Luke 12:16
Then He told them a parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced an abundance.
Sermons
True Harvest JoyFriedrich Schleiermacher Luke 12:16
A Warning Against CovetousnessR.M. Edgar Luke 12:13-21
A Business Man's MistakeC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
A Fool Brought to His SensesLuke 12:16-21
A Fool in God's SightJ. T. Davidson, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
A Fool in God's SightDr. Talmage.Luke 12:16-21
A Man's Own Thought About Himself, and God'sH. W. Beecher.Luke 12:16-21
A Scoffer Taken At His WordLuke 12:16-21
A Successful Worldly PolicyW. Baxendale.Luke 12:16-21
A Sudden CallLuke 12:16-21
A Wise FoolW. S. Blackstoek.Luke 12:16-21
An Agonizing QuestionThe United PresbyterianLuke 12:16-21
An Unexpected RequisitionAnon.Luke 12:16-21
And ThenLuke 12:16-21
Business All AbsorbingH. R. Burton.Luke 12:16-21
Christ's Picture of a Worldly LifeW. Smith.Luke 12:16-21
Christ's Portrait of FollyJ. Wells, M. A.Luke 12:16-21
CovetousnessG. R. Leavitt.Luke 12:16-21
Death Cannot be EvadedC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 12:16-21
God and the SensualistR. Cope, LL. D.Luke 12:16-21
God's Interruption of the Rich Fool's SoliloquyThomas Horton, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
How, Then, am I to Become Prepared for the Last Great SceneJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
Material Things Cannot Feed the SoulH. W. Beecher.Luke 12:16-21
Not Ready for DeathLuke 12:16-21
Of the Deceitfulness of RichesF. G. Lisco.Luke 12:16-21
On Worldly-MindednessR. Wardlaw, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
Oriental Ideas of EnjoymentSunday School TimesLuke 12:16-21
Presumption PunishedLuke 12:16-21
Prosperity to be DistributedW. Arnot.Luke 12:16-21
Self the Wrong CentreJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
SelfishnessLuke 12:16-21
Selfishness UnsatisfyingDr. Johnson.Luke 12:16-21
Stewardship not Ownership in PropertySunday School TimesLuke 12:16-21
The Character and End of a SensualistTheological Sketch-bookLuke 12:16-21
The Christian's TreasureBishop Hopkins.Luke 12:16-21
The Folly of Laying Up Earthly RichesVan Doren.Luke 12:16-21
The Folly of the Worldly ManJohn M'Lean.Luke 12:16-21
The Folly of Worldly MenB. Keach.Luke 12:16-21
The Foolish Farmer -- ALuke 12:16-21
The Foolish Rich ManW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Heart with the TreasureLuke 12:16-21
The Insane Rich ManRichard Fuller, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Last NightDr. Talmage.Luke 12:16-21
The Method of Reserving All for Self is as Unsuccessful as it is UnamiableW. Arnot.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolAnon.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolThe Preachers' TreasuryLuke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolJ. Burns, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolR. Winterbotham, M. A.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolE. Blencowe, M. A.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolD. Moore, M. A.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolH. Melvill, B. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich FoolPrincipal Grant.Luke 12:16-21
The Rich Man -- Where Right and Where WrongHomiletic ReviewLuke 12:16-21
The Rich WorldlingJ. Burns, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Sinner SummonedC. Girdlestone, M. A.Luke 12:16-21
The Soul RequiredVan Doren.Luke 12:16-21
The True RichesW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
The Uncertainty of Earthly ThingsJohn M'Lean.Luke 12:16-21
This NightJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
Thou FoolJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
To-Night I Shall Want YouJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
Treasure MisplacedBishop Reynolds.Luke 12:16-21
Unsanctified RichesExpository OutlinesLuke 12:16-21
Unsanctified RichesThe Preachers' TreasuryLuke 12:16-21
Unsanctified RichesJ. Parsons.Luke 12:16-21
Whose Shall Those Things be Which Thou Hast Provided?W. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
Worldly Things to be Used GratefullyJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 12:16-21
What is the worth of a man's life? Clearly that does not depend merely on duration. For while to the insect the term of seventy years would seem a most noble expanse, on the other hand, compared with the age of a mountain or the duration of a star, it is an insignificant span. The truth is that the value of human life depends on what is done within its boundaries. Here quality is of the chief account. To the insensible stone all the ages are as nothing; to the dormant animal time is of no measurable value. To a thinking, sensitive spirit, with a great capacity for joy and sorrow, one half-hour may hold an inestimable measure of blessedness or of woe. There are three things it may include; we take them in the order of value, beginning at the least.

I. HAVING WHAT IS GOOD. "The things which a man possesseth" are of value to him. "Money is a defense," and it is also an acquisition, for it stands for all those necessaries and comforts, all those physical, social and intellectual advantages which it will buy. But it is a miserable delusion - a delusion which has slain the peace and prospects of many a thousand souls - that the one way to secure the excellency of life is to gain amplitude of material resources.

1. Muchness of money does not even ensure human happiness. The wealth that lives in fine houses and sits down to sumptuous tables and moves in "good circles" is very often indeed carrying with it a heavy heart, a burdened spirit, an unsatisfied soul. This is not the imagination of envy; it is the confession of sorrowful experience, uttered by many voices, witnessed by many lives.

2. Muchness of money does not constitute the excellency of human life. In a country where "business" means as much as it does in England, we are under a strong temptation to think that to have grown very rich is, by so doing, to have succeeded. That is a part of some men's success; but it does not constitute success in any man's life. A man may be enormously rich, and yet he may be an utter and pitiable failure. "In every society, and especially in a country like our own, there are those who derive their chief characteristics from what they have; who are always spoken of in terms of revenue, and of whom you would not be likely to think much but for the large account that stands in the ledger in their name So completely do they paint the idea of their life on the imagination of all who knew them, that, when they die, it is the fate of the money, not of the man, of which we are apt to think. Having put vast prizes in the funds, but only unprofitable blanks in our affections, they leave behind nothing but their property, or, as it is expressly termed, their effects. Their human personality hangs as a mere label upon a mass of treasure" (Dr. Martineau). A man's life should rise higher than that.

II. DOING WHAT IS JUST AND KIND. Far better is it to do the just and kind action than to have that which is pleasant and desirable. Life rises into real worth when it is spent in honorable and fruitful action. In sustaining right and useful relationships in the great world of business, carrying out our work on principles of righteousness and equity; in ruling the home firmly and kindly; in espousing the cause of the weak, the ignorant, the perishing; in striking some blows for national integrity and advancement - in such a healthful, honorable, elevating action as this "a man's life" is found. But this, in its turn, must rest on -

III. BEING WHAT IS RIGHT. For "out of the heart are the issues of life." Men may do a large number of good things, and yet be "nothing "in the sight of heavenly wisdom (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The one true mainspring of a worthy human life is "the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." To love God, and therefore to love all that is good; to love God, and therefore to interest ourselves in and try to help all those who are so nearly related to him; to love God, and therefore to be moving on and up in an ever-ascending line toward Divine wisdom and worth; - this is the one victorious and successful thing. Without this, "a man's life" is a defeat and a failure, hold what it may; with it, it has the beginnings of a true success - it is already, and will be more than it now is, eternal life. - C.







The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.
I. THE PICTURE OF A SUCCESSFUL WORLDLY POLICY.

1. No sin in worldly success.

2. No sin in wise and thoughtful provision for worldly goods.

3. The sin consisted in his regarding the possessions as his own absolute property.

II. THE PICTURE OF A DISASTROUS WORLDLY POLICY.

1. A foolish life because of the narrowness of its aims and purposes. You have seen some little ant-hill with its teeming life, a miniature world of employment and duty; its busy inhabitants absorbed and careless of any world beyond their own. So this man spent his life, and spent it, perhaps, happily enough, getting and spending, and gathering and consuming, and pulling down and building up again; until that other life and that other world thundered in upon him and would not be forgotten. For mark what is the great lesson after all. It is the fatal want in the man's character and life to which Christ would call our attention. Not what he had, but what he lacked was his undoing. He was rich toward man, but he was not rich toward God, and so while men called him "a success," God called him "a fool."

2. Again, this policy is a disastrous one, and this life is called a foolish life, because of its hopes and expectations. The man evidently calculated upon finding happiness some time or other in the future. Like most of us, he had never been exactly at ease, but now that he is to retire from active life — what promises men do make themselves when they have given up business! — when his new barns are built, then he will eat and drink and be merry. How human this is, for "man never is but always to be blessed."

3. A foolish life because of its false security. The one flaw was there. He calculated on a long life. The door was fastened against poverty, and the time of undue labour and anxiety was past, and the house of feasting was ready; but there was one visitor against whom he could not bar the door. "All men think all men mortal but themselves," and the danger which haunts us through life is of all things most unreal to us. Years ago among the Swiss mountains there was a village over which an avalanche had hung threateningly for nearly half a century. It was only a question of time, sooner or later it must come down and bury all beneath. Travellers warned the inhabitants of that village, but apathy only grew stronger with familiarity. Grey-headed men who had played as boys underneath the awful crags, now gathered in their harvest contentedly with scarcely a glance at the threatening danger. So all went on until one calm summer day, when, with scarcely a warning sound, down came the overwhelming mass, bringing destruction and death upon all beneath.

III. Lastly, we have. here THE PICTURE OF THE END OF A MERELY WORLDLY POLICY. Suddenly, unexpectedly, with no other warning than this of the text, the last hours of life have come. Like that avenging angel who passed over the households of Egypt, so with this man, the death angel is coming amid the shadows and with the darkness. How the hours of that terrible night must have worn on slow as centuries! He began it with pleasant promises, in health, and strength, and hopefulness, a reaper and a gatherer in the harvest fields; and lo! he, too, feels the sharp thrust of the sickle, and that amid the unripe grain which yields no promise of fruitfulness. He ends it, and with this one short, thrilling, awful night, the tragedy of life is over. I have read of one hanging over a fearful precipice who, looking up, saw the rope by which he hung jagged and worn against the sharp rock to a single thread which could hold out but a moment longer. So this man's spirit must have hung over eternity that night. Consider it! God's salvation, the teachings of wisdom, were with him as with all. Yet thus it was, that a life of privileges, and great worldly prosperity, and multiplied blessings, ended thus disastrously amid overwhelming confusion. With God so near, and infinite mercy never afar off, life darkened and darkened until the last glimmer of hope was gone, and the man was left to grope his way amid the shadows of an everlasting night.

(W. Baxendale.)

Riches deceive the worldly-minded —

1. In regard to their earthly felicity — for —

(1)They fill the heart with cares.

(2)They occasion much trouble and solicitude.

(3)They prove but a short-lived possession.

(4)They delude with the hope of along life.

2. In regard to true felicity; for —

(1)They can provide no true satisfaction to the soul.

(2)They sink it into utter sensuality.

(3)They foreclose the heart against any solemn care for salvation.

(4)They prevent the inheritance of better goods.

(F. G. Lisco.)

I. A GOOD CULTIVATOR

1. He was rich. So is God. So were Abraham, Job, David. "The love of money" (not money itself) "is the root of all evil."

2. His investment was wise. Land cannot be consumed by fire, or removed by foe.

3. His farm was prosperous. He understood his business.

II. A BAD CALCULATOR. He undertakes to solve the problem of life, and proves a wretched bungler in the use of figures.

1. He omits the greatest factor in the problem. God forgotten, the problem works out wrong.

2. He makes a wrong estimate of the soul.

3. A wrong distribution of his goods.

4. Wrong calculation of time.

(Anon.)

Homiletic Review.
I. WHERE RIGHT.

1. It was right that his ground should bring forth plentifully. Industry, &c.

2. It was right that he reflect, "What shall I do?" Common sense.

II. WHERE WRONG.

1. He was wrong when he said, "I have no room." Not barn-room, but soul-room, life-room. He measured his room by measuring his barn.

2. He was wrong when he said, "My fruits and my goods; my soul." That was all wrong. He was not his own.

3. He was wrong when he said, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." He had the goods, but not the years.

4. He was wrong when he said, "I will say to my soul... Take thine case." Here the man was all animal. The mistake was, that he had left God out of account in his calculations.

(Homiletic Review.)

I. Let us in the outset look at some of the ATTRACTIVE CHARACTERISTICS which this man exhibited.

1. For one thing, he was wealthy. Observe the Bible never is found joining in with any wild tirade against riches. Inspiration has not even said, as some quote it, that money is the root of evil. On the whole, it is a good thing to be rich; great usefulness can be attained by silver and gold.

2. This man in the parable was successful in business. That shows well as an evidence of his shrewdness and industry. He is considered a benefactor to the world at large, who makes two spears of grass grow where only one grew before, for he thus augments the general wealth.

3. Furthermore, this was a prudent man. He shows himself in the recorded soliloquy here as being thoughtful concerning the future.

II. But now let us consider some EXTRAORDINARY MISTAKES which this wealthy man made.

1. To begin with, he made a mistake in thinking there was no place for produce except in barns. It is a fool's question to ask where one can stow away money; it is the part of a wiser man to ask how he can do God service with the use of it. Just that is what this man did not think of doing.

2. So we see another mistake he made: he supposed his riches would be a comfort to him when they were hoarded. Whereas they became then only a care and a burden. Money is our instrument, not our end. When it goes beyond that, it owns us, instead of our owning it. The nearest approach to the old disease of the possession of devils that we have in modern times is exhibited when a man is possessed of the money he think he possesses.

3. The third mistake this man made was worse than any one of the others: he left out of his thoughts all consideration of the infinite God who made and owned him. He says "my" barns, "my" goods, "my" fruits, and even "my" soul. It would seem that he imagined he was the absolute proprietor of all he touched in two worlds. He fell into the radical error of forgetting he was at the best only the steward of God who had sent him his unusual harvests.

4. But this mistake inevitably led to another: he seems to admit that his soul has no higher needs than his body (see ver. 19). The word here is "dialogued"; he is pictured as holding a sort of complacent conversation with himself. To us there is an intense impression of sadness in his use of such expressions as are recorded. He talks to his immortal soul in terms of the grossest familiarity, as if that soul ought to be grateful to him for his generous foresight in having made quite sufficient provision for all its future. Do souls need luxurious ease? Are they to be for evermore content with having enough to eat and to drink? Are souls to be congratulated by rich people in this unctuous way just because there is much fodder stored now in the new barns? Is being merry what the image of God in man has been hankering after all these years? Most of us have read the story of the shipwrecked mariner on an inhospitable island perishing with famine. One day a box was suddenly swept ashore, and he rushed eagerly to loosen its fastenings; but he fell back in fainting disappointment and consternation, saying, "Alas, it is only some passenger's pearls!" When this soul of ours is at last off upon the eternal shore, unready and unfurnished, will its undying hunger be appeased with indigestible jewels of earthly opulence alone? And will it be merry then?

III. We must come back to the parable now once more, in order to consider THE SEVERE REBUKES WHICH THIS RICH MAN RECEIVED.

1. In the first place, God summoned his soul away from him. Opulent men grow old just like other people. Some of them also die young and in middle life just like other people. As life is running on in our great American wear and tear of money-getting, it is coming to be more and more observable that they are apt to die suddenly. The stripe of the street saps the vitalities of many human constitutions. There are vast solicitudes bred by unusual increase of property, and the work often does much, while the worry does more, to shorten life. Death sometimes comes in the night.

2. In the second place, this man's property was ignominiously scattered. Those new barns were never builded, after all. There is a striking rhetorical power here in the use of the question rather than of the assertion. The vagueness of the certain distribution of hoarded fortunes is what constitutes its worst unwelcomeness to the owner. Oh, what stores of enforced wisdom this reluctant old world has been obliged to acquire on this its most sensitive point! It actually sounds like irony to raise such a question in times like ours. How have we seen wills broken, legacies diverted, fortunes squandered, and all the favourite plans of the year thwarted on the instant, by some unwise and an. anticipated heir! (see Ecclesiastes 2:18, 19). It was the wisest man in the world that laid that; and his son was a fool — or a knave, which was undoubtedly worse. Mark, then, the conclusion of the whole matter (see ver. 21). Will the thousand daily histories never teach men wisdom? Think over Hugh Miller's words: "The climax is a favourite figure in the book of Providence. God speaks to us in His dispensations; and in the most eloquent terms of His discourse, piles up instance upon instance with sublime and impressive profusion."

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. The folly of this man appears m the fact that HE COMPLETELY IGNORED HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO GOD IN THE MATTER OF HIS POSSESSIONS.

1. He speaks throughout as if he had all the merit of his prosperity, and gives God no praise; while the idea that any portion of the increase of his fields belonged to God seems never to have entered into his mind. But does this man stand alone in this particular? Are we not all too prone to take to ourselves the sole credit for any prosperity we have acquired, or for any eminence we have reached?

2. The destriction to himself of the honour of his success led directly to the complete appropriation by this man of its fruits. He never thought of consulting God about the disposal of his property. And there are multitudes among us, who never pray to God about their business at all. Some may pray that He would send them prosperity; but when the prosperity comes, how few there are, comparatively speaking, who lay their wealth at His feet, and ask Him to direct them in disposing of it!

II. The folly of this man appears in the fact that HE IGNORES THE CLAIMS OF OTHER MEN UPON HIM FOR HIS HELP. He had no idea, apparently, that there was any other possible way of bestowing his goods than by storing them in his barns. As has replied to his soliloquy: "Thou hast barns, the bosoms of the needy, the houses of widows, the mouths of orphans and of infants"; these are the true storehouses for surplus wealth. It is right to provide for those who are dependent upon us; it is prudent to lay up something in store against a possible evil day; but after that, the storehouse of wealth should be benevolence. I have somewhere read that a lady once went to call upon a friend near the close of autumn, and found her emptying her closets, and exclaiming, "Oh, these moths! these moths! that have consumed almost everything that I laid away in the beginning of the summer." The visitor expressed her sorrow, but said she did not know what it was to have a garment moth-eaten. Whereupon her friend asked for the specific which she used, and to her surprise received for answer, "I gave away to the poor, months ago, all the garments for which I had no longer use; and there was no difficulty in preserving the remainder from the moths."

III. The folly of this man is seen in the fact that HE IMAGINED THAT MATERIAL THINGS WERE PROPER FOOD FOR HIS SOUL. True riches — or, in other words, the true food of the soul, by which alone it can be nourished and satisfied — are to be found in God alone. Reconciliation to God, peace with God, likeness to God, and fellowship with God, that alone can fill the heart of man. God for us in the work of His Son, God with us in the orderings of His providence, God in us in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and God before us in the hope of heaven, that is the true food of the spirit of man; and to think of sustaining it with material fruits and goods and possessions, is as absurd as it would be to try to satisfy the hunger of the body with a diamond, or to quench the thirst of the body with a pearl.

IV. The folly of this rich man is apparent from the fact that HE HAD ENTIRELY IGNORED THE TRUTH THAT HIS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS WERE NOT TO BE HIS FOR EVER. "There are no pockets in a shroud." "How much did he leave?" asked one man of another, in the street-car, as they were talking of a millionaire whose death had been announced in the morning paper. "All he had," was the solemn and suggestive reply.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.
I. THE OCCASION OF THIS PARABLE.

II. THE INCIDENTS IT DESCRIBES.

1. The circumstances in which this person was placed.

2. The anxieties of which he was the subject.

3. The projects upon which he resolved.

4. The spirit by which he was actuated.

(1)Ungodliness.

(2)Earthliness.

(3)Selfishness.

(4)Presumption.

5. The fearful doom which awaited him. A person once said on his death-bed, "I have gained thirty thousand pounds." A very decent sum, many may be disposed to remark; it is not the lot of every adventurer to be so successful. But there was something he lost as well as gained; and, in general, the losses and the gains are placed one against the other. "I have gained," was his language, "thirty thousand pounds, but I have lost my soul." These were the two sides of the balance sheet which he was now, at the close of life, making up: thirty thousand pounds on the one side, the soul lost on the other. The separate items on both sides of the sheet might have been numerous. He did not gain the sum specified all at once, nor was the soul lost at once. But the winding up of the whole affair, after adding to this and deducting from that, presented the conclusion which has been given. But was it a good speculation? We should like to put the question to men of judgment, of practical wisdom, of cool and calculating habits, who can turn a matter over, looking first at one side, and then at the other, and ask them, whether it really was? But whatever their opinion might be, we have the verdict of One, whose competency to judge in such a case cannot be questioned. His language is, "What shall it profit a man if he gain" — not thirty thousand pounds, but — "the whole world, and, lose his own soul; or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

III. THE LESSONS IT INCULCATES. The attainment of heavenly riches should be our great concern.

1. They are durable.

2. Their possession is unattended with any danger.

3. They are accessible to all.

4. They should be sought earnestly, and without delay.

(Expository Outlines.)

I. THE PROSPERITY OF A WORLDLY LIFE.

1. This man prospered by means of a legitimate calling.

2. His prosperity was largely the outcome of his industry and good management.

3. To his own industry had been added the blessing of God, without which a man must toil in vain.

II. THE PERPLEXITY OF A WORLDLY LIFE. When the heart is set on material wealth, it will become burdened with care. There is a state of mind in which it is possible to be happy and rich with little.

III. THE SELFISH SCHEMING of a worldly life. "This will I do," &c. His ruling spirit is selfishness; he lives and moves in the little world of self. "Get all you can and keep all you get," seems to be the motto of his life. He was a close-fisted man of the world, whose earthly soul had been hardened by the sun of prosperity.

1. He forgets his relation to his fellow-men. He acts as if he had no connection with the race. He has no thought of brotherhood.

2. He does not recognize his obligation to the Divine. No thankoffering for the Giver of all good. He sacrifices only at the shrine of self.

IV. THE MISTAKE OF A WORLDLY LIFE.

1. Forgetfulness of God.

2. The underrating of his spiritual nature, and the overrating of his material possessions.

3. Forgetfulness of death, and presuming on "many years."

V. THE DIVINE JUDGMENT ON A WORLDLY LIFE.

1. A revelation of character.

2. Startlingly sudden.

3. Upsets all plans.

4. Seals worldling's doom.

(W. Smith.)

I. Let us look at him simply in the light of this world, and try to ESTIMATE HIS CHARACTER ACCORDING TO THOSE PRINCIPLES BY WHICH WE ORDINARILY GAUGE THE WISDOM AND WORTH OF OUR FELLOW-MEN.

1. It is evident that he was an industrious man.

2. It is pretty clear, too, that this was a careful, frugal man. He not only made money, but knew how to save what he made.

3. Then this man was a thoughtful, judicious man.

4. This man was a rich man.

5. It may be taken for granted that this man was highly respected in the neighbourhood in which he lived.

6. It is pretty evident that this man was influential, as well as respected.

II. Let us shift our point of observation, and LOOK AT THIS MAN IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY.

1. His folly appears in his total misapprehension of the true end of life.

2. His folly is seen in his total misapprehension of the nature and the necessities of the soul.

3. His folly is seen in the mistaken notion which he has respecting the right use of wealth.

4. His folly is seen in the proposals which he makes to himself in respect to time, without any reference whatever to Him to whom alone time belongs.

(W. S. Blackstoek.)

The Preachers' Treasury.
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THIS MAN WAS PLACED. He was prosperous, and increasingly so. Just in such circumstances as most people long for. There are several interesting inquiries connected with the acquisition of riches; such as, how far the desire of acquisition may be indulged — where is the point at which it becomes criminal — and what are the consequences of its excess and abuse. It would much assist, did such maxims as the following meet with due acknowledgment.

1. That riches, with their attendant comforts and influence, are to be regarded as the bestowments of Providence.

2. That riches, with their attendant comforts and influence, furnish means for extended usefulness.

3. That riches with their attendant comforts and influence, involve the pressure of a solemn responsibility.

II. THE MEDITATIONS IN WHICH HE INDULGED. Observe the different aspects of imperfection and sin which the recorded meditations comprehend.

1. In the state of his mind as to the source of his possessions. There is no allusion to God, as the giver of the good in which he delighted (Hosea 2:8; Proverbs 30:8, 9).

2. In the intended application of property, Ought there not to have been some act of charity to man, or some gift to the temple of God?

3. In the mode of calculating on futurity. "This will I do: I will pull down my barns." And then — "I will say unto my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years" (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13, 15).

4. In the nature of desired and anticipated enjoyment. "Take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry."

(a)There is indicated a fondness for indulgences, in themselves utterly unworthy of the intellectual nature with which man is endowed.

(b)There is a careful and an entire exclusion of all that belongs to the interests and redemption of the soul.

III. THE REPROOF BY WHICH HE WAS ARRESTED.

1. AS to the event announced in the message of God — how momentous? "Thy soul shall be required of thee." Besides the separation of the individual from worldly riches, the event announced comprehends his appearance before God for judgment (Luke 16:19-26).

2. As to the time when this event was to be fulfilled — how soon it was to come! — "This night!" Ere another sun arose, his destiny would be sealed.

(The Preachers' Treasury.)

The Preachers' Treasury.
— A rich man. Look at him. He is what almost all would like to be, and are striving to be. Or, if not striving to be, it is because they despair of success, and not because they would not be rich if they might. A rich man! who would not be glad to stand in his lot? Take heed, and beware. Mark the effect of this man's wealth upon him.

1. It increased his covetousness.

2. It made him anxious.

3. Selfish.

4. Atheistical.

5. Sensual.

(The Preachers' Treasury.)

I. THE RICH MAN'S POSSESSIONS.

II. HIS ANXIETIES. Riches and cares are inseparably wedded together.

III. His DETERMINATIONS.

1. He resolves on the means of accumulation.

2. He forms his arrangements without any reference to the providence of God.

3. He reckons on his riches as the joy and portion of his soul.

4. He confidently calculates on an extended existence.

IV. His SUDDEN AND FATAL ARRESTMENT.

1. Observe how he is disturbed by the voice of Deity. "God said" — either by some deep, unmistakable impression on his heart and conscience, or by some sudden infliction of disease.

2. Mark the sudden termination of his career.

3. The eternal ruin of his soul.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. HIS CIRCUMSTANCES. Rich, prosperous. A state of imminent danger. It is difficult to be prosperous and rich —

1. Without loving riches. The love of money, &c. Whoso loveth the world, etc.

2. Without thinking ourselves the better and greater for these. How they puff up the mind. How men glory in their professions.

3. Without trusting in them, and not in God. There is danger when full, of denying Him.

II. His CHARACTER. God gives it, therefore must be correct. "Thou fool." Now, his folly is seen in the following particulars:

1. In being anxious amidst profusion.

2. Because he expected his soul to be happy with temporal things. He tried to make an earthworm of his soul. He wished to grovel in the dust.

3. Because he presumptuously calculated on years to come.

III. His END.

1. Sudden and unexpected.

2. Unprepared.

3. Dreadfully momentous.Application:

1. Do not idolize, and trust in riches.

2. Be anxious for your soul's welfare.

3. Come to Jesus. He will make you wise to eternal life.

4. Do not presume. Do not calculate upon the future.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Theological Sketch-book.
I. THE FOLLY OF THE PERSON MENTIONED. The man's folly consisted in —

1. His making the things of this life his chief good.

2. His supposing that worldly goods would satisfy his soul. The folly of such conduct will appear, if we consider(1) The nature of the soul. It is a spiritual and a rational principle (Genesis 1:27, and Genesis 2:7; Job 32:8). Can the gross materials that feed the body satisfy the soul?(2) The capacities of the soul. They, on account of its very nature, are so wast, that no measure of created good can possibly satisfy them.(3)The duration of the soul. It is immortal, everlasting (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Matthew 10:28). Can perishable things — such as earth affords — earth that will itself be destroyed, satisfy the immortal soul of man? Such foolish conduct, as that already described, naturally leads to another species of folly, that of —

3. Presuming on continued, on long life. He said, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." How infatuated must that man have been, who could thus calculate! (see Psalm 49:11-13). Do we not see mortals arrested, and borne to their graves, at every stage of life!

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH GOD TREATED THE SUBJECT OF THIS FOLLY.

1. He was called away suddenly.

2. Unexpectedly.

3. Amidst a profusion of worldly goods.

4. By language that strongly expressed the Divine displeasure.Reflections:

1. Worldly prosperity is so far from being a proof of personal goodness, or of the Divine favour, that the subjects of it may be so wicked as to incur sudden and severe destruction.

2. The proper enjoyment of life does not depend on large possessions (ver. 15).

3. Rich men are, on account of their riches, in peculiar danger — of living without God — of indulging in sensual gratifications — of presuming on long life — and of neglecting their souls.

4. Life is uncertain. It is therefore our highest wisdom to be living for eternity.

(Theological Sketch-book.)

I. THE SENSUALIST'S ADDRESS TO HIS SOUL.

1. Converse with the soul is proper and necessary.

2. Converse with the soul should be adapted to its nature as immortal, and should regard its eternal felicity.

3. Converse with the soul should have a tendency to excite its instant and ardent attention to everlasting happiness. But the rich sensualist in the text converses in a way altogether different.

1. He discovers erroneous ideas of true enjoyment, and represents the uncertain things of this world as capable of conferring happiness on an immortal mind, endeavouring to satisfy that which is spiritual with that which is material, and that which is undying with that which is perishable.

2. He over. rates worldly substance by giving it a durable and satisfying quality.

3. He degrades his soul, and endeavours to persuade it to compromise its eternal interests, and to seek that in gluttony, drunkenness, and the allurements of pleasure, which can be found in God only.

II. THE VOICE OF GOD TO THE SENSUALIST.

1. God takes notice of the conduct of sinners in regard to their souls.

2. The Almighty interrupts his schemes, and annihilates his ideas of enjoyment. "But God said unto him." I will darken thy perspective, and suspend thy enjoyments — thy building, founded in delusion, shall suddenly vanish — thy soul shall depart, and thy goods be the portion of another. And, when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do?

3. The rich man is charged with folly.

4. He is summoned to surrender his soul.

(R. Cope, LL. D.)

I. The EVIL of this rich man's conduct. Nothing whatever of a criminal nature is laid to his charge, as to the manner in which his abundant wealth had been acquired. No oppression, no avaricious extortion, no "grinding of the faces of the poor," nothing unfair or dishonest, nothing even ungenerous, is alleged against him; and what is not so much as insinuated in the narrative, we are not entitled to suppose. Nothing appears in the simple statement, but the blessing of Providence upon lawful industry — the luxuriant productiveness of his fields: "The grounds of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully." For this, surely, the proprietor was not to blame. What, then, is the grand error, what the leading and predominant sin, of this poor rich man? I answer, in one word, worldliness; or in another, which, though negative in its form, will be found of much the same positive amount, ungodliness. There is a total absence of God. In receiving, calculating, resolving, anticipating, "God is not in all his thoughts." Let us trace out a little this general observation in a few particulars.

1. There is, then, in the first place, the deliberate choice of the world, and the things of the world, as his portion, not only in preference to God, and the things of God, but without even a thought of the Divine favour and blessing as any essential ingredient in the cup of felicity, or as at all necessary to the legitimate and full enjoyment of his "good things." This did not enter into his estimate.

2. In the second place, he forgot God as the giver of all that he enjoyed, and the object of his gratitude. He received the gift, and forgot the Giver. He rioted in the unrestrained enjoyment of a profusion of good, and overlooked the hand from which it came. He "gave not God the glory."

3. In connection with the absence of gratitude for the past and the present, there was, in the third place, no proper sense of dependence on God for the future. This appears, both in regard to his wealth, and in regard to his life. The continuance of both depended every moment on the Divine will. But this is entirely out of mind: "I will say unto my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." While he forgot that God had given, he forgot also that God could take away.

4. In the fourth place, he overlooks the authority of God as his rule, and the glory of God as his end, in the use of his riches. He lives but for himself. Selfishness is his law, selfishness is his aim.

5. He forgets, too, in the last place, the account which he had to render to God of the manner in which he used His bounties.

II. The FOLLY of this rich man's conduct.

1. His folly consisted, in the first place, in seeking his happiness from unworthy and inadequate sources.

2. The folly consisted, secondly, in depending upon the greatest uncertainties; yes, on known, acknowledged, proverbial uncertainties. We have formerly seen how he reckons on the continuance both of property and of life. This was impious. It was ungodly presumption — practical atheism in one of its various forms. But the folly of it was not less egregious than its impiety. It is the very extreme of infatuation, to calculate and to proceed upon what we know to be in the highest degree precarious. "Be wise to-day." To-morrow you may never see. Even of to-day, the present moment alone can be called your own; and every moment you delay the preparation for a coming eternity is a moment of folly — folly, of which the unutterable amount will felt, when it is too late to redeem your guilty error, at the judgment-seat of God.

3. This leads me to notice more particularly a third ingredient in the folly — that, namely, of minding time, and forgetting eternity; occupying himself with the enjoyment (according to his unworthy conceptions of it) of the life that now is, and making no provision for the life that is to come. How striking, how awakening, how mortifying the question, " Then, whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? " He had provided them for himself, but in a few hours they were to cease to be his. He had provided them for many years, storing them up with anxious and self-applauding care, as a portion for a long life; but the years on which he counted he was never to see.

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

I. A SOLEMN WARNING AGAINST COVETOUSNESS AS OBSCURING OUR VIEW OF, AND LEADING US TO DISREGARD, THE TRUE PRINCIPLE OF LIVING.

II. THE PROCESS BY WHICH A MAN MAY BECOME COVETOUS. The instance given by our Saviour is not an extreme one. It is one adapted rather for a standard example of a process subtle and gradual, from whose operation no man is exempt. The successive steps of the process, as here delineated, are:

1. Prosperity (ver. 16). His prosperity was not culpable. It was a blessing of God. It may have been creditable to the rich man. His good husbandry may have been thus rewarded. No gain could be more legitimate. He was rich in the crop, not through speculation in it, or in an exorbitant price put upon it, as it stood in the field.

2. Calculation (ver. 17). To plan, again, is not sinful. It is a duty rather. But, natural and right though the question ("What shall I do?") is, it is dangerous. One needs to guard vigilantly, lest he make so much of the question, "What shall I do to save?" that he shall make too little of the question infinitely more pressing, "What shall I do to be saved?"

3. The decision to increase his investments (ver. 18). In this decision, again, there is no necessary guilt. The purpose formed by the rich man was not of necessity a covetous one. True, he might, as one of the Fathers suggests, have made barns of the houses of the poor, the mouths of orphans and widows. But these are not the only lawful storehouses. Men may accumulate, may increase accumulations. We do right to broaden our plans, to tear down and build greater. All social and material progress would cease if this spirit of enterprise should be quenched. All improvements in our modes of travel, of business, of living, are results of this spirit, which grasps the significance of prosperity, wisely forecasts the future, and at critical junctures says, "I will tear down and build greater." It is a grand trait in man or nation, this of making large, bold plans for the future. Through it God is subduing the world. Nevertheless, be on your guard against this spirit. It can only be safely exercised under the most vigilant observation, lest we become selfish in our plans, making them centre in ourselves. This was the grand mistake which the rich man actually made, viz.:

4. The appropriation of his goods (ver. 19). Before, he had pressed the limit of innoceney; now he passed it. This was more than a dangerous choice; it was a guilty one. It became manifest now that he had long been suffering his sense of accountability to decline; it had died out; and, with atheistic hardihood, he erased the name of God in the deeds and bonds, and substituted his own. Such a process may have with us a similar result.

III. THE FOLLY OF THE COVETOUS MAN AS SEEN IN HIS FATE. He made at least three fatal mistakes:

1. He assumed that what we have is ours. This is not the reasonable or the natural view of property. The parable of the pounds is intelligible to children. The conception it presents, viz., that we hold our property in trust, is agreeable to our natural conviction.

2. That the soul is richer the more goods one has (ver. 19). "Soul, thou hast much goods." We shrink from the coarse suggestion that a man's life consists in his goods. But may it not consist in the abundance of his goods? No. Possessions are not life; cannot give it, cannot sustain it. It is true for every human being. Young man, or woman, seeking possessions and not life — you who have gained a little of earth's treasure, and are setting your heart upon it unawares — remember, oh, remember! that possessions are not life. This house, this stock, this land are not your life. Remember that you may make these things your life. They may become you by an unconscious process of transfer. Are your goods you? Consider. Subtract from your thoughts, your imagination, your affections, your purposes, your property, what will be left? Will your very life be gone? Will it make no substantial difference? Will you be rich toward God?

3. The rich man assumed that he could reckon on the future. This was a terrible mistake: God waked him from it. He stands transfixed. He listens to the terrible voice: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." "This night." Can it be? In the very midst of his hopes and plans, with the barns unbuilt, the fields unreaped,the figs untasted? May he die to-night? Is it fixed? Must he die to-night? Can it be possible that with his fortune secured his life is insecure; not merely that, is doomed? Whether he lies down upon his bed, or sits and watches, with all the house alight, or flees from God, will death come to-night? And to-morrow morning will they be whispering, "He is dead"? Will another master stand here in the dewy field and see the skimming swallow, and hear the droning bee? Will all his wealth be another's to-morrow? Will another build the barns, another store and spend the harvest? Who was this fool? May it be you? Among the human remains exhumed at Pompeii are those of a woman laden with treasure, hastily seized and still hugged tightly in her arms. She was evidently caught on the very threshold of her own dwelling by the avalanche of ashes. Her sudden fright remains upon her face, indelibly printed there, an awful suggestion of the horrors of the unexampled tragedy. What figure could more fitly illustrate our Saviour's warning! Well might it be placed in every square of the city, with mutely eloquent dissuasion, to admonish us of the danger of a covetous love of this world. Look upon this ill-fated woman. Look upon the rich fool. Listen to the Saviour's words. Take heed, and beware of covetousness.

(G. R. Leavitt.)

Of this man nothing ill is actually said, nothing bad really appears. If we look at him as he is described, it is hard to say how he was worse than most of us. It is true that he spoke overmuch of my this and my that: "I have no room," he said, "to bestow my fruits; I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods." But do we not all do the same? The crops which have rewarded long toil, the profits yielded to patient enterprize, the little hoard painfully earned and saved, do we not call them ours, and think them ours too? Do we not talk of our corn, of our earnings, of our balance in the bank — and this not merely for convenience of speech, but because we regard ourselves as the actual independent owners of them? Do we not very generally forget that, in truth, all that we have is not ours, but God's — lent to us by Him, that part may be given back directly for His service, that the rest may be profitably spent to His glory, and that all may be given account of at the last day? It is true, also, that he spoke too rashly of the future, as if that also were his own: "I will pull down my barns, and build greater"; and yet more, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." But do not we for the most part do the same? When things have prospered with us, when our returns come in, do not we too make pleasant plans, and promise ourselves so much ease, so much enjoyment for the future? Do we not make promise to ourselves of building this new house or setting up that new carriage, of taking a pleasant journey here, or making a happy home there, and have no thought of God in it all? Yea; and though we should add a D.V. or a "God willing" to it, is it not generally a mere pretence of submission — as much as to say, we are aware that He can prevent it, if He chooses, but we do not at all suppose He will? Again, it is true that the man was profane in addressing such words as he did to his soul: "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, and be merry." Souls do not eat or drink, neither can they rest and enjoy themselves on the strength of so many hundreds a year, and when he used the word it should have reminded him that the higher part of his nature required other and better provision for the many years to come. But no doubt he spoke ignorantly, meaning only to address himself, and regarding himself on the whole as a being whose chief end was to eat and drink and amuse himself — as an organization mainly capable of enjoying meats and drinks, of welcoming cessation from toil, and of delighting in the good things of this world. Have we, as a rule, attained any higher view? Do not we, with far less excuse than he, commonly speak and think of ourselves as if we lived and moved and had our being in the things of this life — as if eating and drinking, ease and merriment, were sufficient to satisfy us? Or, if we rise above these things, do we not seek others equally inappropriate to the true life of the soul — intellectual delights, social pleasures, high positions — gifts of civilization to our modern days, good and noble in their way, but transitory, earthly, and therefore incapable of sustaining those immortal souls, which can only be filled with the love of God, which can be satisfied with nothing less than Him. "Soul," we say to ourselves, "thou art very well off; the world hath gone well with thee; thou hast enough and to spare; thou hast no cause to envy anybody, while many have reason to envy thee; thou hast done well, and art decidedly to be congratulated." This is no untrue fancy, as your heart and mind know well: thus does the soul whisper to itself, as it surveys its position; thus does it speak, and thus does God answer it — "Fool, fool that thou art, with all thy silly self-complacency and self-satisfaction; fool, with all thy worldly wisdom and temporal success; fool, with thy well-dressed person and well-filled purse, with thy well-furnished house and well-stored mind; fool, that congratulatest thyself on the possession of these things, and rememberest not that they must perish in an hour, and that thou hast nothing else." "Fool" — it is God that says it, not I; it is His verdict on me, just as much as on you, when I begin to glory in earthly things. He is a fool that takes comfort in a well-fed body while his soul is starving, that regards with satisfaction his veil-dressed person while his soul is still unclad in righteousness, that gazes with complacency upon the length and richness of his rent-roll while his tale of good works remains short and poor, that prides himself on the beauty of his earthly habitation while he is preparing for himself no goodly mansion in the world to come, — a fool, in short, wire suns himself in the momentary warmth and sunshine of to-day, and reeks not of the eternal darkness which must begin for him to-morrow. It may be that we are all fools together, minding earthly things out of all reasonable proportion to the heavenly things. If so, let us endure to be convicted of folly now, that we be not branded as fools before the universe; let us accept the rebuke now, while our souls are our own, lest we meet with it then, when they shall be demanded of us.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

1. He was a fool, because he gave not God the glory.

2. He was a fool in God's account, for the use he intended to make of his possessions.

3. He was a fool, because he confounded body and soul together.

4. He was a fool chiefly in this-that he so confidently and surely reckoned on many years to come.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

I. Consider THE THINGS WHICH THEY REFUSE.

1. The things which they refuse are of inconceivable value, the very best things of heaven and earth; things did I say? consider what is comprehended in them, viz., God the chief good to be their God, and Jesus Christ; they refuse Him, an interest in Him; they see nothing in Him to desire Him; and now doth not this show them fools? They know not what is good, know not how to choose, they discern not a precious pearl from a worthless pebble.

2. They refuse incorruptible things, such riches that are durable treasure that neither moth nor rust can corrupt.

3. They refuse (though they are ready to perish with hunger) that which is bread, nay, Bread of Life, most rare, sweet, delicious, and soul-nourishing, fattening and satisfying Bread, and all else that is good and proper food for their souls; which except they eat of they must die and perish for ever; and doth not this show they are fools?

4. They count those things not worth one serious thought or regard, which all that were truly wise esteemed above all the treasures, riches, and glory of the whole world; nay, more worth than ten thousand worlds.Secondly, Let us consider what things they are which worldly men choose, and the nature of them, instead of those things, or before those things which they refuse.

1. They choose things unlawful, or such things that are forbidden, and in their choice inner the wrath and displeasure of God, and are thereby proclaimed enemies and rebels, and such that God's soul abhors, for by an inordinate love of riches they are idolators: and the covetous God abhorreth.

2. They choose such things that are the portion of reprobates. My brethren, God gives the riches of this world to his enemies, and to such who have their portion in this life, to whom He denies His choicest and chiefest blessings and favours.

3. They are corruptible things, things which perish in the using, things also that are uncertain.

4. They choose the riches, pleasures, and grandeur of this world, which ruin the souls of all trust in them, or set their hearts upon them. The world, in its riches, is a cruel enemy to poor mortals, and such who over-prize them do but hug a viper or serpent in their bosoms, and is not this one article of our faith that the world has well as the flesh and the devil is a mortal enemy to the soul? What, harbour a thief, a treacherous and cruel murderer, in our house, who will soon, if not overcome, lay all the family in their blood, and dead at his foot! what folly greater than this! Ah! how many thousands are now in hell, that the love of this world sent thither, or brought eternal ruin upon.

5. The things wicked rich men choose are but mere vanity or a shadow. "Vanity of vanity, all things are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2); not vain, but vanity in the abstract, the worst of vanities, and therefore no folly greater than to esteem the riches of this world as a man's best and chiefest happiness; they weary themselves for very vanity; should you see a man pursue, or run after, and strive to catch or take hold of a shadow, would you not say he was a lunatic, or a natural, or mere fool? Such fools are the rich men of this world. Moreover, empty things that cannot satisfy, gold and silver can satisfy no man: "He that coveteth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase, this is also vanity" (Ecclesiastes 5:10). This shows his folly; he hath abundance, and yet desires more as if he had nothing, and is never content and satisfied with what he hath, and yet counts these things the best of all good; which shows he is a fool.

6. The love of riches is the root of all evil; and such " that will be rich fall into temptations and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 6:9). Now if such are the nature and dreadful effects that attend riches, what fools are they that set their hearts upon them! They do but "heap up treasure against the last day" (James 5:3), or treasure up wrath and Divine vengeance.

(B. Keach.)

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED,

1. That riches, with their attendant comforts and influence, are to be regarded as the bestowments of Providence; not to be considered as the recompence of independent human effort, but ever subject to the superintendence and arrangement of Him who is the author of every good and perfect gift.

2. That riches, with their attendant comforts and influence, furnish means for extended usefulness, and place in the hands of the possessor a power which he should employ in promoting the temporal and the spiritual welfare of his fellowmen.

3. That riches, with their attendant comforts and influence, involve the pressure of a solemn responsibility. They are granted, on a principle of stewardship, and with an obligation to account.

II. THE MEDITATIONS IN WHICH HE INDULGED.

1. Imperfection and sin existed in the state of him mind as to the source of his possessions. There is no allusion to God, as the giver of the good in which he delighted; there is no acknowledgment of dependence, there is no aspiration of gratitude. He looks with complacency on the amount of his possessions; and then, in the inflation of vanity, and in the calculating spirit of worldly wisdom, he proceeds to arrange his plans, as if perfectly independent of all obligations and of all responsibility to a superior Being.

2. Imperfection and sin existed in the intended application of property. A portion of his wealth was to be expended in enlarging his accommodations, and then his possessions were to be accumulated in one vast hoard, to remain in the treasure-house untouched, except for the purpose of securing some additional advantage. Ought there not to have been some act of charity to man, or some gift to the temple of God?

3. Imperfection and sin existed in the mode of calculating on futurity. The rich man, you will perceive, assumed, with a strong and an undoubting confidence, that no event would happen, to interfere with the accomplishment of his plans, and that he should possess a long period of existence, and of happiness.

4. Imperfection and sin existed in the nature of desired and anticipated enjoyment. "Take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry." The guilt connected with the intention thus expressed as to the pleasure of future life, is twofold. First there is indicated a fondness for indulgences, in themselves utterly unworthy of the intellectual nature with which man is endowed; and secondly, there is a careful and an entire exclusion of all that belongs to the interests and redemption of the soul.

III. THE REPROOF BY WHICH HE WAS ARRESTED.

1. AS to the event announced in the message of God — how momentous! "Thy soul shall be required of thee." It comprehends his removal from the substance on which he had doated. His toil, his scheming, his rising early, his sitting up late, his eating the bread of carefulness, were now to end, and to be discovered as having been rendered in vain.

2. As to the time when this event was to be fulfilled — how soon it was to come! — "This night!" Almost as soon as he had uttered his grovelling dreamings, was his last change to be undergone. It was a brief space indeed! The poison of death was circulating rapidly within him: the shadows of the evening portended the deeper darkness of the grave; and ere another sun arose, his destiny would be sealed.

(J. Parsons.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF A WORLDLY MAN.

1. He makes the pursuit of the world his chief business.

(1)Sacrificing to it the duties of religion.

(2)Pursuing it merely for his own gratification, and not for the glory of God.

2. He finds in this world his chief happiness.

3. He sets upon the world his chief affections.

II. EVERY SUCH MAN, CHRIST SAYS, IS A FOOL.

1. He gives up certainty for uncertainty. The world is most uncertain in its

(1)attainment;

(2)retainment.

2. He prefers his body to his soul. The body is the casket which encloses the precious immortal jewel — the soul which God has given us. Now, suppose any man, having an exceedingly precious jewel enclosed in a casket, bestowed all his care on the casket, watched over it day and night, regularly went to see that it was secure, but allowed the jewel to be a plaything to his children, would he not be a fool indeed?

3. He prefers time to eternity.

(John M'Lean.)

I. THE FIRST THING TO BE REMARKED IN THE TEXT IS THE EXPRESSION "THOU FOOL" This pattern of a worldly-minded man is called a fool on many accounts.

1. He abused the leisure given him for studying the nature of heavenly wealth.

2. Again, whereas the plentifulness of his stores should have set his heart entirely at rest about all such worldly matters, he was perplexed concerning the manner of bestowing his goods; he vexed his mind about room for his fruits; when he had doubtless many poor neighbours whom he might have fed out of his abundance. He determined to pull down his barns, and build greater, when he should rather have been employed in pulling down the worldly vanity of his heart, in rooting out his sins, and building up the hope of his salvation on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And still more on these accounts he is justly called a fool.

3. But above all other reasons, he is called a fool, because he reckoned, with such unfounded security, on the continuance of a long life.

II. Observe, in the second place, HOW SUDDEN IS THE SUMMONS! HOW IMMEDIATELY: THE FOOLISH LOVER OF THIS WORLD IS REQUIRED TO LEAVE HIS GOODS AND POSSESSIONS, AND TO YIELD UP HIS SOUL TO JUDGMENT. "This night." The summons does not say to-morrow. That word, with which he had doubtless put off many a good resolution, is not now spoken to himself. What would he give now for one of those many hundreds of days which he once wasted in thoughtless indolence!

III. THE PARTICULAR SEASON OF THE SUMMONS IS NO LESS REMARKABLE THAN ITS SUDDENNESS. "This night." He is called away, not in the light of day, but in the darkness and gloom of night.

IV. CONSIDER WHAT WAS REQUIRED OF THIS UNHAPPY MAN. Not his goods and fruits, he had better never have hoarded them. Not his spacious barns, he had better never have built them. Not his worldly accomplishments, they are now of no value. All these things in which he once took such delight and pride, all these if he used them not to God's glory, how glad would he be now, had he never had them. The memorial of their possession must accompany him to judgment; and they are not what willbe there required. No, it is his soul.

(C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

1. This man's exit from the world was in strong contrast with his life. When visitors came to that house, the master, no doubt, would take them out, and say, "There are twenty acres of grain; ten acres of corn; fifteen acres of grove. See those sheep down in that valley. See those cattle on that hill. All mine! Come and look at those fig-trees. There are some figs ripe. Help yourself. Plenty of them. See how those grape-vines thrive — and these pomegranates!" Abundance of everything. Plenty to eat, plenty to wear, and plenty to congratulate. Yet, amid all that, he dies! How impudent death is!

2. The man of the text made sudden exit. So removal from this world is always sudden. I have heard of rare cases where persons said, "Such a day of such a month will be my last," and it was so. But the man of the text was not more amazed than most people. Even the most confirmed invalids expect to get well. They expect some new effect of medicines, or a new style of doctor, or a change of climate will help them. It is while men are calculating on long days that that decisive hour comes — while they are expecting an enlargement of business accommodations, or are getting in their crops, or are trying to draught a new barn — suddenly! And why not? Hold that glass of exquisite ware, and let it drop on the pavement. How long does it take to shiver it? Wonder not that the delicate bowl of life was broken at the fountain. Our life is of such delicate mechanism, so finely poised, so hair-strung, that the least collision is fatal. The wonder is that, with such exquisite machinery, the pivots do not oftener slip, and the spring break, and all the works instantly crash. The vast majority of the race go out of this life without a physical pang. They flash away. You cannot calculate the brevity of the time between when the arrow leaves the bow and when it strikes the target. A minister of Scotland, at breakfast, asked for something more to eat, and a child started to get it, but he cried out, "Hold! hold! my Master calleth me. I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus to-night." And as quick as that he was gone. The rail train rushes along towards Norwalk bridge. The draw is off. Down the train plunges. In Wales, a miner, not aware of the foul air of the mine, strikes a match. Instantly two hundred souls are in eternity.

3. It was night when the man of the text went. So it is night when most of the race depart. A vast majority of the race die between eleven and three o'clock at night. There seems something in the atmosphere at that time to loosen the grasp of body and soul. Nearly all my friends have gone away in the night. The most of those who die by accident die in the night, because then the impediment on the track is not seen. Then it is that the flame gets headway before it is discovered. Then the burglar and the assassin are assisted by the darkness. The first-born of Egypt perished in the night. Sennacherib's host fell in the night.

4. But the most remarkable thing about the exit was that he was unprepared for it. It was not a lack of brain that kept him in unpreparedness. A man who could make money as fast as he could was not lacking in sharpness. He knew what to plant, and how to culture what he had planted. He was not one of the dead-and-alive men who make no progress. His barns were large enough before, but they are too small now, with crops all the time growing. He was what Americans would call "smart," and what the English would call "clever." Now a man who knows enough to do business, knows enough to save his soul. All of the idiots will be saved at last. He was not an idiot. But alas! how many men are wise for time, and foolish for eternity! They know enough, when they sell a thing, to get the worth of it, but they barter away an immortal soul for nothing. They have everything insured but their souls. They are careful to have all their titles good except that for heaven.

(Dr. Talmage.)

I. The parable first invites to some remarks upon WORLDLY PROSPERITY, AND SOME OF THE ANXIETIES BY WHICH IT IS NOT UNFREQUENTLY ATTENDED. "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully," the parable begins. "The ground"; the man did not owe his wealth to any success in commercial adventures, to a judicious plying of his business in the great waters, or to any of those forms of rising in the world which too often lead men to give their own skill all the praise. Not that in regard of our obligation to the Giver of all good it makes any difference whether our wealth come to us in one way or in another — by the blessing of God upon our industry, or in the gift of God in the sunshine and in the shower — for every way it is true that "the Lord thy God, He it is that giveth thee power to get wealth." Still, I think, it does lay an added weight upon our gratitude, and should make the sense of debt and dependence to be felt more keenly, when God prospers almost without making use of our own exertions at all. As when we come into possession of a fruitful land, or succeed to a business already made to our hands; in such cases we feel the blessing comes to us so straight and direct from heaven, that the temptation to say, "my power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth," is utterly taken away. Even the world allows us nothing to be proud of in such instances; we thrive upon the labours of those who have gone before, or perhaps upon a mere accident of the soil. "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully." But "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses": the ground that brings forth plentifully is seldom free from some roots of bitterness. In the parable of the sower and the seed, our Lord makes cares and riches go together. And they do very often; for with more wealth, we take more servants, and that is a care. The more treasure we have, the more fear of losing it; and that is a care. The larger the produce of our fields, the more room we want to put it away; and that is a care.

II. Let us proceed to the second view of this parable, or that which sets before us SELFISHNESS AND ITS PROJECTS. The man's debatings were soon over, for he called to his counsels neither God nor man, seeing that for the glory of the one he had no concern, and with the wants of the other had no sympathy. He was a law unto himself, he had none to think of, and none to obey; his goods were his own, his length of days was his own, his very soul was his own; so at least he reasons, for this is the plan of life to which he tells us his mind is made up — "And he said, 'This will I do,'" &c. Many things press for notice here. First, his language, "my barns, my fruit, my goods," although agreeable to the common usage of men, yet taken in connection with what follows, is a plain ignoring of God's hand in his prosperity, or God's right in regard to its proper use. One would think he had been beholden to God for nothing; neither for seed nor soil, nor clouds, nor genial suns; so completely is the idea of stewardship lost sight of, and the Creator's loan viewed as the creature's right. Then, there is a strange and presumptuous covenant with the future — future harvests, that they shall not fail; future years, that he shall live to enjoy their fruits. They are the most obvious truths which men are most slow to learn — how feeble is our hold on prosperity — a blight, a shipwreck, a credulous trust in some new and fraudulent speculation, a dishonest servant, or a perfidious friend, let any of these befal us, and what becomes of our many goods? And many years — he has made sure of this also; he has entered into a covenant with sickness, and accident, and the marching pestilence, with the waters that they shall not overflow him, and with the flames that they shall not kindle upon him; he had only not made a covenant with God. But, besides all this sinful bargaining for a long series of morrows, we should not fail to observe with what resolute intenseness and determination of purpose his heart is set upon the enjoyment of the world. "Soul, take thine ease. While my wealth was accumulating, and my diligence was needed, and there was a possibility that the tide of success might turn against me, I had my unavoidable anxieties; but I am past all this now, I am beyond the reach of reverses, henceforth I will fling myself upon the soft lap of prosperity, and without an apprehension or a care sleep the rest of life's hours away." "Soul, take thine ease"; eat, drink, and be merry too, steep the senses in a blithe forgetfulness, forbid the entrance of every intruding monitor who comes to tell you that you have an eternity to live for, or an offended God to meet. And then, observe that awful stroke of irony with which the Saviour makes the man address language like this to his soul — "Soul, thou hast much goods" — thou, the eternal, the changeless, thou who art sprung from a nobler ancestry than the angels, and fashioned in the mould of God, see here the portion I have provided for thee, meats that debase, drinks that stupefy, luxuries that sensualize — "eat, drink, and be merry." The world abounds with these epicurean Christians; who, instead of nourishing their souls with proper sustenance, with holy thoughts, with sacred joys, with hopes that centre in God and ambitions which point to heaven, turn God's image into dust again, and try to satisfy the cravings of an immortal mind with ashes, with wind, with meats, and drinks, and mirth. "Soul, thou hast much goods, take thine ease."

III. But the parable we have been considering takes its most solemnizing and striking form when we view it as setting forth GOD'S ARREST ON WORLDLY PRESUMPTION AND THE RECOMPENSE THAT SHALL FOLLOW. The man's plans are formed; he is at agreement with death; he has pledged the seed-time and the harvest, and the couch is laid smooth on which his soul is to have many years of ease, when in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he finds all this baseless fabric crumbled to the dust. Let me conclude with two applications of our subject. The first, bearing on the duty of securing the true riches; and the other, on the turning of perishable riches to a wise and sanctified account. The first of these duties is set forth in one weighty and emphatic sentence by the Great Teacher Himself; may we all remember it, if we remember nothing else. "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, but is not rich toward God." "So is he"; that is, as this man, with the fiat of heaven against him made out, the messengers of wrath half on their way, with just one short night between his soul and a wretched immortality. "So is he"; that is, so is every one who layeth up treasure for himself, comforts for himself, ease, mirth, worldly happiness for himself, while as to the true riches he is a mere beggar, for he is not rich towards God; has not provided himself with bags that wax not old, has no treasure laid up there, where no rust nor moth can corrupt, and where theives do not break through and steal. But the parable also suggests a caution as to the right use of perishable riches; the duty of making them subservient to the highest ends, and the certainty that sooner or later they will be taken from us, if we spend upon self or upon sews fancied wants that which God designed either for advancing His own glory or for mitigating the sufferings of mankind.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. GODLESSNESS IS FOLLY. The conversation between this man's soul and himself shows the bent and make of his mind. There was no room for God in his plan of life. His godlessness was very bad in him, for he was a successful Jewish farmer. As a Jew, he had drunk in the name of God with his mother's milk. His one book was full of the great name, and every one around him believed in God. The Temple, the Sabbath, and a thousand things besides were always speaking to him of God. But though a Jew, he was a perfect heathen at heart. He did not profess to be an atheist, yet he lived the atheist's life. A thoughtful farmer in Palestine was like the islander who said, "Other people may forget God, but the St. Kilda man never can." In no other country are the crops so plainly in God's hands. The wind, the rain, and the locusts every year make them a success or a failure. His plains waving with God's great bounty should have melted his heart. Strange that to receive a blessing often and regularly makes a man unmindful of God. Every plan of life is folly in which God is not first, midst, and last. Without this, all other wisdom is vain. He only is wise who begins, carries forward, and ends all in and with God.

II. GREED IS FOLLY. This rich farmer was very greedy, and his greed was of the meanest kind, and had no excuse. For he was rich, and growing richer, and embarrassed with riches, and in that genial climate and simple age he needed little money. His was greed without need. He was a mere money-maker, and the clave of the money he possessed. His wealth was like a glacier in midwinter, which feeds no river and gladdens no valley. His soul died of self-love. His in the most perfect and vulgar selfishness, the meanest of all the vices. His greed for money was like the greed of the drunkard, whose drinking puts an end to the drinker, but not to his thirst. Like a wild beast, he will retire into his own corner and gorge himself. All need this warning against greed. But there is a greed which can never grow too great. Every child of the kingdom is a child of boundless desire. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst." You may pull down the barns of your knowledge and love, and build greater without blame.

III. TO MISTAKE HAPPINESS IS FOLLY. He thought that bigger and fuller barns would make him happy. His full barns were a paradise for mice, but not for men.

1. Length of life cannot be secured by riches. The farmer could lay up goods enough in his barn for many years, but not years enough for the enjoyment of his goods. A French writer says that most successful merchants die about the time when the paint is drying in the splendid villas in which they were hoping to find their ease. Wealth cannot buy an extra hour. "Millions of money for a minute of time," was the vain offer of England's dying Queen. All history shows that men and nations perish from plenty rather than from poverty.

2. A man's happiness, the life of life, does not consist in the abundance of riches. Bigger barns don't give fuller life.

3. The eternal life does not consist in plenty of earthly goods, h golden key cannot open the gate of heaven. The treasures of grace are as free to the beggar as to any man under heaven.

IV. TO FORGET THE FUTURE IS FOLLY. The great Greek writers often picture the rich man. His heart grows haughty and he forgets God. He then becomes an eyesore to heaven; he must be abased; and a certain train is laid for his destruction. At last a thunderbolt, without any sign of its coming, leaps out of the blue sky and strikes him down. Such a fate overtook this poor rich man. He forgot the uncertainty of time and the certainty of eternity. The words, "This night," startle and solemnize us. His soul is required of him as a trust or deposit which he had abused, and it is taken from him by main force. His life was an utter failure. It was like a well-carved stair, "ascending, winding, leading up to nought," and good for nothing. True wisdom takes in the whole of our life in time and eternity. It chooses the life that lives and fashions the everlasting man and woman. As eternity is greater than time, faith is the highest wisdom. How different from this rich man's is the death of one whom Christ has made wise unto salvation, even when the death-sickness comes as suddenly as the summons came to him. A little boy was laid down with cholera. The minister visiting him paused at the cottage door, for he heard the voice of prayer. The dying boy repeated the Lord's Prayer, and then added, "Now I am ready, Lord."

(J. Wells, M. A.)

— My fruits, and my goods, and my soul, and my barns. That is all wrong. He has narrowed down things to a point. He has made himself the centre of reckoning; he has constituted his own individuality into the standard of life. But surely a man may say "my soul"? No. Only in a secondary sense, at least, may he say that. "For all souls are Mine," saith the Lord. The fundamental error in life is that a man should call himself his own. And until that deadly, fatal reasoning is driven out of him, he will never take hold of life by the right end. The discussion is not, "Is what I have in my hand my property or not?" My friend, your hand itself is not your own. Why, then, be wasting your life in some little peddling debate about what you hold in your hand? No man can live wisely, deeply, truly, until he has got out of the notion that he is his own property. Herein is the great mystery of the Christian faith: Ye are not your own; ye are bought, ye belong to another. Glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God's. I do not, therefore, follow a man into any debate, when he says, "My barns, my fruits, my goods." I let him chatter on; but when he says, "My soul," I arrest him I He may fight all day long about his barns and his fruits and his goods, and no useful result would testify to our wordy debate. But if I can convince a man that his soul is not his own, except in a secondary sense; that it is God's; that it is a bought soul; and that it must take its law and its way from the utterances of God — I shall have brought the man to the right point from which to start all the courses and all the discipline of his life. Is not selfishness at the root of all evil? Is not a man little in proportion as he debates everything in the light of his own personality?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Why use this expression? The man was very wise, on one side of his nature. So many of us are clever in little points! So many people are prudent and sagacious and wise in one aspect of their nature, and are utter and irredeemable fools in others. If the light that is in us be darkness, how great is that darkness! Few men are foolish altogether. The man in the parable talked wisely up to a given moment, and from that time he went down into the utterest and worst imbecility. What does God say? "This night." God sometimes gives but short notice to His tenants.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The man had forgotten the nights! He talked about years in whole numbers; about the bright spaces called day; but did not think of those black lines called night. Between to-day and to-morrow there rolls the black night river, and we may fall into it, and never step on the shore of the morning. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Make your ground bring forth plentifully; be the best farmers in the neighbourhood; be successful in all kinds of business or profession; and, if you possibly can, rise to the very top of the line along which you are working. But all the while hold all these things loosely; hold them in a spirit of stewardship. Then you will hold them rightly, and when God says, "Let go!" it will be but a step into heaven! The only things we can carry out of this world are our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses, our desires — all the elements which make us spiritual men, and invest us with moral character. We take out of this world our moral and spiritual condition, and as the tree falleth, so must it lie! What, then, do I find wanting in the speech of the foolish man? I find no grateful heart in it all. The man never blessed his banquet in the name of God. Not a word do I hear to this effect: "God hath dealt bountifully with me; praise God from whom all blessings flow. He hath put all these things into my care; He hath entrusted me with all this large estate that I may administer it in His name. Lord, teach me how to use it, so that not one crumb be wasted, but that the whole be so ordered and dispensed as to bring honour to Thy name, and satisfaction and gladness to Thy children that are round about me." He doubles his enjoyment of worldly things, who uses them gratefully; he drinks the best wine, who drinks out of the goblet of thankfulness; he has most who gives most; and he grows most truly, who, for Christ's sake, expends himself for the good of others most fully.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

And we cannot say Him, No. You may say No to your best friend; you can refuse the invitation of your most importunate associate; but when God says, "I shall want you to-night," you cannot write a note of excuse! When God says, "Thy soul shall be required of thee to-night," you cannot say, "Lord, let it stand over for a week." See, then, our weakness, as well as our strength; and know this, oh man, as a matter of dead certainty, whatever our religious faith may be, though we are the vilest, vulgarest, and most stubborn atheists, that we cannot escape the final day — the great deed — the deed of death!

(J. Parker, D. D.)

? — As a wise man, I think I shall be doing right in turning this over in my mind, and making some reflections upon it; and thus have I resolved, by the strength and grace of God to do, now that the year is closing round me and bidding me farewell: "I will put my confidence in God — in God as revealed in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ; in God as known to me through the Cross, as the one Saviour; God the Son, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I will walk in the way of God's commandments, and I will diligently study His precepts; I will make His Book the man of my counsel and the light of my way. All that I can do I shall do according to the strength He gives me, and I will praise Him for the power with which He may invest my life. This I will do; and I think it is the right thing."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

When God's goodness was showered upon him in such abundance, he should have opened his treasures and permitted them to flow: for this end his riches had been bestowed upon him. When rain from heaven has filled a basin on the mountain-top, the reservoir overflows, and so sends down a stream to refresh the valley below; it is for similar purposes that God in His providential government fills the cup of those who stand on the high places of the earth — that they may distribute the blessing among those who occupy a lower place in the scale of prosperity. But self was this man's pole star: he eared for himself, and for none besides. Self was his god; for to please himself was practically the chief end of his existence.

(W. Arnot.)

The man who should hoard in his own granary all the corn of Egypt, could not eat more of it than a poor labourer — probably not so much. It is only a very small portion of their wealth that the rich can spend directly on their own personal comfort and pleasure: the remainder becomes, according to the character of the possessor, either a burden which he is compelled to bear, or a store whence he daily draws the luxury of doing good.

(W. Arnot.)

Sunday School Times.
Our stewardship and our dependence on God ought always to be silently, if not verbally, recognized. The captain talks of "my craft," but he knows that it is only entrusted to him for a season, and he returns it to its owners at the proper time. The soldier speaks of "my gun," but he knows that it is a government weapon, and is to be used in fighting the government's battles. So it is right to speak of "my money," "my possessions," provided God's supreme ownership is recognized. That was not how the rich man did in the parable. He grasped everything, recognized no higher ownership. He acted like the child who snatches the toy or the fruit thanklessly from the hand of its parent, and huddles it up in its pinafore lest some other should see and share the enjoyment. When the bubble is gained it bursts. Show the children how that is true, illustrating it from the common stories of Mazzini, Lord Chesterfield, Queen Elizabeth's death-bed, &c.; and make clear how all too eager seeking, whether for wealth or pleasure or fame, is overshadowed by God's calm judgment: "Thou fool."

(Sunday School Times.)

Do you suppose that a man can feed his soul in that way? Can a soul be fed with silver or gold? Can a soul be made merry because outward goods increase? How beggarly the conception! How stultified the man appears by this very address to himself! He proposed to feed that which was divine with that which was essentially animal. He had no holy thoughts, no merciful inclinations; he had no chastened and purified aspirations I he had no sweet and loving affections; he had nothing that was glorious in holiness, or beautiful in any wise. But, "O, my soul," said he, "take thine ease." How many men there are that try to quiet their souls. How many men there are that say to their uneasiness, "Why art thou disquieted in me, O my soul? Art thou not rich?" A man's soul rich because his pocket is rich I How many men say, "Oh, soul, what wilt thou? What have I not done for thee? Look abroad and behold the fields. They are all thine. Look upon all these harvests. They are thine. Glance up the mountain side, and measure all the stately trees thereon. All these things are thine, and all these mansions, and all these titles and bonds, and all this silver and gold." And the poor smothered soul says, "I will have none of them." The soul — has it a mouth? Can it eat, as a man's body can? The soul — is it a broker and exchanger of money? Does it love to hear the clink of gold and silver? Is that the soul?

(H. W. Beecher.)

Sunday School Times.
"Eat, drink, and be merry," is the sum and substance of true Oriental enjoyment, as it generally appears among the rich. The covetous are not necessarily misers in self-indulgence; but how better does he know how to spend his money who has looked upon gain as the sole end of labour and thought? The poor scholar enjoys literature and grammatical disputes; the moderate people meet every evening at the coffee-houses, and take their finjans of coffee with their long pipes, and discuss politics or listen to the teller of romances; but the rich feast, with hired dancers and much mirth; sometimes even using the appliances of the old Roman glutton to multiply the enjoyments of their appetite and the capacity of their stomach.

(Sunday School Times.)

Thou fool.
I. THE SINFULNESS OF THE RICH MAN. Notice the remarkable fact that he addressed his soul, when forming his plan for a long course of selfishness. Now, what had the soul to do with the indulgencies and enjoyments which he thought his riches would procure? Is it the soul which eats? Is it the soul which drinks? Is it the soul which luxuriates in voluptuous ease? Had he addressed his body, and thus seemed forgetful or ignorant of its being immortal, we must have wondered at him less, and had thought him less degraded; but to confess that he had a soul, and then to speak to that soul as though it were material, a mere animal thing, with fleshly appetites and passions, this marked him, at the very outset, as the creature of sensuality; as though he knew no higher use of faculties which distinguished him from the brute, than to give a zest to gratifications which he had in common with-the brute I But, nevertheless, there was truth in the address of the sensualist; he was not so mistaken as at first he may appear. He spake, indeed, to the soul as though he had reckoned it a part of the body, and thus seemed strangely to confound the corporeal and the spiritual; but was he actually guilty of an absurdity? With such a speech to make, ought he to have addressed himself exclusively to the body? Nay, he was more candid, rather than more ignorant, than the great mass of sensualists. Our accusation against men in general is, that they have made themselves all body. Through the corruption of human nature, and through the habits and practices of unrighteousness, the soul is so debased, and so surrenders the ascendency to the flesh, that man becomes as literally a mere animal, living only to gratify animal propensities, and looking not beyond the present scene of being, as though the immortal principle were extinguished, in place of dormant, and death were to be annihilation. We want to know whether, with the great body of unconverted men, it would virtually make much perceptible difference if they had no souls. What is there in their conduct which indicates the workings of an inextinguishable principle, or which would necessarily be much altered, if, in place of being inextinguishable, it were declared of this principle, that it should be quenched at death? So that the rich sensualist was not far wrong in speaking to his soul, as though it were his body. True, indeed, the soul could not literally eat, the soul could not literally drink; but the soul might have no taste, no relish, for spiritual things, the whole man might be given up to corporeal indulgencies, and the soul might be in such subjection, such slavery, to the flesh, as to think of nothing but how to multiply its gratifications or to increase their intenseness. And the case is thoroughly the same, when a man is not given up to mere animal pleasures. But now we wish to point out another thing to you — that the very essence of idolatry is discernable in this address of the rich man to his soul. It may justly be said, that the rich man substituted his stores for God, put them in the place of God, or looked to them to do for him what God alone could do. Capital is to this man in the place of Divinity; and he is virtually saying to his soul, not as the Christian ought to say, "Soul, thou hast a never-failing Guardian, who will be sure to provide for thee through the shifting scenes of life," but, as a worshipper of his own possessions might say — "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." But we do not suppose that we have even yet reached the extreme point of this rich man's offence. He must have greatly provoked God by his materialism, and probably still more by his idolatry, but it was to neither of these that God pointedly referred when He interfered in just judgment, and we therefore conclude that it was in another particular that the chief offence lay. And this particular seems to have been his reckoning on many years of life. If it had been his idolatry which had specially provoked retribution, it would probably have been on the immediate object of idolatry that vengeance would have descended. God might have said, "I will fatally blight thine harvest; I will utterly burn up thy crops: where then will be thy sustenance, where thy boasted security against want?" But the judgment is evidently directed against the insolent expectation of long life. The speech is virtually, "Thou hast assumed, or taken for granted, that thou hast many years to live, utterly forgetful that the times of every man are in My hand, and for this I will instantly visit thee. 'O fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee.'" The rich man is called a fool, and is upbraided as a fool, on the ground of his having supposed himself quite sure of life; so that evidently the reckoning on the distance of death is given as what, more than anything else, had displeased God in his conduct. It is as though God could have borne yet longer with his voluptuousness, though he had actually confounded the material with the spiritual, and debased the soul into a mere slave to the flesh; it is as though God could have borne yet longer with his idolatry, though he had substituted his own storehouses for a presiding Deity, and given to the hoarded corn all the confidence which should have been given to an ever-active providence; but when he presumed to make sure of life, to reckon, not only that his goods would last many years, but that he should have many years in which to enjoy them, then it seems as if the provocation were complete, and vengeance could no longer be deferred. And there is evidently a peculiar invasion, as it were, of the prerogatives of God, whensoever a man calculates that death is yet distant. Life is that of which, even in appearance, no man can have a stock in hand. The life of to-morrow cannot be stored up to-day; though, in a certain sense, the supply of to-morrow's wants may be, supposing that we live till to-morrow. There is not, therefore, that shadow of an excuse for reckoning on the prolongation of life, which there may be for reckoning on a provision for its wants. The man who has a large stock of corn shows himself indeed unmindful of the sovereignty of God, if he conclude that on that account he cannot live to be needy; but he is infinitely outdone by another, who, because he believes himself in strong health, confidently concludes that he shall not soon die. We want very much to press this on your consideration. Every man who is not labouring earnestly to save the soul is reckoning on long life. We care not whether or not he acknowledge this to others, we care not whether or not he acknowledge it to himself: he may profess a thorough belief in the uncertainty of life, but the fact is that he makes sure of life, and the proof is that he takes no pains to secure his salvation. If he knew that he should die in a-week, if he knew that he should die in a month, he would not keep the next world out of sight, but would labour with all earnestness to prepare for the change which could not be deferred. And what, then, can it be, but a secret persuasion that he shall not die in a week, or that he shall not die in a month, which makes him altogether neglectful of the soul's interests? He would not be thus neglectful if persuaded that "in the midst of life we are in death," and it is fair to conclude that he is neglectful because not so persuaded, or rather because persuaded of precisely the reverse. And the fearful thing is, that this very reckoning upon life, which men would hardly perhaps think of classing amongst their sins, may be the most offensive part of their conduct in the eye of the Almighty, and draw upon them the abbreviation of that life, and thus the loss of the expected opportunities of repentance and amendment. A man determines that he will taste a little more pleasure, or accumulate a little more wealth, before attending to the high duties of religion. Now the great provocation may not be, as you might at first sight suppose, in the preference of worldly pleasure or worldly wealth to what is celestial and enduring, but in concluding that he shall have the time in which to eat or to drink or to gather in money. God did not strike down the rich man whose history is before us, so much because he was a sensualist, as because he was a fool — a fool in making sure of life when there was nothing to assure him, and in reckoning on life as a fixed term when it is only held from moment to moment. Oh! how easy to overlook this 1 how easy to keep out of sight the sin of reckoning upon life, whilst we are quite aware of the sin of misspending life!

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

God did not call this man a fool because he looked well after his worldly interest. So far as it appears, he was an honest, industrious, and enterprising man, who did not make his money by speculation or fraud, but in an honest way. I don't know any occupation that is more honest than that of a farmer. Up in the morning, whilst others lie in bed. Active, persevering, and diligent, I dare say he looked sharply after his cattle and his men too; but God did not find fault with the man for that, on the contrary, I find in this Bible that God applauds our being "diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," which means that we can serve the Lord as well in business as in devotion. The Apostle Paul speaks plainly of those who want to eat without doing any work. "If there be any man," says Paul, "who will not work, he shall starve; and these things command and exhort, &c." And Jesus always selects His disciples when they are busy. We have a good many instances of Christ calling men to be His disciples; but I challenge any present to point to one who was not busy. One is draining fish; another with his pen over his ear; another making tents. Christ calls men when they are busy; Satan when they are idle. Don't suppose, then, that God called this man a fool because he was busy in his worldly interests; he who does not do so is worse than an infidel.

I. HE CALLED HIM. A FOOL BECAUSE HE TOOK NO ACCOUNT OF GOD. We are told in this story, what the man thought within himself, and what he said within himself. You will notice there is not a single whisper of God in the whole. God was not in all his thoughts. David describes the fool as the man who says in his heart there is no God; but David does not say, "the fool hath said with his lips." There are many who say it in their hearts that have not the courage to do it with their lips, and I challenge the Holyoakes and the Bradlaughs, who deny God's being, to say that their understanding leads them to this conclusion; it is the heart — "the fool hath said in his heart," not in his brain but in that rotten heart that hates what is holy. And because this man lived as if there was no God, God calls him a fool.

II. BECAUSE HE TOOK NO ACCOUNT OF THE PEOPLE. He never thought of anybody but himself — selfish to the backbone. And the text describes him laying up a treasure for himself. That little word "I," occurs six times — what I am to do. He had just one idea in his head, and not a very big one — to make himself as rich and as jolly as he could be. He made a god of himself, and had not a thought of any living outside of himself. Hoarding up from time to time, and all for number one. Lest it be supposed we speak hardly of this man, let us admit that we all have a touch of this. Some men are better at "raking than pitching," better at raking in than pitching out to other people. What a fool is that man who does not make good use of his money when living. He is like a hog, that is good for neither draught like the horse, nor for clothing like the sheep, nor for milk as the cow, nor for watch as the dog, but only, after he is dead, to be cut up and parcelled out amongst his friends; and because he was such, God called him a fool.

III. BECAUSE HE TOOK NO ACCOUNT OF HIS OWN SOUL. In one sense he did, for he says, "Soul, thou hast much goods"; but was not that just what showed what an outrageous fool he was; he thought his his immortal soul could subsist upon what money could bring — he was content with a mere brute existence. There is no greater folly than to suppose you can fill the soul with what satisfies the body. Your barns cannot hold what the soul demands any more than you can fill a wooden box with virtue. It was an old custom among the Romans, when at the bar and pleading as an idiot and not responsible (but many plead this, and have their senses), to place upon the table an apple and a nugget of gold — a beautiful tempting apple and a dull heavy golden nugget; if an utter idiot he was sure to seize the apple, if he had his senses he would touch the gold. Now the farmer, judged by this test, was a fool, for he chose the apple — not the imperishable treasure, but the short-lived pleasures of this world. Perhaps, we have some like this here to-day. You can scarce give a thought to the world that is to come. Every day in the week, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, finds you immersed in business, all for this world, all for the poor dying body; and the more you get, the more impatient you are to get more, for prosperity is like salt water, the more you drink the thirstier you become. Some live only to get rich and pamper this poor dying body, but God says to you this afternoon, "Thou fool."

IV. ONCE MORE, HE WAS A FOOL BECAUSE HE TOOK NO ACCOUNT OF ETERNITY. The idea of death never entered into his mind, only of enjoying what he had laid up. I ask any sensible man if this was not folly. Suppose you are about to go to New York, and you make provision for the distance to Liverpool and no farther; is that not folly? But this man had started on an everlasting journey, and all the preparation he made was for a few steps this side of the grave; he was struck down that night, as thousands have been since, and, doubtless, as some here to-night may be. Jesus never took a brash or painted a picture like this without meaning us to learn a solemn lesson from it. We are all ready to say what a fool that man was to take no account of these things. But, stay, hear what Jesus adds: So many are there "that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." And this is the question with which I close now. Are you laying up treasure for this world, or are you rich towards God? Have you accepted the riches of God's grace in Christ Jesus, as a guilty sinner? Have you thrown yourself into the Saviour's arms, and found pardon and peace for your soul? My message to-night is, that if you have not, you are lost; believe in Him and you are saved.

(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

It is an awful thing to be a fool l When any other calamity befalls a man he is conscious of his misery. But the fool does not know that he is a fool. That one fact makes a lunatic asylum the most saddening place in the whole wide world. To see one in the form of man gathering slicks and stones about him, and believing that he has great possessions; or one in the form of woman bedecking herself with bits of ribbons and faded flowers, as if to attract your admiration, or aimlessly giggling — she knows not at whom; another nursing a doll; another crowned with a mock crown — it is more pitiable than to see them wild or moody, or than it is to visit a hospital. And to be truly wise — wise not in our own opinion, for the fool is that; not in the opinion of others, for "men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself"; but in the judgment of One who can neither deceive nor be deceived, — can there be any greater blessedness attainable by man? How then shall we know whether we are fools or wise? Can there be a truer standard to test ourselves by than Christ's? How shall we know what His judgment of us would be? There is no better way of finding out than by looking at the cases with which He came in contact on earth, and seeing how He judged them. Here is one of those cases. In a parable He draws the picture of a man whom we would have called wise, and whom He calls "fool." How do I know that we would have called him wise? Because of what is not said and because of what is said about him. Nothing is said against him. Had he been an open sinner, Jesus would have told us, for that would have been the ground on which He called him a fool. As nothing is said against him, we are bound to assume that he was a moral, respectable, law-abiding Jew; a man in full communion with the Church of God on earth. And note, on the other hand, how much is positively said in his favour — fairly put down to his credit, to enable us to judge him alight. In the first place, he was rich. .Now, there is a natural presumption in a man's favour when he is rich. If he has made the money himself, it is implied that at least he has been industrious, economical, prudent, capable of sacrificing the present to the future. All these are good qualities. They may not be the highest, but surely, as far as they go, they are good. If he has inherited the money, he has proved that he is able to take care of it, and that implies the possession of qualities good in their way also. Then the rich man in our parable had evidently gotten his riches in a legitimate way — not by cheating others, not even by speculation, or in any way at the expense of others; but from the soil, directly from the bounty of God. No way more honourable than this, all will admit. Again, we see in the man no boasting of his industry or skill; no foolish talking to others about his wealth; no indications of any rash action to be taken. We are simply told that when his great abundance came, through his ground bringing forth plentifully, "he thought within himself." Admirable! That is just what we would advise our friends to do in like circumstances. Fourthly, this man was not one of those penurious, close-flared creatures, who are too mean to spend anything, even on the permanent improvement of their property. Many a farmer would have been content with the old barns, adding an unsightly addition perhaps, or building one new barn that would hold all his overplus. But this was a spirited, enterprising business man. He saw that the time had come for acting with energy, and he at once decided on doing so. He would pull down these old barns and build others that would hold all that the land was ever likely to yield. Lastly, he was not one of those restless, avaricious mortals who give themselves up to the sole task of increasing their store; who define "enough" as "a little more than what we have." Had he been one of those human beavers, he would have said, "I am on the high road to be a millionaire; I can buy out my neighbour on the right of me, and next year I shall buy out my neighbour on the left; and who knows but that I may die the owner of the whole county!" Such a thought never entered into this man's mind. He was satisfied with his portion, and he aimed now at dignified repose and enjoyment. "I will say to myself, 'Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, be merry.'" Is it possible to avoid thinking well of such a man? How fairly Christ draws His picture! not prejudicing us against him, taking him at His own estimate, describing him in his own language. When such a man is in our community, how anxious we are to get him into our society and our congregation. He is one of your typical, solid, model men. And yet — the one only name that the living God gives to him is "Thou fool! "Why? The narrative supplies reasons enough for one who looks beneath the surface of things. He was a fool because he forgot — as most of us forget — and, in forgetting, he practically denied, the four great facts of life — God, his neighbour, his soul, and death. He forgot God. His language is "my goods," "my barns," "all my fruits and my goods." Very like the language we use, but that only shows that he is not alone in his practical atheism. There is no recognition of the Giver; no gratitude; no longing after Him who never wearies in His loving-kindness towards us. His very gifts hide Him from us. Instead of making us grateful they foster pride. They make us say or feel, "How wise, how strong, how industrious, how deserving we are!" And we — fools and blind — see Him not, who should be the object of all our love. He forgot his neighbour. This folly — common enough though it is — was more surprising than the former. A man who is accustomed to go entirely by his senses may think himself excusable for not seeing Him who is invisible. But how can he help seeing his neighbour? And, seeing him and his needs, what occasion was there to go to the expense of building new barns? Were there not barns enough ready made to his hand? What an honour God put upon him when He gave him the opportunity of taking His own place to those bereaved ones! God had built barns for him. He did not see them, poor man! The chance was given him of being as a god to the poor. He lost it, and he never got another chance. Was he not a fool? And yet what a countless number of followers he has! How many of us use our money, our intellectual power, our time, our education, our opportunities, as under law to God for our brothers, for the country, for the Church, for future generations, for the purifying, sweetening, ennobling of the life of the community? He forgot his soul. This is folly still more inexcusable. A man may say, "I cannot prove that there is a God." He may also say, "As for my neighbour, am I his keeper? Every man for himself l" But how is it possible to forget his own soul? And yet this forgetting or unbelief springs from the previous forms of unbelief. Deny God, and you will soon deny your neighbour; and then you are not far off from denying yourself. He that knows not God and man knows not himself. I do not wonder that such a man thought that when money was provided all had been provided. Inexcusable as it is, this has always been the common form of infidelity, and the form that brings the most certain nemesis. He forgot death. This was the crowning proof of folly. We have seen that a man may give reasons for forgetting God and his neighbour. And philosophers nowadays rather ridicule the idea of there being a soul or anything but matter in man. But even a philosopher can hardly deny that there is such a thing as death. The reality comes home to all of us. The old and the young are taken; the light of our eyes and the strength of our life. And death forces us to think. No matter how immersed we may be in the affairs of the world, it drags us away to a silent room, and forces us to look beyond the present and the visible. It opens a door, and shows us this little inch of time and sense girdled by the immensities and the eternities —

Now at my back I always hear

Time's winged chariots, hurrying near,

And yonder all before me lie

Deserts of vast eternity."

And yet, inexcusable as the folly is, we are all guilty of it. In forgetting death we forget eternity, and what folly can be compared to that?

(Principal Grant.)

I. THE INTRODUCTORY PREFACE. "But God said unto him."

1. God interrupts him. He speaks to him while he is speaking to himself. Thus it pleases the Lord to deal with men many times in such cases as these are: He graciously interposes Himself in their sinful courses, and in their vain projects, and in their foolish imaginations; He puts them out of their track; He lays a rub in their way; He will not suffer them to go on; He so sweetly guides and overrules them by the hand of His providence, that He prevents their commission of those sins which their hearts lust after, and in a manner takes them off. And happy were it with us if we would observe His dealings in this kind. God's interruptions are promotions. The more He hinders us, the more He puts us forward; and so we should make account. There cannot be a greater mercy than to be stopped and interrupted in sin, as there cannot be a greater judgment than not to observe this interruption.

2. God opposes or contradicts him in this his speech.(1) The rich man spake to himself by way of applause; God spake to him by way of reproach.(2) The rich man so spake to himself as that he did promise himself ease, and pleasure, and contentment; God so spake to him as that He threatened him with dissolution.(3) The rich man promised himself ease, and pleasure, and contentment for many years; God threatened him with dissolution that very night.(4) The rich man did appropriate all this provided peace, and comfort, and contentment to his own soul; God questioned who should have the things which he had provided. We see the opposition before us.

II. THE DISGRACEFUL APPELLATION. "Thou fool." With men honesty is folly, and conscience is folly, and plain dealing is folly, and preaching is folly. These are foolishness with men; but they are not so with the Lord. God calls fool, as one that can judge of folly; God calls fool, as one that will punish folly.

1. Fools peremptorily conclude upon that which is uncertain.

2. Fools absolutely neglect that which is necessary.

3. Fools altogether prefer and provide for that which is superfluous.

III. THE THREATENING TIDINGS. "This night thy soul shall be required of thee."

1. The punishment. Not the loss of his goods, but the loss of his soul.

2. God does not tell him who should do it; but, by a Hebraism, leaves it indefinite — "they." It is no matter to thee who. It may be these very goods of thine, it may be thy barns, it may be thy servants, it may be thy friends.

3. The manner of the execution. Thou shalt not give up thy soul unto them; they shall snatch it from thee, and take it away by force.

4. The time — "this night." It is not, as Jeremiah to Hananiah, Thou shalt die this year; nor is it, as Hosea of the revolting Israelites, A month shall devour them; nor is it as the Lord to Adam, Thou shalt die this day. But different from all these, it is this night. This night, in opposition to this day; not at noon, but, for greater horror, at night. This night, in opposition to another night; not to-morrow night, not the next night, nor the night after, but this very night, which follows thine applauding of thyself.

IV. THE EXPOSTULATORY INFERENCE. "Then, whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"

1. They shall not be thine. A man's wealth lasts no longer than his life, neither has he longer comfort from it.(1) Seeing men have their wealth for no longer time than their lives, it concerns them then to enjoy it, and use it to the best advantage. There is a vanity and a curse which God has laid upon many men, that they shall be rich, and nothing the better for it. They are not the better for it here, because they do not use it; and they cannot be better for it hereafter, because the nature of the things will not permit it. They vex themselves to get their wealth, they vex themselves to keep it, and yet have no comfort by it. Who would provide such things, as for which he should never be the better?(2) And again, let us then learn to provide for a better estate, to lay hold on eternal life, and to lay up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come.

2. Thou shalt not know whose they shall be. The wealthiest man that is cannot be sure who shall be his heir. No man when he goes out of the world can tell whose his goods shall be; this is another affliction. For a man might be ready to say, "Though I shall not have the benefit myself, yet I shall leave them to those that shall, my children and my posterities after me"; nay, but, says God, "Thou knowest not whose they shall be"; neither whose, if ye take it numerically, for the particular individual persons; nor whose, if ye take it qualitatively, for the nature and condition of the persons; neither of these persons dost thou know.

(Thomas Horton, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS THE SOUL? It is the real life, because —

1. It is the seat of all life's motives. The soul uses intellect and will as hands and feet. It really does all that we consciously do.

2. It is the seat of all feelings.

3. It is the seat of all responsibility.

4. It is the only enduring part — immortal.

II. THE SOUL REQUIRED.

1. Its motives exposed. No more concealment from others, from ourselves.

2. Its feeling unchecked. Like an exposed nerve.

3. Its accounts audited. Engrossed in eternal records.

4. Its immortal character and destiny fixed.

III. The man A FOOL, because he did not realize that —

1. His soul was his real life.

2. His soul might at any moment be required of him.

(Anon.)

Not a gracious summons, but by force of an arrest. Painfully rendered up, to God's inexorable demands. Terrible angels, like pitiless exactors of tribute, shall seize thee. Not as a vessel, when the signal is given, joyfully lifts anchor and departs; but torn by winds and dragged from its moorings. Death to the righteous comes as the dawning of the morning (Amos 5:8), sinking to sleep (Acts 7:60; 1 Thessalonians 4:14); but to the wicked it is the approach of a tempestuous night (Job 27:20).

(Van Doren.)

Ah, me! if some of those wealthy men who have gone in recent years from this busy, bustling city into the world beyond, could come back for a moment, and see what fightings there have been over their fortunes; how the details of their own idiosyncrasies have been dragged out into the light, to prove, if possible, that they had not sense enough to make their wills; how the most painful secrets of their lives have been proclaimed upon the housetop; how the skeleton in their closet has been handled and laughed over by the profane and unfeeling crowd; and how their sons and daughters and relations, out to the farthest limit of consanguinity, have wrangled over their portions — I think they would say within themselves, "What consummate fools we were to spend our days on earth in laying up treasures to be squandered thus in the courts, and to be quarrelled over by a hungry crowd, as wolves howl over carrion! " And if they had to live again, they would try, I think, to be their own executors, and to use their possessions in a way that would bless the world and glorify their God. There has been, as I cannot help thinking, a grim irony in God's providence in cases like these; and, as I read the reports of the surrogate's court from time to time, I am reminded of the words, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the-Lord shall have them in derision." At all events, they prove conclusively the short-sightedness and folly of those whose sole delight in life was the adding of dollar to dollar. But a deeper thought is here suggested: "Whose shall those things be?" Whose were they all along? They were God's, and should have been used for God. You remember, in that most glorious scene in David's glorious reign, when he brought out what he had gathered for the building of the temple, and consecrated it all to God, and his people willingly followed his example, he used these remarkable words, "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee; for we are strangers," etc. Mark the force of that "for" in this connection. Men come and go, but God is the immortal Owner of all things; and in giving to Him of our possessions, we but give Him of His own.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

— A minister, who was visiting from house to house, met on his walk three young men with axes on their shoulders. He stopped and conversed with them. Two appeared somewhat serious; the third, a gay, frank young man, replied, "You see, sir, that splendid white house on that farm yonder?" "Yes." "Well, sir, that estate has been left to me by my uncle, and we are now going to do chopping in the woodland that belongs to it. There are some heavy debts on the estate which I must settle before the farm can be fully mine, and as soon as I have cleared it of these I mean to become a Christian." "Ah, young man," said the pastor. "beware I you may never see that day; while you are gaining the world you may lose your soul!" "I'll run the risk," said he, and they parted. The three young men went into the woods, and this daring procrastinator and another commenced felling a tree. A dry, heavy limb hung loosely in the top, and, as the tree was jarred by the successive strokes of the axe, it quitted its hold, and fell crashing through the branches on the head of the young heir, and stretched him on the ground a lifeless corpse!

Mr. Wilcox, in a sermon, mentions the following incident. A young man, in the vigour of health, with the fairest prospect of a long and prosperous life, was thrown from a vehicle, and conveyed to the nearest house in a state that excited instant and universal alarm for his safety. A physician was called. The first question of the wounded youth was, "Sir, must I die? must I die? deceive me not in this thing!" His firm tone and penetrating look demanded an honest reply. He was told he could not live more than an hour. He waked up, as it were, at once to a full sense of the dreadful reality. "Must I, then, go into eternity in an hour? Must I appear before my God and Judge in an hour? God knows that I have made no preparations for this event. I knew that impenitent youth were sometimes cut off thus suddenly, but it never entered my mind that I was to be one of the number. And now, what shall I do to be saved?" He was told that he must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. "But how shall I repent and believe? there is no time to explain the matter. Death will not wait for explanation. The work must be done. The whole business of an immortal being in this probationary life is now crowded into one short hour, and that is an hour of mental agony and distraction." Friends were weeping around, and running to and fro in the frenzy of grief. The poor sufferer, with a bosom heaving with emotion, and an eye gleaming with desperation, continued his cry of "What shall I do to be saved?" till, in less than an hour, his voice was hushed in the stillness of death.

— A woman was in the habit of attending the place of worship in which I preached, who occupied a seat on the stairs, and who was very tenacious of her sitting, not allowing any other person to occupy it. She was observed by her friends, who sought occasion to converse with her on the important subject of religion, but she was very shy and evasive. All they could extract from her was this appalling reply: "Oh, I shall only want five minutes' time when I am dying to cry for mercy; and I have no doubt God Almighty will give it me." It was in vain to remonstrate with the woman; this was always her reply. Time passed on. One day I was walking down the street, when a young woman ran up to me in a state of great agitation and excitement, exclaiming, "Oh, Mr. East, I have found you; do come to my mother, sir; come this minute, sir; she is dying, she is dying!" I hastened with her to the house, and was astonished to find in the dying sufferer the poor unhappy woman who had attended my place of worship. She was evidently expiring, but, turning her dying eyes towards me, she cried out, "Oh, Mr. East, I am lost, I am lost!" and expired.

I was travelling in the South lately, and a circumstance came to my knowledge, affectingly illustrative of the great uncertainty of the things of time. A gentleman, with great labour and perseverance, had secured for himself and his family a princely fortune, and built a fine house in the country. It was several years in preparing for his reception; and, after having got it finished, he purposed taking his family, and there enjoying himself, saying, as the man before us, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!" The mansion was prepared; and, no doubt, full of anticipation, with his family he went into it; but scarcely had they occupied it, when his wife was cut off by a stroke, two of his daughters were summoned into eternity, and, when I was there, three of them were confined to their chambers, in a state of entire helplessness, and utterly incapable of enjoying those good things which God in His providence had bestowed upon them! The old gentleman himself, however, had secured the pearl of great price; his heart, having discovered the vanity of the earth, had been raised to the things that are above, where Christ sitteth on God's right hand. It seemed to me a most striking illustration of the complete vanity and uncertainty of this world, and the consummate folly of any man giving up his interest in religion for the sake of anything which the world can yield.

(John M'Lean.)

"Oh, if I were lucky enough to call this estate mine, I should be a happy fellow," said a young man. "And then?" said a friend. "Why, then I'd pull down the old house, and build a palace, have lots of prime fellows round me, keep the best wines, and the finest horses and dogs in the country." "And then?" "Then I'd hunt, and ride, and smoke, and drink, and dance, and keep open house, and enjoy life gloriously." "And then?" "Why, then, I suppose, like other people, I should grow old, and not care so much for these things." "And then?" "Why, then, I suppose, in the course of nature I should leave all these pleasant things — and — well, yes — die!" "And then?" "Oh, bother your 'thens'! I must be off." Many years after, the friend was accosted with, "God bless you! I owe my happiness to you!" "How?" "By two words spoken in season long ago — 'And then?'"

Of all that have tried the selfish experiment, let one come forth and say he has succeeded. He that has made gold his idol — has it satisfied him? He that has toiled in the fields of ambition — has he been repaid? He that has ransacked every theatre of sensual enjoyment — is he content? Can any answer in the affirmative? Not one. And when his conscience shall ask him, and ask it will, "Where are the hungry, whom you gave meat? The thirsty, whom you gave drink? The stranger, whom you sheltered? The naked, whom you clothed? The prisoned, whom you visited? The sick, whom you ministered unto?" How will he feel when he must answer, "I have done none of these things — I thought only for myself"?

(Dr. Johnson.)

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