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whilst His disciples, even in the parables themselves, should discern at once the true and proper words of God. Hence the following warning to the disciples; “Know ye not (already) this parable ? how then will ye know all parables ? The sower soweth the word. These are they by the wayside (the border of the path), where the word is sown. When they have heard (only with the outward ear have once heard), Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts (on the ground of their heart). And in like manner these are they which are sown on stony ground, who, so soon as they have heard the word (have just first heard it), immediately receive it with gladness (as if it had no difficulties, nothing burdensome, no barb for them); but they have no root in their own inward life, and are dependent on the times (serving the spirit of the times). When thus affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns : such as have heard the word (heard, and at first also, as earnest hearers, have kept it);' and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things (this and the other thing), entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful (in the bearing of fruit pines away). But these are they which are sown on good ground : such as hear the word (ever anew), and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundredfold.'
There are thus three different hindrances which the heavenly sower finds in three different sorts of ground—the different sorts of unsusceptibility, or of insufficient susceptibility. In the first case, the seed does not even spring up; in the second, it does not attain to a strong formation of roots; in the third, it does not attain to fruit. Manifestly a gradation. But the good ground compensates the sower richly: here he obtains a truly miraculous harvest, with a definite succession of degrees in the fulness of blessing.
On this the Lord further laid down two principles in reference to the object of parables, both of them expressed in para
'The reading ακούσαντες (οι τον λόγον ακούσαντες) is here recommended not only by respectable codices, but also by the emphatic manner with which Mark modulates the exovery in the different cases.
2 οίτινες ακούουσι τον λόγον.
bolic form. The first was intended to make the disciples clearly apprehend the positive end of parables-veiling, to unveil the truth; the other the negative side, according to which, unfolding the truth, they should conceal it.
The first was as follows: ‘Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bench (bed)? Is it not brought to be set on a candlestick? For nothing is, even in general, hidden, but that it should be made manifest; and nothing has been concealed, but just that it should come fully abroad into the light. More strongly could not the Lord have expressed the positive end of parables, in veiling to unveil the truth. His parables appeared indeed, at the first glance, to be like the bushel or the bed, as these might be used in the East to shade the light. But they were still in reality to be compared to the candlestick, on which the candle of truth was placed. And if they meanwhile concealed the truth from the unsusceptible, this had only for its object, that the truth thus concealed from the world should all the more brightly be revealed.
This explanation was supplemented by the second principle. "Take heed,' said the Lord, what ye hear! With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again ; and unto you that hear (truly hear) more shall be added. For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. In these words the Lord gave expression to the fact, that the knowledge of truth is the portion only of those who are susceptible. When the hearer measures out nothing to the preacher, nothing also shall be measured out to him in return. But to him who truly hears shall be given not only according to the measure of his susceptibility, but much more abundantly. He therefore who already has, to him the parables give more; but he who has not, from him they even take that which he has, they serve entirely to conceal the truth from his profane gaze.
Hereupon the Lord added a second parable: "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and lay himself down to sleep, and again rise up with the alternation of night and day, and meanwhile the seed should spring and grow up without his knowing it. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of itself (by its own productive power); first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the
fruit invites to harvest, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.'
Then once more He spoke : “Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard-seed. When it is sown in the earth, it is less than all the seeds that are upon the earth. 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.'
The first parable shows us the establishment of the kingdom of God in the pre-eminent difficulties which attend the laying of its foundations; the second, in its sure and natural development; the third, in its wonderful and glorious completion.
In these and many such parables spake He the word unto them, as they were able to understand it. But without a parable spake He nothing unto them. And to His disciples he further expounded all in a special manner.
1. One recognises here, apart from less prominent features, the peculiarity of Mark, in the living conceptions he forms of the whole. The three parables (of which the second, with its fresh delineation, belongs to him alone) represent the kingdom of God, in the three chief stages of its development. The whole development stands like an organism full of life before His spirit.
2. Probably these three parables formed originally a single connected discourse. They formed the first discourse of this kind. It preceded, however, the great conflict with the Galilean Pharisees, which Mark has already parrated.
THE ENHANCED MANIFESTATION OF THE GLORY OF CHRIST BY
MIGHTY MIRACLES, IN WHICH HE REVEALS HIS DOMINION OVER THE POWERS OF NATURE, THE KINGDOM OF SPIRITS, THE DOMAIN OF THE MOST CONCEALED SUFFERINGS, AND OVER THE POWER OF DEATH ITSELF.
(Chap. iv. 35-v.)
The power of Christ had thus even already to contend with a great and resolute opposition amongst His people. It was repelled by a large sphere of unsusceptibility, and permitted itself to be repelled by this, because it was a holy power, which would not break through all resistance as mere omnipotence, but, with the delicate unobtrusiveness of the Holy Spirit, in the presence of a spirit of wanton malice or outrage, withdrew within itself. But the more it was thus repelled by the hierarchical sphere, the more powerfully did it manifest itself in the circle of susceptible souls. We see therefore why, just at the present juncture, an enhanced display of His glory should take place. He discovers Himself in a series of mighty wonders,
a as Lord over the tempestuous kingdom of nature, over the dark domain of spirits, over the calm world of secret suffering, and over the deep valley of death.
That day also on which He had discoursed to the people the great parables, when the shades of evening had already begun to descend, was His day's work not yet at an end. Calling His disciples to Him, He said, 'Let us pass over to the other side.' They therefore dismissed the multitude, and took Him even as He was in the ship (without further arrangements of any kind having been made), only that several other little ships served for an escort. And now there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was already full of water. But the Lord was in the hinder part of the ship, and, reclining on a pillow, was asleep. And they awake Him, and say unto Him, 'Master, carest Thou not that we perish ?' 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 He said unto them, “Why are ye so fearful ? Is it then, indeed, that ye have no faith ?' And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'
Christ stood before them as the Prince of the kingdom of nature—as the Ruler of its powers, the Subduer of its storms, whose untamed violence often threatens the kingdom of God with destruction-as the Restorer of the peace of paradise.
Thus they came to the opposite coast, into the country of the Gadarenes. And so soon as He was come out of the ship, there ran to meet Him out of the tombs a man who was possessed of an unclean spirit. It was no ordinary demoniac; he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no man could bind him, no, not with chains. For often already he had been bound hand and foot with chains (manacles) and fetters, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces ; and no man could tame him. And always, night and day, he dwelt in the tombs (of the rocks), and in the mountains, crying and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and fell down before Him, and cried with a loud voice, “What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the most high God? I adjure Thee by God, that Thou torment me not. For Jesus spake unto him (had said to him), “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.' And now He asked him, "What is thy name ?' And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion ; for we are many.' But after uttering the proud, defiant word, he began (probably in manifold fawning tones) to beseech Him, with many words, that He would not send them away out of that country. Now there was there on the declivity of the mountain a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought Him (without doubt in a mixture of variously sounding voices), “Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And as soon as the unclean spirits went out, they entered into the swine (one could see how the swine, during the paroxysm in which the demonaic was delivered, gradually fell into a state of commotion); and the herd rushed tumultuously down the steep descent of the mountain into the sea. There were of them about two thousand, which were thus choked in the sea. And the swine-herds fled, and told it in the city and in the country.