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CHAPTER II.

THE HOUSE BUILT ON A ROCK, AND TRE AOUSE

BUILT ON THE SAND.

Matt. vii, 24 to 27. * Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

1. When was the parable of the two houses delivered? At the end of Christ's sermon on the mount. 2. Who is the wise man?"

He who not only hears, but obeys, the commands of Christ.

3. Why may the wise man be said to build on a rock?

Because he builds on Christ, the “rock of ages,” the only foundation on which our souls can safely rest; " for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."-(1 Cor. iii. 11.)

4. Must the Christian expect trials ?

Yes: afflictions, temptations, and persecutions, like the rain, the floods, and the wind, will assail him; but he is safe while resting upon Christ and his word.

5. Who is the "foolish man?"

He who hears the words of Christ, but does not obey them; and he who pretends to be a Christian, and yet works iniquity.

6. Where does the "foolish manrest his hopes?

On the sand : a proper emblem of frail and sinful men, “whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth."-(Job iv. 19.)

7. How is the ruin of the foolish man's house described?

It fell, and great was the fall of it: thus will certain ruin overwhelm those whose affections are fixed on the world, or who trust in themselves.

8. Should our superior privileges exccite us to greater diligence?

Yes : and we should remember that the abuse of religious advantages is the greatest sin, and will lead to the most awful punishment.

9. How will Christ, hereafter, address those hearers and professors who do not obey his commands.?

"I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.”—(ver. 23.)

10. How should we receive the instructions of Christ.? With faith, reverence, and gratitude. 11. How may we profit by the words of Christ?

We should pray for the influences of the Holy Spirit, that we may receive the truth as it is in Jesus, and that we may love and obey all his commands.

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THE SOWER.*

Mat. xiii. Mark iv. Luke viii.. « Hearken-Behold there went out a Sower to sow his seed; and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way-side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, upon a rock, where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprang up, because it had not much depth of earth; but, when the sun was up, it was scorched as soon as it was sprung up, because it had no root and lacked moisture, and it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred fola. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

* In this parable I have thought it best to form the accounts of the three Evangelists into one; thus exhibiting all the beautiful particulars of this exquisite and perfect parable in one view.

And when he was alone, the disciples came and asked of him the parable, saying, What inight this parable be? And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? Hear ye, therefore, the parable of the Sower:

The seed which the Sower goweth is the word of God. And these are they by the way-side, where the seed is sown; but when any one heareth the word of the kingdom and understandeth it not, then Satan, the wicked one, cometh immediately and catcheth away the word which was sown in his heart, lest he should believe and be saved; this is he which received seed by the way-side. And these are they, likewise, which received the seed on stony ground, on the rock; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness, and have no root in themselves, and so believe and endure but for a time; afterward, in time of temptation, when affliction or persecution ariseth (or the word's sake, immediately they are offended and fall away. And these are they which received seed among thorns ; such as hear the word, and when they have heard, go forth, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches and pleasures of this life, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful, or bringeth no fruit to perfection. And these are they which received seed into good ground ; such as hear the word, and under. stand, and receive, and keep it, in an honest and good heart; and bring forth fruit with patience, some thirty fol:), some sixty, and some an hundred.”

1. Who is meant by the Sower?

Jesus Christ : also Ministers and Teachers may be called Sowers.

2. What is meant by the Seed? " The word of God."

3. What is meant by the ground where the seed was cast.?

The hearts of the hearers.

THE WAY-SIDE HEARERS. 4. Where did the first part of the seed fall ? By the way-side. 5. What became of the seed that fell by the way-side.?

It was trodden down, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 6. Who are the way-side hearers.?

Those who hear the word of the kingdom, and understand it not; thus, by their inattention, it becomes like seed sown on a public road.

7. How does Satan act to a way-side hearer?

After he has heard, Satan, the wicked one, cometh IMMEDIATELY and (like the birds destroying the seed) catcheth away the word which was sown in his heart, lest he should believe and be saved.

8. Is great attention necessary in hearing the gospel ?

Yes: our blessed Saviour says, “ Take heed, therefore, how ye hear."-(Luke viii. 18.)

9. What must we do besides hearing the word?

We must understand it, and let it sink deep into our hearts : careless hearers are sure to be unprofitable hearers.

10. Is great care necessary when we have heard?

Yes : for Satan “ immediately" tries to catch away the good seed, and we should not be ignorant of his devices.

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