April 18 PDF Print E-mail
"Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." — Matthew 13:33.

We may consider the kingdom of heaven, as intending the empire of the Gospel in the world, and also the empire of grace in the heart.

Let us confine our attention to the latter.

The leaven in the meal is a foreign importation. It is not naturally in the meal, nor derived from it. It is the same with Divine grace. Though it resides in us, it does not arise from us; for in our natural state dwelleth no good thing. It is altogether a new production; and so alien is it from the man himself, who is the subject of it, that the introduction of the principle occasions a ferment, or contest, that lasts for life; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

The leaven in the meal is active, and operating. There it works, and evinces its residence by its agency. And the grace of God, is this a dead, powerless thing? Is it a notion, or a principle? We read of the work of faith, the labour of love, the patience of hope. The same may be said of repentance: "What carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge!" I will show thee, says James, my faith by my works I will show thee the sun, by its shining; and the spring, by the streams. Faith justifies the soul, but works justify faith, and prove it to be of the operation of God.

The leaven is assimilating. It converts, it changes; not by destroying the substance of the meal, but altering the quality; communicating its own property, tincture*, relish. It is the same here. We are transformed by the renewing of the mind. The man remains physically the same as he was before — the same in his relations, talents, condition, business. Yet he is another man, a new man. He is evangelized. He has something of the holy and heavenly nature of divine truth in him. If the grace of God be light, it enlightens him; if salt, it seasons him; if glory, it glorifies him; if leaven, it leavens him.

The operation of the leaven is gradual. The effect in the meal is not produced at once, but by degrees. And do we not read of being renewed day by day; of going from strength to strength; of being changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord? The work would want the evidence of analogy, if it were instantaneous. In the family, we see children becoming young men, and young men becoming fathers. In the field, we see, first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. Some are not sensible of their religious advancement, and the reason is, they judge by the growing, rather than by the growth. The one escapes us, the other is perceptible.

Were you to stand by the side of the most rapidly growing plant, you would not see it grow, but you would see when it was grown. Thus judge yourselves, and see whether there is not an increase in your convictions of sin, and the vanity of the world, and the preciousness of the Saviour. Thus look at your dispositions, your dependence, your taste, your diligence, your self-denial, in the service and ways of God.

The influence of the leaven is diffusive. Commencing from the centre, it reaches, in due time, to the extremities, and penetrates every particle of the meal. The grace of God is lodged in the heart, but it is not confined there. It reaches all the powers of the man's mind, and all the senses of his body. It enters all his situations, and circumstances in life. It affects him in the field, in the shop, in the family, in all his connexions, in all his civil and common actions, and whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he does all to the glory of God.

And, as the leaven ultimately attains its object, and leavens the whole, so here the issue of the grace of God will be universal and complete holiness. It will sanctify us wholly — body, soul, and spirit. It will perfect that which concerneth us. And the result is sure, even now. How small soever the leaven is, compared with the mass, the less will prevail, and subdue the greater. The dawn will chase away the night, and blaze in full day. "He which hath begun a good work, will perform it;" let us not despise, therefore, the day of small things, either in ourselves or others.

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay


* act of dyeing — Ed.

 
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