Parable of the sower

Parable of the sower

Parable of the Sower.

(The Gospel History, Section 49)

On that day went Jesus out of the house and sat by the sea side: and he began to teach by the sea side. And there were gathered unto him great multitudes, and they of every city resorted unto him, so that he entered into a boat and sat in the sea, and all the multitude were standing by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching, Hearken: Behold the sower went forth to sow his seed: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven came and devoured it: and other fell on the rocky ground, where it had not much earth: and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was risen it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away. And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing, and brought forth some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Parable of the sower

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book II Poem X)

The Sower, by Sir John Millais

The Master sat by the seaside
And taught the folk. From far and wide
The people thronged the Word to hear:
They pressed Him nearer and more near
The margin of the lake; a boat
He entered, on the waves afloat,
And sat and taught the crowds immense
Gathered in expectation tense:
On all the upward sloping shore,
Vast sea of faces stretched before
The Lord as thus He sat. “Now hear,”—
Said He; and many things appear
Before them, set in simple tale,—
The Parable, which should avail
To exhibit truth to dullest mind,
As in a picture clear defined.

Behind the lake, beyond the shore,
Upon the loftier hill before
The Lord’s uplifted eyes, He saw,
Perchance, a sower instant draw,
From scrip before him slung, the seed
And scatter it with little heed
Of ground whereon it chanced to lie:
With liberal hand he sowed, the event
Rested with Him the good grain sent.

To Him, who saw in things of sense
A likeness and a fond pretence
Of the eternal things He knew,
The Sower’s act, an image true
Of that He came to do for men—
The seed to sow which should again
Yield hundredfold of living grain.

The Sower, He said, went forth to sow
His seed, not careful where to throw
His handful, casting free around
On fertile as on barren ground.
Some fell on footpath trod by man
And beast, till hard as brick, it can
Offer no bed to hold the seed:
Thitherward flock the fowls to feed
On that not trodden under foot
In the hard ground, wherein no root
Can strike, no stalk arise, to bear
In its due time the fruitful ear.

Now, here was rocky ground, whereon
Light lay the earth; the seed upon
This place fell too; nor long had lain
Ere, sprouted quick with sun and rain,
It showed full promising and green:
Alack, the roots, that part unseen
On which for life must plant depend,
Could not in shallow earth extend
To depth where they should moisture find:
Scorching upon the place now shined
The sun; the blade that had no root
Withered long ere the time of fruit!

Among the brambles some seeds fell;
In fertile earth, these prospered well;
Down struck the root, up sprung the blade,
Fair promise its appearance made:
But, ah, good soil and sun and rain
Favoured the brambles as the grain,
And they, the hardier, stronger growth!
In early spring fast grew they both;
Then shoots and leaves the brambles spread
Crowding the blades, from overhead
Shutting out rain and wind and sun,
Choking that growth so well begun,
Till nought but brambles fed the soil,
And never crop asked reaper’s toil.

Not wasted all the sower’s seed;
On good ground cast with little heed,
Some grew and prospered every day;
The blade, the ear, full corn, display,
Each in its season, how good ground
Shall make the fruitful seed abound:
See you, some ears with weight are bent
Of hundred goodly grains,—one, lent;
The others, golden interest, brought
To him who sowed and him who wrought
The soil to rich fertility:
Less heavy other ears, but see,
In this one sixty well-filled grains
Rewarding all the farmer’s pains:
In this, but thirty; would ye say,
Thirty for one, unworthy pay?

“He that hath ears, come, hear My word,
Pregnant with life when duly heard!”
The people pondered, knew the tale
A teaching held for their avail:
But in that crowd all sorts of ground
The Lord had told of might be found.

St. Mark iv. 1-9.
St. Matthew xiii. 1-9.
St. Luke viii. 4-8.