from WL Worcester (H Blackmer, ed.), 
The Sower.  Helps to the Study of the Bible in Home and Sunday School
(Boston: Massachusetts New-Church Union, n.d.)

Table of Contents


Lesson 17

Topical and Doctrinal Notes

Leading Thought: The Sower

Seeds need deep rich soil, where the roots they gently thrust down can reach with their little mouths to the tiny cups of earth holding minute drops of water. Here, whenever they are thirsty, the roots can drink, and drink, and send the water to the stalk and leaves and blossoms and fruit above ground. One seed of wheat or rye will send down a number of roots into the dark but warm earth, and at the same time push up several stalks into the bright and warm sunlight. Every one of these stalks bears an ear which has a number of little pockets in each of which a new grain or seed is forming. In this way one seed may grow to have a hundred seeds, another may grow to have sixty seeds, and a third to have thirty; or as the Lord says in the parable, "Some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold."

How great and wonderful is the Lord's wisdom and power which makes one little seed that is taken into Mother Earth's lap, and lies there comfortable and warm, where no one sees it, but where it is very active, to produce such a great number of new seeds.

And He does something more wonderful still! He makes one little truth from His holy Word that is taken up into the heart of a loving and obedient child, lying there so warm, and where no one sees it but the Lord, to bring forth a great many kindly, thoughts and useful deeds in the mind and life of the child while he grows up, and later when he is a man, and still later when he is an angel. This is what the dear heavenly Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, told the disciples in explaining the parable. Every truth in His Word is a heavenly seed, which He, the Divine Sower, or the "Son of Man," wishes to plant in the hearts of men. So, while the earthly father is reading the Word to his children, and they listen with loving hearts, the Lord is sowing in these hearts the seed of His 'truth, which, some day, will grow up and bring forth seeds or fruit.

But, sad to say, not all receive the Lord's truths into good hearts. The Lord tells us that there are other kinds of people, which He divides into three classes; making, with the good, four different kinds of earth or soil in the field, that is, in the church, for the reception of the Divine seed.

First. - There are those who sit in Sunday school or in church, and listen to the reading and explanations of the holy Word, but do not care for it, and so do not think further about it; therefore it does not enter their understanding, but thoughts about other things, about other stories, or pleasures, fly into their minds and destroy the things to which they have been listening. These are like the hard road on which the seed falls, and the birds come and eat them up.

Second. - There are others who like to listen to the. Word; it sounds very pleasant to them; they enjoy reading and hearing it. But they are not deep at all. They are superficial; and, after a while, when they find that they must do something besides listening and reading and enjoying the stories and the truths in the Word, namely, that they must fight, and fight hard, against their own evils, and strictly obey the Ten Commandments, they do not like it. They love themselves more than the Lord. These are shallow, rocky ground, having only a thin covering of soil for the seed to grow in, where there is little water, and the seed cannot push its roots deep, and so when the sun comes up the little plant withers and dies. The sun here means their love of self.

Third. - And there are still others who indeed take in the truths of the Word, and think about them so that they seem to be growing and developing in their minds, but they let evil loves and pleasures choke out the thoughts about these truths, and so they do not live according to them. They are just like the seed that is growing among thorns. These thorns also have roots in the ground that draw away the water from the good seed, and they have stems and leaves above the soil, with which they shut out the sunlight from the growing plant, and so they choke out its life before it has had time to form the fruit in its ears.

Did the multitude who stood on the seashore, listening to the Lord, understand what He meant by this and the other parables?

No. Even His disciples did not understand and He had to explain them to them afterward. The greater part of the people were not good, and it would have been dangerous for them to take in the Word which He was teaching. The Lord spoke only to those who "had ears," for He said, "He that hath ears to hear let him hear." Of course they all had ears such as grow on the sides of the head of the natural body. The Lord did not mean such ears. A child "hears" when he obeys his mother. So to "have ears" for the Lord's words, means to possess obedience: to believe in the Lord and obey Him. Those who do this, take in, and understand, and live up to what the Lord teaches them. They "have ears" and "hear."

Because the disciples did this, therefore the Lord taught them the secret of what He meant by the parables, and told them, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."

The disciples having this given them, had what others did not have. This will help you to understand what He meant by saying, "To him that hath shall be given and he shall have more abundantly." Of course Jesus did not mean having houses, and gardens, or farms, and furniture, and pictures, and ornaments, and jewelry, and money, and horses, and cattle, etc. He meant what people have in their minds and hearts: truth and good. When you love the truth and "have" it, you want more because it is so beautiful, and since there is no end to the truths and goods which the Lord has and wants to give to others, the more you really want of good and truth from Him, the more He gives you in this life, and still more after you enter heaven when you die.

But people who do not really love the truth which they have learned, cannot keep it when they die and enter the other life, and therefore all the knowledge and intelligence which they seemed to have are then taken away from them.

to next Lesson