Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner…
I. 'Tis supposed in the text, that good and evil are really different in kind, absolutely and intrinsically, essentially and in the nature of things. This appears in the similitude under which good and bad men are here represented, of wheat and chaff; which are not mere external arbitrary denominations, but things in their whole nature and kind really and essentially different. The whole foundation of religion, and of God's governing the world at all, as a moral governor, relies entirely upon this principle — that every man is, as to his moral character, what his own behaviour and practice makes him, really and intrinsically, and by as certain and determinate a distinction; as wheat and chaff are, by their real and proper natures, different from each other.
II. A distinct declaration, that the great design of God, as in every dispensation of religion in general, so in the gospel more particularly, is to separate the evil from the good by proper trials; and that this design will be effectually accomplished by Christ — in the present life partly, and to certain degrees; in the future life perfectly, totally, and finally. By temptations, therefore, of all kinds, is the sincerity of men's virtue distinguished in the present life.
III. From hence (I say) arises one obvious and general inference, of great extent and of the highest importance-that whatever doctrine in religion has any tendency to persuade men, or make them imagine that they can be in any degree the better for their profession of the gospel of Christ, any otherwise than as their knowledge of the gospel of Christ makes them to be better and more virtuous men: that is, in the language of my text, whatever tends to persuade men that chaff may pass for wheat, while it continues to be only chaff, is a direct mockery of God, and deceit upon themselves. "Little children," says the apostle, "let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous."
(S. Clarke, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.