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 allcapable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are manythings we are concerned to know; and if we understand not theplain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those moredifficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy asdisciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorablestate of all who have not such privileges. In the great field ofthe church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the manythat hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as tobring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for thepresent, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does notleave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because theirhearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is verybusy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go aboutthe seed that lies above ground. Many continue in a barren,false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are notdeep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without whichreligion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by theword of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have butlittle 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, Christianduties duly performed. Let us look to the Lord, that by hisnew-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and thatthe good seed of the word may produce in our lives those goodwords and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praiseand glory of God the Father. 21-34 These declarations were intended to call the attention ofthe disciples to the word of Christ. By his thus instructingthem, they were made able to instruct others; as candles arelighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick,that they may give light to a room. This parable of the goodseed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makesprogress in the world. Let but the word of Christ have the placeit ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a goodconversation. It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear;after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, itwill go forward. The work of grace in the soul is, at first, butthe day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now,while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it isperfected in heaven! 35-41 Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the faith of hisdisciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their faith appearedweak, and their prayers strong. When our wicked hearts are likethe troubled sea which cannot rest, when our passions areunruly, let us think we hear the law of Christ, saying, Besilent, be dumb. When without are fightings, and within arefears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, "Peace, bestill," there is a great calm at once. Why are ye so fearful?Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fearas this. Those may suspect their faith, who can have such athought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish. Howimperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take theirturns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will beovercome, and faith will be lost in sight.
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