Samuel Bourn.

On some select parables of our Savior : with an introduction and appendix online

. (page 1 of 18)
Online LibrarySamuel BournOn some select parables of our Savior : with an introduction and appendix → online text (page 1 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




Miiuoa JEHU




•.^. ......



o a M o J


By SAMUEL bourn.







I. On thofe contained in Matthew xiii.
IL On thofe in Luke xv. xvi»


Introduction and Appendix*


^ . ,—— »— M I II ■■» .>

K«t ihuMciv okvroiq itq».oi. h '^ru^uQoXonq* Mat. xiii. ^p

Mutato nomine^ de te

Fabula narratur, Hor. Sat. i.


printed for T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt,

near Surry- Street, in the Strand.


v^JCA (/ A A- '.

' -%fe^nio.B:i,;-::^-^





On the Parables in the thirteenth
Chapter of St. M a t t h e w.

DISCOURSE I. II. Pages, 27


F the Sower: Or, Grain difperfed
upon the Surface of the Ea^rth.

Ma tthe w xili. i.

7 be fame day Jefus went out of the houfe, and
fate by the fea-fide ; And great multitudes
'were gathered together unto him, fo that he
Vol. IIL A '^ent


ivent into a Jlnp^ and fate^ and the whole
multitude flood on the jhore. And he fpake
to them many things in parables : faying^
Beholdy a Sower went forth to fow : &c.
to the nth.


Of the Harveft : Or, Separation of the
Tares from the Wheat.

Matthew xiii. 24 — 31,

Another parable put he forth unto them, fay^
ingy The kingdom of heaven is likened unto
a man which foiled good feed in his field.
But while men Jlept, his enemy came and
fowed fares amongjl the wheats and went his
%vay. But when the blade was fprung upy
and brought forth fruity then appeared the
tares alfo. So the fervants ef the houJl:older
came andfaid unto himy Sir^ didjl thou 7Jot
faw good feed in thy field ? From whence

then hath it tares ? He [aid unto them^

An enemy hath done this. The fervants faid



unto hitn, Wilt thou the?2 that we go afid
gather them up ? But he /aid. Nay 5 leji
'while ye gather up the tares^ ye root up aljo
the wheat with them. Let both gro%v to^
get her until the harveji : and in the time of
harveft 1 will fay to the reaper s. Gather ye
together firjl the tares^ and bifid them in
bundles to burn them : but gather the wheat
into my barn.


Of the Net which gathered of every Kind :
Or, the Capture and Aflbrtment of

Matthew xiii. 47.

Again^ the kingdom of heaven is like unto a
net which was cajt into the fea^ and ga-
thered of every kind ; which ^ when it was
fully they gathered the good into veffels^
but caft the bad away. — "So fhall it be at
the end of this world: the angels f^ll come
forth and fever the wicked from among the
juj}^ and fhall caft them into the furnace of
A a fre:


fire : there fiall be weeping ^nd gnajloing
ef teeth.


Of the Treafure hid in a Field : And the
Pearl of great Price.

Matthew xiii. 44.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto
treafure bid in a field y which when a man
bath found he hideth, and for joy thereof
goeth and felleth all that he hath^ and biiyeth
that field. Again , the kingdom of heaven
is like unto a 7nerchant-ma7i feeking goodly
pearls : who when he had found one pearl
of great price , he went and fold all that
he had and bought it^


Of the Grain of Muftard-feed, which be-
came the greateft of Herbs: and the
Leaven which difFufed itfelf through

the whole Mafs.

M A T T H J) >y


Matthew xiil. 31.

Another parable put he forth unto them^ fay-
ing^ T^he kingdom of heave?! is like to a
grain of muftard-feed^ which a man took
and fowed in his field -^ which indeed is the
leaf of all feeds 5 but when it is grown it
is the greateft amongfi berbs^ and becometh
a tree ; fo that the birds of the air come

and lodge in the branches thereof Ano^

ther parable fpake he unto them : The king"
dom of heaven is like unto leaven^ which a
woman took and hid in three meafures of
meal till the whole was leavened.


On the Parables in the fifteenth and
fixteenth Chapters of St. Luke.


The Occafion of the following Parables.
A 3 Luke


Luke xv. i, 2.

^hen drew iiigb to him all the publicans and
finners for to hear kim» And the pbarifees
and fcribes murmured^ foyi^g> ^^i^ ^^^2
receiveth finners ^ and eateth with them*

Of the careful Shepherd.

Luke xv. ^, &c.


^And he fpake this parable unto them, fayin^

What man among you having an hundred

Jheep^ if he lofe one of them, doth not leave

the ninety and nine in the wildernefs, and

go after that which is lojl until he find

it ? And when he hath found it, he layetb

it upon his fooulders rejoicing. And when

he cometh home, he calleth together his friends

and neighbors, faying unto them. Rejoice

with me: for I have found 7?iy Jheep which

was lojl, I fay unto you, that likewife joy

fhall be in heaven over one fmner that re -

penteth, more than over 7jinety and ninejufi



perfons who 7teed no 7rpentance, Either
what woman having ten pieces of filver, if
fhe lofe one piece ^ doth not light a candle ^
and fweep the. houfe^ and feek diligently
till fhe find it ? And when fhe hath found
it^ fhe calleth her friends and neighbors
together^ faying^ Rejoice with me, for I
have found the piece which I had lo/l.
Likewife I fay unto you, there is joy in the
prefence of the angels of GO D over one
finner that repenteth.

DISCOURSE III. IV. Page 229,259

Of the penitent Rake, and his compaf-
fionate Father.

Luke xv. i i.

And he faid, A certain man had two fo?u :
and the punger of them [aid to his father ^
Father y give me the portion of goods that
falleth to me. And he divided unto them
his living. And not many days after, the
younger fon gathered all together^ and took
A 4 his


his journey info a far country^ and there
^walled his fubjlance with riotous living.
And when he had Jpejit ally there arofe a
mighty famiiie in that land\ and he began
to be in want. And he went mid joined
himfelf to a citizen of that country 5 and he
fent him into his fields to feed fwine. And
he would fain have filled his belly with the
hufks that the fwine did eat : and no man
gave unto him. And when he came to him-*
felf he faid, How many hired fervants 0}
my father s have bread enough and tofpare^
and I peri ft) with hunger I 1 will arijiy
a7id go to fny father^ and will fay unto
him. Father y I have finned agaifift heaven^
and before thee, and am no more worthy to
he called thy fon : make me as one of thy
hired fervants. And he arofe, and came
to his father. But when he was yet a great
way offy his father faw him, and had com-
fqfftony and rany and fell on his neck, and
kijfed him. And the fon faid unto himy
father y I have finned agninfl hcaveny and



in thy fight ^ and am no more worthy to b^
called thy f on. — But the father faid to his
Jervants^ Bring forth the bejl robe, aitd put
it on him^ and put a ring on his hand, aitd
Jhoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted
calf and kill it-, and let us eat and he
merry : for this my fon was dead, and is
alive again ; he was lofl, and is found. And
they began to be merry. Now his elder fon
was in the field: and as he came ajid drew
nigh to the houfe, he heard mufic and danc-
ing. And he called one of the fervants, and
ffked what thefe things meant. And he
faid unto him, Thy brother is come ^ a?2d thy
father hath killed the fatted calf, hecaufe
he hath received him fafe and found. And
he was angry, and would not go in : there-
fore came his father out, and entreated him.
And he anfwering, faid to his father, Lo,
thefe many years do I ferve thee, neither
trajifgreffed I any time thy commandment,
and yet thou never gave/i 7ne a kid, that I
might make merry with my friends. But
asfoon as this thy fon was come, which hath



devoured thy living with harlots^ thou hafl
killed for him the fatted calf. And he f aid
nnto him, Son, thou art ever with me^ and
all that 1 have is thine. It was meet that
^e Jhould make merry, and be glad : for
this thy brother was dead, and is alive
again \ and was loft, and is found,

DISCOURSE V.VI. Page 283, 309

Of the fubtle Steward, or hardened Vil-

LuitE xvi. I, i£c, to 8.

And he faid unto his difciples, There was
a certain rich man which had a Jleward-,
and the fame was accufed unto him that he
had wafted his goods. And he called him*
and faid unto him. How is it that I hear
this of thee ? give an account ofthyfleward-
fldip ; for thou maycjl be no longer fteward.
"Then the Jleward faid within himfelf What
fmll 1 do'? for my lord taketh away from
me the ftewardfhip : I cannot dig ; to beg I



am ajhamed. 1 am refohed ijohat to do%

that when I am put out of the ftewardjhip
they may receive me into their houfes. So
he called every one of his lords debtors unto
him-y and f aid unto the firft^ How much
owe ft thou unto my lord? And he faid. An
hundred me a fur es of oil And he f aid unto
him^ Take thy bill, and fit down quickly, a?id
write fifty, nen faid he to another. And
how much owefi thou? A?2d he faid. An
hundred meafures of wheat. And he faid
unto him. Take thy bill, and write fourf core.
And the lord commended the unjufl fteward,
becaufe he had done wifely.

Of the inhuman rich Jew, and his Bre-

Luke xvi. from 19. to the end.

There was a certain rich man, which was

cloathed in purple and fine linen, and fared

fumptuoufly every day. And there was a

certain beggar named Lazarus, which was

laid at his gate full of fores 5 and defiring



to be fednjoith the ct'iimbs ivhich fell from
the rich 7nans table : moreover the dogs
came and licked his fores. And it came to
fafs that the beggar died ; ajid lOas carried
by the angels into Abraham's bofom, The
rich man alfo died and was buried. And
in hell he lift up his eyeSy being in torment s^
arid feeth Abraham afar offy and Lazarus
in his bofom. And he criedy and faid^
Father Abrahamy have mercy on me ; and
fend LazaruSy that he may dip the tip of
his finger in water y and cool 7ny tongue :
for I am torme72ted in this fame. But
Abraham faidy Sony remember y that thou
in thy life^time receivedfl thy good tKmgSy
and likewife Lazarus evil things : but now
he is comfortedy and thou art tormented*
And bejides all thisy between us and you
there is a great gulf fixed : fo that they
ivhich would pafs from hence to youy can-
not j neither can they pafs to uSy that would
come from thence. T'hen he faidy I pray
iheCy thereforey father y that thou woulde/l
fend him to my father s houfe : for I have



five brethren \ that he may tejlify untp them
leji they alfo come into this place of torment^
Abraham faith unto him, Tihey have JVlofes
and the prophets, let them hear them* And
he faidy Nay, father Abraham ; but if one
went unto them from the dead, they will
repent. And he faid unto him. If they
hear 720t Mofes and the prophets, neithen
will they he perfuaded^ though one rofe from
the dead.


Our Savior reproves the Vanity of his

Luke xvii. i-^ro.
T!hen faid he unto the difciples. It is impoffible
but that offences will come: but wo unto
him through whom they come. It 'm^ere
better for him that a inilflone were hanged
about his neck, a?2d he caft into the fea, than
that he fould off'efid one of thefe little ones,
Take heed to yourfelves : If thy brother tref
pafs againfl thee, rebuke him ; a?id if he
repent, forgive him. And if he trefpaft


againjl thee f even times In a day^ and /even
times in a day turn again to thee^ foyi^gi
1 repent ; thou fialt forgive him. And
the apojilesfaid unto the Lordy lucre afe our
faith. And the Lordfaid^ If ye had faith
as a grain of mujlardfeed^ ye might fay
unto this fycamine-tree^ Be thou plucked up
by the root, and be thou planted in the
fea ; and it foould obey you. But which of
you haviftg a fervant plowing^ or feeding
cattle^ will fay unto him by and by^ when
he is come from the field. Go and fit down
to meat ? And will not rather fay unto him^
Make ready wherewith I may [up, and gird
thyfelf andferve me, till I have eaten and
drunken j afid afte7'ward thou Jhalt eat ajid
drink? Doth he thank that fervant be-
caufe he did the things that were commanded
hint ? I trow not. So likewife ye, when
ye foall have do?ie all thofe things which are
commayided you, fay. We are unprofitable
fervants : we have done that which was
cur duty to do.

APPENDIX. Page 421

I N T R Or


' ■» vfv^-vvv^<'*


TH E fabulous or allegorical manner
of conveying inftruftion appears
to have been held in high efteem in all
ages, and generally acceptable, not only
to the inferior people, but to perfons of
the bed education and nioft refined tafte*'
The original fimplicity and beauty of it
are beft relifhed by thofe whofe tafte is
moft natural. The properties of this fpe-
cies of compofition have been well defcribed
by fome modern writers, particularly Mn
Dodjley, Yet there is one point, in which I
cannot avoid differing from him. For^
whatever the purport of the fable may be,
whether moral, prudential, political, or re-
ligious, — to prefix the application, feems to
be reverfing the proper order, and placing
things i^i^ov TTpoTBfov, — It anticipates the
reader's judgment, and prevents him from
exercifing his own thought and inven-
tion i-—


tion ; — takes away that agreeable furprlze
and ftrength of impreflion, which his own
difcovery of the writer's defign, and fkill in
the execution of it, would otherwife give
him; and confequently weakens if not de-
ftroys the very intended effect : yet this rule
admits of exceptions, where the fable is in-
troduced as an incidental part of a difcourfe.

It will be allowed, I prefume, by the
beft judges, upon a fair examination and
comparifon, that our Savior hath far ex-
celled all other fabulifts, and carried this
fpecies of inftruftion to a perfection, un-
known before his time, and unequalled
fince. The principal properties, by which
hi5 compofitions are diftinguifhed from all
others of the like kind, feem to be thefe.

First, His aftors are not the inferior
creatures, but riiefi, — Sometimes he leads us
to draw inftrutStion from the inferior living
creatures, and the procefs of things in the
vegetable world -, — and in flaort, to confider
j^U nature as a vaft fcene, every part of



which we may fludy to our great advan-
tage and improvement. But the fpecies of
mankind is a principal and diftinguifhed
part of this fpeftacle of nature. Here lies
therefore the fulleft fource of inftrudion, in
regard to morality and religion, as well as
civil prudence and policy. — Our late poet
indeed reprefents the Maker of man as fay-
ing to him at his formation, — " Go, from
" the creatures thy inftruftions take," &c*
But he did not mean to imply, that we
cannot receive more and better inftru6lioii
from the ftudy of human nature, and a
right attention to the various occurrences
in human fociety. For he fays elfewhere,
*' The proper fcience of mankind is man."—
Undoubtedly, men themfelves are the more
proper aftors in a fcene, and fpeakers in a
dialogue, formed for the inftruftion of
mankind. In like manner then, as others
had employed the lower creatures; our
Savior thought fit to introduce into his
fcenes men only : by which, he adds to
the fignificance, without diminifhing the
YoL. HI. a eafe


eafe and familiarity of the narration. And
we may well fuppofe, that in fome view
fimilar to that in which we may behold
the lower animals, he might confider man-
.kind, compared to that fuperior and an-
gelic order of beings, of which he fre-
quently makes mention, and in a manner
which implies his knowledge of their na-

How greatly his compofitions excel alfo,
in concifenefs, variety, and perfpicuity, will
be acknowledged by a judicious and im-
partial critic. Scarce a fingle circumftance
or exprefTion can be taken away from any
of them, without injuring the whole. They
alfo comprehend the moft extenfive and
important meaning, in the fhorteft compafs
of narration J and afford at the fam*e time
the largeft fcope to the judgment and re-
flexion of the reader. Some of them com-
prehend no dialogue, and fcarce any aftion,
and are little more than a fimple compa-
rifon, in which a refemblance is pointed



out, in fome important circumftance, be-
tween things very different between the

fubje6l unknown and to be inveftigated, and
ibmething very well known. In others, we
may eafily trace the outlines of a compleat

drama: various remarkable chara6lers

and incidents are brought together, and
regularly difpofed — perplexity and diftrefs

arife in the courfe of the aftion and the

conclufion difcover s the defign of the whole ;
or an application is added. — The obfcurity
which may be thought to lie in fome of
them, wholly arifes from our not clearly
underftanding his charaBer^ or that of his
audience, or the occafion on which he
fpoke: — except where the fubjedl itfelf ren-
dered fome obfcurity unavoidable. Yet if
we confider the nature oi fucb fubjefts, as
thofe of a future ftate, an invifible world,
and adminiftration of affairs in it, and how
inadequate our minds are to fuch concep-
tions 5 there may appear perhaps the mofl
admirable perfpicuity in his reprefentations
of thefe things. It may be thought, that

^ z by


by the familiarity of his allufions and de-
fcriptions, he intended to throw off that
inyjierious grandeur and obfcurity in them,
by which they confound the mind, elude
the fearch of reafon, and confequently give
fcope only to the delufions of imagination.
For where we are moft in the dark, fancy
is often moft powerful and active, and moft
likely to miflead us. He therefore leads
us to form ideas of the moft fublime and
myfterious things, from things moft fa-
miliar and intelhgiblej and of the tranf-
aclions of fuperior Beings, from the com-
mon prudence, juftice, and humanity of
men in their treatment of one another, and
in their difcernment and management of
things fubjeft to their ufe. In others of
them, which were intended as an apology
for himfelf, or confutation of his adver-
faries, or folution of fome queftion, or per-
fuafion to fome duty, or prediftion of fome
^vent y the main point of his defign, and
the propriety of the circumftances thrown
in, a^ conducive to that end, or affording



inftruftion and entertainment coincident
with it, may be eafily underftood, and will
certainly be admired, by all who ftudy
them v/ith attention and ingenuity. — After
ail, it depends as much upon the capacity
and attention of the hearer or reader, as
upon the fl:ru£lure of the fable, whether
its meaning and propriety (hall be under-
ftood or not. How often does it happen
that a ftory, well told in company, appears
perfectly intelligible to one part of them,
yet it is mifunderftood, or thought intricate
and obfcure, by the other- It is, for the
moft part, an ufelefs attempt, if not impof-
fible, to make things fo plain, that no man
can miftake them. And the aim of every
good writer, is not to fave his reader the
trouble of thinking upon the fubjeft, but
to engage his thought and attention ^ that
fo he may make life of his own under-
ftanding and refleftion, together with the
afliftance offered, in acquiring knowledge.

Another peculiar excellence of his pa-
rables, is the frequent introduftion of his
3 own


own charaBer into them, as the principal
figure, and in views fo various, important
and fignificant: — for inftance, the fower —

the vine-drefier the proprietor of an

eftate the careful (hepherd the juft

mafler— -^the kind father the fplendid

bridegroom the potent nobleman—-

the heir of a kingdom— and the King
upon his throne of glory judging the whole

world of mankind. A ftriking contraft

hence arifes, between the fimplicity of his
defcriptions, and the dignity of the fpeaker.

Another material and diftinguifhing
circumftance, confifts in his fpeaking thefe
parables, Juft as occafions were offered, in
the ordinary courfe of his converfation and
inftruflion, privately as well as publickly,
to his own difciples, to the multitude, and
to the pharifees and chief rulers. — An ac-
cidental queftion, or unexpefled event ap-
pears, to have been the occafion of fome of
them: — for inPcance, that of the good
Samaritan^ when he was afked, who is my

neighbor ?

I N T R O D U C T I O N.

neighbor? — that oitbe rich matt ivhofe groimd
brought forth plentifully, when he was ap-
plied to, to determine a fait concerning an

eftate that of the barren fig-trcc, when

he was told of the Galileans whom Pilate
had maffacred — that of a certain man who
made a great fupper^ when he was prefent
at a fplendid entertainment — and thofe of
the careful fhepherdy the prodigal fon^ the
tmjuji fleward, and the inhuman rich Jew^
when a great number both of publicans
and finners, and of pharifees and fcribes,
happened to be prefent, and the latter
openly murmured againft him and infulted
him. — It will feem very unnatural to any
perfon, who attends to the hiftory, to
imagine that thefe were precompofed, from
a mere human prudential forefight of fuch
emergencies : yet on that fuppofition they
merit high admiration. If they were not,
then, what conception ought we to enter-
tain of fuch a genius and wifdom, united
with a goodnefs and power more than

human ?-—


human ? — and what refpeft do his m-
ilruftions deferve ?

It is hoped this preface may fuffice, to
befpeak the reader's ferious and candid
perufal of the following difcourfes ; which
are an attempt to place fome of thofe pa-
rables in a natural, entertaining, and ufe-
ful point of view.



On the Parables in the thirteenth
Chapter of St. Matthew.

FROM comparing the feveral evange-
lifts together, we find that tbefe
were all fpoke on the fame day, and to the
fame audience, A vaft multitude being
gathered about our Savior, he went into a
veflel on the fide of the lake of Caperjiauniy
and from thence delivered thefe fables to
them, as they ftood upon the rifing fliore — •
a very advantageous fituation for being
heard. When he taught another multitude
from the er^inence of a hill, he made no ufe
of parables, but fpoke in a plain didaftic
fententious preceptive manner : But to this
multitude, it is faid, " That he fpoke in
Vol. Ill B " parables

[ 2 ]

" parables only :" And they are doclrinal,
characleriftic, defcriptive of himfelf, his
difciples, his audience, Chrifiians in general,
the efFefts of chriftianity, and the fiiture
ftate of mankind as connefted with the.
prefent. It may be impoffible for us to
affign the particular reafons for which he
took fo different methods. Only it may be
alledged in general, in the words of a late
excellent author and critic *, " That it is
*' neceflary fometimes for wife men to
*' fpeak in parables, and with a double
** meaning — that the enemy may be a^
" mufed, and they only ivho have ears to
** hear may hear. For we can never do
" more injury to truth, than by difcovering
'' too much of it on fome occafions. 'Tis
" the fame with underflandings as with
<« eyes — to fuch a certain fize and make,
" juft fo much light is neceflary, and no
'* more. Whatever is beyond brings dark-
'* nefs and confufion."

* ShaftcO).

D I S-

[email protected]®@®®®®€f©©®®®®®-^#®@®®«'


Of the Sower: Or, Grain difperfed
upon the Surface of the Earth.

B 2

t 5 1

Matthew xiiu i6

fhefanie day Jefus ivent out of the houfey and
fate by the fea-fide : And great multitudes
were gathered together unto hint 5 fo that he
nvent into a Jhipy and fate, and the whole
multitude food on the fore. And he fpake
to them many things in parables : faying.
Behold,, a Sower went forth to fow : &c*
to the iithi

OF all methods of inftruaion, the
ufe of Parables, that is, of com-
parlfons, allegories, and fables, feems to be
the moft ingenious, and moft proper to
exercife the thinking faculties, though not
to raife the paflions. It appears fimple

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibrarySamuel BournOn some select parables of our Savior : with an introduction and appendix → online text (page 1 of 18)