Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
Our blessed Lord having been graciously pleased to speak of the mysteries of his kingdom under the similitude of good seed, as in opposition to tares, the subject becomes exceedingly interesting, that we may obtain a just and proper notion concerning the tares.
I do not presume to speak decidedly on any subject but such as God the Holy Ghost hath been pleased most clearly to reveal; and therefore what the eastern writers have said on the article of tares, I only venture to relate, as the matter appears in their account, leaving the reader to his own conclusions under the grace of God. But if what they have said concerning tares be true, it serves to throw a more beautiful light on our Lord's parable concerning them than is generally understood.
They describe the tares, as in form and colour, so much alike to the pure grain, that to a common eye the difference is not discernable. In the blossoming season the resemblance is said not to be so striking then as in the earlier appearance; but from that time to the fruit forming and advancing to ripeness, the discovery becomes more and more discernable. Hence, the reader will remember the caution given by the householder, not to gather up the tares until the time of harvest, test in plucking up the tares the servants should gather up the true seed with them.
But what makes the parable of Christ so truly striking on the subject is, that while the tares are said to have carried with them so strong a resemblance to the pure seed, the tares differed so very highly from it in quality as to be little short of being poisonous. They possessed the power of intoxicating, and formed a very heavy load on the stomach of those, who by accident, gathered them mingled with their corn.
The parable of our Lord of the wheat and tares contains in its first, plain and obvious sense many delightful instructions; but under this view which eastern writers give, that tares are not simply weeds, that by springing up with good seed check the growth, but are destructive and poisonous, the parable becomes infinitely more pointed. Our Lord indeed, when speaking of the tares, and explaining to his disciples in private the parable, expressly calls them "the children of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them the devil." (See Matthew 13:38-39) But this view of them, as in their nature poisonous, however in appearance like to the good seed, is certainly a striking beauty in the parable.
I would only beg to add a short observation upon the subject, and just to say, under this view, how mistaken must be the notion of those, who fancy that when our Lord said, Let both grow together until the harvest, that this was meant to say, perhaps the tares if continued under the means of grace might become good corn. Surely the Lord Jesus meant no such thing. Never can the children of the kingdom become devils, however too often found in such company, and doing Satan's service, and wearing his livery. Neither can the children of the wicked one become heirs of the kingdom, however like tares in the midst of the good seed they may grow up in the same field, and bear an outward resemblance for a while to the true corn. They are all along defined whose they are, and to whom they belong; and to his all-seeing and discriminating eye they are well known, and their different characters, with their final issue, appointed and determined from everlasting. "In the time of harvest, (saith the Lord Jesus) I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind therein bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matthew 13:30)
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Tares'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/t/tares.html. London. 1828.