They on the rock are they, which when they hear
The seed that fell upon the rock, or stony ground, signify such sort of hearers,
who receive the word with joy.
The Ethiopic version reads, "with joy of heart". But, this sort of hearers receive not the word into their hearts, or with their hearts believe it, and from their hearts obey it, only into their heads; and have only, an historical faith of it; nor with hearty, spiritual, solid joy, or joy in the Holy Ghost: for their hearts remain like a rock, unbroken by the word; but with a flash of natural affection, which quickly goes off.
And these have no root;
neither "in themselves", as the other evangelists say, they have no true grace in them; nor have they any root in Christ, nor in the love of God:
which for a while believe:
their faith is a temporary one, like that of Simon Magus; which shows it is not true faith; for that is an abiding grace, Christ, who is the author, is the finisher of it, and prays for it, that it fail not. The Persic version renders it, "in the time of hearing they have faith"; and such sort of hearers there are, who, whilst they are hearing, assent to what they hear, but when they are gone, either forget it, or, falling into bad company, are prevailed upon to doubt of it, and disbelieve it. The Arabic version renders it, "they believe for a small time"; their faith do not continue long, nor their profession of it, both are soon dropped:
and in the time of temptation fall away:
"or go back", as the Vulgate Latin version, they draw back unto perdition; or "forsake that", as the Arabic version reads, the word, they have heard, and received, their faith in it, and profession of it: "and soon become apostates", as the Persic version renders it. By "the time of temptation", is not meant any particular and sore temptation of Satan, but a time of affliction and persecution, as appears from the other evangelists; which is a trying time to professors of religion, and when those who have not the root of the matter in them, fall away.