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i Job i. 7.
1 Pet. v.8.
X. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 20, 21, 22.
a man, 'he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he,
and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked k Heb, viiter than himself, and they enter in and dwell there : k and the
last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother 1 chowi: 55, and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Acis i.i.. him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and
thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother ? and who are my brethren ? 49 And he
stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, m see John sv. Behold my mother and my brethren. 50 For m whosoever ll. u. Heb. shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the
same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
1 ch. xiii. 55.
John ii. 12: vii. 3, 5. Acts i. 14. 1 Cor. ix. 5. Gal. i. 19.
m see John xv.
14. Gal, v.8: vi. 15. Col. iii. u. Heb. ii. 11.
malicious than the first, hardly needs often do the religious lives of men spend explanation. The desperate infatuation of themselves in the sweeping and garnishthe Jews after our Lord's ascension, their ing (see Luke xi. 39, 40), in formality and bitter hostility to His Church, their miser. hypocrisy, till utter emptiness of real able end as a people, are known to all. faith and spirituality has prepared them Chrysostom, who gives in the main this for that second fearful invasion of the interpretation, notices their continued in- Evil One, which is indeed worse than the fatuation in his own day: and instances first! (See Heb. i. 4, 6 : 2 Pet. ii. 20—22.) their joining in the impieties of Julian. 46–50.] His MOTHER AND BRETHREN (2) Strikingly parallel with this runs the SEEK TO SPEAK WITH HIM. Mark iii. history of the Christian Church. Not 31–35. Luke viii. 19-21. In Mark the long after the apostolic times, the golden incident is placed as here: in Luke, after calves of idolatry were set up by the the parable of the sower. 46.] In Church of Rome. What the effect of the Mark iii. 21 we are told that his relations captivity was to the Jews, that of the went out to lay hold on Him, for they said, Reformation has been to Christendom. He is beside Himself : and that the reason The first evil spirit has been cast out. of this was his continuous labour in teachBut by the growth of hypocrisy, secu. ing, which had not left time so much as to larity, and rationalism, the house has be eat. There is nothing in this care for his come empty, swept, and garnished : swept bodily health (from whatever source the and garnished by the decencies of civiliza act may have arisen on the part of his tion and discoveries of secular knowledge, brethren, see John vii. 5) inconsistent with but empty of living and earnest faith. the known state of his mother's mind (see And he must read prophecy but ill, who Luke ii. 19, 51). They stood, i.e. does not see under all these seeming outside the throng of hearers around our improvements the preparation for the Lord; or, perhaps, outside the house. He final development of the man of sin, the meets their message with a reproof, which great re-possession, when idolatry and the at the same time conveys assurance to His seven worse spirits shall bring the out. humble hearers. He came for all men : ward frame of so-called Christendom to a and though He was born of a woman, He fearful end. (3) Another important ful who is the second Adam, taking our entire filment of the prophetic parable may be humanity on Him, is not on that account found in the histories of individuals. By more nearly united to her, than to all religious education or impressions, the those who are united to Him by the devil has been cast out of a man; but how Spirit; nor bound to regard the call of
XIII. 1 h The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that a he went into a ship, and sat; a Luke v. 3. and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold,
B render, In that day. earthly relations so much as the welfare ducing only things which may possibly of those whom He came to teach and to happen. “A parable is a story of that save. It is to be noticed that our which purports to have happened,-has Lord, though He introduces the additional not actually happened, but might have term sister into his answer, does not (and happened.”' (2) Nor is the Parable a indeed could not) introduce father, inasmuch Myth: inasmuch as in Mythology the as He never speaks of any earthly Father. course of the story is set before us as the See Luke ii. 49. All these characteristics truth, and simple minds receive it as the of the mother of our Lord are deeply truth, only the reflective mind penetrating interesting, both in themselves, and as to the distinction between the vehicle and building up, when put together, the most the thing conveyed; whereas in the Padecisive testimony against the fearful rable these two stand distinct from one superstition which has assigned to her the another to all minds, so that none but the place of a goddess in the Romish mytho- very simplest would ever believe in the logy. Great and inconceivable as the Parable as fact. (3) Nor is the Parable a honour of that meek and holy woman Proverb : though the Greek word (parawas, we find her repeatedly (see John bolé) is used for both in the N. T. (Luke ii. 4) the object of rebuke from her divine iv. 23; v. 36: Matt. xv. 14, 15.) It is Son, and hear Him here declaring, that indeed more like a Proverb than either of the honour is one which the humblest the former; being an expanded Proverb, believer in Him has in common with her. and a Proverb a concentrated parable, or
Stier remarks (Reden Jesu, ïi. 57 note), fable, or result of human experience exthat the juxtaposition of sister and mother pressed without a figure. Hence it will be in the mouth of our Lord makes it pro- seen that the Proverb ranges far wider bable that the brethren also were his actual than the parable, which is an expansion brothers according to the flesh : see note of only one particular case of a proverb. on ch. xiii. 55.
Thus - Physician heal thyself' would, if CHAP. XIII. 1—52.] THE SEVEN PA- expanded, make a parable; "dog eat dog," RABLES. (The parallels, see under each.) a fable; “honesty is the best policy,”
1, 2.) Mark iv. 1. 1. In that either of these. (4) Nor is the Parable day) These words may mean literally, as an Allegory: inasmuch as in the Allegory rendered in the A. V., the same day. But the imaginary persons and actions are it is not absolutely necessary. The words placed in the very places and footsteps of certainly do bear that meaning in Mark the real ones, and stand there instead of iv. 35, and important consequences follow them, declaring all the time by their (see note there); but in Acts viii. 1 they names or actions who and what they are. are as evidently indefinite. The instances Thus the Allegory is self-interpreting, and of their occurrence in John (xiv. 20; xvi. the persons in it are invested with the 23, 26) are not to the point, their use attributes of those represented; whereas there being prophetical. 3. in para in the Parable the courses of action rebles] The senses of this word in the N. T. lated and understood run indeed parallel, are various. My present concern with it but the persons are strictly confined to is to explain its meaning as applied to the their own natural places and actions, which “ parables” of our Lord. (1) The Para- are, in their relation and succession, typical ble is not a Fable, inasmuch as the Fable of higher things. (5) It may well hence is concerned only with the maxims of be surmised what a Parable is. It is a worldly prudence, whereas the parable serious narration, within the limits of conveys spiritual truth. The Fable in its probability, of a course of action point. form rejects probability, and teaches ing to some moral or spiritual Truth; through the fancy, introducing speaking and derives its force from real analogies animals, or even inanimate things; whereas impressed by the Creator of all things on the Parable adheres to probability, and His creatures. The great Teacher by Pa. teaches through the imagination, intro. rables therefore is He who needed not that
ia sower went forth to sow; 4 and when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 some fell upon j stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth : 6 k and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among 1 thorns ;
and the thorns sprung up, and choked them : 8 but other b Gen. xxvi. 12. fell into m good ground, and brought forth fruit, some ban
hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath
ears [n to hear], let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, i render, the. j render, the stony places. I render, but.
I render, the thorns. m render, the good ground. nomit. any should testify of man; for He knew teaching led to His judicially adopting what was in man, John ii. 25 : moreover, the course here indicated, without a paraHe made man, and orders the course and ble spake He not (nothing) unto them. character of human events. And this is The other order would be inconceivable; the reason why none can, or dare, teach that after such parabolic teaching, and by parables, except Christ. We do not, as such a reason assigned for it, the Lord He did, see the inner springs out of which should, that reason remaining in full force, flow those laws of eternal truth and jus- have deserted his parabolic teaching, and tice, which the Parable is framed to opened out his meaning as plainly as in elucidate. Our parables would be in dan- the Sermon on the Mount. 3-9.] ger of perverting, instead of guiding THE SOWER. Mark iv. 2–9: Luke viii. aright. The Parable is especially adapted 4-8. See note on the locality in vv. 51, to different classes of hearers at once: it 52. 3.] For the explanation of the is understood by each according to his parable see on vv. 19-23. 4. by the measure of understanding. See note on way side) by (by the side of, along the ver. 12. The seven Parables related line of the path through the field. Luke in this chapter cannot be regarded as a inserts " and it was trodden down,” and collection made by the Evangelist as re- after fowls—“of the air.” 5.] the lating to one subject, the Kingdom of stony places ( =" the rock” Luke), places Heaven, and its development; they are where the native rock is but slightly covered clearly indicated by ver. 53 to have been with earth (which abound in Palestine), all spoken on one and the same occasion, and where therefore the radiation from and form indeed a complete and glorious the face of the rock would cause the seed whole in their inner and deeper sense. to spring up quickly, the shallow earth The first four of these parables appear to being heated by the sun of the day before. have been spoken to the multitude from
6.] root = "moisture” Luke. If the ship (the interpretation of the parable the one could have struck down, it would of the sower being interposed); the last have found the other. 7. among the three, to the disciples in the house.
thorns] In places where were the roots of From the expression he began in the thorns, beds of thistles, or such like. parallel place in St. Mark, compared with sprung up =“sprung up with it ” Luke : the question of the disciples in ver. 10, Mark adds “and it yielded no fruit." and with ver. 34,-it appears that this
8.] After fruit Mark inserts “ that was the first beginning of our Lord's sprang up and increased.” Luke gives teaching by parables, expressly so delivered, only “ an hundredfold.”
9.7 is and properly so called. And the natural common to all three Evangelists (Mark sequence of things here agrees with, and and Luke insert “ to hear'). confirms Matthew's arrangement against 10-17.] Our LORD'S REASON FOR those who would place (as Ebrard) all this TEACHING IN PARABLES. Mark iv. 10– chapter before the Sermon on the Mount. 12. Luke viii. 9, 10, but much abridged. He there spoke without parables, or
10.] the disciples = “they that mainly so; and continued to do so till the were about him with the twelve,” Mark. rejection and misunderstanding of his This question took place during a pause in
and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because o it is c 1 Cor. ii. 10. given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 a For whosoever a ch. xxv. 20. hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance : but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables : because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, e By hearing e Isa. vi. 9. ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye John zii10. shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 for this people's heart 47 . is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and Heb. v. ii.
Ezek. xii. 2.
20, 27. Rom. xi. 8. 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15.
our Lord's teaching, not when He had teaching, into the depths of which he canentered the house, ver. 36. The question not penetrate so far as even to ascertain shews the newness of this method of teach that they exist. No practical comment ing to the disciples. It is not mentioned on the latter part of this saying can be in Mark: only the enquiry into the mean- more striking, than that which is furing of the parable just spoken : nor in nished to our day by the study of the Luke : but the answer implies it.
Gerinan rationalistic (and, I may add, 11.7 The Kingdom of Heaven, like other some of our English harmonistic) Com. kingdoms, has its secrets (mysteries,--see mentators; while at the same time we may a definition by St. Paul in Rom. xvi. 25 f., rejoice to see the approximate fulfilment - viz. “ Something kept secret since the of the former in such commentaries as world began, but now made manifest”) those of Olshausen, Neander, Stier, and and inner counsels, which strangers must Trench. In ch. xxv. 29, the fuller meannot know. These are only revealed to the ing of this saying, as applied not only to humble diligent hearers, to you: to those hearing, but to the whole spiritual life, is who were immediately around the Lord brought out by our Lord. 13.] bewith the twelve ; not to them="the rest” cause they seeing see not, &c.=(in Mark, Luke, = " them that are without ” Mark. Luke; similarly below) “ that seeing they (1 Cor. v. 12, 13.) it is not given is re- may . . . not ...."'&c. In the deeper presented by "in parables” Luke, and “ all view of the purpose of the parable, both of things are done in parables” Mark. 12.] these run into one. Taking the saying of In this saying of the Lord is summed up the ver. 12 for our guide, we have “whosoever double force--the revealing and concealing hath not,”_"because seeing they see not," properties of the parable. By it, he who —and “from him shall be taken away hath,- he who not only hears with the even that he hath,"_" that seeing they may ear, but understands with the heart, has not see.” The difficulties raised on these more given to him; and it is for this variations, and on the prophecy quoted in main purpose undoubtedly that the Lord vv. 14, 15, have arisen entirely from not spoke parables : to be to His Church reve. keeping this in view. 14, 15.] This lations of the truth and mysteries of His prophecy is quoted with a similar reference Kingdom. But His present purpose in John xii. 40: Acts xxviii. 26, 27; see also speaking them, as further explained be Rom. xi. 8. is fulfilled] is being low, was the quality possessed by them, fulfilled, finds one of the stages of its fuland declared in the latter part of this filment:' a partial one having taken place verse, of hiding their meaning from the in the contemporaries of the prophet. hard-hearted and sensual. By them, he The prophecy is cited verbatim from the who hath not, in whom there is no spark LXX, which changes the imperative of of spiritual desire nor meetness to receive the Hebrew (Make the heart of this peothe engrafted word, has taken from him ple fat,' &c., E. V.) into the indicative, as even that which he hath (“ seemeth to bearing the same meaning in them hare,” Luke); even the poor confused no properly signifies relation, with regard to tions of heavenly doctrine which a sensual them.' is waxed gross) literally, and careless life allow him, are further grew fat; from prosperity. are bewildered and darkened by this simple dull of hearing] literally, heard heavily,
their eyes their eyes, heart, and Sussed are you
Luke x. 23, 24. John viii. 56.
their eyes they have closed ; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should
understand with their heart, and should be converted, and 8 ch. xvi. 17 I should heal them. 16 But 8 blessed are your eyes, for
Phi.sehen they see: and your ears, for they hear. · 17 For verily I h Gen. xlix. 18. say unto you, h That many prophets and righteous men is. Hebat have desired to see those things which ye see, and have
not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When i ch. iv. 23. any one heareth the word i of the kingdom, and under
standeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth
2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Heb. xi. 13. 1 Pet. i. 10, 11.
• sluggishly and imperfectly. their of course, on the other hand, as the eneyes they have closed] (Heb. ‘smeared quiry, “ Why is this ground rich, and that over.') All this have they done : all barren ? " leads us up into the creative this is increased in them by their con- arrangements of God, -80 a similar entinuing to do it, and all lest they should quiry in the spiritual interpretation would (and so that they cannot) bear, see, lead us into the inscrutable and sovereign understand, and be saved.
I arrangements of Him who preventeth us should heal them = “it should be for that we may have a good will, and workgiven them” Mark. This citation gives eth with us when we have that will’ (Art. no countenance to the fatalist view of X. of the Church of England). See, on the passage, but rests the whole blame the whole, my Serinons before the Univeron the hard-heartedness and unreadiness sity of Cambridge, February, 1858. of the hearers, which is of itself the cause 19.] In Luke we have an important prewhy the very preaching of the word is a liminary declaration, implied indeed here means of further darkening and condemn also : “the seed is the word of God.” ing them (see 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4).
This word is in this parable especially 16, 17.) See ref. Prov. These verses occur meant of the word preached, though the again in a different connexion, and with word written is not excluded : nor the the form of expression slightly varied, Luke word unwritten—the providences and judgx. 23, 24. It was a saying likely to be ments, and even the creation, of God. repeated. On the fact that prophets, &c. (See Rom. x. 17, 18.) The similitude in desired to see those things, see 2 Sam. this parable is alluded to in 1 Pet. i. 23 : xxiii. 5: Job xix. 23-27 : also Exod. iv. James i. 21. The sower is first the Son 13, and Luke ii. 29-32.
of Man (ver. 37), then His ministers and 18–23.] INTERPRETATION OF THE PA servants (1 Cor. iii. 6) to the end. He RABLE OF THE SOWER. Mark iv. 10— sows over all the field, unlikely as well as 20. Luke viii. 9-18, who incorporate likely places; and commands His sowers with the answer of our Lord to the re- to do the same, Mark xvi. 15. Some, quest of the disciples, much of our last Stier says, have objected to the parable a section. 18.] Hear, in the sense of want of truthful correspondence to reality, the verse before-hear the true meaning because sowers do not thus waste their of, 'hear in your hearts. With regard seed by scattering it where it is not likely to the Parable itself, we may remark that to grow ; but, as he rightly answers,—the its great leading idea is that “ mystery of simple idea of the parable must be borne the Kingdom,” according to which the in mind, and its limits not transgressedgrace of God, and the receptivity of it ‘a sower went out to sow '- his sowING by man, work ever together in bringing - sowing over all places, is the idea of the forth fruit. The seed is one and the same parable. We see him only as a sower, not every where and to all : but seed does not as an economist. The parable is not spring up without earth, nor does earth about Him, but about the seed and what bring forth without seed; and the success happens to it. He is the fit representaor failure of the seed is the consequence of tive of God, who giveth liberally to all the adaptation to its reception, or other men, and upbraideth not, James i. 5. wise, of the spot on which it falls. But and understandeth it not is peculiar to