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unite men together; and by the exchange of the material commodities, to exchange kind, quickening, and improving, thoughts. Were London tradesmen all religious, they could export religion with their goods to the ends of the earththe market would be the best Missionary Society for converting the world. .
But this material commerce, with all its aims and anxieties, pursuits and pleasures, is very short with each man. Mental and spiritual commerce may go on for ever. There will always be the interchange of sanctified ideas, sympathies, and suggestions ; the constant export and import of thought and feeling between the varied provinces of the divine empire. But the exchanging of material commodities for the ends of subsistence, will soon be over.
Make then this business temporary, subservient to your spiritual welfare ; make the market a means of grace : 80 that in all your getting you might get that “wisdom which is the principal thing."
IV. He intimates that the time for THE RIGHT USING OF THE WORLD IS SHORT. “They that use the world as not abusing it.” It is implied by the apostle that the world is properly used when it is not abused. When then is it abused ?
First : It is abused when it is used chiefly with a sensuous end. To the brute, indeed, the world has no relation but to the senses. It is nothing but touch, and sound, and vision. It is a minister to the senses, and to the senses only. But when man uses it so, it is abused.
Secondly : It is abused when it is used chiefly with a secular end. When men value it on account of the fruit it produces, and the minerals it contains ; when we look on its mountains, valleys, meads and forests, with the cold eye of merchandise ; when we value it so far as it can be turned into money, then we abuse it.
Thirdly : It is abused when it is used chiefly with an intellectual end. There are men who look upon it chiefly as a great problem; who are eternally engaged in observing, classifying, and studying, its ever shifting phenomena, in order to get at some principle or principles, by which to interpret the whole. They seek to render all that is in the heavens above, the earth, and sea, and all beneath, into an intellectual system-a cosmos. I would not utter a word to disparage this. The world is full of significance; it teems with ideas; all its million objects are embodiments of divine thoughts, which it is both the duty and interest of all finite mind to study. But to make this the end is to abuse it. What then is to use” it rightly? I answer, to use it chiefly with a religious end. Religion warrants us to use it sensuously, for we have senses ; secularly, for we need worldly good; intellectually, for we require truth. But demands that we should in all cases use it for spiritual ends ;-subordinate it to the salvation of the soul-make it the means of grace—the temple of worship the communal medium of friendship between the Infinite Father and the human soul.
This religious use of the world makes it ours. The difference between the world to the worldly, and the world to the Christian is, that the former is possessed by it, the other possesses it.
In the one case he is its, in the other it is his He converts the impressions which it makes upon his soul into ideas, and the ideas into principles, and the principles raise him in the scale of being.
V. He intimates that the time for THE FASHION OF THE WORLD IS SHORT. “ For the fashion of the world passeth away.” The world literally has a “ fashion ” that is passing away. The fields change their clothing, and the skies their clouds. The phenomena and forms of the world are ever shifting; the process of dissolution and organization, of tearing down and building up, is constantly going on.
But it is to the human world that the apostle refers. All things connected with our humanity have a fashion. “ The fashion of the world " passeth off like the gaudy, shifting, pageant of the stage. Such is the allusion. “All the world's a stage.”
The political world has its fashions ; it has ministries, measures, and nostrums, for the day ; they get out of fashion, and others appear on the stage to meet the times.
“ Here a vain man his sceptre breaks,
As power decays and grows." The social world has its fashions ; it has manners and customs for the day ; they become obsolete, and others take their place. The religious world has its fashions. ism is in vogue, and now another. Now ono popular preacher, and then another. Thus, there is nothing fixed.
Brothers! let us not then put our confidence in forms, but in things and substances. You know that though the form of the outward world changes, though the clouds are ever passing into new shapes, and the green earth into new forms; there are certain principles or laws that remain for ever. They are settled in heaven; the same through all ages they stand. So our relation to the human world. Though the fashions change, there are truths and principles that remain. It is for ever true, that without virtue there is no happiness, and that without Jesus there is no virtue. It is for ever true, that “A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” It is for ever true, that “He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” It is for ever true, that “He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.'
THE PRODIGAL SON; A WONDERFUL PAINTING. “A certain man had two sons,”' &c. Luke xv. 11–32.
(INTRODUCTION.) Tais parable has been called the “pearl and crown of all the parables of scripture, the Evangelium in Evangelio ;" because it contains within itself so completely the cardinals of redemptive theology. “In regard of the great primary application of this parable,” says Trench in his invaluable work, " there have always been two different views in the Church. There are those who have seen in its two sons the Jew and Gentile; and in the younger son's departure from his father's house, the history of the great apostacy of the Gentile world ; in his return, its reception into the privileges of the new covenant; as in the elder brother a lively type of the narrow-hearted self-extolling Jews, who grudged that the “sinners of the Gentiles' should be admitted to the same blessings as themselves."
“Others behold rather in the younger son a pattern of all those who, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether in that old dispensation which was then drawing to an end, or brought up in the bosom of the Christian Church, have widely departed from God, and after having tasted the misery which follows upon all departure from Him, have by His grace been brought back to Him, as to the one source of blessedness and life ;—while they in the elder brother have seen either a narrow form of real righteousness, or seeing in his words (ver. 29), only his own account of himself. Pharisaical self-righteousness, one righteous in his own sight, not in the Lord's.”
In this master-piece of Christ's parabolical painting, there are SIX SCENES, which, were I an artist, I would throw upon the canvass in such forms of breathing life, as would stir the souls of future men with emotions, kindred to those which the Heavenly Teacher designed to awaken. My first picture should be:-The young man discontented with his father's home.
He is standing with unbecoming mien and irreverent look before his aged sire, and saying, “ Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” My second picture should be,-The young man departing from his father's home. His goods he has "gathered all together;" they are slung on his shoulders; he has left the house and has commenced his way into a "far country;" and yet, looking back, every now and then, with the countenance of a soul struggling between the right and the wrong. My third picture would be,- The young man far away from his father's home. In this “far country” I should have to depict him, in at least four aspects :—first, “rioting” in pleasure, then beginning “to be in want,” then becoming the slave of a foreign "citizen,” then feeding with “the swine.” My fourth picture would be,—The young man occupied in thinking of his father's home. In this state I should portray him sitting down, an emaciated man, under some old hedge in some rustic scene, his withered hand under his head, coming to himself ; thought returning, his eyes beginning to dilate with feeling and to moisten with tears, as he puts the question to himself :-“How many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” My fifth picture would be,- The young man returning to his father's home. “He arose and came to his father,” &c. Here we should have to represent him with trembling limbs, that had lost their strength through sensual indulgences, and lack of food; eyes flooded with penitential sorrow, a heart heaving with mingled hope and fear, wending his lonely way towards his father's house. But in this picture I would not fail to introduce a scene the most divine and touching of all. The dear old father seeing him in the distance, running, with his aged limbs made blithe with love, to meet him, while yet he was “a great way off,” approaching him, and with speechless affection, falling on his neck and kissing him. My sixth picture would be,—The young man reinstated in his father's home. He sits down at a splendid feast, adorned in honorable attire, amidst the overflowing of a father's joy, &c. I shall endeavor to give a "germ” on each picture.