The leaven

The leaven

Parable of the Lamp. The Tares. The Seed. The Mustard Seed. The Leaven.

(The Gospel History, Section 51)

Another parable he spake unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.

The leaven

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book II Poem XXII)

The Leaven, by Sir John Millais

A blind man held it lightly in his hand—
The jewel that was left him, all his wealth;
Nor saw its radiance, knew its worth: with eyes
Impervious to the light, how see the glow
That little star gives out with every ray?
So found the Lord; how should He make men see,
The glorious, radiant Kingdom—dark to them,
A small thing and opaque, of splendour shorn,
A little trifling toy not worth regard!

Another image took He: See yon dame
Mixing her bread in trough; now, pours she in
Water to hold the meal consistent all,
And, kneading, to the oven straight conveys?
Heavy and flat her bread, a weariness
To him who eats, not satisfied, but sad
With weight of food too leaden to digest!
But, no; she brings a little leaven forth,
Hides it in all that meal, and by-and-by,
She comes to mix, and lo, the whole is light!
Pleasant and good for food the bread she makes;
The man who eats goes strong upon his way.

The hearers pondered: What the leaven, then,
(And what the meal) a little in the midst
Will cause to rise, light bread to feed that flame,
A man’s consuming life, from day to day?
The meal—is’t all the loves and joys and hopes,
The passions and desires, fill that trough—
Man’s heart, where he makes bread to live upon?
Without the leaven, is all heavy, flat,
Scarce to be eaten and endured as food,
And yielding nought to nourish the starved life?
And now, put in the leaven—hopes and joys,
Thoughts, works, desires and loves—why, how they rise,
A glad and light consistence, happy whole!
The leaven, sure, the very Word of God,—
Put in the trough of life transforms the whole
And turns the heavy stuff to wholesome food!
This, then, is like the Kingdom, how a man,
Receiving Word of God in the very midst,
His life is bound in one consistent whole
And he goes light; is bread that man may eat
And nourish soul upon:—Thy Kingdom Come!

St. Matthew xiii. 33.