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32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

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32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds—not absolutely, but popularly and proverbially, as in Lu 17:6, "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed," that is, "never so little faith."

but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs—not absolutely, but in relation to the small size of the seed, and in warm latitudes proverbially great.

and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof—This is added, no doubt, to express the amplitude of the tree. But as this seed has a hot, fiery vigor, gives out its best virtues when bruised, and is grateful to the taste of birds, which are accordingly attracted to its branches both for shelter and food, is it straining the parable, asks Trench, to suppose that, besides the wonderful growth of His kingdom, our Lord selected this seed to illustrate further the shelter, repose and blessedness it is destined to afford to the nations of the world?