Matthew 13:47-50. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, &c. The gospel preached to the world may be compared to a net cast into the sea, and gathering fishes of all kinds. For by the preaching of it congregations are gathered, and a visible church is formed, and both good and bad men are brought to profess themselves members of it, and are mingled together in such a manner, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a proper distinction between them: Christian discipline, however, and strong, close exhortation, in all well-regulated churches, or properly-constituted Christian societies, begin that separation in this world which shall be accomplished by the angels of God in the world to come. “This parable will appear peculiarly proper, if we consider that it was spoken to fishermen, who had been called from their employments, with a promise that they should catch men, Matthew 4:19. It differs from the parable of the tares in its extent, representing the gathering of wicked men in general into the visible church along with the good, by means of the preaching of the gospel, together with the final judgment and state of the wicked; whereas the parable of the tares represents the introduction and punishment of hypocrites in particular.” Macknight.
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