24 He proposed another parable - in which he farther explains the case
of unfruitful hearers. The kingdom of heaven (as has been observed before)
sometimes signifies eternal glory: sometimes the way to it, inward religion;
sometimes, as here, the Gospel dispensation: the phrase is likewise used
for a person or thing relating to any one of those: so in this place it
means, Christ preaching the Gospel, who is like a man sowing good seed
- The expression, is like, both here and in several other places, only
means, that the thing spoken of may be illustrated by the following similitude.
Who sowed good seed in his field - God sowed nothing but good in his whole
creation. Christ sowed only the good seed of truth in his Church.
25 But while men slept - They ought to have watched: the Lord of the
field sleepeth not. His enemy came and sowed darnel - This is very like
wheat, and commonly grows among wheat rather than among other grain: but
tares or vetches are of the pulse kind, and bear no resemblance to wheat.
26 When the blade was sprung up, then appeared the darnel - It was not
discerned before: it seldom appears, as soon as the good seed is sown:
all at first appears to be peace, and love, and joy.
27 Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it darnel?
- Not from the parent of good. Even the heathen could say,
"No evil can from thee proceed: 'Tis only suffer'd, not decreed: As
darkness is not from the sun, Nor mount the shades, till he is gone."
28 He said, An enemy hath done this - A plain answer to the great question
concerning the origin of evil. God made men (as he did angels) intelligent
creatures, and consequently free either to choose good or evil: but he
implanted no evil in the human soul: An enemy (with man's concurrence)
hath done this. Darnel, in the Church, is properly outside Christians,
such as have the form of godliness, without the power. Open sinners, such
as have neither the form nor the power, are not so properly darnel, as
thistles and brambles: these ought to be rooted up without delay, and not
suffered in the Christian community. Whereas should fallible men attempt
to gather up the darnel, they would often root up the wheat with them.