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ference of their conduct. Each party reaped as they had sown: were dealt with according to their spirit and behaviour. Of those that were about Him with the twelve, that account was true, which Peter afterwards gave of himself and his brethren, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee.” They acknowledged Jesus as “ Christ the Son of the living God.” They sat around Him and heard His words ; believing that He “had the words of eternal life.”. They
4 repelled all proud imaginations, and high thoughts which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, and became as little children,” who look to their teachers for instruction, without dispute or cavil. How different was the case of those without, as already related in the preceding chapters of this gospel. A man was brought to Jesus, sick of the palsy, “and He said unto him, Man, thy sins be forgiven thee. And immediately He arose and went forth before them all. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, who said in their hearts, Why doth this man speak blasphemies?”
Again He had called the publican Matthew from his occupation, and was entertained by him at his house, where many publicans and sinners were assembled. They seize the occasion of reviling Him. “Behold a man gluttonous and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.”
Again, in passing through the corn-fields on Matt. xix. 7. 8 Ib. xvi. 16. • John vi. 68. • Mark ii. 5, &c.
6 Matt. xi. 19.
the sabbath day, His disciples began as they went to pluck the ears of corn. Here too was
. found cause of accusation; “Why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful ?” 7 Even His miracles of mercy were censured.
They watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath, that they might accuse Him.' Can we wonder, that to men of this temper, all things were done in parables ? But only done in parables, as long as this temper remained. No sooner did the heart show willingness to learn, and the ear become ready to hear, than the mysteries of the kingdom were disclosed. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Nicodemus, for instance, instead of following the example of his brethren, came to Jesus by night, and acknowledged that God was with him. Immediately the Lord opened to him that important truth, the leading doctrine of the Gospel, “Except a man be born again, born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Another came to consult Him, not as many, “tempting Him,” but with good intentions, and asked, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"] “All things pertaining
1 to life and godliness” were immediately placed at his command. “If thou wilt be perfect, come, follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” It was the constant complaint and grief of the Redeemer, “ Ye will not come unto me,
7 Mark ii. 24.
8 Mark iii. 2.
that ye might have life.”? If any man thirst, let “him come unto me and drink.”3
“ Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wing, and ye would not !"
” 5 There is a time when the heart which has hardened itself against the word becomes as the rock which no power can penetrate. No man can ever tell, when that time has arrived. God has often been pleased to smite the hearts of those who seemed most obdurate, and the waters of humiliation and penitence have flowed forth, as when Moses struck the rock in the desert. But we are warned by the example of the Jewish nation, that advantages, “great every way,” may be neglected, till they are no longer left us to be abused. This is the first lesson to be here learnt.
6 TOday, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts:" lest the only power that can soften them, be for ever armed against you.
This is the first but not the only lesson. As there were eyes too blind to see, and too firmly closed to be enlightened; so there were eyes which seeing did see, and hearing did understand. There were minds instructed to “know all pa2 John v.
40. 3 Ib. vii. 37. Ib. vi. 37. 5 Luke xiii. 34.
Numb. xx. 11. 7 See Heb. iii. 12-19.
rables.” Many of the same people, concerning whom Isaiah wrote the prophecy which said, “Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive :
, many of these came to “know of the doctrine that it was of God:” 8 understood with their heart, and were converted, and their sins were forgiven them. They saw what concerned them, that God had opened to mankind a door of salvation, by which,“ whoever would,” might enter: as the Lord Himself described it, might" go in and out, and find pasture:"' find that which would supply his spiritual wants, and lead him in the way everlasting. The apostles and the company about Jesus had chosen this good path : and of them, and of all who “through their word” are following the same road, it may be truly said, “ Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for
, they hear.” 1
“God who made the light to shine out of darkness, hath sbined in their hearts, to give the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2
8 John vii. 17.
9 Ib. x. 9.
1 Matt. xiii. 16.
2 Cor. iv. 6.
SEED SOWN BY THE WAY SIDE.
MARK iv. 13-15.
13. “And He said unto them, Know ye not this parable ?
and how then will ye know all parables ? 14. "The sower soweth the word. 15. “ And these are they by the way side, where the word
is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”
It commonly happens wherever seed is sown, that all is not covered with earth : some never vegetates: it falls by the way side, and the fowls of the air come and devourit up.
But the Lord here warns us, that what happens in the field, happens also in the church: that what happens to the grain of wheat when cast upon the ground, happens also to the word of God, which is often taken away from the heart as quickly as the seed is devoured which falls by the way side. Nothing takes root or grows from one any more than from the other. The fault is not in the seed. It is the same seed, whether it falls by the way side, or on stony ground, or among thorns, or on good ground. Neither is the fault in the sower, who casts the same seed on all: the fault is in the soil; in the hearts of those that hear. The same word is