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Verse 28. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself. That is, it is done without the power of man. It is done while man is engaged in other things. The scope of the place does not require us to suppose that our Saviour meant to say that the earth had any productive power of itself, but only that it produced its fruits not by the power of man. God gives it its power. It has no power of its own. So religion in the heart is not by the power of man. It grows he cannot tell how; and of course he cannot, without Divine aid, control it. It is by the power of God. At the same time, as without industry man would have no harvest, so without active effort he would have no religion. Both are connected with his effort; both are to be measured commonly by his effort, (Php 2:12) both grow he cannot tell how; both increase when the proper means are used; and both depend on God for increase.

First the blade. The green, tender shoot, that first starts out of the earth, before the stalk is formed.

Then the ear. The original means, the stalk or spire of wheat or barley, as well as the ear.

The full corn. The ripe wheat. The grain swollen to its proper size. By this is denoted, undoubtedly, that grace or religion in the heart is of gradual growth. It is at first tender, feeble, perhaps almost imperceptible, like the first shootings of the grain in the earth. Perhaps also, like grain, it often lies long in the earth before there are signs of life. Like the tender grain, also, it needs care, kindness, and culture. A light frost, a cold storm, or a burning sun, alike injure it. So tender piety, in the heart of a child, needs care, kindness, culture. It needs shelter from the frosts and storms of a cold, unfeeling world. It needs the genial dews and mild suns of heaven. In other words, it needs instruction, prayer, and friendly counsel from parents, teachers, ministers, and experienced Christians, that it may grow, and bring forth the full fruits of holiness. Like the grain also, in due time, it will grow strong; it will produce its appropriate fruit—a full and rich harvest, to the praise of God.

{d} "fruit of herself" Ge 1:11,12 {e} "first" Ec 3:1,11

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