Mark 4:26. So is the kingdom of God The gospel dispensation, whereby God overthrows the kingdom of Satan, collects subjects to himself, and erects and establishes his own kingdom. The grace of God in the soul is also included, erecting that kingdom which is within men, and is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Romans 14:17. As if a man should cast seed into the ground The seed of God’s word a preacher of the gospel casts into the field of the world, and into the hearts of the penitent and believing. And sleeps and rises night and day That is, he has it continually in his thoughts. Meantime, it springs and grows up, he knows not how Even he that sowed it cannot explain how it grows. Here we are taught, “that as the husbandman does not by any efficacy of his own, cause the seed to grow, but leaves it to be nourished by the soil and the sun; so Jesus and his apostles, having taught men the doctrines of true religion, were not by any miraculous force to constrain their wills; far less were they, by the terrors of fire and sword, to interpose visibly for the furthering thereof, but would suffer it to spread by the secret influences of the Spirit, till at length it should obtain its full effect. Moreover, as the husbandman cannot, by the most diligent observation, perceive the corn in his field extending its dimensions as it grows, so the ministers of Christ cannot see the operation of the gospel, [and of divine grace,] upon the minds of men; the effects, however, of its operation, when these are produced, they can discern, just as the husbandman can discern when his corn is fully grown and fit for reaping. In the mean time, the design of the parable is not to lead the ministers of Christ to imagine that religion will flourish without due pains taken about it. It was formed to teach the Jews in particular, that neither the Messiah nor his servants would subdue men by the force of arms, as they supposed he would have done; and also, to prevent the apostles from being dispirited when they did not see immediate success following their labours.” Macknight. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself Greek, αυτοματη , spontaneously. For, as the earth, by a certain curious kind of mechanism which the greatest philosophers cannot fully comprehend, does, as it were, spontaneously, without any assistance from men, carry the seed through the whole progress of vegetation, and produce first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear; so will the gospel gradually spread in the world; and so the penitent, believing soul, in an inexplicable manner, brings forth first weak graces, then stronger, then full holiness: and all this of itself, as a machine whose spring of motion is within itself. Yet, observe the amazing exactness of the comparison: the earth brings forth no corn, (as the soul no holiness,) without both the care and toil of man, and the benign influence of Heaven. When the fruit is brought forth That is, when the corn is full and ripe; he putteth in the sickle God cutteth down and gathereth the fruit into his garner.
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