And these are they who are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
All Commentaries on Mark 4:20 Go To Mark 4
In Marc., 1, 18: For if we look into the Gospel of Matthew, it appears that this same teaching of the Lord at thesea, was delivered on the same day as the former. For after the conclusion of the first sermon, Matthew immediately subjoins, saying, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side.”.
After leaving the house also, He began to teach at the sea, because, quitting the synagogue, He came to gather together the multitude of the Gentile people by the Apostles. Wherefore it continues: “And there was gathered unto Him a great multitude, so that He entered into a ship, and sat in the sea.”.
Now this ship showed in a figure the Church, to be built in the midst of the nations, in which the Lord consecrates for Himself a beloved dwelling-place. It goes on: “And He taught them many things by parables.”.
in Marc., 1, 19: Or else, He went out to sow, when after calling to His faith the elect portion of the synagogue, He poured out the gifts of His grace in order to call the Gentiles also.
Or else, the way is a mind which isa path for bad thoughts, preventing the seed of the word from growing in it.And therefore whatsoever good seed comes in contact with such a way, perishes, and is carried off by devils. Wherefore there follows, “And the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. "And well are the devils called fowls of theair, either because they are of a heavenly and spiritual origin, or because they dwell in the air. Or else, those who are about the way are negligent and slothful men. It goes on: “And some fell on stony ground. "He calls stone, the hardness of a wanton mind; He calls ground, the inconstancy of a soul in its obedience; and sun, the heat of a raging persecution. Therefore the depth of earth, which ought to have received the seed of God, is the honesty of a mind trained in heavenly discipline, and regularly brought up in obedience to the Divine words. But the stony places, which have no strength for fixing the root firmly, are those breasts which are delighted only with the sweetness of the word which they hear, and for a time with the heavenly promises, but in a season of temptation fall away, for there is too little of healthful desire in them to conceive the seed of life.
As often as this is inserted in the Gospel or in the Apocalypse of John, that which is spoken is mystical, and is pointed out as healthful to be heard and learnt. For the ears by which they are heard belong to the heart, and the ears by which men obey and do what is commanded are those of an interior sense. There follows, “And when He was alone, the twelve that were with Him asked of Him the parable; and He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to them that are without all things are done in parables. "Wherefore it goes on, “that seeing they might see, and not perceive” as if He said that they prophecy might be fulfilled which foretells these things.
To those then who are without, all things are done in parables, that is, both the actions and the words of the Saviour, because neither in those miracles which He was working, nor in those mysteries which He preached, were they able to acknowledge Him as God. Therefore they are not able to attain to the remission of their sins.
But in this exposition of the Lord there is embraced the whole range of those who might hear the words of truth, but are unable to attain to salvation. For there are some to whom no faith, no intellect, nay no opportunity of trying its usefulness, can give a perception of the word which they hear; of whom He says, “And these are by the wayside. "For unclean spirits take away at once the word committed to their hearts, as birds carry away the seed of the trodden way. There are some who both experience its usefulness and feel a desire for it, but some of them the calamities of this world frighten, and others its prosperity allures, so that they do not attain to that which they approve. Of the first of whom He says, "And these are they who fell on stony ground;” of the latter, “And these are they which are sown among thorns.” But riches are called thorns, because they tear the soul with the piercing of its own thoughts, and after bringing it tosin, they, as one may say, make it bleed by inflicting a wound. Again He says, “And the toil of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches;” for the man who is deceived by an empty desire of riches must soon be afflicted by the toils of continual cares. There are, however, excepted from these different classes of men, the Gentiles who do not even have grace to hear the words of life.
Or he bears thirty-fold, who instills into the minds of the elect faith in the Holy Trinity; sixty-fold, who teaches the perfection of good works; a hundred-fold, who shows the rewards of the heavenly kingdom. For in counting a hundred, we pass on to the right hand ; therefore that numberis fitly made to signify everlasting happiness. But the good ground is the conscience of the elect, which does the contrary to all the former three, which both receives with willingness the seed of the word committed to it, and keeps it when received up to the season of fruit.