8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
8 Verse 8. Good ground] Where the earth was deep, the field well
ploughed, and the brambles and weeds all removed.
See more on Mt 13:18, &c., and see on Lu 8:15.
Some a hundred-fold.] For the elucidation of this text, I beg
leave to introduce the following experiment. In 1816 I sowed, for
a third crop, a field with oats, at Millbrook, in Lancashire; the
grains weighed, on an average, 3/4 of a grain each. One grain
produced three stalks with three ears: the largest had 68 grains
in it, the second 26, and the third 25.
which was 725 times and one quarter more than the original weight.
The power of grain to multiply itself, even in the same year,
is a subject as much of curiosity and astonishment as of
importance and general utility. For the farther elucidation of
this text, I shall give the following example from a practice in
agriculture, or rural economy, which is termed filtering.
On the 2nd of June, 1766, Mr. C. Miller, of Cambridge, sowed
some grains of the common, red wheat; and on the 8th of August a
single plant was taken up, and separated into 18 parts, and each
planted separately: these plants having pushed out several side
shoots, about the middle of September some of them were taken up
and divided; and the rest between that time and October. This
second division produced 67 plants. These plants remained through
the winter, and another division of them, made between the middle
of March and the 12th of April, produced 500 plants. They were
divided no farther, but permitted to remain in the field. These
plants were in general stronger than any of the wheat in the
field. Some of them produced upwards of 100 ears from a single
root and many of the ears measured seven inches in length, and
contained between sixty and seventy grains. The whole number of
ears produced from the single plant was 21,109, which yielded
three pecks and three-quarters of clear corn, weighing 47lbs.
7oz., and, from a calculation made by counting the grains in an
ounce, the whole number of grains was about 576,840. Mr. Miller
thinks that, had he made a second division in the spring, the
number of plants would have amounted to 2000. Who can help
admiring the wisdom and providence of God in this single grain of
corn! He has, in some sort, impressed on it an idea of his own
infinity; and an idea which, like the subject to which it refers,
confounds our imagination and reason. How infinitely great is
God, even in his minor works.