The Grain of Mustard Seed

THE PARABLES of JESUS CHRIST EXPLAINED

BY THE REV. J. CLOWES, M.A.

LATE RECTOR OF ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE, MANCHESTER, AND FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

Whoso readeth let him understand.—Matt. xxiv. 15.

A NEW EDITION.

1851.

 LONDON :
PRINTED AT D. BATTEN’S OFFICE, CLAPHAM COMMON.

THE PARABLE OF THE GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED

Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is the greatest amongst herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Matthew 13:31, 32

We have already seen that by the Kingdom of Heaven is meant the government of the Divine Love and wisdom of Jesus Christ. This kingdom is here likened to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man sowed in his field, because the growth of the divine love and wisdom in man is from a small beginning, inasmuch as man, under the first reception of heavenly truth, is led to suppose that he can do good from himself, and not from the Lord, when yet such good is nothing but evil: but whereas, he is in a state of regeneration, there is something of good, but the least of all.

By this least of all seeds, when it is grown, being greater than herbs, and becoming a tree, is meant, that as faith is conjoining to love, the growth becomes greater, answering to that of the herb, until at length, when faith and love are fully conjoined, it acquires a full growth, answering to that of a tree.

By the birds of the air are to be understood things intellectual, or truths exalted into the higher or inner region of the understanding; and by the branches of the tree, the scientifics of those truths, or truth as it is received from the letter of the Word, when it first enters the memory, and is there deposited, as mere science of heavenly things; and by the birds making their nests in these branches, is denoted, that when faith and love are fully conjoined, then truths, or things intellectual, continually multiply and increase their kind in scientifics, which are of the memory.

We learn, generally, from this parable, that the Kingdom of Heaven, in man, who is the government of the Divine Love and Wisdom, is small at its beginning, because man, under the first reception of truth, supposes that he does good from himself. We are instructed further, not to be discouraged under these small beginnings, because, if we proceed patiently to acquire faith and love, there will be a gradual increase of heavenly good; until at length, when the conjunction is complete, the tree of righteousness will grow to its full size; in which case, things intellectual, which are heavenly truths exalted in the inner man, will be connected with the scientifics of truth in the outward man, and, by virtue of such connection, will multiply and increase immensely after their kind, until the human mind is restored to the order of heaven, through the reception of heavenly truth in all its degrees.