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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XLVI THE HARD LIFE

Matthew xiii.1-9.

Let us look still further at this parable of the sower. There are described in it various kinds of lives on which God's influences fall, and fall in vain. The first of these is the hard life, -- hard, like a road, so that the seed lies there as if fallen on a pavement, and gets no root, and the pigeons come and pick it up. We usually think of the hard life as if it were a life of sin. We speak of a hardened sinner, of a hard man, as of persons whom good influences cannot penetrate. But the hard soil of the parable is not that of sin. It is that of a roadway, hardened simply by the passing to and fro. It is the hardening effect of habit. Sometimes, the passage says, your life gets so worn by the coming and going of your daily routine, that you become impenetrable to the subtle suggestions of God, as if your life were paved. Some people are thus hardened even to good. They lose capacity for impressions. {117} Some people are even gospel-hardened. They have heard so much talk about religion that it runs off the pavement of their lives into the gutter. Thus the first demand of the sower is for receptivity, for openness of mind, for responsiveness. Give God a chance, says the parable. His seed gets no fair opportunity in a life which is like a trafficking high-road. Keep the soil of life soft, its sympathy tender, its imagination free, or else you lose the elementary quality of receptiveness, and all the influences of God may be scattered over you in vain.

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