And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
[Matt 13:4 NET]
How are human hearts beaten into a highway? A child’s heart is sensitive to every impression. But as it grows older, the thousand influences, feelings, emotions, imaginations, treading over it continuously, trample it into hardness. Every time he feels that he ought to do a certain thing and does not do it, allowing the good impulse to pass, he is left a little less sensitive to good impressions afterward.
The same effect is produced by the common experiences of life. The wheels and carts of business go lumbering over the heart. We ought to have our hearts fenced in, and allow none of these heavy wagons to pass over them. A business man ought to keep his heart soft and warm in the midst of all his business, tender as a little child’s, humble, teachable, loving, trusting. He ought to have a sanctuary in his inner life into which no unhallowed foot, none but the priestly feet of heavenly guests, should ever pass. But too many make their hearts an open common, till they are beaten into a callousness that nothing can impress.
Another way is by the feet of sinful habits. There was an old legend of a goblin horseman that galloped over men’s fields at night; and wherever his foot struck, the soil was so blasted that nothing would ever grow on it again. So is it with the heart over which the beastly feet of lust, of sensuality, of greed, or selfishness, of passion, are allowed to tread. There is an impression that it does young people no harm to indulge in sin for a time, if they afterward repent. No more fatal falsehood was ever whispered by the tempter into any ear. The heart that is trodden over by vile lusts or indulgences of any kind is never the same again.