The Wheat and the Tares
Another parable He set before them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is likened to a man sowing good seed in his field. And while the men slept, his enemy came, and sowed tares in the midst of the wheat, and went his way.
And when the blade sprouted, and bore fruit, then appeared also the tares. And the servants of the householder, coming, said to him, Lord, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then has it the tares?
But he declared to them, A man, an enemy, has done this. And the servants said to him, Willest thou then that we go and collect them?
But he declared, No, lest while you collect the tares, you root up the wheat together with them. Let both grow together even to the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First collect the tares, and bind them into bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.
Sowing good seed and tares
AE 911:3. “The man who sowed good seed in his field” means the Lord as to the Divine truth, which is the Word, in the church. “The man,” who is called in the following verses “the Son of man,” is the Lord as to the Word. “Good seed” is Divine truth, and “field” is the church where the Word is. “While men slept his enemy came and sowed tares, and went away,” signifies that while men are living a natural life, or the life of the world, evils from hell secretly, or while they are unconscious of it, introduce and implant falsities, “to sleep” signifying to live a natural life or the life of the world, since such a life is sleep as compared with spiritual life, which is wakefulness. The “enemy” signifies evils from hell, which influence that life when it is separated from spiritual life. “To sow tares” signifies to insinuate and implant falsities. “And went away” signifies that it was done secretly and when they were unconscious of it. “But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the tares appeared also,” signifies that when truth increased and brought forth good, falsities from evil were mingled with it. “The blade springing up” signifies truth such as it is when it is first received, “fruit” signifies good, and “tares” falsities from evil, here these mingled with truths.
Don’t collect the tares
AE 911:4. “But he said, No, lest while you collect the tares you root up the wheat together with them,” signifies that thus truth from good and its increase would also perish. For truths are mingled with falsities with the men of the church, and these cannot be separated and the falsities cast out until they are reformed.
TCR 532. VII. TRUE REPENTANCE IS EXAMINING, NOT ONLY THE ACTIONS OF ONE’S LIFE, BUT ALSO THE INTENTIONS OF ONE’S WILL. True repentance is examining, not only the actions of one’s life, but also the intentions of one’s will, for the reason that the acts are done by the understanding and the will. For man speaks from his thought, and acts from his will. Therefore speech is the thought speaking, and action is the will acting. And this being the source of words and deeds, it follows indubitably that it is the will and thought that sin when the body sins.
Man can indeed repent of evils that he has done in body, and still think and will evilb But this is like cutting off the trunk of a bad tree, and leaving its root in the ground, from which the same bad tree grows up again and spreads forth its branches. But it is different when the root also is torn up; and this is done in man when he examines the intentions of his will and puts away his evils by repentance.
Man examines the intentions of his will when he examines his thoughts, for in these the intentions make themselves manifest; as, for example, when his thought, will, and intention incline to revenge, adultery, theft, false witness, and to lust after them; also [when he inclines] to blasphemy against God and the holy Word and the church, and so on. If he continues to direct his attention to this, and to inquire whether he would actually commit these evils if fear of the law and for his reputation did not hinder; and if after this scrutiny he determines that he does not will these things because they are sins, he truly and interiorly repents; and still more when these evils are delightful to him, and he is free to do them, and yet he resists and abstains. He who practices this repeatedly, perceives the delights of evil, when they return, as undelightful, and finally he condemns them to hell. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:
Whoever wishes to find his soul shall lose it; and whoever would lose his soul for My sake shall find it (Matt. 10:39). He that puts away the evils of his will by such repentance is like one who in due time plucks up the tares sown in his field by the devil, so that the seed implanted by the Lord God the Savior finds a clear soil and grows to a harvest (Matt. 13:24–30).
Questions and Comments
- How might “evils from hell secretly, or while [we] are unconscious of it, introduce and implant falsities”?
- AE 911.4 says that with the men of the church falsities are not separated and cast out until they are reformed. Can falsities be cast out while we are still here on earth?
- TCR 532 seems to indicate that “tares” can be pulled up during life on earth. How do we do that and make sure we get the roots too?
- Thinking from TCR 532, what happens if we pull up a tare before we can get the roots out too?