THE SEED UPON A ROCK
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 16, 1888.
“Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”
Matthew 13:5, 6.
ON another occasion I hope to preach from the words, “because they had no root,” but, at this time, my subject is, “They sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth.” Every farmer knows the wonderful effect of heat below the soil, how quickly it makes things grow. I do not gather that this was a stony piece of ground, but that it had a mass of stone not far from the surface. It was ground where the soil was very shallow and underneath it was a hard pan of rock that had never been broken up, so that, when the sun shone upon it, the rock reflected the heat and what with the sun above, and the heat below, the seed was very soon made to sprout and up came the green blade almost immediately. But this very shallowness of the soil which made the seed spring up so quickly was the cause of its ruin, for the sun had not long shone upon it before that which made it grow also killed it. The heat scorched it and it withered away.
Those people who are represented by this soil which has no deepness of earth, very soon make the Good Seed to appear to grow in them. They hear a sermon, are apparently converted and they fancy that they are saved. Or there is a revival meeting where some earnest addresses are given by different speakers, and they at once profess to be Believers. They are brought forward as converts and there is great rejoicing over them—but after a very little while, days of trial arise and there being no depth in them, they wither away and their names are struck from the church roll. The hopeful success, as it seemed, becomes a bitter failure. Men ask, “Where are those converts?” And echo can only answer, “Where?” for nobody knows but the Lord—who was never deceived by them.
I want you to clearly understand that the fault did not lie in the suddenness of their supposed conversion. Many sudden conversions have been among the best that have ever happened. Take, for instance, the case of Saul of Tarsus, struck down on the road to Damascus. Within three days his sight is restored to him and he is baptized as a true, real, out and out Christian. There was great depth of earth in him, yet the seed sprang up very rapidly! And we have hundreds and even thousands of instances of persons who have been suddenly converted and yet who have been truly converted. The work has been very thorough—nobody could doubt its genuineness—yet it took place quite unexpectedly and was looked upon as a wonder.
Do not judge the reality of your conversion either by the suddenness of it or by the length of time which it occupied, for it is true that superficial conversions are usually sudden, although all sudden conversions are not superficial. There are many who, in the sight of God, are not converted at all, who appeared as if they were the subjects of a great, remarkable and complete change. Where there is no depth, there is no durability. That familiar proverb is a true one, “Easy come, easy go.” As a general rule, those persons who have, as they say, “found religion” all of a sudden, without any mental struggle and who have never found it in their heart and soul, are the very people to let it go quite as readily whenever a time of trial comes.
In case there should be any persons of that sort here unwarned, I am going to speak of them and to them now, answering these three questions. First, what is meant by having deepness of earth? Secondly, what is meant by the scorching of the sun? And, thirdly, how can we avoid the evil of having no deepness of earth and so being withered by the scorching of the sun?
I. First, then, WHAT IS MEANT BY HAVING NO DEEPNESS OF EARTH?
I think it is, with some people, a general superficiality of character. There are some persons whom you ought to be able to see through, for there is so little substance in them. I do not say that you can always see all there is in them, for a pool, if it is not deep, may be very muddy and you may not be able to see to the bottom of it, even though it is quite shallow. And I think I know some people in whom there is as much deception as there is superficiality. Probably we all know some persons who, from their very early days, have always been superficial and changeable, like the man described by Dryden—“Everything by starts and nothing long.” Even in business they have been about 20 different things, “Jack of all trades and master of none.” Nobody knows what Continue reading →