Faith must be from the heart
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away—Matthew 13:20,21 (ESV).
In religion, as in agriculture, everything depends upon the thoroughness with which initial processes are conducted. In opening the way for the reception of the gospel, the ploughshare of the Spirit must be permitted to go deep enough not only to stir the thin soil of emotion which lies upon the surface of the “evil heart of unbelief” [Hebrews 3:12] that is by nature in us all, but to upturn and remove the underlying rock itself. Only thus will the good seed of the kingdom find its way into that deep subsoil where the conditions of permanent vitality and fruitful development can be found. No mere surface work will do here; nothing but such a radical regeneration as shall “take away the heart of stone out of the flesh,” [Ezekiel 36:26 ESV]—such as shall make old things to pass away and all things to become new.
Emotions are transient; only principles abide. A religion that flourishes in times of revival in the church, and withers as soon as they are gone, is a miserable cheat. The sooner it is detected and renounced, the better for the soul.
About the author and the source
Rev. T. D. Witherspoon was from minister of the First Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Kentucky.
T.D. Witherspoon “Your goodness is as a morning cloud” in Life’s Golden Lamp for Daily Devotional Use, edited by R. M. Offord. New York: New York Observer, 1890.