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The Fashion of the World.

The Fashion of the World.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE FASHIO OF THE WORLD.REV. R. CECIL1 Cor. vii. 31.For the fashion of this world passeth away.The Apostle had been discussing one of the casesof conscience, presented to him by the CorinthianChurch. He brings it at length, to a general reflec-tion on the subject : "This I say, brethren, the timeis short. It remaineth, that both they that havewives be as though they had none ; and they thatweep, as though they wept not: and they that rejoice,as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, asthough they possessed not ; and they that use thisworld, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this worldpasseth away."I shall consider the general proposition in the text,without any particular reference to the specific caseto which it may be applied, whether marriage, orpolitics, or commerce. It is a general truth of vastimportance. "The fashion of this world passethaway."I shall,1. Illustrate the sense of the passage:2. Draw some practical inferences from the position.I. I have to state and illustrate the sense.Grotius says on this passage, that the expressionhas an allusion to a theatre, where the scheme, as theword moans literally which we translate fashion, the224 SERMO XXII.scheme, the image, the form, the representative iswholly changed.Another writer will read it, "The scene of this
world passeth away."' The actors in a drama sus-tain various characters : the scenes are continuallychanging : some actors stand forward as the heroesof the drama ; and some lurk behind the scenes, asobscure characters; and all these masked, in the an-cient theatres : at length the curtain drops, and thescenes are over. This presents to us a very strikingpicture of life: a continually changing scene, thatpasseth away.But I prefer the manner in which ArchbishopLeighton considers the passage. He treats it as if itwere thus written : '-The pageant of this world pass-eth away:" it is a mere procession; at best, but apageant. As a pageant or show, in the street, soongets afar off, and is quickly out of sight, thus it iswith respect to the present world. For, says he,what is become "of all the marriage solemnities of kings and princes of former ages, which they were sotaken up with in their time ? When we read of themdescribed in history, they are as night- dreams, or asa day-fancy, which passeth through the mind, andvanisheth ! ; 'Who has not looked into history, and felt this strikehim, as one of the first facts : " It is all gone by ! amere pageant !" An old man has seen most of thepageants of his time pass by: he remembers themighty acton of his youth ; hut they arc L r <mr! thosewho made the most splendid appearance m the pro-cession, are passed by long ago: he is ready tosay, "All is show! All is pageant 1 It is but theshifting of a scene. ,,THE FASHIO OF THE WORLD. 225And what is this more than what the Scripturetaught us before ? In the xxxixth Psalm we findDavid saying, " Surely every man walketh in a vainshow : surely they are disquieted in vain : he heap-eth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gatherthem." If he makes a show, it is a vain show. If he is disquieted, agitated exceedingly in his schemesand projects, it is in vain. If he heaps up riches, andis ready to say, at least there is something in this !
" Property is the grand thing in the world!" — heheaps up riches, and knoweth not who shall comeimmediately and take them away! "And now,Lord," says he, " what wait I for?" Man walkethin such a vain show, the pageant of this world sopasseth away, that I must have something greaterand better, more solid, more substantial.Thus St. John expresses it : — "The world passethaway, and the lust thereof." It matters not of whatimportance man is found to be of in his time; nor howmuch he may build, or plant, or boast, or perform :he has but his stated time. The summons comes :he must go. Another actor takes his place: anothersteps into the procession. He also soon goes, andgives place to another : so that there scarcely seemsany thing on earth more evident than the truth inthe text — that " the pageant of this world passethby."II. Having thus considered the sense of the passage,let us proceed, as I proposed, to draw some practicalinferences from the position.1. If, as we have seen, the pageant of this worldpasses by, we may collect how little worldings knowof that world of which they profess to know so much!u I know the world," says one of them : "nobody226 SERM(» XXII.can te.l me any thing about this world. I have hadlong experience. I have seen into the matter. I amnot to be deceived like young people, or to be im-posed upon by show. I have remarked by long ex-perience, that it is a farce which is acted on the stageof life " .... You know the world? — You knownothing of the world to purpose ! For what docs themiser know of this world, who is "heaping up riches,while he cannot tell who shall gather them?" Whatdoes the politician know of this world, whose politicsare founded entirely upon some measure, that is but

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