He putteth in the sickle - ΑποϚελλει, he sendeth out the sickle, i.e. the reapers; the instrument, by a metonomy, being put for the persons who use it. This is a common figure. It has been supposed that our Lord intimates here that, as soon as a soul is made completely holy, it is taken into the kingdom of God. But certainly the parable does not say so. When the corn is ripe, it is reaped for the benefit of him who sowed it; for it can be of little or no use till it be ripe: so when a soul is saved from all sin, it is capable of being fully employed in the work of the Lord: it is then, and not till then, fully fitted for the Master's use. God saves men to the uttermost, that they may here perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name. To take them away the moment they are capable of doing this, would be, so far, to deprive the world and the Church of the manifestation of the glory of his grace. "But the text says, he immediately sendeth out the sickle; and this means that the person dies, and is taken into glory, as soon as he is fit for it." No, for there may be millions of cases, where, though to die would be gain, yet to live may be far better for the Church, and for an increase of the life of Christ to the soul. See Philemon 1:21, Philemon 1:24. Besides, if we attempt to make the parable speak here what seems to be implied in the letter, then we may say, with equal propriety, that Christ sleeps and wakes alternately; and that his own grace grows, he knows not how, in the heart in which he has planted it.
On these two parables we may remark: - That a preacher is a person employed by God, and sent out to sow the good seed of his kingdom in the souls of men.
That it is a sin against God to stay in the field and not sow.
That it is a sin to pretend to sow, when a man is not furnished by the keeper of the granary with any more seed.
That it is a high offense against God to change the Master's seed, to mix it, or to sow bad seed in the place of it.
That he is not a seeds-man of God who desires to sow by the way side, etc., and not on the proper ground, i.e. he who loves to preach only to genteel congregations, to people of sense and fashion, and feels it a pain and a cross to labor among the poor and the ignorant.
6. That he who sows with a simple, upright heart, the seed of his Master, shall (though some may be unfruitful) see the seed take deep root; and, notwithstanding the unfaithfulness and sloth of many of his hearers, he shall doubtless come with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. See Quesnel.