And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
The truth described as a "seed." There are manifold facilities about the emblem on which we may dwell. The seed has a germinating power in itself that leads to endless reproduction. So has every true word. Then man is but the soil. If you are to get Divine desires in the human heart, they must be sown there: they are not products of the soil. Again, man's part is accurately described as a simple reception, not passive, but a co-operation. Then these different kinds of soil are not unalterably different: it is an acquired disposition, not a natural characteristic that is spoken of.
I. The beaten path.
II. The lost seed.
I. Let us think about THAT TYPE OF CHARACTER WHICH IS HERE SET FORTH UNDER THE IMAGE OF "THE WAYSIDE." It is a heart trodden down by the feet that have gone across it; and because trodden down, incapable of receiving the seed sown. The seed falls upon, not in it. Point out ways in which the heart is trodden down.
1. By custom and habit. The process of getting from childhood to manhood is a process of getting less impressible.
2. The heart is trodden down by sin. It is an effect of sin that it uniformly works in the direction of unfitting men to receive God's love. Every transgression deprives us, in some degree, of power to receive God's truth, and make it our own.
3. The heart is trodden down, so far as receiving the gospel is concerned, by the very feet of the sower. Every sermon an ungodly man hear, which leaves him ungodly, leaves him harder by the passage of the Word once more across his heart.
II. THE LOST SEED. Satan's chosen instruments are those light, swift-winged, apparently innocent flocks of flying thoughts, that come swooping across your souls, even whilst the message of God's love is sounding in your ears.
(A. Maclaren D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: