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therefore beg that you will be constant in attending, and not miss hearing any part. And I must also beg, that you will be very attentive to me, and try to remember what I say; I shall, this evening, merely repeat the parable to you, with a very short explanation as I go on.
But previously to this, let me ask you, whether you know what a parable is. I have often told you. But I will at present give you one, by way of specimen, or sample, which I think you must understand, and which will help you in remembering what is meant by a parable, as well as otherwise be of use to you.
Suppose I was to describe the effects which my preaching has on different people. Suppose I compare myself preaching, to one of you, any one of you sowing or planting corn or grain in your lands. Suppose some grains fall on the ground and the birds pick them up. Suppose other
grains to be dropped into a place, which is very rocky, and very shallow. Suppose you neglect some particular holes, and that the grass and the weeds choke them. And suppose some grains are dropped into fine, rich earth, are kept quite clean, cherished by the rains and the dew, and come to perfection. Now, were I thus to speak, I should speak a parable: and the parable would have in it a great deal of truth, and a great deal of instruction. For the success of preaching depends on the disposition of the hearers. A good heart, watered by the grace of God, like good land, taken care of, and blessed with showers, makes a great return. Light-minded, careless, thoughtless people receive no more advantage from preaching, than you did, when your corn fell on the ground, and the birds picked it up. And when persons pay not much attention to what is preached, but hear, and forget immediately, they are like the rocky, shallow ground, out of which the corn sprang but soon withered,
And when people are so taken up with their business and their pleasures, that they cannot attend to the word of God, they are like the ground full of grass. As the grass chokes the corn, so do cares and pleasures, marketings, working out for hire, and dances on Sundays, prevent some slaves from improving as they ought. And as for the good ground-may you, my Christian hearers, be like that. That cherished the corn: so may you, the word preached to you! that brought forth abundantly: so may you abound in every good work.
But now for the parable, from which, perhaps, I have been kept too long. The kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man, that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. The Christian religion is the kingdom of heaven. This religion is God's vineyard, the favourite vine of his own planting. And when he had agreed
with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. The Christian religion teaches us what shall be our reward for embracing it. The Jews were the first, who went into this vineyardwere first called upon to profess this religion and to become Christians.-And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, and said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I will give you. And they went their way. Again, he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. Jesus Christ continued to call the Jews into his kingdom, and invited them to become Christians by his apostles, after he went up into heaven. And some of them did become Christians, did enter into the vineyard.And about the eleventh hour, the householder went out and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle. They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. It
was not their fault. If the Gentiles, that is, every other people except the Jewswere not Christians, it was not their fault. They had not been invited to become such. They had not been called into the vineyard. The Christian religion had not been preached to them.-He saith unto them, that is, to those who were standing idle at the eleventh hour, a very late hour, almost evening, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came, that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house, saying, these last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast