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DISCOURSE I.

SAINT MATTHEW, xüïi. 18.

HEAR YE, THEREFORE, THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER.

It is my purpose, in the following discourse, to bring before you a few plain observations on the parable of the Sower : which parable I shall first repeat, in the words of Saint Matthew the Evangelist.

“ Behold a sower went forth to sow; and, when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way-side; and the fowls came, and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and, forthwith, they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and, when the sun was up, they were scorched ; and, because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them. But other fell into good ground; and brought forth fruit, some an hundred

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fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

This parable our blessed Lord himself was pleased to explain ; and it shall be my effort, to follow his footsteps, at an humble distance.

The sower, is our Lord Jesus Christ; the seed, is the heavenly doctrine of Christianity; the soil, is the human heart; the different kinds of soil, and different degrees of produce, represent the various manners, in which, various dispositions will receive religious truth; the four varieties of soil, all partaking of the seed sown, represent four classes of men, all partakers of religious instruction. And here, it may be observed, that our Lord describes the very lowest class, as hearing the word; we may, therefore, conclude, that none deserve the name of Christians, who habitually neglect attending public worship. It is, also, worthy of attention, that none of them are accused of any decided profligacy, of any downright wickedness; we must therefore, at least, conceive them to be of decent, orderly conversation. Whatever instructions, therefore, are drawn from this parable, must be applicable, not to persons absolutely wicked and profane, but to regular and respectable people; who, whatever are their faults, would be shocked at the charge of disregarding their eternal slavation. Yet,

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