Testimonies, Vol. 3
The parable of the gospel sower, which Christ presented before His hearers, contains a lesson that we should study. Those who preach present truth and scatter the good seed will realize the same results as the gospel sower. All classes will be affected more or less by the presentation of pointed and convincing truth. Some will be wayside hearers. They will be affected by the truths spoken; but they have not cultivated the moral powers, they have followed inclination rather than duty, and evil habits have hardened their hearts until they have become like the hard, beaten road. These may profess to believe the truth; but they will have no just sense of its sacred, elevated character. They do not separate from the friendship of the lovers of pleasure and corrupt society; but they place themselves where they are constantly tempted, and may well be represented by the unfenced field. They invite the temptations of the enemy and finally lose the regard they seemed to have for the truth when the good seed was dropped into their hearts. 

Some are stony-ground hearers. They readily receive anything new and exciting. The word of truth they receive with joy. They talk earnestly, with ardour and zeal, in reference to their faith and hope, and may even administer reproof to those of long experience for some apparent deficiency or for their

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lack of enthusiasm. But when they are tested and proved by the heat of trial and temptation, when the pruning knife of God is applied, that they may bring forth fruit unto perfection, their zeal dies, their voices are silent. No longer do they boast in the strength and power of truth. 

This class are controlled by feeling. They have not depth and stability of character. Principle does not reach down deep, underlying the springs of action. They have in word exalted the truth, but are not doers of it. The seed of truth has not rooted down below the surface. The heart has not been renewed by the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. And when the truth calls for working men and women, when sacrifices have to be made for the truth's sake, they are somewhere else; and when trials and persecution come, they fall away because they have no depth of earth. The truth, plain, pointed, and close, is brought to bear upon the heart and reveals the deformity of character. Some will not bear this test, but frequently close their eyes to their imperfections; although their consciences tell them that the words spoken by the messengers of God, which bear so closely upon their Christian characters, are truth, yet they will not listen to the voice. They are offended because of the word and yield the truth rather than submit to be sanctified through it. They flatter themselves that they may get to heaven an easier way.

Still another class is represented in the parable. Men and women who listen to the word are convinced of the truth and accept it without seeing the sinfulness of their hearts. The love of the world holds a large place in their affections. In deal they love to get the best of the bargain. They prevaricate, and by deception and fraud gain means which will ever prove as a thorn to them; for it will overbalance their good purposes and intentions. The good seed sown in their hearts is choked. Frequently they are so full of care and anxiety, fearing that they will not gain means, or that they will lose what they have gained, that they make their temporal matters primary. They do not nourish the good seed. They do not attend meetings

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where their hearts can be strengthened by religious privileges. They fear that they will meet with some loss in temporal things. The deceitfulness of riches leads them to flatter themselves that it is duty to toil and gain all they can, that they may help the cause of God; and yet the more they increase their earthly riches the less are their hearts inclined to part with their treasure, until their hearts are fully turned from the truth they loved. The good seed is choked because overgrown with unnecessary worldly cares and needless anxiety--with love for the worldly pleasures and honours which riches give.