Of the good soil, as you will mark, we have but one in four. Ah I would to God there were one in four of us here, with well-prepared hearts to receive the Word
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: a sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”—Luke 8:4–8.
hearers – 7:42
2. Stony-ground hearers – 21:40
3. Thorny-ground hearers – 33:57
4. Good-ground hearers – 42:14
The following are select quotes from this sermon.
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Now the preacher of the gospel is like the sower. He does not make his seed; the seed is given him by his Master. It would not be possible for a man to make the smallest seed that ever germinated upon the earth, much less that celestial seed of eternal life. The minister goes to his Master in secret, and asks him to teach him his truth, and thus he fills his basket with the good seed of the kingdom. What the minister has to do, is to go forth in his Master’s name and scatter precious truth. If he knew where the best soil was to be found, perhaps he might limit himself to that which had been prepared by the plough of conviction. But not knowing men’s hearts, it is his business to preach the gospel to every creature—to throw a handful on that hard heart yonder, and another handful on that overgrown heart, which is full of cares and riches and pleasures of this world. He has to leave the fate of the seed in the care of the Master who gave it to him, for well he understands that he is not responsible for the harvest, he is only responsible for the care, the fidelity, and the integrity with which he scatters the seed, right and left with both his hands. What, if not a single ear should ever make glad the sheaves; if never should there be seen a single green blade starting up among the furrows, the man would be accepted and rewarded by his Master, if he had but sown the right seed, and sown it with careful hand. Alas! alas!—if it were not for this fact—that we are not responsible for our success—with what despairing agony must we remember, that too often we labour in vain, and spend our strength for nought.
Ah! my dear hearers, I will not ask for you that God may lay you on a bed of sickness, that he may strip you of all your wealth, that he may bring you to beggary, that he may take away your comforts; I will not ask that; but oh, if he were to do it, and you were to save your soul, it would be the greatest bargain you could ever make. If the king could doff his diadem to be saved; if those mightiest among the mighty who now make this complaint, that the thorns choke the seed, could give up all their riches and be banished from all their pleasures; if all their luxury should be turned into poverty, and if they that fare sumptuously every day could take the place of Lazarus on the dunghill, and have dogs to lick their sores, it were a happy change for them if their souls might be but saved.
Of the good soil, as you will mark, we have but one in four. Ah I would to God there were one in four of us here, with well-prepared hearts to receive the Word. The ground was good; not that it was good by nature, but it had been made good by grace. God had ploughed it; he had stirred it up with the plough of conviction, and there it lay in ridge and furrow as it should be. And when the Gospel was preached, the heart received it…
Charles Haddon Spurgeon