Luke 19:11
While the people were listening to this, Jesus proceeded to tell them a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought the kingdom of God would appear imminently.
Accountability and RewardJ. Thomson, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
Christ's Spiritual KingdomF. G. Lisco.Luke 19:11-27
Christ's Spiritual Kingdom and its Rejection by MenT. Manton, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
Destroyed Through DisuseLuke 19:11-27
Faithful in LittleLuke 19:11-27
Faithfulness in Little ThingsJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 19:11-27
Laziness in the ChurchH. W. Beecher.Luke 19:11-27
LessonsD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 19:11-27
OccupationE. F. Scott.Luke 19:11-27
Out of Thy Own Mouth Will I Judge TheeW. Nevins, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
Parable of the PoundsJ. R. Thomson, M. A.Luke 19:11-27
Parable of the PoundsP. B. Davis.Luke 19:11-27
Parable of the PoundsT. T. Lynch.Luke 19:11-27
Parable of the PoundsL. O. Thompson.Luke 19:11-27
Soul-Growth Depends on FidelityJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 19:11-27
Spiritual InvestmentsC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
The Joy of Faithful WorkH. W. Beecher.Luke 19:11-27
The Law of Capital in Christ's KingdomR.M. Edgar Luke 19:11-27
The Law of IncreaseC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 19:11-27
The Law of UseR. D. Hitchcock, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
The Lord's ReturnLuke 19:11-27
The Napkin of Secret DoubtThomas T. Lynch.Luke 19:11-27
The Natural Heart Unveiled in the Great AccountC. J. Brown, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
The PoundsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 19:11-27
The Servants and the PoundsC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 19:11-27
The Traffic of the KingdomD. D. Moore.Luke 19:11-27
Three Ways of Treating God's GiftsSunday School TimesLuke 19:11-27
Trading for ChristS. Martin, D. D.Luke 19:11-27

Zacchaeus's conversion and all the stir on leaving Jericho led many in the crowd to imagine that Christ was immediately to assume a visible kingdom. To remove misapprehension, therefore, he proceeds to tell them a parable which would at once rouse them to the necessity of working instead of indulging in lackadaisical waiting. Comparing himself to a nobleman who is going into a far country to receive a kingdom and to return, he compares his disciples to servants left to make the best of what is entrusted to them. The worldly minded as distinct from the servants are called his citizens, whose spirit is manifested in the message transmitted to him, "We will not have this man to reign over us." Then the return of the crowned king is to be celebrated by the distribution of rewards and punishments as the case may be. Out of this significant parable we may learn the following lessons.

I. IT IS IN HEAVEN, AND NOT ON EARTH, OUR LORD IS TO RECEIVE HIS KINGDOM. This is the great mistake many have made about Christ's kingdom and reign. They localize head-quarters on earth instead of in heaven. It is not by a democratic vote, by a plebiscite, our Lord is to receive his kingdom, but by donation from the Father. When he went away by death, resurrection, and ascension, therefore, it was to receive a kingdom that he might return crowned. Hence we are to regard him as now reigning over his mediatorial kingdom. He is on the throne. His government is administered from the heavenly places.

II. IT IS PERILOUS TO REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE HIS PRESENT REIGN. The citizens that hate the absent King will be slain before him when he returns for judgment. Hostility, enmity, to Christ, if continued, must lead to utter discomfiture at last. Rebellion of spirit is, therefore, to be diligently uprooted if we would have any share in Christ's kingdom. It is at our peril if we refuse his loving and righteous reign.

III. CHRIST'S SERVANTS LIVE UNDER A LAW OF CAPITAL IN HIS KINGDOM. In this parable we have "pounds," and not "talents," referred to. The question is, therefore, of some equal endowment which all receive in common, not of unequal endowment distributed in sovereign wisdom. In the parable of the talents, given in another Gospel, we have equal diligence exhibited in the use of unequal endowments; and the reward is righteously equalized in the completed kingdom. Here, on the other hand, we have an unequal use of equal endowments, with the unequal reward attached in proportion to the diligence. We discern in the arrangement, therefore, that law of increase which has been denominated the law of capital. But first we have to settle the signification of the pounds. We shall not be far astray if, with Godet, we regard them as indicating those donations of Divine grace which are offered to the Lord's servants, we may suppose, in equal measure. These endowments are put to use in some cases, utterly neglected in others. It will be found at last that the law of capital has obtained in the Lord's arrangements. One man, by judicious use of what the Lord has given, finds his grace growing tenfold, so that by the time the Lord returns he is ready to undertake the government of ten cities. Another man, by diligence, but not so persevering as the former, finds his graces growing fivefold, so that in the final arrangement he is equal to the oversight of five cities. A third is represented as making no use whatever of his endowment, under the impression that the Lord is a grasping speculator, who wants to make the most he can out of men. He ventures to return his trust just as it was. He finds, however, that his selfish idleness is visited with utter ruin. He has the misused endowment recalled and made over to the better trader. "To him that hath shall be given." Accumulated capital tends to increase in proper hands, and it is right it should do so. It follows, then, from this law of capital as thus applied:

1. That we should use diligently every means to increase our Christian graces. Sanctification should be our life-work, and all action, meditation, prayer, should be utilized for the one great object of becoming the best servants of our Master our circumstances admit of.

2. We shall find ourselves thereby becoming rulers of men. It is wonderful the influence exercised by consecrated lives. It is easy understanding how we may become kings and priests unto God the Father. As consecrated by his grace, we begin immediately to influence others for good and to reign.

3. The influence on earth will have its counterpart in the reign enjoyed by us in heaven. For heaven will be the home of order. It will be no happy, musical mob. It will be a great society, with recognized kings of men, under the gracious authority, of course, of him who is "King of kings, and Lord of lords," Influence, character, all that is gracious, is destined to be continued and to abide. Those who have done men most good, and made the most of their opportunities here, shall be rewarded with corresponding influence in the well-ordered commonwealth above.

4. Wrong views of Christ's character may also be perpetuated, with their corresponding judgments. The pitiful servant who thought his Master austere, hard, grasping, was only attributing his own hard character to his superior. He failed to understand him. So is it with some souls. They insist on misunderstanding God, and the result is that their misunderstanding continues and is its own punishment. How important, therefore, that we should have correct views of God our Saviour! It will save us from misuse of his gifts and graces, and from the doom awaiting all faithless souls. - R.M.E.

A certain nobleman went into a far country.


1. The obligation to loyalty involved in Christ's king. ship and our citizenship.

2. The obligation to fidelity involved in Christ's lordship, and our service and trust.


(J. R. Thomson, M. A.)

I. IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM THE CHARACTERISTIC FEATURE IS SERVICE. Instead of fostering a spirit of self-seeking, Christ represents Himself as placing in the hands of each of His subjects a small sum, — a "pound" only, a Greek mina. What a rebuke to ambitious schemes! There is nothing suggestive of display, nothing to awaken pride. All that is asked or expected is fidelity to a small trust, a conscientious use of a little sum committed to each for keeping. This is made the condition and test of membership in Messiah's kingdom.

II. IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM SERVICE, HOWEVER SLIGHT, IS SURE OF REWARD. The faithful use of one pound brought large return. Christ asks that there be employed for Him only what has been received from Him. prayed, "Give what Thou requirest, and require what Thou wilt." "Natural gifts," says Trench, "are as the vessel which may be large or small, and which receives according to its capacity, but which in each case is filled: so that we are not to think of him who received the two talents as incompletely furnished in comparison with him who received the five, any more than we should affirm a small circle incomplete as compared with a large. Unfitted he might be for so wide a sphere of labour, but altogether as perfectly equipped for that to which he was destined." The parable sets before us the contrasted results of using, or failing to use for Christ, a small bestowment. When this is faithfully employed, the reward, though delayed, is sure.

III. IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM, FAILURE TO SERVE, RESULTS IN LOSS OF FACULTIES TO SERVE. One servant neglected to use his pound, and, on the king's return, the unused gift was taken from him. This denotes no arbitrary enactment. The heart that refuses to love and serve Christ loses by degrees the capacity for such love and service. This is the soul's death, the dying and decaying of its noblest faculties, its heaven-born instincts and aspirations.

IV. IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM, SERVICE, OR NEGLECT OF SERVICE, GROWS OUT OF LOVE, OR THE WANT OF LOVE, TO CHRIST. The citizens "hated the king, and would not have him to rule over them." The idle servant "knew that he was an austere man." In neither case was there love, and hence in neither case service. Love to Christ is indispensable to serving Him.

(P. B. Davis.)

I. EVERY CHRISTIAN IS ENDOWED BY HIS REDEEMER. All that a man hath, that is worth possessing, all that he lawfully holds, partakes of the nature of a Divine endowment; even every natural faculty, and every lawful acquisition and attainment.

II. OF THE THINGS CHRIST HAS GIVEN US, WE ARE STEWARDS. Now stewardship involves what? It involves responsibility to another. We are not proprietors.

III. IN OUR USE OF WHAT CHRIST HAS COMMITTED TO US, HE EXPECTS US TO KEEP HIMSELF AND HIS OBJECTS EVER IN VIEW. What we do, is to be done for His sake. If we give a cup of cold water to a disciple, it is to be in the name of a disciple, it is to be given for Jesus' sake. Whatever we do is to be done as to Him. If we regard a day as sacred, we must regard it unto the Lord. If we refuse to regard a particular day as sacred, that refusal is to be as unto the Lord. If we eat, we are to eat to the Lord. If we refuse to eat, that refusal, again, is to be as unto the Lord. Brethren, we have not yet entered sufficiently into the idea of servitude, and yet the position of servitude is our position. Towards Christ we are not only pupils — we are not only learners — we are as servants. We have a distinct and positive vocation.



(S. Martin, D. D.)

Notice the following points:

1. The "pound" had been kept in a napkin — to show sometimes, as people keep a Bible in their house to let us see how religious they are. But the very brightness of the Book proves how little it is read. It is kept for the respectability of it, not used for the love of it. The anxious faithless keeper of the pound had perhaps sometimes talked of his fellow-servants "risking their pounds in that way"; adding "I take care of mine." But spending is better than hoarding; and the risks of a trade sure to be on the whole gainful are better than the formal guardianship of that which, kept to the last, is then lost, and which, while kept, is of no use.

2. The pound is taken away from the unfaithful servant, and given to the ablest of the group. Let the man who is ablest have what has been wasted. Let all, in their proportion, receive to their care the advantages which have been neglected, and employ these for themselves and for us.

3. Notice next, how it fares with the different servants when the king and the master return. Those who had been faithful are all commended and rewarded. The king shares his kingdom with those who had been faithful to him in his poverty. They have gained pounds, and they receive cities. The master receives those into happiest intimacy with himself, who, in his absence, have been faithfully industrious for him. These good men enter into his joy. He delayed his coming; but they continued their labours. They said not, "He will never come to reckon with us; let us make his goods our own; we have been busy, let us now be merry." "Outer darkness!" How expressively do the words represent both the state of man before his soul's good is gained, and his state when that good has been lost! Who that has gained shelter, and is one of the many whose hope, whose interests are one, who have light and warmth and sometimes festive music, would be cast forth again into the cold, dark, lonely night?

4. There are for each man two ways of gain — the direct and the indirect, increase and interest. How comes increase? It comes by the plenty of nature, which enables us to add one thing to another, as gold to iron and wood; by the productiveness of nature, which out of one seed yields many; by the application of skill to nature, through which we extract, connect, and adapt nature's gifts, and, first fashioning took, then fashion many things. But all were to little purpose without combination. And whatever of ours another uses, paying us for the use, yields us interest. We depend for the increase of our possessions on our connection with others, our combination with them. And we can always employ our "talent" indirectly, if we cannot directly; usually, we can do both. We can both sow a field and lend money to a farmer. We can attend to work of our own, and sustain the work of others. We can teach, and help, and comfort; and we can subscribe in aid of those who do such work of this kind as we cannot ourselves perform.

(T. T. Lynch.)

I. THERE ARE HERE TWO SETS OF PERSONS. We see the enemies who would not have this man to reign over them, and the servants who had to trade with his money. You are all either enemies or servants of Jesus.

II. We now advance a step further, and notice THE ENGAGEMENTS OF THESE SERVANTS. Their lord was going away, and he left his ten servants in charge with a little capital, with which they were to trade for him till he returned.

1. Notice, first, that this was honourable work. They were not entrusted with large funds, but the amount was enough to serve as a test. It put them upon their honour.

2. It was work for which he gave them capital. He gave to each of them a pound. "Not much," you will say. No, he did not intend it to be much. They were not capable of managing very much. If he found them faithful in "a very little" he could then raise them to a higher responsibility. He did not expect them to make more than the pound would fairly bring in; for after all, he was not "an austere man." Thus he gave them a sufficient capital for his purpose.

3. What they had to do with the pound was prescribed in general terms. They were to trade with it, not to play with it.(1) The work which he prescribed was one that would bring them out. The man that is to succeed in trade in these times must have confidence, look alive, keep his eyes open, and be all there.(2) Trading, if it be successfully carried on, is an engrossing concern, calling out the whole man. It is a continuous toil, a varied trial, a remarkable test, a valuable discipline, and this is why the nobleman put his bondsmen to it, that he might afterwards use them in still higher service.(3) At the same time, let us notice that it was work suitable to their capacity. Small as the capital was, it was enough for them; for they were no more than bondsmen, not of a high grade of rank or education.

III. Thirdly, to understand this parable, we must remember THE EXPECTANCY WHICH WAS ALWAYS TO INFLUENCE THEM. They were left as trusted servants till he should return, but that return was a main item in the matter.

1. They were to believe that he would return, and that he would return a king.

2. They were to regard their absent master as already king, and they were so to trade among his enemies that they should never compromise their own loyalty.

3. I find that the original would suggest to any one carefully reading it, that they were to regard their master as already returning. This should be our view of our Lord's Advent? He is even now on His way hither.

IV. Now comes the sweet part of the subject. Note well THE SECRET DESIGN OF THE LORD. Did it ever strike you that this nobleman had a very kindly design towards his servants? Did this nobleman give these men one pound each with the sole design that they should make money for him? It would be absurd to think so. A few pounds would be no item to one who was made a king. No, not it was, as Mr. Bruce says, "he was net money making, but character making." His design was not to gain by them, but to educate them.

1. First, their being entrusted with a pound each was a test. The test was only a pound, and they could not make much mischief out of that; but it would be quite sufficient to try their capacity and fidelity, for he that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much. They did not all endure the test, but by its means he revealed their characters.

2. It was also a preparation of them for future service. He would lift them up from being servants to become rulers.

3. Besides this, I think he was giving them a little anticipation of their future honours. He was about to make them rulers over cities, and so he first made them rulers over pounds.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. We may. learn that Christians have received special advantages, and that every one is accountable to God for the use or abuse of them.

2. From this parable we may learn that no man is so obscure or contemptible as to escape the penetrating eye of the Judge of the world; either because he has done nothing but evil, or done no good. No man is so mean, or poor, or wicked, as to be over-looked or forgotten. No man is so insignificant nor so feeble as not to have duties to perform. -3. From this parable also we infer that all who shall improve will be rewarded; and that the reward will be in proportion to the improvement.

4. The advantages which God bestows, when improved, shall be increased, so as to form additional means of progress; while he who misimproves his present means and opportunities shall be deprived of them.

5. Those who reject Jesus Christ shall be punished in the most exemplary manner (verse 27).

(J. Thomson, D. D.)

1. That our Lord's absence, here attributed to His having gone to receive a kingdom, does not conflict with other representations of the reason of such absence, viz., to send forth the Holy Spirit, and "to make intercession for us."

2. That the period of our Lord's absence is definite in its duration, "until the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21), and also under the absolute authority of the Father (Acts 1:7).

3. That our duty is not to be prying into the mysteries of our Lord's coming, or spending precious time in making useless calculations in respect to the time when He will come, but to "occupy" till He come.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)


1. The Son of God from heaven is King.

2. He has received the kingdom in heaven. He will give lull manifestation of it from heaven; and return.

II. THE PRESENT STATE OF THE KINGDOM. Although a heavenly kingdom, it yet stretches over the whole human race upon earth; for on earth He has —

1. Servants, as stewards of entrusted gifts.

2. Enemies, who grudge His heavenly glory.

III. THE FUTURE MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM SHOWS IT TO BE A HEAVENLY ONE, from the manner in which rewards and punishments are to be distributed; which is —

1. Righteous and beneficent in the gracious apportionment of reward to those of approved fidelity.

2. Just and righteous in the punishment —

(1)of the faithless;

(2)of avowed enemies.

(F. G. Lisco.)


1. It corrects false notions about the immediate appearance of God's kingdom as temporal and visible.

2. It teaches that Christ would take His departure from earth, and delay His return.

3. It enforces the need of present fidelity to our trust.

4. It illustrates the folly of expecting good from the future if the present be neglected.

5. It contains the promise of our Lord's return.


1. Either at our death.

2. Or, at the last day to institute judgment.

3. The time for either, for both, is unknown to us.


1. This parable contains no reference to the heathen.

2. Those who improved their pounds were approved and rewarded according to the measure of their fidelity.

3. He that knew his master's will and neglected his trust was reproved and deprived of his pound.

4. The Lord's enemies, who would not have Him to reign over them, were punished with the severity their hate and wicked opposition merited.


1. Our Lord's return has already been delayed 18 — years.

2. We are not to infer from this that He never will return.

3. He that is faithful only in the visible presence of his master, is not entirely trustworthy.

4. Each one of the ten servants received ten pounds. The outward circumstances of none are so meagre that in them each one may not equally serve his Lord.

5. If the parable of the talents refers to inward gifts, which are equally distributed, then the parable of the pounds refer to our opportunities for doing good, which to all are alike.

6. Improved opportunities increase our capacity to do and get good. They are like money at interest. After Girard had saved his first thousand, it was the same, he said, as if he had a man to work for him all the time.

7. Neglected opportunities never return. You cannot put your hand into yesterday to do what was then neglected, or sow the seeds of future harvests.

8. Even if we knew that the Lord would return to-morrow, to-day's work should not be neglected. "Trade ye herewith, till I come."

(L. O. Thompson.)

1. The departure of the nobleman to the far country, and his sojourn there until he should receive his kingdom, intimate that the second coming of the Lord was not to be immediate.

2. The true preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of the Lord, is that of character. The "pound" given to each, is the common blessing of the gospel and its opportunities.

I. THE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT WHO MADE HIS ONE POUND INTO TEN. Symbolizing the conduct and blessedness of those who make the most of their enjoyment of the gospel blessings. They do not despise the day of small things. They do not trifle away their time in idleness, or waste it in sin; but finding salvation in the gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ, they set themselves to turn every occupation in which they are engaged, and every providential dispensation through which they may be brought, to the highest account, for the development in them of the Christian character.

II. ANOTHER WAY OF DEALING WITH THE COMMON BLESSING OF THE GOSPEL IS ILLUSTRATED IN THE CASE OF HIM WHO HAD INCREASED HIS POUND TO FIVE. He had been a real servant; but his diligence had been less ardent, his devotion less thorough, his activity less constant, and so the Lord simply said to him, "Be thou also over five cities." The representative of the easy-going disciple. There are some who will be saved, yet so as by fire, and others who shall have salvation in fulness; some who shall have little personal holiness on which to graft the life of the future, and who shall thus be in a lower place in heaven for evermore, enjoying its blessedness as thoroughly as they are competent to do, yet having there a position analogous it may be, though of course not at all identical, with that occupied by the Gideonites of old in the promised land.

III. THE SERVANT WHO HID HIS POUND IN THE EARTH, AFTER HE HAD CAREFULLY SOUGHT TO KEEP IT FROM BEING INJURED, BY WRAPPING IT IN A NAPKIN. He lost everything by an unbelieving anxiety to lose nothing. He was so afraid of doing anything amiss, that he did nothing at all. The representative of the great multitude of hearers of the gospel, who simply do nothing whatever about it. They do not oppose it; they do not laugh at it; they do not argue against it; their worst enemies would not call them immoral; but they "neglect the great salvation," and think that because, as they phrase it, they have done no harm, therefore they are in no danger. But Christ requires positive improvement of the privileges which He bestows.


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

Occupy till I come
Our Lord leads us into the great mart, and cries, "Occupy till I come."

I. The Lord gives every man a fair start in this business, and old obligations are paid.

II. The Lord backs all the just and legal promissory notes of His merchantmen. "I am with you."

III. The Christian trader has influential partnership. "Co-workers with God."

IV. Success in this business requires extensive advertisement.

1. By expression of word.

2. By expression of deportment.

V. Diplomacy is essential. When to expend, when recruit.

VI. True effort and success will flow from intense earnestness.

VII. In this business nothing succeeds like success. His talents — are we improving them?

(D. D. Moore.)

I. LIFE OUGHT TO BE ONE OF OCCUPATION. World a great workshop.

II. WORK SHOULD BE RECEIVED AS FROM CHRIST. He says, "Occupy." We must make sure that our occupation, or any part of it, is not in opposition to His will.

III. WORK TRULY PERFORMED LEADS TO AND PREPARES FOR HIGHER WORK. "Occupy till I come." When He came it was to give kingdoms instead of pounds. The schoolboy does not need costly books. The young apprentice has his hand and eye trained by working on cheap materials. Every duty faithfully discharged is a step on God's ladder of promotion. Do not wait for some great opportunity. The born artist makes his first pictures with a bit of chalk or burnt stick.

IV. THE WHOLE LIFE SHOULD BE SOLEMNIZED AND GUIDED BY THE THOUGHT OF CHRIST'S COMING. "Occupy till I come." The irrational creatures instinctively and necessarily perform their parts. The earth was kept by them till the householder, man, appeared. But the thought of Christ's coming, the thought of meeting Him to give in our account, is necessary for man's right living here. Some say that men are simply to act their part, without thinking of a future. But a man cannot do this. As the sailor, the traveller, knows whither he is going before he sets out, and makes his preparations and steers his course accordingly, so must we. A ship simply set adrift — a traveller merely wandering on — is most unlikely to reach any happy haven. We must give account. We are moving on to the Judgment-seat of Christ. Duties done or neglected, opportunities improved or wasted, will meet us there.

(E. F. Scott.)

We will not have this man to reign over us
1. THAT CHRIST HATH A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM; for all things concur here which belong to a kingdom; here is a monarch, which is Christ; a law, which is the gospel; subjects, which are penitent believers; rewards and punishments, eternal life and eternal torment.

1. Here is a monarch, the mediator, whose kingdom it is. Originally it belongeth to God as God, but derivatively to Christ as Mediator (Psalm 2:6; Philippians 2:10, 11).

2. There are subjects. Before I tell you who they are, I must premise that there is a double consideration of subjects. Some are subjects by the grant of God, others are subjects not only by the grant of God, but their own consent.

3. The law of commerce between this sovereign and these subjects (for all kingdoms are governed by laws).

4. Rewards and punishments.(1) For punishments. Though the proper intent and business of the gospel is to bless, and not to curse, yet, if men wilfully refuse the benefit of this dispensation, they are involved in the greatest curse that can be thought of (John 3:19).(2) Rewards. The privileges of Christ's kingdom are exceeding great.

(a)For the present, pardon and peace.

(b)Hereafter eternal happiness.


1. Because of the right which Christ hath to govern. He hath an unquestionable title by the grant of God (Acts 2:36). And His own merit of purchase (Romans 14:9).

2. This new right and title is comfortable and beneficial to us.

3. It is by His kingly office that all Christ's benefits are applied to us. As a Priest, He purchased them for us; as a Prophet, He giveth us the knowledge of these mysteries; but as a King, He conveyeth them to us, overcoming our enemies, changing our natures, and inclining us to believe in Him, love Him, and obey Him (Acts 5:31).

4. Our actual personal title to all the benefits intended to us is mainly evidenced by our subjection to His regal authority.

5. We shall be unwillingly subject to His kingdom of power if we be not willingly subject to His kingdom of grace.

6. This government, which we so much stick at, is a blessed government. Christ Himself pleadeth this (Matthew 11:30), "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." It is sweet in itself, and sweet in the issue.


1. The evil constitution of men's souls. This government is contrary to men's carnal and brutish affections. It comes from an affectation of liberty. Men would be at their own dispose, and do whatsoever pleaseth them, without any to call them to an account (Psalm 12:4).

3. It proceeds from the nature of Christ's laws.

(1)They are spiritual.

(2)They require self-denial.Information.

1. It showeth us whence all the contentions arise which are raised about religion in the world. All the corrupt part of the world oppose His kingly office.

2. It informeth us how much they disserve Christianity that will hear of no injunctions of duty, or mention of the law of faith, or of the new covenant as a law. Besides that they take part with the carnal world, who cannot endure Christ's reign and government, they blot out all religion with one dash. If there be no law, there is no government, nor governor, no duty, no sin, no punishment nor reward; for these things necessarily infer one another.

3. It informeth us what a difficult thing it is to seat Christ in His spiritual throne, namely, in the hearts of all faithful Christians.

4. It informeth us of the reason why so many nations shut the door against Christ, or else grow weary of Him.

5. It informeth us how ill they deal with Christ who have only notional opinions about His authority, but never practically submit to it.Exhortation. If we would distinguish ourselves from the carnal world, let us resolve upon a thorough course of Christianity, owning Christ's authority in all things.

1. If we be to begin, and have hitherto stood against Christ, oh I let us repent and reform, and return to our obedience (Matthew 18:3).

2. Remember that faith is a great part of your works from first to last (John 6:27).

3. Your obedience must be delightful, and such as cometh from love (1 John 5:3).

4. Your obedience must be very circumspect and accurate (Hebrews 12:28).

5. It is a considerable part of our work to look for our wages, or expect the endless blessedness to which we are appointed (Titus 2:13).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

When He was returned
Some weeks ago a great procession was in Chicago. On Sunday evening before, the park was filled with tents and people, in preparation for the display on Tuesday. Passing down the avenue, a lad said, as we crossed the railway track: "Did you see that long train of cars, sir? They are going after the knights." "Yes, I saw them," was the reply. "My cousin is one of them, sir; he is a sir-knight. I wish I was one," said the boy. "Why?" said the gentleman. "Oh! they look so pretty, and they'll have a big time, sir." "Yes," said the man, "but it is a great expense — one or two millions, and the interest of the money would support all the poor in the city." "I never thought of that," said the boy; "and we are poor." Having asked his age, residence, and place of work, the gentleman said, "Do you go to church and Sunday-school?" "Yes," said the boy. "Did you ever hear of Jesus? Yes, indeed." "Do you know He will come again — come in glory, with all the angels, with all the prophets, kings, martyrs, holy men, and children, and with all the babies that have ever died?" "W-e-l-l," said the boy, "I don't believe this procession, big as it is, will be a flea-bite to that one, do you, sir?" "No, indeed," said the man; "and remember, also, that when He comes in glory He will give places to every one who has been faithful to Him; even a boy may shine in that great Company." "Well, sir," said the lad, "I will tell you what I think. I had rather be at the tail-end of Jesus' procession than to be at the head of this one. Wouldn't you, sir?" Even so it will be. But His enemies, what of them? Slain before Him. There are His servants, His family, and His enemies; there is glory, reward, and judgment. Which for you and me?

Sunday School Times.
There are three ways in which we may treat God's gifts; we may misuse them, neglect them, or use them to good purpose. A tool-chest is a very handy thing. The boy who has one can do good work with it, if he wishes. But if he uses the chisel to chip the noses of statuettes, or the hammer to drive nails into choice pictures, or the hatchet to cut and hack the young trees in the orchard, that tool-chest becomes anything but a valuable acquisition to the family. A sharp knife is a good thing, but in the hand of a madman it may do untold damage. So education and natural talent are good things when rightly used; but there is no rogue so dangerous as the educated or talented rogue. Neglect, too, destroys. The sharpest tool will by and by rust, if left unused. The bread for our nourishment, if unused, will soon change into a corrupt mass. The untended garden will be quickly overrun with weeds. The sword that is never drawn at last holds fast to the scabbard. And so the learning and the talents that lie idle soon begin to deteriorate. An Eastern story tells of a merchant who gave to each of two friends a sack of grain to keep till he should call for it. Years passed; and at last he claimed his own again. One led him to a field of waving corn, and said, "This is all yours." The other took him to a granary, and pointed out to him as his a rotten sack full of wasted grain. On the other hand, the .proper use of talents brings its own reward. Cast forth the seed, and the harvest is sure. The sculptor's chisel carves out the statue. Beneath the hand of man great palaces grow up. And beyond and above all, there is the consciousness that every good use of a talent, every noble act done, is adding a stone to the stately temple that shall be revealed hereafter.

(Sunday School Times.)

Thou hast been faithful in a very little
There is a principle in this award which regulates God's dealings with us in either world. And it is this — the ground and secret of all increase is "faithfulness." And we may all rejoice that this is the rule of God's moral gifts — for had anything else except "faithfulness" been made the condition, many would have been unable, or at least, would have thought themselves unable, to advance at all. I should have no hesitation in placing first "faithfulness" to convictions. So long as a man has not silenced them by sin, the heart is full of "still small voices," speaking to him everywhere. There is a duty which has long lain neglected, and almost forgotten. Suddenly, there wakes up in your mind a memory of that forgotten duty. It is a very little thing that, by some association, woke the memory. An old sin presents itself to your mind in a new light. A thought comes to you in the early morning, "Get up." Presently, another thought says, "You are leaving your room without any real communion with God." Those are convictions. Everybody has them — they are the movings of the Holy Ghost in a man — they are the scintillations of an inner life which is struggling with the darkness. But, be "faithful" to them; for if you are unfaithful, they will get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, till they go out. But if you are "faithful" to them, there will be an increase — stronger, more frequent, loftier, more spiritual, they will grow — till it is as if your whole being were penetrated with the mind of God; and everything within you and around you will be a message, and the whole world will be vocal to you of Christ. Next to this "faithfulness" to convictions, I should place "faithfulness in little things" to men — and this of two kinds. It is of the utmost importance that you be scrupulously accurate and just in all your most trivial transactions of honour and business with your fellow-creatures. And, secondly, every one of us has, or might have, influence with somebody. The acquisition and the use of that influence are great matters of "faithfulness."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

To employ well the present, is to command the future. And that for two reasons. One, the natural law, which pervades all nature, rational and irrational, that growth is the offspring of exercise. And the other, the sovereign will of a just God to increase the gifts of those who use them. But whence "faithfulness"? How shall we cultivate it? First, think a great deal of God's faithfulness — how very "faithful" He has been to you — how "faithful" in all the little events of your life, and in all the secret passages of your soul. Steep your mind in the thought of the faithfulness of God to you, in all your little things, till you catch its savour. Look at it till the finest traits reflect themselves upon your heart. And, secondly, go, and do to-day some one "faithful" thing. Do it for Christ. Be "faithful" where your conscience tells you you have been faithless.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

A Persian king when hunting wished to eat venison in the field. Some of his attendants thereupon went into a village near, and helped themselves to a quantity of salt for their master. The king, suspecting what they had done, made them go back and pay for it, with the remark, "If I cannot make my people just in small things, I can at least show them that it is possible to be so."

There comes over to our shores a poor stonecutter. The times are so bad at home that he is scarcely able to earn bread enough to eat; and by a whole year's stinting economy he manages to get together just enough to pay for a steerage passage to this country. He comes, homeless and acquaintanceless, and lands in New York, and wanders over to Brooklyn and seeks employment. He is ashamed to beg bread; and yet he is hungry. The yards are all full; but still, as he is an expert stonecutter, a man, out of charity, says, "Well, I will give you a little work — enough to enable you to pay for your board." And he shows him a block of stone to work on. What is it? One of many parts which are to form some ornament. Here is just a querl or fern, and there is a branch of what is probably to be a flower. He goes to work on this stone, and most patiently shapes it. He carves that bit of a fern, putting all his skill and taste into it. And by and by the master says, "Well done," and takes it away, and gives him another block, and tells him to work on that. And so he works on that, from the rising of the sun till the going down of the same, and he only knows that he is earning his bread. And he continues to put all his skill and taste into his work. He has no idea what use will be made of those few stems which he has been carving, until afterwards, when, one day, walking along the street, and looking up at the front of the Art Gallery, he sees the stones upon which he has worked. He did not know what they were for; but the architect did. And as he stands looking at his work on that structure which is the beauty of the whole street the tears drop down from his eyes, and he says, "I am glad I did it well." And every day, as he passes that way, he says to himself exultingly, "I did it well." He did not draw the design nor plan the building, and he knew nothing .of what use was to be made of his work; but he took pains in cutting those stems; and when he saw that they were a part of that magnificent structure his soul rejoiced. Dear brethren, though the work which you are doing seems small, put your heart in it; do the best you can wherever you are; and by and by God will show you where He has put that work. And when you see it stand in that great structure which He is building you will rejoice in every single moment of fidelity with which you wrought. Do not let the seeming littleness of what you are doing now damp your fidelity.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Laid up in a napkin
This part of the parable is meant to teach the necessity of developing our forces, and bringing them into use in Christian life. The duty of the development of power in one's self as a part of his allegiance to Christ is the main thought. So, also, is it wrong for one affecting to be a Christian to confine his development and increase simply to things that surround him and that strengthen him from the exterior. It is not wrong for a man to seek wealth in appropriate methods and in due measure; it is not wrong for a man to build up around himself the household, the gallery, the library; it is not wrong for a man to make himself strong on the earthward side; but to make himself strong only on that side is wrong. Every man is bound to build within. Indeed, the very one of the moral functions which inheres in all religious industries is that, while a man is building himself exteriorly according to the laws of nature and society and of moral insight, he is by that very process building himself inwardly. He is building himself in patience, in foresight, in self-denial, in liberalities; for often generosity and liberality are in the struggle of men in life what oil is in the machine, that make the friction less and the movement easier. So it is wrong for men to build themselves up simply for the sake of deriving more pleasure from reason, from poetic sensibility, and from all aesthetic elements; but it is not wrong for them to render themselves, through education, susceptible to finer and higher pleasures. Not only this, but we learn from a fair interpretation of this parable that men are not to be content with their birthright state. It is not enough that a man has simply the uneducated qualities that are given to him. Life educates us so far as the gift of the hand and the foot is concerned. In so far as secular relations are concerned, the necessities of business and the sweep of public sentiment are tending constantly to educate men to bring out all that there is in them. In the higher spiritual life it is not always the case. Men are content with about the moral sense that they have, if it averages the moral sense of the community; about the amount of faith that comes to them without seeking or education; about the amount of personal and moral influence that exists in social relations. But the law of the gospel is: Develop. No man has a right to die with his faculties in about the state that they were when he came to his manhood. There should be growth, growth. Going on is the condition of life in the Church or in the community just as much as in the orchard or in the garden. When a tree is "bound" and won't grow, we know that it is very near to its end: and a tree that will not grow becomes a harbour of all manner of venomous insects. Men go and look under the bark, and seeing them consorting here and there and everywhere, say: "That is the reason the tree did not grow." No, it was the not growing that brought them there. And so all sorts of errors and mistakes cluster under the bark of men that stand still and do not unfold — do not develop. This being the doctrine, I remark, in the first place, that one may be free from all vices and from great sins, and yet break God's whole law. That law is love. Many say to themselves, "What wrong do I do?" The question is, What right do you do? An empty grape-vine might say, "Why, what harm do I do?" Yes, but what clusters do you produce? Vitality should be fruitful. Men are content if they can eat, and drink, and be clothed, and keep warm, and go on thus from year to year; because they say, "I cheat no one; I do not lie or steal, nor am I drunk. I pay my debts, and what lack I yet?" A man that can only do that is very poorly furnished within. And in no land in the world are men so culpable who stand still as in this land of Christian light and privileges. You are not saved because you do not do harm. In our age — in no land so much as in ours — not doing is criminal. The means of education, the sources of knowledge, the duties of citizenship, in this land, are such that to be born here is — I had almost said to take the oath — to fulfil these things. You cannot find in the New Testament anything that covers in detail each one of these particulars; and yet the spirit of the New Testament is — Grow, develop according to the measure of opportunity. That being so, there never was an age in which we had so much right to call upon men for fulness of influence and for the pouring out of their special and various talents in every sphere of duty. There never was a time, I think, in which it was so well worth a man's while to live. In former days a man might say: "I know nothing of all these things; how can I be blamed?" but no man can say that to-day. No man that works at the blacksmith's forge can say: "Well, I was a blacksmith." A man may be a blacksmith, and yet educate himself. No man can say: "I am a carpenter; how should I be suspected of knowledge?" If you do not have knowledge, you are not fit to be a carpenter. It is not enough that a man should increase his refinement; he is to increase it under the law: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." It is not enough that a man should pursue, ploughing deeply and uncovering continually, the truths of economy; he should seek for those truths that he may have that with which to enlighten and strengthen other men.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. First, lying at the bottom of all here, in the character of the natural mind, there comes out "the evil heart of unbelief" — A FATAL MISJUDGMENT OF THE ADORABLE GOD — an entire heart-ignorance of God, estrangement from God, believing of the devil's lie concerning God, in place of God's blessed revelation concerning Himself — "Thou art an austere man," a hard master, very difficult to please. Still, still, the natural conscience will bear stern witness to the reality of a Divine judgment and law. And so, as often as the fallen heart is forced into near contact with God, this is its language — scarce uttered consciously even to itself, and much less uttered audibly to others — "Thou art an austere man," a hard master, demanding things unreasonable, impossible for us weak creatures! Need I say that it is a lie of the devil, a foul calumny on the blessed God? A hard master? Oh, "God is love."

II. Second, and inseparably connected with this first feature in the character, see a second — A DARK, JEALOUS DREAD OF SUCH A GOD, prompting the wish to be away from Him — "I feared Thee, because Thou art an austere man," a hard master! The fear is obviously that of dark distrust, jealousy, suspicion. It is the opposite of confidence, affection, love. How, in fact, can such a God be loved?

III. And now, connected inseparably with these two features of character, even as the second with the first, see the third feature in the character — completing it — even AN UTTER INDISPOSITION FOR ALL CHEERFUL, ACTIVE SERVICE OF GOD, "For I feared Thee — Lord, behold, here is Thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin; for I feared Thee, because Thou art an austere man." Impossible to serve such a God — impossible, first, to love Him; and, next, impossible to serve a God unloved. Oh, love is the spring of service; distrust, jealousy, suspicion, are the death of it. But this man thinks he has served God tolerably well. "Lord, behold, here is Thy pound"! In the exceeding deceitfulness of the natural heart, does he contrive to persuade himself that he has given God no serious cause of offence with him. It is the more strange he should be able so to persuade himself, inasmuch as in his own word, "thy pound," he confesses that it was the property of another — of a Master who had lent it to him for a purpose, which, assuredly, was not that of keeping it laid uselessly up. "And He called His ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, 'Occupy till I come'" — "occupy," that is, traffic diligently, trade, "till I come." Oh, what is thus the whole Christian life but a busy commerce — a trading for God, for the good of all around us, for eternity? Fain I would have you to note — although it belongs less to my main theme — that, if you take the three features of character which we have seen in the text, and simply reverse them one by one, you shall have the whole character of God's regenerated child — of the renewed heart — that heart of which it is written, "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." Thus,

1. First, substitute for that word of the apostle, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them," the one which follows it, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath Shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." For the mournful entire heart-ignorance of God, substitute the blessed promise fulfilled, "I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord." For the evil heart of unbelief, crediting the devil's lie concerning God, substitute that heaven-born faith, "We believe and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" — "We have known and believed the love that God hath unto us." And you have the foundation of the whole character of the new creature in Christ Jesus.

2. Secondly, for that fear of dark and jealous dread which springs of unbelief, substitute the love that springs of faith, "We love Him, because He first loved us" — "My beloved is mine, and I am His" — and you have the new heart in its very soul.

3. And thus, thirdly, for the utter indisposition to God's cheerful service, substitute that heart for all service, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" A practical inference or two before I close. —(1) First, there is to be a judgment day. Do you believe it?(2) Second, how worthless, in that day, will be all merely negative religion — "Lord, behold, here is Thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin!" And as for all attempts to occupy neutral ground in the kingdom of Christ, what dreams they are!(3) But, thirdly, be it carefully noted that this, properly speaking, is not yet the Judge, but the Prophet, telling beforehand of the Judge, and of the judgment to come.

(C. J. Brown, D. D.)

Now the general truth that I would deduce from this narrative, and endeavour to establish, may be expressed in these terms. That insensibility and inaction with which mankind are. to so great an extent chargeable, as touching religion, are indefensible on every ground, unsusceptible of apology from any quarter, and incapable of being justified on any principles whatsoever, being inconsistent with what is enjoined by every man's belief, however loose and erroneous it may be.

1. It is a principle universally admitted among men that every subject should receive a degree of attention proportioned to its intrinsic magnitude and our personal interest in it; and in things purely secular they endeavour to carry this principle into practice. But not to dwell too long on this, I pass to another principle of common life —

2. Which is sinned against in religion, that of employing the present for the advantage of the future. What man of you is there whose schemes do not contemplate the future, and whose labours do not look to that which is to come?

3. And here I am reminded of another inconsistency into which many fall. I refer to the unjustifiable and unauthorized use which they make of the fact of the Divine benevolence in their speculations upon religion. A use which they would blush to make of it in reference to any other subject. What would you think of the man who should found all his expectations of health, and affluence, and happiness, on the simple fact of the Divine benignity, and should infer from the truth that God is good, that he shall never know want or feel pain?

4. There is another common principle unhesitatingly admitted among men, on which I would remark in this connection, as being denied a place among the first truths of religion — the principle of not expecting any acquisition of considerable value without much precedent labour and pains taken for it.

5. There is yet one other principle ,of common life, which, we have to complain, is not acted upon in religion. It is that of adopting always the safer course.

(W. Nevins, D. D.)

Unto every one which hath shall be given
The idea is that having is something quite other than mere passive, possession — the upturned, nerveless palm of beggary. Having, real having, is eager, instant, active possession, the sinewy grip. Having is using. Anything not used is already the same as lost. It will be lost by and by. In this sense of having, the more we have, the more we get; the less we have, the less we get. This is law, universal law.

I. THIS LAW OF USE IS PHYSICAL LAW. Muscular force gains nothing by being husbanded. Having is using. And to him that hath, shall be given. He shall grow stronger and stronger. What is difficult, perhaps impossible to-day, shall be easy to-morrow. He that keeps on day by day lifting the calf, shall lift the bullock by and by. More than this. Only he that uses shall even so much as keep. Unemployed strength steadily diminishes. The sluggard's arm grows soft and flabby.

II. THIS LAW OF USE IS COMMERCIAL LAW. Real possession is muscular. The toil, care, sagacity, and self-denial required in getting property, are precisely the toil, care, sagacity, and self-denial required in keeping it. Nay, keeping is harder than getting, a great deal harder. Wise investments often require a genius like that of great generalship. Charles Lamb, in one of his essays, expresses pity for the poor, dull, thriftless fellow who wrapped his pound up in a napkin. But the poor fellow was also to be blamed. Those ten servants, who had the ten pounds given them, were commanded to trade therewith till the master came.

III. THIS LAW OF USE IS MENTAL LAW. Even knowledge, like the manna of old, must needs be fresh. It will not keep. The successful teacher is always the diligent and eager learner. Just when he has nothing new to say, just then his authority begins to wane. Much more is mental activity essential to mental force. It is related of Thorwaldsen that when at last he finished a statue that satisfied him, he told his friends that his genius was leaving him. Having reached a point beyond which he could push no further, his instinct told him that he had already begun to fail. So it proved. The summit of his fame was no broad plateau, but a sharp Alpine ridge. The last step up had to be quickly followed by the first step down. It is so in everything. Ceasing to gain, we begin to lose. Ceasing to advance, we begin to retrograde.

IV. THIS LAW OF USE IS ALSO MORAL LAW. Here lies the secret of character. There is no such thing as standing still. There is no such thing as merely holding one's own. Only the swimmer floats. Only the conqueror is unconquered. Character is not inheritance, nor happy accident, but hardest battle and victory. The fact is, evil never abdicates, never goes off on a vacation, never sleeps. Every day every one of us is ambushed and assaulted; and what we become, is simply our defeat or victory. Not to be crowned victor, is to pass under the yoke. If prayer be, what has pictured it, the watch-cry of a soldier under arms, guarding the tent and standard of his general, then the habit of it ought to be growing on us. For the night is round about us, and, though the stars are out, our enemies are not asleep. H the Bible be what we say it is, we should know it better and better. Written by men, still it has God for its Author, unfathomable depths of wisdom for its contents, and for its shining goal the battlements and towers of the New Jerusalem. So of all the virtues and graces. They will not take care of themselves. Real goodness is as much an industry, as much a business, as any profession, trade, or pursuit of men.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)


1. The meaning of our Lord's words is certainly clear. Consider that the pounds represent any sort of gift or endowment for usefulness — any capacity, resource, instrument, or opportunity for doing good to our fellow men. He does not really possess anything; he only "occupies" it; it is actually lent money, and belongs to his Lord.

2. The illustrations which suggest themselves in ordinary experience will make the whole matter our own. We are simply reminded once more of the working of the universal law of exercise. Our bodily members and our intelluctual faculties are skilled and invigorated by activity, and injured seriously by persistent disuse. An interesting example of cultivating alertness of observation is related in the life of Robert Houdin, the famous magician. Knowing the need of a swift mastery and a retentive memory of arbitrarily chosen objects in the great trick of second-sight, he took his son through the crowded streets, then required him to repeat the names of all the things he had seen. He often led the lad into a gentleman's library for just a passing moment, and then afterwards questioned him as to the colour and places of the books on the shelves and table. Thus he taught him to observe with amazing rapidity, and hold what he gained, till that pale child baffled the wise world that watched his performances. But, highest of all, our spiritual life comes in for an illustration. Here we find that, in what is truly the most subtle part of our human organization, we are quite as remarkable as elsewhere. Even in our intercourse with God, we bend to natural law. He prays best who is in the habit of prayer. His very fervour and spirituality, as well as his fluency, are increased by constant practice. Thus it is with studious reading of the Scriptures Thus it is with the constant and devout reference of one's life to God's overruling providence. And thus it is with preparedness for heaven. Piety altogether is as capable of growth as any possession we have. He who has, gains more; he who leaves unused what he has, loses it.


1. Begin with the duty of Christian beneficence. Any pastor of a Church, any leader of a difficult enterprise, is acquainted with the fact that the best persons to ask for a contribution, with a sublime faith and a most cheerful expectation of success, are those who have just been giving largely, those who all along have been giving the most. Such Christians are prospered by the exercise. Their hearts and their purses alike are distended with the grace and the gold.

2. Take also the duty of teaching God's truth to those who always need it. Does a wise man lose his learning by communicating it freely? Rather, are not those the best scholars who do hardest work in teaching the dullest pupils with the most patience?

3. Again, take our consistency of demeanour. This, if anything, would seem most personal and most incommunicable. A Christian who cares nothing for what people say of him deteriorates in fidelity. He who tries hardest to disarm criticism by a godly demeanour will grow in correctness and satisfaction. He need not become more rigid and so more unamiable.

4. Just so, once more, take into consideration all kinds of ordinary Church activity. Those efficient believers, who are generally in the lead when each charitable and energetic work is in its turn on hand, are not so prominent just because they are ambitious and officious, nor because they love conspicuousness; but because being in one sort of earnest labour, they learn to love all labour for Christ. Most naturally, they grow unconsciously zealous for Him.

III. This is going far enough now: we reach in proper order SOME OF THE MANY LESSONS WHICH ARE SUGGESTED BY THE PRINCIPLE.

1. It is high time that Christians should begin to apply business maxims to their spiritual investments.

2. Think joyously of the irresistible working of all these Divine laws of increase, if only we are found faithful.

3. Just here also we begin to understand what our Lord means when He tells us that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). We have no doubt that such a man as that in the parable, who hid his pound in the napkin, was far more disturbed over the care of it than either of those who had their ten or five pounds hard at work. Unemployed wealth, unimproved property, is but a perplexity, and generally enslaves the man who sits down to watch it. What we put to use — of our heart as well as of our money — is what We own; the rest owns us.

4. Finally, mark the sad reverse of all we have been dwelling upon. Observe that the pound taken away from this man was not his profit, but his capital. Hence, he had no further chance; the very opportunity of retrieval was gone.

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

"Dost thou believe this doctrine that I ask thee of? Dost thou hold it firmly?" "Indeed I do, sir. I keep it most carefully." "Keep it carefully! What dost thou mean?" "I have it, sir, folded away in a napkin." "A napkin! What is the name of that napkin?" "It is called secret doubt." "And why dost thou keep the truth in the napkin of secret doubt?" "They tell me that if exposed to the air of inquiry it will disappear; so, when asked for it, I shall not have it, and shall perish." "Thou art foolish, and they that have told thee this arc foolish. Truth is corn, and thou wilt not be asked for the corn first given thee, but for sheaves. Thou art as if keeping thy corn in the sack of unbelief. The corn shall be taken from thee if thou use it not, and thyself put in thy sack of unbelief, and drowned in the deep, as evil-doers were punished in old times."

(Thomas T. Lynch.)

The following extract from Mr. Darwin's recently published life will, perhaps, explain the cause of his rejection of Christianity. The words are his own: "I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone on which the higher tastes depend. I cannot conceive If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry, and listen to some music at least once a week: for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would then have kept alive through use." "It is an accursed evil to a man," he writes in 1858, "to become so absorbed in any subject as I am in mine." We cannot be accused either of want of sympathy or want of charity if, in the light of what Darwin has told us of his religious history, we sum up his scepticism in those words which we have italicized — "atrophy of the brain."

"The Times," speaking of the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, says, "No doubt people ought to bring to a collection of pictures, or other works of art, as much knowledge as possible, according to the old saying that if we expect to bring back the wealth of the Indies, we must take the wealth of the Indies out with us. Learning and progress are continual accretions." This witness is true. He who studies the works of art in an exhibition of paintings, being himself already educated in such matters, adds greatly to his knowledge, and derives the utmost pleasure from the genius displayed. On the other hand, he who knows nothing at all about the matter, and yet pretends to be a critic, simply exhibits his own ignorance and self-conceit, and misses that measure of enjoyment which an entirely unsophisticated and unpretending spectator would have received. We must bring taste and information to art, or she will not deign to reveal her choicest charms. It is so with all the higher forms of knowledge. We were once in the fine museum of geology and mineralogy in Paris, and we noticed two or three enthusiastic gentlemen in perfect rapture over the specimens preserved in the cases; they paused lovingly here and there, used their glasses, and discoursed with delighted gesticulations concerning the various objects of interest; they were evidently increasing their stores of information; they had, and to them more was given. Money makes money, and knowledge increases knowledge. A few minutes after we noticed one of our own countrymen, who appeared to be a man of more wealth than education. He looked around him for a minute or two, walked along a line of cases, and then expressed the utmost disgust with the whole concern: "There was nothing there," he said, "except a lot of old bones and stones, and bits of marble." He was persuaded to look a little further, at a fine collection of fossil fishes, but the total result was a fuller manifestation of his ignorance upon the subjects so abundantly illustrated, and a declaration of his desire to remain in ignorance, for he .remarked that " He did not care a rap for such rubbish, and would not give three half-crowns for a waggon-load of it." Truly, in the matter of knowledge, "To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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