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44 Then he faith, I will return to my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he

findeth it empty,

fwept,

and gar

nished.

45 Then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other fpirits more wicked then himfelf, and they enter in and dwell there and the last flate of that man is worse then the first. Even fo fhall it be alfo unto this wicked gene

:

ration.

tertainment elsewhere, returns to the fame Man again; and if he finds him difpofed and fitted to receive him, enters into him again, and brings alfo many other evil Spirits with him; fo

that the ftate of that Man becomes ten times worse than it was at firft: Even fo fhall it be with the Men of this Generation. Ignorance, Superftition and Malice, like fo many evil Spirits, have by the preaching of the Gofpel begun to be in fome meafure difpelled from amongst them; But meeting with lefs Entertainment even in the Heathen World than among the Jews, and finding the Hearts of thefe Men ftill prepared to receive and entertain them, they return into them again, and filling them with more incurable Wickednefs and Impenitence than ever, fit them for a moft dreadful and exemplary Destruction.

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thefe are they, whom ye ought more properly to call my Relations.

50. For whoever fhall hear the Word of God, and believe and embrace and obey it; thefe are the Perfons, whom I look upon as my trueft Friends and Relations, and efteem them as my Mother and Brethren and Sifters.

CHA P. XIII.

The Parable of the Sower, ver. I.
Why Chrift fpake in Pa-
rables, ver. 10. Parable of the Tares, ver. 24. Of the
Muftard-Seed, ver. 31. Of the Leaven, ver. 33. The
Explication of thefe Parables, ver. 19. and 34. Parable
of the hidden Treafure, ver. 44. Of the Pearl, ver. 45.
Of the Fishing-Net, ver. 47. The Ufe and Application of
them to the Difciples, ver. 51. Chrift defpifed in his own
Country, ver. 53.

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ciples, and faid, Be-
hold my mother, and
my brethren.

50 For whofoever
fhall do the will of
my
Father which is

in heaven, the fame
is my brother, and
fifter, and mother.

3. And because there were but few among them, that were able to comprehend, or prepared and worthy to hear the whole Truth fully declared to them, therefore he inftilled things into them

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3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, faying, Behold, a fower went forth to fow.

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4 And when he fowed, fome feeds fell by the ways fide, and the fowls came and devoured them up.

by degrees, and taught them by the way of Comparifons or Similitudes. And firft he compared the preaching of the Gofpel, to a Husbandman's fowing Corn in his Field; to show them, that as the fame Seed produced better or worfe Corn, according as it was fown in better or worfe Ground; fo the preaching of the Doctrine of Chriftianity had more or lefs effect upon the Lives of Men, according as it was heard and received by Men of honeft and well-difpofed Hearts, or by those of an evil and contrary Difpofition. A Husband-man, faith he, went out to fow his Ground: Thus the Preacher of the Gospel scattereth his Inftructions, and as it were fows the Precepts of true Religion, in the Hearts of his Hearers.

4. And while he was fowing, fome of the Seed fell upon the beaten Road, and never entring at all into the Ground, was pick'd up by the Birds. Thus the Doctrine of the Gospel is heard by fome, who never confider and meditate upon it at all; but as they heard it carelessly and without regard, fo the next trivial business that either the Devil or the World puts into their Thoughts, caufes them immediately to forget it.

5, & 6. Again, fome other of the Seed fell upon rocky Ground, where they had not much the Earth being very shallow, it

5 Some fell upon ftony places, where

earth: and forth

Sprung up indeed quickly; but having no depth of Root, as foon as the Sun fhone hot, it withered away: Thus fome others hear the Doctrine of Christianity, who receive it indeed, and confider it also, and make Refolutions to obey it; but not having a fettled firmness and conftancy of Mind, they are overcome

by

with they fprung up,
because they had no
deepnefs of earth:
6 And when the
fun was up, they
were scorched; and
because they had not
root, they withered

away.

by Temptations, especially in Perfecution, and fall away from God.

7. Again, fome other of the Seed fell among Weeds and Thorns, which Sprung up with the Corn, and overgrew it, and killed it. Thus the preaching of the Gospel is heard by others, who alfo receive it and entertain it ; but their Minds are fo taken up with the Covetoufnefs, Cares, and Pleasures of the World, that it hath little or no Effect upon their Lives and Converfations.

8. Laftly, Some other of the Seed fell into good ground, which brought forth Corn proportionably to the good nefs of the Soil, fome more plentifully, fome lefs: Thus fome others hear the Doctrine of true Religion; who being of good and honeft and well-difpofed Tempers, believe, embrace and obey it, and fhow the Effects of it in the Holiness of their Lives; according to the different degrees of the Goodness of their Tempers, and of the firmness of their Refolutions, making smaller or greater Improvements in Virtue.

9. He that is capable and defirous of being inftructed, let him attend and obferve what I fay.

10. This Parable of the Sower Jefus fpake unto the People, without applying or giving the Explication of it. And when he was alone his Difciples asked him, why he taught the People, only by way of Similitudes, without giving them the Explica

tion.

II. Jesus answered: Because though you indeed may have all the Truths, that concern the State of the Gofpel and the Kingdom of the Meffiah, clearly and fully explained to you, yet the

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mixt Multitude are not capable nor worthy of fuch a thing.

12. For they who with honefty and fimplicity receive Inftruction; and improve thofe Advantages, which God hath already given them, to the purposes of Religion and the increase of Virtue, as you do: Such Perfons indeed fhall have * more Inftruction and greater Affiftances, continually afforded them. But they who make no ufe of that Inftruction which is given. them, and improve not those Advantages which they already have; as a great part of thefe common Hearers do not: Such Perfons, as they are not capable, fo neither fhall they be accounted worthy of more Inftruction or greater Advantages:

13. Therefore I fpeak to them in Parables; that because by fecing the greateft Miracles they have not been convinced, and by hearing the plainest Doctrines they would not be made to underftand; all thofe may yet continue Ignorant, who will not take pains to confider, and fearch out the Truth.

14. And thus in these People is most exactly fulfilled that Prophecy of Efaias; (Ifa. vi. 9.) Ye hear indeed, but understand not: and ye fee indeed, but perceive not.

15. For the Heart of this People is fat, and their Ears heavy, and their Eyes fout; fo that they fee not with their Eyes, nor hear with their Ears, nor understand with their Heart, to be converted and healed.

*

Mark iv. 24. Unto you that hear, fhall more he given.

16. But

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