The “sower” explained.—2. The stony ground

The “sower” explained.—2. The stony ground

Of teaching by parables. The Sower explained.

(The Gospel History, Section 50)

And in like manner he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; yet hath he no root in himself, but endureth for a while: then when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth.

The “sower” explained.—2. The stony ground

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

A man there was who one day heard
With great delight that living Word,—
Lit up for him all common days,
Taught him to comprehend God’s ways,
Gave peace in place of senseless strife,
And noble purpose to his life.

He heard and talked and grew apace;
With promise filled he all his place,—
As seed dropped where the sun’s rays fall
And seasonable rains that call
Of early green, a quick display,
Promise of fruit some later day.

What if on rocky ground it fell,—
For all its promise, is it well
With seed in shallow soil that grows
Where stubborn rocks its roots oppose?
Who knows the word and does not love,
His show of growth is all—above!

The tender rootlets are not fed
From a full heart, nor nourishèd
On meditation, prayers and tears,
On loving hopes and tender fears,
On all that substance of the heart
In which the mind hath little part.

The man who was so glad to hear,
His show of life so quick t’ appear,
Finds on a day that things go ill
With him would word of God fulfil:
His scruples stand in his own light,
Nor let him prosper as he might:

Nay, wiser men than he will flout
This very Word:—Why such a rout
For hindrances in thine own mind?
If God there be, then is He kind,
Nor visits with a rigorous hand
Offence ’gainst even just command!

Half fearful, half persuaded, he
Will, now, with this, with that, agree;
Small persecutions soon assail;
His hold on truth doth not avail,
So shallow is the soil, to keep
A heart where is of love no deep:

So tribulation’s winnowing flail,
Or persecution’s fierce assail,
Shows this man’s faith a passing phase,
Not rooted firm beneath his days!
He falls away, his promise green
Withered ere any fruit be seen!

St. Matthew xiii. 20, 21.
St. Mark iv. 16, 17.
St. Luke viii. 13.