Luke 8:4 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentThe design and scope of this parable is to show, what are the causes of men's improving or not improving under the hearing of the word, and to let us know that there are three sorts of bad hearers, and but one good one.
The careless and inconsiderate hearer, is like the highway ground, where the seed is trodden down and trampled upon.
Hard-hearted sinners, whom the mollifying word does not soften; these are like stony ground, where the seed takes no root, the word makes no impression.
Those whose heads and hearts are stuffed with the cares of the world, are like the thorny ground, in which the seed is choked, which would fructify to an holy immortality: this is the scope of the parable.
Now for the subject matter of it, learn, 1. That by the sower you are to understand Christ and his apostles, and their successors, the ministers of the gospel. Christ the principal Sower, they the subordinate seedsmen. Christ sows his own field, they sow his field; he sows his own seed, they his seed. Woe unto us if we sow our own seed, and not Christ's.
Learn, 2. The seed sown is the word of God: fabulous legends and unwritten traditions, which the seedsmen of the church of Rome sow, are not seed, but chaff; or if seed, (for they fructify too fast in the minds of their people) their own, not Christ's. Our Lord's fields must be all sown with his own seed, with no mixed grain.
Learn thence, that the word preached is like the seed sown in the furrows of the field. Seed is of a fructifying, growing, and increasing nature, has in it an active principle, and will spring up, if not killed by accidental injuries; such a quickening power has the word of God to regenerate and make alive dead souls, if we suffer it to take rooting in our hearts: yet is not this seed alike fruitful in every soil: all ground is not alike, neither does the word fructify alike in the souls of men, there is a difference both from the nature of the soil, and the influence of the Spirit; for though no ground is naturally good, yet some is worse than others: no, even the best ground does not bring forth increase alike; some good ground brings forth an hundred-fold, others but sixty, and some but thirty.
In like manner a Christian may be a profitable hearer of the word, although he does not bring forth so great a proportion of fruit as others, provided he bring forth as much as he can.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.