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And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith : “By hear- 14 ing ye shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears 15 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, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” But 16 blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For 17 verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.- Hear ye 18 therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word 19 of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked
14. In them is fulfilled, i.e. in ref- ing ear. Luke x. 23, 24. 1 Peter i. erence to them the declaration of 10–12. Isaiah is illustrated, Is. vi. 9, 10. 17. Many prophets. Teachers.The description the prophet gives Have desired to see, &c. Our Lord in his time is applicable to the peo- here declares, what is evident from ple of that age. Isaiah probably the whole tenor of Scripture, that made here no prediction, but gave there was a deep longing amongst a historical description.-Seeing, i.e. all good men and religious teachers shall see. A Hebrew mode of em- for the coming of a great deliverer. phatical expression.
They rejoiced in the day, though it 15. This people's heart is waxed was far off, and they saw only its gross, &c. Has become fat. The twilight. John viji. 56, Heb. xi. 13. images in this verse are all of a ma- If the Apostles and disciples were terial nature, fitted to convey a bold happy in seeing the fulfilment of and striking impression of the sen- this great hope in part, how much sual, stubborn, and prejudiced state happier are we, who have seen the of the people of that day.-Lest at meridian glory of the Sun of Rightany time, &c. Newcome has ren- eousness! How much more respondered it, “so that they see not with sible, that we should walk as the their eyes, nor hear with their ears, children of the light and of the day! nor understand with their heart, 18. Hear ye therefore, &c., i. e. nor are converted, that I should heal since you are teachable and inquirthem.”. They are represented as ing, and love the truth, understand preferring to continue in their de- the import of the above parable. based condition. They would not We are here highly favored'in havsee, lest they should see the light; ing our Master's own explanation, they would not hear, lest they should which is useful not merely for this hear the truth.
individual case, but aids us in arri16. Our Lord continues the ving at those principles on which prophet's style of address, and pro- all \parables must be explained. nounces a benediction upon his dis- Mark iv. 13.—The parable of the 'ciples, for their good use of their sower, i. e. the explanation of the privileges. They were happy in parable. having the seeing eye and the hear- 19. The word of the kingdom. The
one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart; this is he 20 which received seed by the way-side. But he that received the seed
into stopy places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with 21 joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a
while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the 22 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
Gospel, the truths of the spiritual ly.-With joy receiveth it. This deskingdom of Christ.—The wicked one. cribes a second class of hearers, The evil one. A personification of common in all ages; and delineated all that is or tends to evil. Jesus by our Lord with vivid, dramatic adopts the phraseology of his time, power. They are not the bronzed, for thus only could he be under- impervious, and indurated souls, stood. So Paul uses the phrase, who are susceptible of hardly a mo"the god of this world,” 2 Cor. iv. 4, mentary impression, but those who meaning worldly desires.-Catcheth are easily affected, perhaps even to away. Implying haste and quick- tears. They gladly and cordially ness, as the birds eagerly snatch welcome the truth. their food. Luke, viii. 11, adds, “The 21. Yet hath he not root in himself, seed is the word of God.”—This is he but dureth ; or endureth. But these which received seed, &c. Man is com persons have no deeply rooted, well pared to the field, and not to the grounded principles. They bear the seed; as we say, the sown field, instructions of religion, as they witmeaning the field that has received ness a show, or listen to a play at the seed. The seed was good, but the theatre ;. and it would seem, at the field did not retain it. So the word time, that the effect would be lasting, was true, but the hearer did not so carried away are they by the apcherish it
. There is now, as then, peal. But alas ! it is like the morna class of way-side hearers. They ing cloud and early dew.-For when hearken to the truth, and perhaps tribulation or persecution ariseth, acknowledge its correctness, but then they fall. The burning sun of straightway go about their business trial withers their rootless virtues. or pleasures, and suffer it to slip The temptations to which they are at once from their minds and hearts. exposed on account of religion, the It never descends below the mere difficulties of a Christian life, the surface of their understandings. inconvenience arising from an unThis is a large class ; and nothing popular faith, persecutions, and danmore discourages the teachers of gers, cause them to apostatize. For religion, than to have hearers whose the Gospel has not struck its roots souls seem to have been trodden deep into the faculties of their souls. and worn
so smooth, by many. Such is the class of stony ground footed cares and pleasures, as to hearers.—By and by. Presently, present an adamantine front against soon.— Is offended. Stumbles, is led all serious impressions, as the pol- to transgress. ished shield turns aside every 22. The care of this world, and the weapon of assault.
deceitfulness of rich s. Mark adds, 20. Slony places, i. e. rocky or “the lust of other things,” and Luke, ledgy ground.-Anon. Immediate “ the pleasures of this life," All the
the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that beareth 23 the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.- Another 24
various foes of man's moral nature the harvest is so meagre? As has are included in this description. been said, “If adversity slays its The cares of our worldly life, thousands, prosperity slays its ten though necessary, are liable to be- thousands.”_" The above three classtray our better interests. It should es of nominal disciples are distinct be our prayer, therefore, that, whilst from each other. Thoughtlessness our hands are employed in worldly or levity of mind distinguishes the avocations, our hearts may take first ; timidity, or a dread ot'unpleashold of something more satisfying ant consequences the second; and and durable. The deceptive power worldliness, or devotion to wealth, of riches is proverbial, so that the to business, or to any secular interApostle said, “ The love of money is ests, the third. But they agree in the root of all evil,” and most pow- the effect of their several errors; in erfully described its seductive fas- none of them is Christian faith opecination and fatal consequences. rative.” 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. The desires of 23. Heareth-understandeth-bearambition, appetite, and pleasure, eth fruit. These are the three charcaptivate multitudes of the young, acteristics of a true Christian, in the spirited, and the aspiring, who their natural order. We must first escape the foriner tempters.-Choke read or hear the truth as it is in Jethe word, &c. Although men re- We must then comprehend ceive the seed of truth, and it be- it. Mysteries cannot nourish the comes rooted, and is growing apace, divine life. Finally, there must be yet if they suffer their characters to the practical fruits of boly living, in be overrun with weeds and thorps, piety to God, and benevolence to it cannot become fruitful, but is men, and purity of heart. John choked and destroyed. We have xv. 8, Gal. v. 22, 23. « In a rich now in the world this class of and mellow soil, in a heart that subthorny ground hearers. They listen mits itself to the full influence of with interest, they understand the truth, unchecked by cares and anxpreached word, they are rooted and ieties, under the mild verpal showgrounded in the faith, but life is the ers and sunmer suns of divide touchstone of the character. When grace, with the heart spread open, they go forth to the perilous scenes like a broad luxuriant field to the of their probation, they are beset rays of the morning and evening with thronging cares, beguiling suns and dews, the Gospel takes pleasures, dazzling riches, and all deep root and grows; it has full the thousand-fold shapes of evil. room, and then and there only Their better principles and feelings shows what it is."— Hundred-sixty are overshadowed by this luxuriant -thirty. There are different grades growth of temptations. They can of goodness. All Christians have produce few blossoms, much less not attained to an equal stature. bring any fruit to perfection. Sow. Their powers, privileges, and fideling wheat one day and tares the ity are various. The reward is apother six, can they wonder that portioned in equity to all, The parable put he forth unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is 25 likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while
men slept, his enemy came, and sowed tares among the wheat; and 26 went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth 27 fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder
came and said unto him: Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy 28 field ? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them: An ene
my hath done this. The servants said unto him : Wilt thou then that 29 we go and gather them up? But he said: Nay; lest, while ye gather 30 up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow to
largest acquirements are not to nur- haps referred to in the text. The ture pride, and the smallest are not Persian version confirms this view, to beget discouragement. This par- by rendering it, bitter grain. able reminds preachers that they 26. Brought forth fruit, then apare not to expect that all will profit peared the tares also. The good and by their instructions, or that those the bad plants were so much alike, who do will be all equally benefit- that they were not distinguishable ed. It reminds all of the import- from each other until the fruit apance of hearing the truth, receiving peared. So it is with good and bad it into good and honest hearts, Luke principles. The latter often wear viii. 15, and bringing forth fruit with a specious guise, and are only depatience.
tected when the season arrives of 24. The kingdom of heaven. The bearing fruit. divine administration in establish- 27. So the servants came. These ing and spreading Christianity in facts were introduced to give natthe world. Good seed “is good uralness and vivacity to the story, principles. The bad seed is bad and ought not, therefore, as comprinciples. The wheat is good mentators say, “to be cut to the men, whose characters are formed quick," or pressed too far. Yet we on good principles. The tares are may suppose that the astonishment bad men, whose characters are of the early teachers of Christianity formed on bad principles." Pal- is described, at finding that evil men frey.--The parable is explained by as well as good were within the our Lord himself, verses 37–43. pale of the church. 25. While men slept, i. e. in the
28. Will thou then that we go, &c. night, whilst there were none to ob- The first thought was, that the tares serve the mischief done.—Sowed might be immediately eradicated. tares. It is a question what plant is So there would be those, who, when here meant. The English word they saw the good and the bad inintares describes a kind of vetch. gled together in the same body, Perhaps a noxious weed, as cockle, would be impatient to make a sudor darnel, is intended. In the Rab- den and violent separation between binical writers, however, a spurious the two, little considering how difkind of wheat is inentioned, which ficult it might be to discriminate, insested fields of grain, and some- and how dangerous to the good to what resembled wheat in its form attempt to remove the evil. and growth. That plant was per- 29. Root up also the wheat. The gether until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles, to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.- -Another parable 31 put be forth unto thein, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.
history of the Christian church In the mean time, to those who are powerfully illustrates this passage. impatient of evil, and would vioThe attempt of fallible men to ex- lently root it out, may be applied tirpate those believed to be evil and the language of God, as it is repreheretical from the enclosure of the sented to have been addressed to church has occasioned the frightful Abraham, in the celebrated modern persecutions that darken the pages apologue, in which the patriarch is of history.
described as driving an idolater from 30. Let both grow together until his hospitality into the wilderness : the harvest. The mixture of good "I have borne with him one hundand evil in this life will probably red years, and canst not thou bear continue unto the end. It is not with him a single night?” For the within human power perfectly to interpretation of this parable, see distinguish between the two. Prin- verses 37-43. ciples, men, and institutions, are all 31, 32. See Mark iv. 30–32, Luke of a mottled character. Even truth, xii. 18, 19. carried to extremes, becomes error, 31. Another parable. The object and error itself is powerful, because of this and the following parable is it has in it a tincture of truth. to show that his spiritual kingdom, Characters are so complex, and the from small beginnings, would diroots of good and evil are so mat- late with a mighty expansion. Both ted and interlaced together, that men in the individual soul and in the cannot always know their own world at large, its commencement hearts accurately; how much less would be insignificant, but its the heart of another, though an in- growth vast and indefinite.--Agrain timate friend ! and how much less of mustard seed. This was so small still that of a stranger, or a body as to be proverbial for its littleness. of those comparatively strangers ! Mat. xvii. 20. See also the next What perfect folly and wickedness, verses. This is not the plant known then, for fallible man harshly to amongst us by this name, but the judge others!
A charitable heart mustard tree, not annual, but living will rather construe all favorably, and growing several years. How thinking no evil, hoping for the best, sublime was the faith of Christ in and willing that all should grow to- the power of his gospel! For, gether until the harvest, rather than though small, it contains the germs rashly tear up the evil, perhaps at of a wondrous and mighty growth. the expense of the good, and what “ It grew silently, but it grew rapis perhaps itself good.-Gather ye idly. It was of God, therefore it together, &c. This indicates, that, flourished. Beginning in an origin although the present state is a inixed so obscure that the world looked one of good and bail, there is a time with contempt upon its pretensions, of distinction between them, near- coming forth from a mechanic's er or more remote, approaching, abode in the despised city of Naza