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be as simply and humbly employed as "a sower who goes out to sow."
"And as he sowed, some fell by the
way-side, and the fowls of the air came "and devoured it up."-It is a most interesting inquiry, my brethren, what becomes of this Moral seed from which the harvest of Eternity is to spring. The words, which you have now heard, point out the manner in which a great portion of it is lost. The radical defect to which men, in general, are but too liable, is thoughtlessness and unconcern respecting the great object of their being. They are apt to pass through the world without consideration; and if, in the course of their existence, they have not been guilty of any flagrant breach of morality, they yet have never made the principles on which their conduct should be regulated, an object of anxiety and concern. They are carried along by the common tide,
and follow the multitude, whether it be to good or evil. "These are they by the way-side, where the word is sown ; but "when they have heard, Satan cometh “immediately and taketh away the word "that was sown in their hearts."-On their inattentive minds, the great lessons of Religion make little or no impression, and they hear the word which calls them to the performance of those duties for which they were born, without seeming to understand it. It is, my brethren, a melancholy reflection, that this description of character is not to be found chief
ly among the poorer and more ignorant classes of society; among those, who, if they know not their duty, may meet with some excuse from their want of opportunity to learn it. It is, I fear, to be found still more among those, who, having every opportunity to learn what station they ought to occupy in the kingdom of God,
yet stand by "the way-side." It is to be found among the dissipated and the idle, who, forgetting the place which they hold in society, and the talents committed to their trust, too often complete the vain round of an insignificant life, without having performed any duty well, or having seriously thought that there were any to be performed!
"And some fell on stony ground, " where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprung up, because it had "no depth of earth; but when the sun 66 was up it was scorched; and because it "had no root, it withered away.""These are they which are sown on stony
ground," as our Saviour explains him
self, "who, when they have heard the
word, immediately receive it with gladness, and have no root in themselves, "and so endure but for a time: after"ward, when affliction or persecution
"ariseth for the word's sake, immediate
ly they are offended."-These words describe, very emphatically, another numerous portion of the human race; those who, though fully aware of what is incumbent on them, as men and as Christians, and although sensible to its seriousness and importance, yet have not strength of mind sufficient to carry them through those temptations which impede them in the course of their practice. "They hear "the word, and receive it with gladness;" they feel its beauty, and they know its value: they hope and believe that they have found armour against the hour of trial: yet when that hour comes, they scarcely make any resistance, and again fall a prey to the sins which most easily beset them, or have not resolution to bear up against the evils of their condition. There is a constant source of selfdeception in persons of this character,
which ought to be pointed out to them. They satisfy their consciences with the belief that they love their duty, and too readily impute to the weakness of human nature, those deviations from it into which they too commonly run. But it is evident, that however the imaginations of such men may be delighted with contemplating the beauty of virtue, or the excellence of Christianity, yet their hearts are not really attached to those divine principles of action: they will make no sacrifice for them; they will go through no trial for the sake of their conscience.
"And some fell among thorns, and the "thorns grew up and choked it, and it "yielded no fruit." “These are they "which are sown among thorns: such "as hear the word, and the cares of this "world, and the deceitfulness of riches, "and the lusts of other things entering "in, choke the word, and it becometh