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when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way-side ; and the fowls 6 came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places,
where they had not much earth ; and forthwith they sprung 6 up, because they had no deepness of earth ; and when the
sun was up, they were scorched ; and because they had no 7 root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and 8 the thorns sprung up, and choked them. But other fell into
good ground ; and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, 9 some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let 10 him hear. - And the disciples came, and said unto him :
4. Some seeds fell by the way-side. the field is here spoken of in which See verse 19. As we have Jesus' the shrubs and briers had not been own interpretation of this parable, entirely rooted out. there is no need of an elaborate up and choked the tender plants. explanation. The Jews had ways 8. Brought forth fruit. Yielded. and paths running through and by An hundred-fold, gc. In eastern the side of their cultivated fields, countries this was a credible inwhich were trodden hard by men crease, where the soil is fertile, and and beasts. Matt. xii. 1. It was in stimulated by a warm atmosphere. one of these paths that our Saviour Gen. xxvi. 13. This incidental alluand his disciples passed through sion to the fertility of the country, the grain fields on the Sabbath-day. which might be deemed extrava
- Fowls came and devoured them up. gant in some parts of the earth, is a As the seeds did not sink into the proof of the uncalculating honesty earth, but lay exposed upon the sur- of the account. The terms, an hunface, they were carried away by the dred, sixty, and thirty fold are not to. birds. Luke adds, viü. 5, “and it be taken literally, but as expressing was trodden down.'
great fruitfulness. This reference 5. Stony places. Rather, rocky to the productiveness of the land of or ledgy places, where the earth was - Palestine is an argument that the very thin, and not merely a soil filled great population mentioned in the with stones. — - Sprung up, because Old Testament might have been they had no deepness of earth. The supported upon it. Owing to nesoil was so shallow, that they soon glect, the country is less fruitful than reached the surface, but had no suf- in former times. ficient root.
9. Who hath ears, fc. A form 6. When the sun was up, &c. In of expression frequently used at the Palestine, seed-time was in Novem- close of his instructions, or of some ber, when the sun was overclouded. remarkable passage; see note on But when the short winter is past, Matt. xi. 15; but, as Campbell obthe heat of the sun parches up the serves, always after some parable, earth, and withers plants that are or prophetic declaration figurativenot deeply rooted.
ly expressed. Jesus distinguished 7. Fell among thorns. Several those, who had ears to hear and a different kinds of thorns are men- disposition to learn, from the rest of tioned in the Scriptures. A part of the thoughtless multitude.
Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and 11 said unto them : Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of 'heaven ; but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he 12 shall have more abundance ; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to 13
10. Why speakest thou unto them But to them it is not given. This in parables? They ask the question, does not mean that they were denied as if it were a new mode of teach- arbitrarily the privilege of undering, to which they were not accus- standing the truths and instructions tomed.
of the Christian system, but had in11. Answered and said. Mark capacitated themselves by their own represents the succeeding conversa- perversity. They did not welcome tion as taking place in private, with or relish the plainest teachings of the Twelve and other disciples. the Gospel. Jesus elsewhere said, Jesus now mentions a reason in an- John iii. 20, 21 : “Every one that swer to the question, why he spoke doeth evil hateth the light, but he in parables. Amongst other causes, that doeth truth cometh to the he adopted this mode because he light;" and vii. 17: “If any man would not longer favor the mul- will do his will, he shall know of titude with privileges which they the doctrine,” i. e. so far as one is abused. He wrapped up his mean- faithful to the light he already ening in the drapery of parables, be- joys, will that light increase in discause they had not profited by his tinctness. plainer teachings, and because such 12. Whosoever hath, to him shall seeds of truth might in this way be be given. Matt. xxv. 29; Luke xix. dropped into their minds, as might, 26. This was a proverbial expresafter he was gone, germinate and sion. Hath is used in two senses, bring forth fruit. It is given unto first, that of possession, and second, you. It is your privilege, because that of improvement. The signifiof your fidelity to the truth as far cation is, that whosoever hath much as you know it. It would be their and makes a good use of it, will duty moreover to spread it to others. have a greater abundance; but who
- The mysteries of the kingdom of soever hath not, i. e. hath little, heaven. Not things incomprehen- shall lose even that little which he sible in their nature, or seemingly seemeth to have, Luke viii. 18, by strange and contradictory; but truths carelessness and negligence. It is before secret, and now made known; not meant that the privileges of the such as the spiritual nature of the slothful are wrested violently from Gospel, its designed extension to them, but that they naturally lose the Gentiles, the suffering character them by neglect. The application of the Messiah, and the succession is, that the Jews, by their inattenof Christianity in the place of Juda- tion and prejudice, lose what they ism. These were mysteries, that had, little though it were, of spiritis, something hidden. But as soon ual privileges, while those who profas they were revealed, they became ited by the instructions of Christ objects of knowledge, and were no
would have more and more. longer mysteries. Rom. xvi. 25; 13. Therefore. So then. He 1 Cor. xiii. 2; Eph. i. 9, iii. 3, 4. states in this verse still further his them in parables, because they seeing see not, and hearing 14 they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is
fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith : “By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye shall
see, 15 and shall not perceive. For this people's heart is waxed gross,
and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and
hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, 16 and should be converted, and I should heal them.” But blessed
are your eyes, for they see ; and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous
men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have reason for using parables. The The description the prophet gives in people were in a moral condition his time is applicable to the people incapable of receiving truth in its of that age. Isaiah probably made naked form. They would be daz- here no prediction, but gave a hiszled by its full blaze ; it must come torical description. Seeing, i. e. to them in the guise of figures and shall see. A Hebrew mode of emallegories. — Because, or since, they phatical expression. seeing see not, fc. They saw the 15. This people's heart is waxed works of Christ and heard his teach- gross, c. Has become fat. The ings, but they were made none the images in this verse are all of a mawiser or better, for they did not un- terial nature, fitted to convey a bold derstand or welcome them. Jesus and striking impression of the sendid not use this mode of teaching to sual, stubborn, and prejudiced state keep the people in ignorance; but of the people of that day. — Lést at
ignorant and perverse, he used any time, fc. Newcome has rensuch a style of address as would in- dered it, “ so that they see not with struct those who were well disposed, their eyes, nor hear with their ears, but would not arouse the passions nor understand with their heart, nor of the prejudiced. And such truths are converted, that I should hea! would be stamped upon their minds them.” They are represented as by this imagery as might revive, in preferring to continue in their dethe course of time, and renovate the based condition. They would not character. Their not seeing, hear- see, lest they should see the light ; ing, and understanding, was not they would not hear, lest they therefore the end he had in view in should hear the truth. employing parables, but simply the 16. Our Lord continues the prophoccasion of their use. These fig- et style of address, and pronounures insinuated the truth, so that it ces a benediction upon his disciples, would be remembered ; whereas had for their good use of their privileges. he spoken plainly, they were so sin- They were happy in having the seeful that they could not or would not ing eye and the hearing ear. Luke understand his doctrine.
x. 23, 24 ; 1 Peter i. 10 – 12. 14. In them is fulfilled, i. e. in 17. Many prophets. Teachers. reference to them the declaration of Have desired to see, fc. Our Lord Isaiah is illustrated Is. vi. 9, 10. here declares, what is evident from
not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the 18
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and 19 understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart ; this is he which received seed by the way-side. But he that received the seed 20 into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it ; yet hath he not root in himself, 21
the whole tenor of Scripture that quickness, as the birds eagerly there was a deep longing amongst snatch their food. Luke, viii. 11, all good men and religious teachers adds, “ The seed is the word of for the coming of a great deliverer. God.” — This is he which received They rejoiced in the day, though it seed, fc. Man is compared to the was far off, and they saw only its field, and not to the seed; as we twilight. John viii. 56; Heb. xi. 13. say, the sown field, meaning the If the Apostles and disciples were field that has received seed. - The happy in seeing the fulfilment of this seed was good, but the field did not great hope in part, how much hap- retain it. So the word was true, pier are we, who have seen the but the hearer did not cherish it. meridian glory of the Sun of Righ- There is now, as then, a class of teousness! How much more respon- way-side hearers. They hearken to sible, that we should walk as the the truth, and perhaps acknowledge children of the light and of the its correctness, but straightway go day!
about their business or pleasures, 18. Hear ye therefore, &c., i. e. and suffer it to slip at once from since you are teachable and inquir- their minds and hearts. It never ing, and love the truth, understand descends below the mere surface of the import of the above parable. their understandings. This is a We are here highly favored in hav- large class ; and nothing more dising our Master's own explanation, courages the teachers of religion, which is useful not merely for this than to have hearers whose souls individual case, but aids us in arriv- seem to have been trodden and worn ing at those principles on which all so smooth, by many-footed cares and parables must be explained. Mark pleasures, as to present an adamaniv. 13. — The parable of the sower, tine front against all serious impresi. e. the explanation of the para- sions, as the polished shield turns ble.
aside every weapon of assault. 19. The word of the kingdom. The 20. Stony places, i. e. rocky or Gospel, the truths of the spiritual ledgy ground.
- Anon. Immediatekingdom of Christ.
The wicked ly. With joy receiveth it. This The evil one.
A personifica- describes a second class of hearers, tion of all that is or tends to evil. common in all
and delineated Jesus adopts the phraseology of his by our Lord with vivid, dramatic time, for thus only could he be un- power. They are not the bronzed, derstood. So Paul uses the phrase, impervious, and indurated souls, “ the god of this world,” 2 Cor. who are susceptible of hardly a moiv. 4, meaning worldly desires. - mentary impression, but those who Catcheth away. Implying haste and are easily affected, perhaps even to
but dureth for a while ; for when tribulation or persecution 22 ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He
also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the
word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, 23 choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that re
tears. They gladly and cordially bial, so that the Apostle said, “ The welcome the truth.
love of money is the root of all 21. Yet hath he not root in him- evil," and most powerfully describself, but dureth; or endureth. But ed its seductive fascination and fatal these persons have no deeply rooted, consequences. 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. well grounded principles. They The desires of ambition, appetite, hear the instructions of religion, as and pleasure, captivate multitudes they witness a show, or listen to a of the young, the spirited, and the play at the theatre ; and it would aspiring, who escape the former seem, at the time, that the effect tempters. Choke the word, fc. would be lasting, so carried away Although men receive the seed of are they by the appeal. But alas? truth, and it becomes rooted, and is it is like the morning cloud and ear- growing apace, yet if they suffer ly dew. - For when tribulation or their characters to be overrun with persecution ariseth, then they fall. weeds and thorns, it cannot become The burning sun of trial withers fruitful, but is choked and destroytheir rootless virtues. The tempta- ed. We have now in the world tions to which they are exposed on this class of thorny ground hearers. account of religion, the difficulties They listen with interest, they unof a Christian life, the inconvenience derstand the preached word, they arising from an unpopular faith, are rooted and grounded in the faith, persecutions, and dangers, cause but, life is the touchstone of the them to apostatize. For the Gospel character. When they go forth to has not struck its roots deep into the the perilous scenes of their probafaculties of their souls. Such is tion, they are beset with thronging the class of stony ground hearers. cares, beguiling pleasures, dazzling
By and by. Presently, soon. - riches, and all the thousand-fold Is offended. Stumbles, is led to shapes of evil. Their better printransgress.
ciples and feelings are overshadow22. The care of this world, and ed by this luxuriant growth of the deceitfulness of riches. Mark temptations. They can produce few adds, “the lust of other things,” blossoms, much less bring any fruit and Luke," the pleasures of this to perfection. Sowing wheat one life.” All the various foes of man's day and tares the other six, can they moral nature are included in this wonder that the harvest is so meadescription. The
of our gre? As has been said, “If adverworldly life, though necessary, are sity slays its thousands, prosperity liable to betray our better interests. slays its ten thousands." It should be our prayer, therefore, above three classes of nominal disthat, whilst our hands are employed ciples are distinct from each other. in worldly avocations, our hearts Thoughtlessness or levity of mind may take hold of something more distinguishes the first ; timidity, or satisfying and durable. The de- a dread of unpleasant consequences ceptive power of riches is prover- the second ; and worldliness, or de