Matthew 13:20-21. He that received the seed into stony, rather, rocky, places Where the bed of earth was very shallow, is he that heareth the word Hears it with attention, and in a spirit of prayer, sincerely desiring that the eyes of his understanding may be opened; nay, and understands what he hears, and even seriously considers it afterward. For he is said, Luke 8:13, to believe for a while, and here to receive it with joy; being struck, doubtless, with the beauty of the truth, and drawn by the preventing grace of God. Yet hath he not root in himself No deep work of grace in his soul; no real change in the ground of his heart. He is not truly regenerated and made a new creature in Christ. The consequence is, he only endureth for a while Continues to profess an attachment to the truth, as long as the truth is held in esteem, and proceeds on, apparently, in the way of the kingdom, while the way is smooth, and no stumbling-block, or difficulty, occurs therein. But when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word When the truth and its professors are exposed to reproach and infamy, and the disciples of Jesus are called to drink of his cup of suffering, by and by, Greek ευθυς , immediately, he is offended, σκανδαλιζεται , he is stumbled. He finds a thousand pretences for leaving so narrow and rugged a way. Luke has it, εν καιρω πειρασμου αφιστανται , In time of temptation, or trial, they fall off, namely, as blossoms from the trees, through a frost in the spring. It has been observed above, that the warmth of the sun’s beams will rather promote than hinder the growth of the corn, if it hath sufficient depth of earth, wherein to take root, and sufficient moisture; in like manner, if a deep work of grace be wrought in a man’s heart, and he be really born from above, tribulation, persecution, and other trials and temptations will be so far from destroying his piety, or even obstructing the growth of grace in his soul, that they will rather promote it, and though not joyous but grievous while they continue, yet will afterward yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness, to those that are exercised thereby; and will tend to perfect their faith and patience, and other graces, and prepare them for heaven, as hot weather before the harvest ripens the corn, when full in the ear, for the sickle.
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