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ruptible seed but of incorruptible:"* and John also, "whoso is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed abideth in him."+
These passages seem all like rays of light, converging to a point, in support of the same doctrine; and require little if any comment.
We observe also, in reference to the Humility of its appearance, that this heavenly witness is not given to man as a matured Instinct, ripe with moral lessons, and embracing, as it were, a code of divine truths or propositions for mere speculative instruction; binding, by a sort of irresistible impulse; or imposing, by their universal clearness; or commanding assent, by their own intrinsic authority. But it is given simply as a seed, containing within itself the principles on which a life of immortal blessedness is founded, for amendment of the heart, and involving truly the hopes and interests of a heavenly kingdom; and it is left to man himself to cultivate or neglect it.—It is therefore small in its beginning; and He who knew how easily it might be overlooked, was pleased emphatically and figuratively to represent it as "the least of all seeds."
Under other similitudes we find the same allusion to be conveyed; as the dawning of the light of truth upon the heart shining more and more to the perfect day,‡—the still small voiceş speaking as never man spake,-the babes in Christ,|| and little children of whom the kingdom of Heaven was to consist. All
+ John 1. 3. 7.
* Peter 1. 2. 3.
2 Peter J. 19.
1 Cor. 3. I.
Scripture testimony bears upon this low and meek and docile state, as the first essential, in the school of Christ, to the growth and cultivation of this seed. A striking illustration is afforded in the remarks on little children. "Suffer little children," said Christ, "to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven." And "whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God, as a little child, shall not enter therein."+ We are also to notice that it was immediately after the Disciples had been disputing which among them should be the greatest, that he took a child and set him in the midst of them, saying, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven."‡
Upon another occasion Jesus uttered this language, "I thank thee, O father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."§
The Apostle Peter counsels the early converts new born babes to desire the sincere milk of the word, that they might grow thereby." And Paul addresses the Corinthians as a Christian society, among whom there were many as yet inexperienced, and babes in Christ, whom he had fed with milk and not with meat; for they were not yet able to bear it. I
Mat. 18, 3, 4.
*Mat. 19. 14.
+ Mark 10. 15.
I 1 Cor. 3. 2.
From all these testimonies, we may perceive, that there was an advancement, from small beginnings, in the Christian life-a growing in grace, from stature to stature; and that divine knowledge was unfolded, by degrees, as the spiritual senses were opened to receive it. For that otherwise it could make no vital impression, and, by no other powers, could it be clearly apprehended. But in proportion as this seed was cultivated, and this light, however small, was obeyed, religious advancement proceeded; and a reward was experienced, answerable to that announced to the good and faithful servant, who had occupied diligently with his lord's intrusted talents: "Well done,-thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over more."*
The view now taken, and I think fairly deduced from Scripture, is not new.
In the few lines before quoted from Milton, in allusion to the law of Conscience, he says, "Light after light, well used, they shall attain.”
Law, in his reply to Dr. Trapp, after speaking of the "Fulness of the spirit in Christ," adds, "But in us only a spark or seed of the word is formed and raised up into a new heavenly man."
The following illustration from a modern writer is applicable to the purpose. "In the same manner, as the Divine Being has scattered the seeds of plants and vegetables in the body of the earth, so he has implanted a portion of his own incorruptible seed, or of
Luke 19. 17. and 16. 10.
that which in Scripture language is called the "seed of the kingdom" in the soul of every individual of the human race. As the Sun by its genial influence quickens the vegetable seed, so it is the office of the Holy Spirit, in whom is life, and who resides in the temple of man, to quicken that which is heavenly. And in the same manner as the vegetable seed conceives, and brings forth a plant or a tree, with root, stem, and branches; so if the soul in which the seed of the kingdom is placed, be willing to receive the influence of the Holy Spirit upon it, this seed is quickened, and a spiritual offspring is produced. Now this offspring is as real a birth from the seed in the soul by means of the Spirit, as the plant from its own seed by means of the influence of the Sun."*
"It is a point fit and necessary"—says Lord Bacon, on the Interpretation of Nature," in the front and beginning of this work, without hesitation or reservation to be professed, that it is no less true in this human kingdom of knowledge, than in God's Kingdom of Heaven, that no man shall enter it, except he become first as a little child."
* See Clarkson's Portraiture, vol. 2. chap. 7. sect. 4.
Of its Cultivation.
Though by outward research or intellectual labour the rational faculty may in some respects be accessory to the growth and developement of this seed; yet it is only an incidental help, and not the necessary mean or instrument of its cultivation: For this consists immediately in obedience to the light or knowledge received; in prostration of the soul before its Maker; in humble aspirations to the Father of Mercies for help, direction, and preservation; in charity to all men; in a life of purity and self-denial, and in true hunger and thirst after righteousness and further discoveries of the Divine will.
lt appears to be consistent with fact that a degree of mental expansion and of outward cultivation is necessary for the developement of this seed, by way of preparation for its complete growth; otherwise we should see it attain to perfection in the infant and the uncivilized state of man. But it is certain on the other hand, that the rational intellect may be enlarged to a great extent without any evidence of advancement in the growth of this seed. The growth of the body by outward food, in the wise economy of things, is also a necessary preparation for the growth of the