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15. And 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.

In the turn of a thought ; it may be while I am speaking
it. He knows what all hearts are without the word. Do
you know it too ? Be upon your guard against Satan ; and
hold it fast, as you love your souls. He has no power to
take it away, but just so far as you are willing to let it go,

IG. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony
ground ; who, when they have heard the word, immediately re-
ceive it with gladness ;

AVc may have nothing to say against the word ; nay, be
pleased with it, and think well of our state because we hear
it with some degree of delight, and yet have no soundness
or root of a true life in us. If it enters deep into our
hearts, lays us low in our own eyes, and brings us to faith



VER. 10—22.] ST. MARK. 31

ill Christ, this is a good foundation, and will abide the
trial.

17. Aiul have no root in thenisehes, and so endure but for
a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariselh (or the
word's sake, immediately they are offended.

These observations show the influence of religion, which
obtains wherever the gospel is preached with success. These
persons bid fair, while supported by the influence arising
from riches, power, and worldly success; but when these
are withdrawn from the church, those who seemed to love
religion for its own sake are offended, and forsake the
martyrs and confessors of the Saviour. Such seasons of
trial will come upon the church in every age and place ;
and then the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. —
Edit.

18. And these are ibey which are sown among thorns ; such as
hear the word,

19. And the cai'es of this world, anJ the deceit fulness of riches,
and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it
becometli unfruitful.

Here is ruin and destruction plainly set before us ; and
the most general and fatal cause of men's not profiting by
the word : the world chokes it. Not only the sinful plea-
sures of it, but its cares and occupations. How many are
caught in this snare ! how common is it for men to make
their business an excuse for not saving their souls ! and how
few set themselves in good earnest to root out these choking
thorns !

20. And these are they which are sown on good ground ; such
as bear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty -
fold, some sixty, and some an. hundred.

Awakened, believing, steady souls, who have discovered
the natural deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of tlicir
hearts, come to Christ for healing by his blood, and in the
Holy Spirit's power keep close to him in obedience. These
are the hearers whom God approves.



32 ST. MARK. [chap. IV.

All true believers do not bring forth the same measure
of fruit, yet all according to their capacities and opportu-
nities; and the measure of the Spirit given unto them.
Inquire not whether others have more or less fruit than
yourself, but consider what you can and ought to do.



SECTION XIII.

Chap. iv. ver. 21—29-



DIVINE KNOWLEDGE IS TO BE COMMUNICATED: PARABLE
OF THE GROWING SEED, AND ITS FULL MATURITY.

21. And he said unto them. Is a candle brought to be put under
a bushel, or under a bed ? and not to be set on a candlestick ?

22. For there is nothing bid, which shall not be manifested ;
neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

As if he had said, you have now the explanation of the
parable ; hide it not within yourselves, but let others have
the benefit of your knowledge : and moreover let it not lie
dead within you, without some fruit appearing, but let
your light shine out, for the benefit of those among whom
you live.

23. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Let him hear with profit to himself, and in order to im-
part to others what he hears and knows.

24. And he saith unto them, Take heed what ye hear : witli
what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you : and unto you
that hear shall more be given.

Do not let that you hear lie useless or unimproved for
your own and others'* benefit.

The increase of gifts and grace will be according to the
improvement we make of our attainments and opportuni-
ties of benefiting the souls of others. In these things,
" he that withholdeth more than is meet, it tcndeth to



VER. 21—29.] ST. MARK. 33

poverty :" but he who layeth himself out to serve the Lord
Christ, shall have more ability to help forward his king-
dom, and to secure his own salvation. — Edit.

25. For he that hath,

He that uses and diligently labours to improve what he
possesses, for the good of himself and his fellow- creatures,

25. To him shall be given :

A greater abundance now, and in the world to come
much more than he can conceive.

25. And he that halh not, from him shall be taken even that
which he hath.

That which he hath had given him, but lets it lie idle, and
contrary to the design of its being given him. The man
who keeps it to himself, shall not long have it for himself,
to any saving purpose : what he hath shall be taken from
him. It is a very important lesson which is taught in these
verses, namely, that the way to keep and increase what we
learn in the school of Christ, is to communicate it to others.

26. And he said, So is the kingdom of God,

This is plainly not his eternal kingdom in heaven, but
his kingdom of grace upon earth ; which embraces his
power and work in the souls of men. The parable teaches
us that we must sow the seed, or receive it into our hearts
when Christ sows it ; and that is all we can do, the rest is
God's work.

26. As if a man should cast seed into the ground ;

In hopes of a crop, and with earnest desire to see his
work prosper. Sow thus for your souls ; and sow you
must, or else nothing is to be looked for. Those who do
not sow will never reap.

27. And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed
should spring and grow up, iie knowctli not liow.

Leave all quietly, and securely to God. So it is in our
spiritual husbandry. Till and sow, hear the word, and

VOL. II. J)



34 ST. MARK. [chap. IV.

open and prepare your hearts to receive it, and you may
rise up and lie down in peace. If your wills and prayers
are with God, for the growth of it, the harvest will cer-
tainly follow in his appointed time.

28. For the earth bringeth forth fruit o( herself ; first the blade,
then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

This is brought to pass, not without man's endeavours ;
but without his power, and in a way unknown to him. So
is grace in the heart, the work is going forward in God's
hands, but in a manner secret to us as the growth of the
corn. Blast it not thyself, and God surely will not. It
may have many a stop, and perish at the last ; but whose
fault is it.''*

29. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he put-
tetli in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

God knows his time of reaping, and will not stay a day
too long. Let us but be fit for it, and then we need not
care how soon it comes. In the book of the Revelation, xiv.
18, there is mention made of two sickles, one to reap the
harvest, namely, God's children ; the other to reap the
vintage, namely, the wicked, for condemnation. You have
the choice of the two sickles : may God prepare you for
the right one !

* This sentence shows the opinion of Mr. Adam in the year 1757.
I am inclined to think that Mr. Adam did not altogether maintain
the abstract doctrine of the final extinction of grace in the heart
where it had been implanted by the Holy Spirit. The Rev. R.
Storry says, Mr. Adam held both " election and perseverance in a
way of his own." — Edit.



VEIL 30—41.] ST. MARK. 35

SECTION XIV.

Chap. iv. ver. 30 — 41.

TAUAHLE OF THK MUSTAKD SEED : CHRIST STIl.LETH THE
TEMPEST.

30. And he said, Whereuiito shall we liken the kingdom of
God ? or with what comparison shall we compare it ?

31. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown
in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth :

Our beginnin^^ in grace is small, and next to nothing;
but if there be the life and virtue of a seed in it, it will,
with God's blessing, grow and prosper beyond our liopes.
Faith is that seed.

32. But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater
than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches ; so that the
fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Tlie contrast between the small seed and the large herb
produced therefrom, marks the abundant fruits of the Spirit,
which the almost invisible seed of the word yields, when it
is sown in a heart before pi'epared of God for its reception.
The plant of grace, however small it is when it is planted
in the heart by the Holy Ghost, will grow large and fair,
and shadowy : " But every plant," says Christ, " which
njy heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out."
—Edit.

33. And with manv such parables spake lie the word unto tiieni,
as they were able to hear it.

Jesus suited himself to their capacities, and taught
them in such a manner as best to answer the end of his
instructions.

A parable, when it is understood, enters deeper into our
minds and takes faster hold of us, than a plain discourse.
All is in the application. Let each one of you ask him-
self, What am I ? Shall I account myself a way-side hearer,

D '2



36 ST. MARK. [chap. IV.

or a downright worldling, busy about everything but tlie
one thing needful ? Have I received the good seed of the
word into my heart, and committed the growth of it, in
faith and prayer, to God ?

34. But without a parable spake he not unto them : and when
they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Even so. Lord Jesus, do thou expound all things to us,
by speaking them to our hearts.

Matt. xiii. 15. None but those who are converted and
healed know what it is to understand with the heart.

35. And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto
them. Let us pass over imto the other side.

36. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him
even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other
little ships.

37. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat
into the ship, so that it was now full.

38. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pil-
low : and they awake him, and say unto him. Master, carest thou
not that we perish ?

So we are apt to think when we are in trouble, that God
does not regard us, and especially when spiritual trouble
has raised a storm within us. But though Christ suffers
his servants to come into danger for their good, he knows
how to deliver them.

39. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea.
Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And is he not as marvellous in changing ris ? To set our
wills against sin. to bring down our pride, to persuade us
to xchange our hatred and selfishness for love, and our
boisterous passions for meekness, to take our hearts from
the world, and make us heavenly-minded, is not less won-
derful, than to speak a storm into a calm.

40. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it
that ye have no faith ?

This passage is for fearful and desponding Christians ;
they do ill, and are great enemies to themselves, in doubt-



CHAP, v.] ST. MARK. 37

ing and fearing. And Christ here rebukes them for it, but
nevertheless he will not leave them to perish.

41. And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What
manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey
him ?

It is a happy circumstance when we can say, from some
experienceof what he hath wrought in us, " What manner of
man is this .?" If, however, he does not do more for us, it is
because we are insensible of what we want from him, and
do not ask it of him. What was it that awoke him ? was
it not this cry, " Lord, save us, we perish." But this is too
humble a prayer for us, and the generality had rather
perish than submit to it.



SECTION XV.
Chap. V. ver. 1 — 9.

A MAN POSSESSED WITH DEVILS.

1. And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into tlie
country of tlie Gadarenes.

2. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there
met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean s})irit,

3. Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could
bind him, no, not with chains :

Bring thyself to this passage of Scripture, and let it
strike up a light within thee. Thou art the man, and
God himself hath not been suffered to bind thee with the
fetters and chains of his law. See, how thy heart rises
against it, and in how many instances thou art a breaker of
it.

4. Because that ho had been often bound with fetters and chains,
and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters
broken in pieces : neither could any man tame him.



38 ST. MARK. [chap. V.

5. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and
in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Every sinner is a greater madman, and does greater mis-
chief to himself.

Who would not have thought this poor man's case des-
perate 't And yet Satan must give way when a stronger than
he comes upon him. Learn from hence to conceive highly
of the power of Christ ; and that though your corruption
is strong, and your sins many, he will certainly pity your
condition, and work your cure, when you come to him for
that purpose. Do not pretend to help and heal yourself.
The man could as soon have cast out his leffion of devils,
amounting to some thousands, as yon can cast out one
without Christ.

6. But when he saw Jesus afar ofi", he ran and worshipped
him.

Acknowledging his power, and beseeching him not to
give him up immediately to his punishment : for the devils
do not suffer the whole of their torments, but are reserved
" unto the judgment of the great day." Jude v. 6. We
have our choice, whether we will be of their number, and
be doomed to their misery in that day, or accept the mercy
of a Saviour now.

7. And cried witli a loud voice, and said. What have I to do
with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God ?

It is a dreadful thing to say this, and yet every uncon-
verted man does say it fi'om the bottom of his heart ; for
so long as he cleaves to his corruption, Christ can be no-
thing but a torment to him. When Christ tells a sinner
that he must give up all, and let all go ; the answer is,
no ; for this would be death to him. And when any one
of us refuses to know himself according to the light of
Scripture, is not this saying in effect, " What have I to do
with thee ?" In any one instance you may go a great way
with Jesus, and think yourselves very sincere : but if you
shrink from him, with an exception, or reservation, in any



VER. 10—20.] ST. MARK. 39

one respect, lie knows that to be the language of your
heart. That one thing is the test of your sincerity, and
not a thousand others, which cost us little or no self-
denial.

7. I adjure thee by God, that thou torment ine not.

It is a sore trial, and will put the soul hard to it, when
the devil is to be cast out in some darling lust. Christ
deals with thee about thy bosom sin, and the necessity of
giving up every sin, and does thy heart refuse its consent ?
His will is evidently thy plague, and thou sayest this very
thing to him, " I adjure thee — torment me not." Some
continue in this mind a shorter, some a longer time, and
many always.

8. For he said unto hiui. Come out of the man, thou unclean
spirit.

He commanded every one of them to come out of him.
He would not leave one behind to torment the man. So
he would, so he must say to the earthly, sensual, devilish
nature, — to every lust in us : for one devil, one sin, is
enough to make us miserable. And so he will say, when
we desire it of him in faith, knowing our condition.

9. And he asked liini. What ii tliy name ? And he answered,
saying, My name is Legion : for we are many.

This is the name of sin in us. Jesus spake the truth ;
let us confess it too.



SECTION XVI.

Chap. V. ver. 10—20.

UK IS UKALEU.



10. And he besought him much that he would not .send lliem
away out oC the country.



40 ST. MARK. [chap. V.

1 1 . Now there was there uigh unto the mountains a great herd
of swhie feeding.

12. And all the devils besought him, saying. Send us into the
swine, that we may enter into them.

It appears from hence, that it is some ease to the devils,
and a mitigation of their torments, to be in the bodies of
men, and other animals. Instead of prying farther into
this matter, let us be careful to keep them out of ourselves.
They may have possession of our bodies oftener than we
think of; and they certainly have possession of our souls
when we give way to their temptations.

13. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean
spirits w ent out, and entered into the swine : and the herd ran
violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two
thousand ;) and were choked in the sea.

14. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and
in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was
done.

Ver. 10 — 14. — Why Jesus complied with the request of
these devils, in suffering them to enter into, and destroy
the swine, we cannot certainly know. No doubt the owners
of them deserved this punishment. The loss indeed of their
swine, if they would have understood it, might have been
a gain to them. We may learn hence that the devil has
no power of his own, and cannot hurt us without God's
permission. And he has no power given him, but as we
consent to it, by first withdrawing ourselves from God.

1-5. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed
with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his
right mind : and they were afraid.

Are we in our right mind .^ Jesus brings us all to this.
No man, however, is in his right mind until he makes his
soul his first care. And no man does that until he thinks
in good earnest with himself what he must do to be saved :
until he turns to God in repentance, humility, and prayer,
and sues out his pardon in the name of Christ. Has then



VER. 10 — 20.] ST. MARK. 41

the same Jesus, who only can, brought you to your right
mind ? Then you are thankful to God for him ; you make
your soul your first care : you 'have his rule always before
you : you keep a strict watch over your heart. You pray,
you think it as great folly to return to your former state of
unbelief, and alienation from God, as it would have been
in this recovered man to invite the legion of devils into
him again.

16. And ihey that saw it told them how it befell to him that was
possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

17. And they began to pray him to depart out of their
coasts.

Instead of considering the miracle which he had done,
and reaping the benefit of his presence, their hearts were
hardened, notwithstanding what they had seen and heard,
like all others who value their worldly goods more than
Christ.

18. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been
possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

This is a proof of conversion, when we desire to be with
Jesus : — when we gladly receive his instructions, and cleave
to him, in our wills and affections, from a sense of his love,
and knowing how great and good he is to us.

19. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him. Go
home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord halh
done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

As Jesus could stay no longer in that country himself, he
judged it proper that the man should remain there, to pub-
lish what the Lord had done for him ; and especially to
make this known to his friends and acquaintance, as he
knew it would be natural for him to do.

20. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how
great things Jesus had done for him :

When you know Christ, be not afraid to speak of him
to others. Who knows but you may save a soul ?

20. And all men



Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 39)