And some fell on a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
Here is a case of great promise in the commencement. We should here take a distinct view of the nature of courage. The common notion of it is, indifference to danger. But that does not distinguish this noble principle from rashness. It properly refers to that quality of mind by which the higher sentiments overrule the dread of suffering. These sentiments are such as patriotism, philanthropy, integrity, sense of duty, and sense of right. The opposite state of mind is that which places the escaping from suffering above every consideration. And it is a person governed by that principle that is pointed out by this part of the parable. This habit of placing comfort before goodness equally facilitates the beginning and the ending of his religious life; for —
I. IT PREVENTS HIM FROM EVEN UNDERSTANDING THE THEORY OF THE GOSPEL, AND MUCH MORE FROM TRULY ACCEPTING ITS PROVISIONS. Imagine a person awakened by the law of God to an apprehension of danger; of guilt in his sight, and consequent exposure to the Divine wrath. If he would regard the testimony of God, he would find more in his case than the exposure to suffering. But such is the operation of selfishness in the human heart, that often where this sense of danger is irresistibly urged home, there is still such a magnifying of suffering as the great evil, that the attention shall be fully absorbed by that. The first consequence is —
1. He neither sees that Christ comes to save him from sin; nor that he is a sinner.
2. He misapprehends the atonement, or the ground of Christ's death. This must make a superficial Christian.
3. He fails also to see the work of the Holy Spirit, and his own obsolute dependence on that Spirit for renewal and sanctification. There lies in that heart the deep, dead, broad rock of impenitence and pride. Into its compact substance no root of conviction, of repentance, of faith, of love, ever penetrated. The very thing he has bargained for is an easy service. Christ gives peace; and it is peace he wants, and not trouble. He can accordingly sail in smooth seas, and live well in fair weather with his religion. But —
II. HE CAN DO NO BETTER WITH THE PRACTICE OF THE GOSPEL THAN WITH ITS THEORY; for —
1. It requires him to struggle with sin in his own heart. The work to which Christ calls us is a progressive conquest over spiritual evils in ourselves.
2. His conflict with the world. Men of superficial religion are generally very much perplexed to know what the Scriptures mean by "the world," against which they speak so severely.
(E. Kirk, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.