Luke 9:25
Our Lord has taught us as no other teacher ever has -

I. THE TRANSCENDENT WORTH OF OUR HUMAN NATURE. When he came that was held in very small esteem. Men showed what they thought of human nature by the use they made of it, and of human life by the readiness with which they threw it away. There was no thought of the inviolable sacredness of a human spirit. Jesus Christ has taught us to think of it as precious beyond all price. Man's body is only the vesture of his mind; man, like God, is spirit, but he is spirit clothed in flesh. He is a spirit

(1) accountable to God for all he thinks and feels, as well as for all he says and does;

(2) capable of forming a beautiful and noble character resembling that of the Divine Father himself;

(3) capable of living a life which, in its sphere, is a reproduction of the life God is living in heaven;

(4) coming into close contact and fellowship with God;

(5) intended to share God's own immortality.

II. THE TEMPTATION TO LOSE SIGHT OF THIS GREAT TRUTH. There are two things that often have such a deteriorating effect upon us that it is practically erased from the tablet of our soul.

1. The love of pleasure; whether this be indulgence in unholy pleasure, or the practical surrender of ourselves to mere enjoyment, to the neglect of all that is best and highest.

2. The eager pursuit of gain. Not that there is any radical inconsistency between profitable trading and holy living; not that a Christian man may not exemplify his piety by the way in which he conducts his business; but that there are often found to be terribly strong temptations to untruthfulness, or dishonesty, or hardness, or unjust withholdment, or a culpable and injurious absorption in business. And under the destructive influence of one of these two forces the soul withers or dies.

III. THE CALAMITOUS MISTAKE THAT IS SOMETIMES MADE. It is not only a grievous sin, but a disastrous error to gain worldly wealth, and, in the act of gaining it, to lose the soul. That is the worst of all possible bargains. The man who makes many thousands of pounds, and who loses conscientiousness, truthfulness, spirituality, all care for what God thinks of him and feels about him, sensitiveness of spirit - in fact, himself, is a man over whom Heaven weeps; he has made a supreme mistake. Gold, silver, precious stones, are of limited worth. There are many of the most important services we want which they have no power to render; and the hour is daily drawing near when they will have no value to us whatever. But the soul is of immeasurable worth; no sum of money that can be expressed in figures will indicate its value; that is something which absolutely transcends expression; and time, instead of diminishing, enhances its importance - it becomes of more and more account "as our days go by," as our life draws toward its close. Jesus Christ not only put this thought into words, - the words of the text - he put it into action. He let us see that, in his estimation, the human soul was worth suffering and dying for - worth suffering for as he suffered in Gethsemane, worth dying for as he died at Calvary. Then do we wisely enter into his thought concerning it when we seek salvation at his cross, when, by knowing him as our Divine Redeemer, we enter into eternal life. - C.







What is a man advantaged.
Did you ever see a wreck? I remember being one winter's night in a little town on the coast of Wales. We were sitting by the fire, cheerful, and we heard, while there, a sudden noise: we looked out into the night; there was a deep fog over the sea; we could scarcely see the cliffs; the wind was very high; there was a drizzling rain; and suddenly we heard the scream of voices; then the boom of the guns over the water; then stillness; then the clatter of feet along the street; the life boat and the life buoy. Human life in danger. We thought we discried the dark mass heaving over the black billows, lit up by the ray of the guns and the blue lights; but the sound of the surf and the roar of the breakers carried all away; they carried her away. That night she struck on the rocks. I walked down in the morning to look at her lying on the beach. I could not help saying, "How human this is; how life-like!" There she lay — the pride and hope of her owners — stripped; masts, sails, shrouds, broken, ragged, torn, gone; and yet much had depended on her. She had been launched with many hopes and expectations. All gone — a melancholy wreck! The winds howled through as they lifted her ragged shrouds. She could not, as once she might have done, repel them and make them her ministers. The sun shone on her, through her cabin windows and port-hole, but awakened no answering glory oil her deck. She was a lost ship — melancholy type of a lost soul.

(E. Paxton Hood.)

I. MAN HAS A SOUL.. The soul touches the highest part of the universe. Nature ministers to nature; but nature cannot feed the soul. The fruits, and grapes, and animals cannot contribute to the being of the soul. God, who is its Parent, can alone minister to it. This is that difference between the spirit of the beast which goeth downward, and the spirit of man which goeth upward. "We are dust and Deity," says a great poet: most true. This is our original Turn into reality the great fact that you have a soul. Did you ever hear how Fichte awoke the consciousness of his hearers? He pointed to the wall, the white wall. " Gentlemen," said he, "I want you to think the wall. Have you thought the wall? Now, think the man that thought the wall." Ah! to do that is to realize to ourselves our soul.

II. IT IS OF INFINITE VALUE.

1. Think of its power.(1) It can sin. It is capable of moral wrong. The soul has had power to disturb the universe.(2) It can suffer. Oh, how it can suffer, remorse, conscience, despair! Nay, we estimate the greatness of the soul by its power to suffer.(3) It can think. How it can think! Can be even wild with thought, and rend the poor body as the strong wind rends oaks and rocks!

2. Its duration. For ever: no cessation.

III. A SOUL MAY BE LOST. Nay, every soul in the world is, in fact, lost. Do you know it? do you feel it? Lost! For there are but two ways in the universe — God's and man's. To be lost, is to wander into the far country, and to attempt to feed an angel nature with the husks that the swine eat. Picture to yourselves the man on the dark moor at night among the mountains — amidst the mists — lost. I may mention four causes of the loss of the soul.

1. Ignorance.

2. Error.

3. Passion.

4. A perverted will: underlying the whole.These are the marks of human nature in its present state. And to be lost, is to love our natural state, and to persist in it. You may remember an incident in the united lives of two men, with whose labours and lives, it may be, you have on the whole little sympathy. When Francis Xavier, the youthful, the eloquent, the noble, was engaged in the pursuits of his varied and wonderful mind, in Paris, in the university, and its more romantic neighbourhood, as he yielded himself to the fascinations mingling around him, there stepped forth and spoke to him a plainly dressed and powerful preacher of lofty bearing and stern deportment, mighty in the assumption of a voluntary poverty — Ignatius Loyola. "Francis," said he, "'What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'" He would not let the youth go. He attended the hall where Xavier delivered his eloquent prelections; he stood and listened before the orator's chair; but when the applause had subsided, and the crowd had retired, then he was by the side of the eloquent scholar. He touched him on the shoulder; "Francis," said he, "'What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'" Noble as he was, Xavier was not rich; his affairs became embarrassed; he needed help. The stern apostle of voluntary poverty did not forsake; he came to him with assistance; he produced mysterious aid; but, as he put the bag into the hands of his friend, he was ready with his old question, "Francis, 'What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'" They wandered together by the banks of the Seine; they trod together through its groves of trees, and wound their way into its lovely recesses; but even as the enthusiastic and imaginative Xavier paused, enraptured before the spectacle of some astonishing beauty, some enchanting or spell-compelling spot, the voice thrilled through him: "Francis, 'What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'" And the reader knows that earnestness subdued the eloquent scholar, and he became the comrade and the disciple of Ignatius Loyola. You have heard of the Mammoth Cave in America — a world under the ground — how many miles no one can tell, rivers, lakes, chambers, immense territories all in darkness, where the light of the sun never penetrated. But nineteen miles within the cave, 450 feet beneath the soil, there was yet a descent called the Bottomless Pit. Down into that no man would go; they had sounded 150 feet, and yet had not reached the depth; no man would go; the guide refused 500 dollars offered him to go. At length a poor man came, a young man, and he determined he would descend. Ropes were procured, and he descended 150 feet. He walked among those galleries of darkness, alone, through those depths and corridors of gloom; he began to ascend, but as he ascended he stayed to throw himself into an interminable cave on the side of the pit; there as he roamed through its fissures, his light went out — no light — and alone in that gloom — lost! And the light was kindled again; but he found, as he began to ascend, the rope was on fire. Ah! what shall he do now? What think you, ascending — looking up to that faint ray, and the fire burning — burning. But it was extinguished, he was saved. But is it not the very picture of a poor soul? In the deep night, the light extinguished. And sometimes those very powers by which he might ascend, — his passions, his intellect, his will, only kindling to ruin him — affections which might unite to God, turning to fire to separate him for ever.

IV. And why? FOR THE SOUL MAY BE SAVED. Surely no person will say, "What shall I do to be saved?" But if so, I have only to say, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And if you say, I cannot believe, in a word, I have only to say — say thou to God, "I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me." Pray, and you shall not fail to obtain the knowledge of Christ and Him crucified.

(E. Paxton Hood.)

If temporal affairs impose upon a man a large measure of labour and solicitude, how much more should he exercise the utmost diligence in behalf of his eternal welfare?

I. NOTHING IS MORE NECESSARY THAN TO SAVE OUR SOULS.

1. The chief solicitude of God is for our salvation.

2. The question is of everlasting weal or woe.

3. Therefore Jesus warns us with the most tender anxiety —

(1)To work our salvation before all things.

(2)To work our salvation in all things.

(3)To take care of our salvation at all times, and give it our own personal attention.

II. NOTHING IS MORE RARE THAN THIS SOLICITUDE.

1. Everywhere we may observe an all-absorbing care for temporal affairs and earthly possessions.

(1)The heart of man is attached to them; restless his desire to acquire them; great his sorrow at their loss.

(2)All activity of man is centred upon them. Men are grovelling in the dust.

2. Negligence in regard to heavenly things.

(1)No earnest examination of the condition of the soul.

(2)Carelessness in regard to the means of salvation.

3. Men appear to be without conscience in regard to the salvation of others.

(1)Careless parents, educating their children for everything except the one thing necessary.

(2)Cruel seducers, showing heartless indifference to their own and others' salvation.

4. Let us look back at our past life.(1) How many opportunities has God granted us to save our souls! Time, the Word of God, misfortunes, &c.(2) How little is it that we have given to God! What use have we made of our time? For whom have we laboured? Have we laid up treasures for the world to come?(3) What folly! All our trouble for nothing! We run after the mists and clouds, and neglect that which is everlasting. We frustrate the merciful designs and endeavours of God.

(Tourbe.)

Family Treasury.
We read of a Spanish general who was so fond of money that the enemies into whose hands he had fallen, tortured and killed him by pouring melted gold down his throat in mockery of his covetousness. So Satan now often makes money unlawfully acquired, the very means of tormenting the miserable beings who have sold their consciences to obtain it.

(Family Treasury.)

A Sunday-school teacher, when speaking about the passage, "Buy the truth, and sell it not," said that the man who buys the truth, at whatever cost, makes a good bargain. He then asked his boys if any of them remembered an instance in the Scriptures of a bad bargain. These answers were given —

1. "Esau made a bad bargain when he sold his birthright for a mess of pottage."

2. "Judas made a bad bargain when he sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver."

3. "He makes a bad bargain, who, to gain the whole world, loses his own soul."

There was one living who, scarcely in a figure, might be said to have the whole world. The Roman Emperor Tiberius was at that moment infinitely the most powerful of living men, the absolute, undisputed, deified ruler of all that was fairest and richest in the kingdoms of the earth. There was no control to his power, no limit to his wealth, no restraint upon his pleasures. And, to yield himself still more unreservedly to the boundless self-gratification of a voluptuous luxury, not long after this time he chose for himself a home on one of the loveliest spots on the earth's surface, under the shadow of the slumbering volcano, upon an enchanting islet in one of the most softly delicious climates of the world. What came of it all? He was, as Pliny calls him, "Tristissimus ut constat hominum," confessedly the most gloomy of mankind. And there, from this home of his hidden infamies, from this island where, on a scale so splendid, he had tried the experiment of what happiness can be achieved by pressing the world's most absolute authority and the world's guiltiest indulgencies into the service of an exclusively selfish life, he wrote to his servile and corrupted senate, "What to write to you, conscript fathers, or how to write, or what not to write, may all the gods and goddesses destroy me, worse than I feel that they are daily destroying me, if I know." Rarely has there been vouchsafed to the world a more overwhelming proof that its richest gifts are but "fairy gold that turns to dust and dross."

(Archdeacon Earrar.)

When, a half-century ago, the famous Kaspar Hauser appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, having been released from a dungeon in which he had been confined from infancy, having never seen the face or heard the voice of man, nor gone without the walls of his prison, nor seen the full light of day, a distinguished lawyer in Germany wrote a legal history of the case, which he entitled, "A Crime against the Life of the Soul." It was well named But it is no worse than the treatment some men bestow upon their own souls As the poor German youth was at length thrust out into the world for which he was unfitted, with untrained senses in a world of sense, without speech in a world of language, with a dormant mind in a world of thought, so many go out of this world with no preparation in that part of their nature that will most be called into use.

(Theodore T. Munger.)

What wise man would fetch gold out of a fiery crucible, hazard himself to endless woes, for a few waterish pleasures, and give his soul to the devil, as some Popes did for the short enjoyment of the Papal dignity. What was this but to win Venice, and then to be hanged at the gates thereof, as the proverb is. In great fires men look first to their jewels, then to their lumber; so should these see first to their souls to secure them, and then take care of the outward man. The soldier cares not how his buckler speeds, so his body be kept thereby from deadly thrusts.

(J. Trapp.)

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