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the crushing, but to the regulation of the inferior parts of that nature? Thus are we living in a spiritual temple, in every visible thing around us, in every direction around us, in every relationship around us. We cannot sit in our families without remembering the great family in heaven above. We cannot see the darkness of the grave without thinking of the place where the “Lord lay.” We cannot lift up our eyes and behold the brightness of the natural heavens, without thinking of that greater and better brightness, where He is who is the glory of heaven and the fulness of its joy, in the light of whose countenance the spirits of just men are made perfect, and in the greatness of whose joy all their hearts are gladdened.
III. There is, lastly, a deeper teaching still by parables, and that is intimated to us by the latter clause of our text. “I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Now this is declared to be the language of the prophet; we find it in the Psalms. A prophet is one who unfolds the mind of God to us; that psalm is not predicted of the future, but it is an unfolding of the mind of God. If you will turn to the 78th Psalm, you will see that it calls upon Israel to give ear: “Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us." The psalm goes on just simply to tell us the well-known history of Israel ; it does not go into the future ; it goes down to David and David's throne, and closes with say ing, “So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands."
How, then, is it a parable ? How is it a dark
saying? 'How is it something that is kept secret from the foundation of the world ? Just because it presents human life, not as a mere human history, but it brings the mind of God upon the actions of men. It brings the light of heaven upon the doings of man ; it makes us to see, in the history of the past, the principles of the present; in the dealings of the past, the expectations of the future. It is in this point, then, that it is indeed a parable and a dark saying; something kept secret from the foundation of the world; a secret to those that are without, no secret to those that are within. By the study of human life in this respect, we learn that deep and difficult lesson the parable of our own life. We do, indeed, as the apostle says, See in part, and know in part, and understand in part.” It is but a dark parable still in many things, yet he who is taught of God can look
upon his life with other eyes than what he once did, and can learn from his life other things than once he thought. It was this that made St. Paul speak as he does of life in the 4th chapter of the Philippians : • Everywhere, and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” We can only understand the dealings of God with us when we look upon our life as a parable, or comparison, when we are able to see that each event of life has come to us not from man but from God, not from satan but from Jesus, not by our own self-will but by God's will ; coming to us not like the fable, with lessons of earthly wisdom, but coming to us like parables with heavenly wisdom. When we see in some mortifi
cation of our vanity the voice of God telling us of the need of being like him, who was meek and lowly in heart; when we find in some act of our self-will, the voice of God telling us of the need of our will being brought into subjection to his will; when we see in the disappointed forms with which we looked upon the unknown future, disappointed in giving us gladness instead of sorrow, we see how little we are able to guide ourselves and to learn from that parable of life to trust him, who not only knows the future but is in the future. Here is the highest, to us at least, and the deepest teaching by parables, when we can come from the Bible, from the world around us, from every thing in our own individual case, when we are taught of God to ponder the path of our feet, and our eyes look right before us and see the divine teaching, and when we can feel the fulness of his blessing in unfolding to us the parable of life. We shall then see how imperfect it is to speak by comparison, it is but an imperfect knowledge of what shall be, like some one giving us a description of a beautiful landscape, which would fall short of what another
person would give by taking us there and showing it to us. Our Saviour says,
“ the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in Parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father."
Parabolic teaching has this last blessing, it brings before us even in its very imperfection, in its very
darkness, that future time when we shall see him as he is, when that which is now invisible shall be revealed to our sight, when that which now we anticipate by faith shall be realised in heaven, when we ing him “shall be like him as he is." Let us pray that our souls may be guided, may be taught by God, that thus we may learn the parable of our own life and enter into the unseen realities of the eternal world, and that Christ may say to
ON THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER.
MATT. xiii., v. 18.-"Hear ye therefore the parable of the Sower."
When we see great multitudes gathered together to hear the gospel of the kingdom of God, we are apt to have our hearts beat high with expectation, and our hopes rejoicing in the prospect of many souls being brought to consider the things which belong to their everlasting peace, and think we may now expect there is some great improvement going to take place in society. When the blessed Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he seemed to have very different feelings : very varied emotions moved his mind as he beheld the multitudes surrounding him. He saw the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; his mind could look under the surface of human minds and human hearts; his thoughts could pierce into the eternal world, and he never could shut out from his mind those solemn words that many would say to him in the last day-have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence, and hast thou not taught in our streets ? and yet that he would have to say to them in that day, depart from me, I never knew you.” Now, it was under circumstances and feelings such as these, that we read of our Lord delivering the series of parables that are contained in this chapter. He had