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hours. Suffering is not favorable to repentance; affliction is not necessarily conducive to virtue : were it so, you would find that, wherever there was the greatest suffering there would be the greatest goodness, and that hell would be the scene of the greatest virtues. No. Prosperity is more favorable to religion than poverty, health than sickness, youth than age, life than death. “Now is the accepted time,” &c.
SUBJECT :- Mental Misery in Connexion with Material Wealth.
“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits ? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater ; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided ? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”—Luke xii. 16-21.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and fifteenth.
In this parable and its neighbourhood there are four things which strike us as exceedingly anomalous :
First: Worldly thoughts rising under spiritual teaching. Christ had just been delivering to a “numerous multitude” of people some of His most startling and elevating truths. One might have supposed, that the minds of all present would have been engaged with the utterances of this Heaven-sent Teacher, but no; there were some present, whose minds were taken up with other and improper subjects. One of the company said unto Him, “ Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.” Poor, miserable soul ! he was thinking all the while upon his own little
" inheritance.” This is no extraordinary occurrence. Often now, men's brains teem with business ideas while listening to sermons in the pews.
Another thing which strikes us here as anomalous is :
Secondly: A morally worthless man growing secularly rich. Here is a man, whom Heaven denounces as a fool," in a moral sense, whose “ ground brought forth plentifully," and who had “goods laid up for many years.” This is not what we should have looked for ; it would be natural to expect that wherever there was a morally worthless man, there would be great secular destitution, and the reverse. Job's friends expected this; but it is not so. Physical providence pays no deference to spiritual distinctions. - The sun shines upon the just and the unjust.” It is not a man's piety that will ensure him good crops, but his skill and industry in agriculture; not a man's piety that will make him prosperous in the market, but his shrewdness, tact, and push. Do not let us err by making a man's secular condition, the test by which to try his character.
Another anomaly which we discover is :
Thirdly : Evil occasioning the communication of great good. Had not this man thought about his “inheritance” and expressed his thoughts, this striking and significant parable of Christ would never, perhaps, have been given to the world. Whilst there are no thanks due to the mercenary thinker, and whilst we must deprecate his conduct as wrong, we do feel thankful that he did thus think and speak, because of the good that came out of it; not as the cause but the occasion. Thus, under the government of Infinite goodness, evil gives rise to good. “Out of the eater comes forth meat.”
The other thing which we discover here as somewhat anomalous is :
Fourthly : Mental wretchedness in connexion with material wealth. It would be natural to expect that wherever there was “the abundance of the things of this life," there would invariably be joy and gladness. Indeed this seems to be the
practical belief of the world. Hence men labor for wealth in order to get happiness; they consider happiness to be in what they have, rather than what they are. This is the error that our Saviour here exposes in two ways—by a full declaration, and by a striking parable. The picture He gives is, that of a rich man very unhappy.
There are four things in connexion with this man's history that will show his miserable folly :
OF HIS LIFE.
I. MAKING HIS OWN GRATIFICATION THE GRAND PURPOSE
“ What shall I do?” For what?- to promote the culture of my soul,—to extend the empire of truth in the world ? No. What shall I do to hoard up my property ? Observe, (1) He does not consult any one ; he keeps his affairs to himself; a selfish man is ever suspicious of others. Observe, (2) He does not think of others ; his social sympathies are dead : he might have found barns for his goods in many an empty cupboard, store-houses in many a pauper's home. A man who is thus selfish must always be unhappy. But are we not to take care of ourselves ? you will say—Is not this the first law of life? There are three principles in our nature,-self love, social love, and religious love. The first is the lowest impulse, the second next to it in importance, the third is the highest. The first should be subordinate to the second, the second to the third, the third should be under the control of God. In other words, man should promote his own personal interests in promoting the good of others; and promote the good of others by promoting the will of God.
Another element of folly which we discover in this man is :
HE LIVED AND HAD HIS BEING,
II. LIVING IN A PRACTICAL DISREGARD OF HIM, IN WHOM
There is no recognition of God in the man's calculations. My fruits,” “ my goods." It seemed never to occur to him that all his industry was dependent on the blessing of God. He did not feel that it was God's earth, God's sun, God's shower ;
“ God was not in all his thoughts.” The idea of God is the sun of the soul. Where this practical atheism is there can be (1) No spiritual life; (2) No spiritual resting place; (3) No spiritual hope ; (4) No spiritual communion. A practical atheist is a fool indeed.
Another proof of folly which we discover in this man is :
III. SEEKING HUMAN HAPPINESS IN MATERIAL POSSESSIONS. “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." I have now, What? A noble selection of books, which treat of the ways of God, which I intend to peruse ? No! Goods ! Carnal gratification cannot yield happiness to man-it kills the soul. Instances have come under the attention of many observers, where men who have amassed wealth, and pampered their appetites, have only rendered themselves intensely miserable. Take Solomon as an example. Eccl. ii. 111.
Another proof of folly which we discover in this man is :
IV. OVERLOOKING THE GREATEST FACTS OF HIS EXISTENCE. (1) The accountableness of his soul to God. Thy soul will be required of thee." Thy soul is not thine. “ All souls are mine,” &c. It will be required. (2) The proximity of the soul to eternity. “ This night.” Thou art calculating for years--but “this night,” &c. (3) The separableness of the soul from all material possessions. “Whose shall these things be ?” They will not be thine, &c. “ His sons come to honor," &c. Whose shall these things be? These worldly things, for which thou hast beeu laboring all thy life, which thou dost so supremely prize, and in which thou dost seek thy happiness, are not essential to thy being. Thou wilt be when thou hast left them. They were in the possession of others before thou hadst any existence, and they will be in the hands of others when thou art gone. Others will occupy thy house, cultivate thy fields, hold thy property when thou
art away in the spiritual districts of eternity. “Whose shall these things be ?” Terribly suggestive and solemn question this.
From the birth
SUBJECT :- Pauls Shipwreck.
“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."--Acts xxvii., 25.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixteenth.
The interesting and instructive narrative of this chapter places Paul before us in a strong light, as a man of earnest faith, and true spiritual nobility. There he stands amidst the rough men of the ocean, and the stern soldiers of the Roman legion,—the master-mind, the ruling spirit. They are all made to feel how inferior they are to him in that hour of peril on the mighty deep, and they are conscious of the inspiration of his courage and his faith as they listen to his words, “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer,” &c.
From this passage we may observe :
1. THAT A
HEAVEN AMONGST THE SUREST FOUNDATION FOR FAITH. Paul's faith rested on a special communication from God. An angel appeared unto him and said, “ Fear not Paul, thou must be brought before Cæsar, and lo, God hath given thee all them that are with thee.” It was in reference to this he said “I