And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spoke by a parable:…
1. The design of the gospel is to convert men from sin, and save their souls from hell; this is the real purpose of God.
2. Let us move forward a step: It is so ordered in the Divine wisdom that human freewill can refuse to accept the gracious provisions of the gospel, and even finally reject them.
3. Of course, therefore, we perceive that the preaching of the gospel will instantly divide men into two classes, whose moral state must be determined by their attitude towards it.
4. Thus we reach another suggestion: The gospel rejected or perverted does not lose its power, but now goes right on in driving the soul into deeper rebellion and hardness.
5. It now becomes clear precisely what God does do in the process of darkening the understanding and blinding the mind of a rebellious man who will not consent to be renewed and saved. He goes on doing what he was doing before. Suppose two merchant-vessels out on the same sea, sailing before the same wind which comes prosperously on their quarter. Suddenly upon one of them a mutiny is organized; the captain is murdered, and the crew put in irons; then the captors tan on their course exactly, face in the opposite direction, and start for some desolate pirates' is]e where they may beach their stolen cargo in safety. The same wind which drives the honest ship along now drives the wicked one too, and so it helps in the crime. But all it really does to help is — to keep blowing on. Once for all be it said, that God never does anything to harden a heart which would not soften it, if properly received.
6. So, finally, we learn that the responsibility of all heart-hardening under the gospel lies only upon the wilfulness of the man whose heart has been hardened.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: