Mark 4

* The parable of the sower. (1-20) Other parables. (21-34)

Christ stills the tempest. (35-41)

1-20 This parable contained instruction so important, that all

capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many

things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the

plain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those more

difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as

disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable

state of all who have not such privileges. In the great field of

the church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many

that hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as to

bring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for the

present, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does not

leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their

hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is very

busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go about

the seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a barren,

false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are not

deep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without which

religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by the

word of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have but

little of the world, may yet be ruined by indulging the body.

God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the gospel,

a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian

duties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that by his

new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and that

the good seed of the word may produce in our lives those good

words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise

and glory of God the Father.
21-34 These declarations were intended to call the attention of

the disciples to the word of Christ. By his thus instructing

them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are

lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick,

that they may give light to a room. This parable of the good

seed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makes

progress in the world. Let but the word of Christ have the place

it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good

conversation. It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear;

after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, it

will go forward. The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but

the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now,

while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is

perfected in heaven!
35-41 Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the faith of his

disciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their faith appeared

weak, and their prayers strong. When our wicked hearts are like

the troubled sea which cannot rest, when our passions are

unruly, let us think we hear the law of Christ, saying, Be

silent, be dumb. When without are fightings, and within are

fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, "Peace, be

still," there is a great calm at once. Why are ye so fearful?

Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fear

as this. Those may suspect their faith, who can have such a

thought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish. How

imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their

turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be

overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.
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