A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down…
This part of the parable is founded on the principle that attention is the first claim of the gospel. The gospel claims attention from us —
I. AS TRUTH By a mental law, truth and the mind can have no connection but through the medium of attention.
1. The attention is voluntary.
2. Attention is under the law of habit.
3. An obligation rests on man to exercise and improve this power. For we know that some of the highest obligations of life involve a right exercise of attention.
II. AS A SYSTEM OF TRUTH HAVING PECULIAR DIFFICULTIES TO THE HUMAN MIND. For it includes —
1. Spiritual facts as its basis and its end. The difficulties of life have been the occasion of making all the greatness the world has ever witnessed in men.
2. Painful truths; being a direct, unqualified attack upon cherished desires and confirmed habits.
3. The doctrines of the gospel are contested truths. And the contest, our Lord informs us, is first begun by another party before man takes it up. Some find insuperable difficulties in particular doctrines. Others are prejudiced against the principles for being so much better than those who profess to believe them. And he has taught another class in his school to look within themselves for illumination.
III. As TRUTH or SUPREME IMPORTANCE.
1. It is God's special revelation in human language. It is God's Word, addressed to all men, and to every man. Then, by everything sacred and decent, by every consideration of propriety and of duty, every human being should listen to the Word of God. And again we are bound to give such attention, because the Scriptures —
2. Fully and strongly exhibit our duties; the chief of which are those we owe to God. They also fully exhibit our duty to man.
3. God here treats of life and death eternal. This is the sum.
(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.