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tender, and sincere; they hear and understand, and bring forth fruit with patience; some more, some less. As the seed groweth up into the ear or grain, so doth the word of God, when it comes to perfection, bring forth the fruit of good works. And when the harvest cometh, which is the end of the world, the fruitfui sheaves shall be reaped by the angels, and laid up in the heavenly storehouse; but thorns and tares shall be gathered together and burned. Such will be the end of those who do not understand, and profit by the word of God. This word is preached to me in the Gospel; and if it doth not take effect upon me, the fault will be in the ground, and not in the seed. Grant therefore, O Lord, that I may so hear and receive it, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word,, I may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Q. What is a parable ?
A. It teaches us to understand some things from the nature of other things. It is the doctrine of the Gospel in the language of nature:
Q. Therefore every parable requires an interpretátion?
A. Yes; it teaches us nothing till it is interpreted. A parable without its interpretation, is like a bôdy without a soul; or like the outward sign in a sacra. ment, without the inward and spiritual grace.
Q. What is meant by the seed?
A. The heart of man.
Q. And how do the hearts of men differ from one another?
A. As the different sorts of ground which we see in the field.
Q. What is meant by the highway side ?
A. The heart, which is open and unguarded against all temptations.
Q. What is meant by the fowls of the air? A. Evil spirits, which steal away the word as soon as the people have heard it.
Q. What is the stony ground?
A. The impatient heart of shallow-minded people, who do not understand the word of God, and so can, endure no trouble.
Q. What is meant by the scorching heat of the sun?
A. The cares and pleasures of worldly-minded people.
Q. What happens when they prevail?
A. Yes; because they prick the heart at last, as much as any cares and troubles; and at all times hinder it from attending to the word of God.
Q. What is meant by the good ground?
A. The fruitful sheaves, good Christians, are laid up in the storehouse of God.
Q. What are the wicked ?
Mark iv. 13. And he said unto him, know ye not this parable ? and how then will ye know all parables?
Luke vjïi. 11. The seed is the word of God. ver. 12. Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved ver. 13. They on the rock, are they which when they hear receive the word with joy, but in time of temptation fall away.
Matt. xiii. 22. The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choak the word. ver. 23. The good ground is he that heareth the word and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit.
Matt, xiii. 38. The good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one. ver. 39. The harvest is the end of the world. As the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world.
Heb. xi. 19. Accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure (Gr.) in a parable.
Ezek. xx. 47. Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree—Ah, Lord God, they say of me, doth he not speak parables ?
IND OF PART I,