woman with child, and they shall not escape.” He would look at all the skill and industry of man there exhibited, and he would remember that “the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof the world and they that dwell therein." His heart would sink within him at the thought that all that skill, all that industry, which was so beautiful was only expended on this present life, to gratify a passing taste, to soothe and stimulate a cultivated luxury, to polish all the circles of society. How little would he discover there of what a spiritual mind, of what a heavenly heart would most long to see, and he would leave that place impressed with this thought, “ the men of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." It would bring to his thoughts

are men in earnest ? are men thinking of eternity? to employ upon this present time all that skill which God has given them. Where are the missions to the heathen world, where are the corresponding efforts for the preaching of the Gospel, where is the laying all that we have at the foot of the cross of him, who laid all that he had in the manger of Bethlehem for our sakes? Would not thoughts such as these rise to him from such an exhibition as that? And here would be a great parable, the two men would be just a picture of the two classes of men to which our Saviour directed attention. A parable in this sense of the word is the taking something visible and making it the type of something that is spiritual, that is holy, that is heavenly. The need then that we have of parables to teach us is just the inability that we have to know what we have not seen, except by compari

We could not know God, except by looking at the works of God, and seeing what he is by what he does : we could not know the joys of heaven without being able to compare them with the joys that we have on earth.


He who has made all things, things spiritual, as well as things temporal, things invisible, as well as things visible, as they have all come out of one great mighty mind, so they all bear the impress of that mind, and God has so constructed the whole world, that that which we see is but the type and teacher of that which we have not seen. This is the reason why our Saviour directs our attention to the lily of the field and makes it a parable to us, and asks “if God so clothe the grass of the field which to-day is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, will he neglect to clothe the bodies of those whom he has redeemed with his most precious blood ? and tells us to look at things around us, and ask ourselves from what we see, what is the character of that which we do not see? If any of us were in some distant country, and saw sights there which we endeavoured to explain on our return to our friends, how could we possibly do it except by comparison with what they knew? And after we had described the whole, we should be obliged to tell them it is something better still, if you saw it you would understand it better than we can explain it to you by comparisons. They would feel that they had "seen but in part" and “known but in part," after they had listened to the fullest descriptions of the scenes, and the clearest comparisons of them. Now here we have the need of instruction by parable, and it was not to shut out man from knowledge, but to bring him into the chambers of true knowledge, though Christ taught by parables. “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in Parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them.”

III. We have in the last place to consider the blessedness of teaching by parables. 1st. It is a great blessing to be tested as to our own character. Two classes of men heard our blessed Saviour speaking about eating his flesh, and drinking his blood; some said “this is a

hard saying, who can hear it,” and they went away; others who understood just as little about what our Savi. our said, felt drawn to him, they felt that he was darkwise. They saw that he was good, and his wisdom and goodness attracted their minds to him, they expressed their feelings in the language of one of them “Lord to who shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life.” Now here is one great value of teaching by parables, it enables us to test ourselves, and see, are we really willing to be taught by Christ? This is a reason why the very Bible itself is a parable to us. How

many men will take up the Bible and read it, and it seems too dark a book for them to understand, they will go to their learning that they may understand it, they take the ponderous folios that have been written by learned men and they read them, and they come back to the same book and it is a dark parable still. They read it, they search it, they exercise their own understanding, and they employ the understanding of good men around, and it is a dark parable still. The Lord is teaching a lesson by that very darkness, the Lord is giving them wisdom by that very ignorance. The Lord keeps them shut up that he may teach them where the true teacher is, where the true heavenly understanding is, and then opening their under. standing, he gives them light in their inner man, he gives them holiness in their inward feelings, and then they come back to that same book, and it is no longer a parable to them. They are in a new world; all its declarations of the state of the human heart came home with power to them, for they feel it, all its descriptions of the blessedness of heaven are gladness to them, for they have the anticipated joy of heaven in the Spirit's power


in their own hearts. All the doctrines that are unfolded in that book they feel to be right, for when they read of what a Saviour they have, they know their need of a Saviour, when they read of the promises he left, they feel their own weakness, and when they read of the passing away of the present world they have found its emptiness. The Bible is no longer a parable, God has taught them, God has opened it to them.

Here then we have one great test, one great use of teaching by parables, it is a test of our owir wisdom and just in proportion as we are ourselves taught of God, are we able to understand the word of God, and just in proportion as we are not taught of God is that word of God a parable to us. It is not in man, no not in the holiest man, for was there ever one so holy as Jesus? and was there ever one so able to teach as Jesus ? and yet the outward words of Jesus did not and could not teach. He was, when he stood amongst them, one who spoke in parables, they understood him not,“ therefore" he says here “speak I to them in parables because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand, and in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias which saith, by hearing, ye shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing, ye shall see and shall not perceive, but blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”

2. And then comes the second feature of the blessedness of this teaching by parables, that when we find we do not understand, and know that learning cannot make us understand, and when we find that teachers cannot make us understand, we are then forced, by the feeling of our weakness, by the sense of our darkness, if we do desire to know, to come to him for teaching, who has promised to give his "Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” Here then is the second blessedness of teaching by parables, that it brings us closer to that heavenly teacher in whose light alone we can see light, and in whose teaching alone we can learn true wisdom.

But there is another blessing still, a blessing that is the superstructure founded upon these two great principles, and that is, it enables us to live in a spiritual world, it enables us to see things not merely as they are, but to learn from them what they are designed to teach us. Who that is habituated to his Bible, can walk out into the fields and see the shepherd with his sheep, and not think of the Good Shepherd? Who can have been reading of the fowls of the air, and not think of Him who tells us to learn lessons of trust and dependance from them. Who that is taught of God can see the sowing of seed, and not remember the need of a prepared heart to receive the “seed of the word.” We are then in a spiritual temple, as soon as we have been really taught and prepared by parabolic teaching, we are every moment surrounded by invisible things and enabled to endure as seeing Him who is invisible.” Can we see the wound healing, and not think of him who came “to bind up

the broken hearted,” and to give the “oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness ?” Can we see the sun rise on “the evil and on the good,” and the “rain fall on the just and on the unjust," and not be taught of Him who is “good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works ?" Can we see the evil of

passion in the lower animals around us, and not see how grovelling and low is man thus led bv his animal passions ? And are we not thus taught to pray, to look up to God, and to exercise the nobler parts of our nature, not to

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