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Religion Averse to Selfishness.

Religion Averse to Selfishness.

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Published by glennpease

Matthew 20 : 13. — But He answered one of them and said*—" Friend, I do
tbee no wrong, didst not thou agree with me for a penny?"

Matthew 20 : 13. — But He answered one of them and said*—" Friend, I do
tbee no wrong, didst not thou agree with me for a penny?"

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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RELIGIO AVERSE TO SELFISHESS.BY REV. OCTAVIUS PERICHIEFMatthew 20 : 13. — But He answered one of them and said*—" Friend, I dotbee no wrong, didst not thou agree with me for a penny?"This is part of the parable of the laborers in thevineyard, which constitutes our Gospel for the day.This parable has been the subject of many commen-taries, and is perhaps yet far from being understood.I shall not undertake to exhaust it. I shall draw fromit some things that are certainly in it, things that arecertainly true.RELIGIO AVERSE TO SELFISHESS. 231The parable cannot be understood unless we take itin direct connection with much of the chapter precedingit. A young man came to Christ and asked Him whathe must do that he might have eternal life. Jesus saidto him. " If thou wilt enter into life, keep the com-mandments." The young man replied — " All these haveI kept from my youth, what lack I yet ?" Jesus said,•* If thou wilt be perfect, sell that thou hast, give to thepoor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and comeand follow me." But the young man hearing that, wentaway sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Thenthe Master, commenting upon the fact, reflecting, as itwere, aloud, said to His disciples — "Verily, a rich manshall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." " Who,then," they exclaimed in great earnestness, " who thencan be saved ?" You see what had been the drift of their mind — w^hat caused their alarm. Peter, taking thelead as usual, but speaking for all the rest, said — " Be-hold, we have forsaken all and followed thee, whattherefore shall we have ?" This whole parable is an an-swer to that question, " what therefore shall we have ?"Christ said — " Ye which have followed me, in the regen-eration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judgingthe twelve tribes of Israel, and every one that has for-saken houses or brethren, or sisters or father or mother,
or wife or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shallreceive one hundredfold and shall receive everlastinglife. Only beware of your estimates, ^for many thatare first shall be last, and the last shall be first/ as thisyoung man, having much, and highly esteemed amongmen, is still not fit for the kingdom of God. There areno thrones nor crowns, nor riches such as you are think-232 SERMOS.ing of. Such as are^ are not derived through any suchspirit as that you hnve just manifested. I must try toexplain it to you, therefore listen to a parable."It is evident, not only from the question Peter askedon this occasion, but also from incidents recorded inother parts of the Gospel, that the spirit which actuatedthe Apostles at this time was that of selfishness. If they had left anything, it amounted to little, and theyhad not so much left it as bartered it away. They leftlittle in the expectation of much. It was desire aftergain, not mental nor moral, not addition to their truebeing, but augmentation of the mere signs of being.They wanted money, honor,* position — not life, only thetrappings of life, the jylace of prime ministers in thekingdom, the right hand and left hand of Christ. Theywere not one whit better than the young man whoseaction occasioned Peter s inquiry. If he had kept thecommandments, a thing which very evidently he hadnot done ; but if he had tried in his lame. Wind way,why had he 'kept them ? not from any love of the com-mandments, not from any love at all, but from fear. If Peter were following Christ it was evidently from nodesire of true service to the Master, from no wise .appre-ciation of the kingdom of heaven ; it was out of a spiritwhich destroyed all true heaven, forfeited it in him,made it impossible that he should ever attain the pureglory which is in God and tvith God. The kingdom of heaven is so constituted that the idea of self is in everyform and degree excluded. He who works for heaven just simply to get heaven, loses the 'true heiiven; hewho would gain the true heaven, must work just as if it were already his, the whole kingdom ; he must re- joice in every gain it makes, as if that gain were his ; he
RELIGIO AVERSE TO SELFISHESS. 233must work without even hoping for reward, satisfiedwith the work itself. To do that is to be heavenly ; tobe heavenly is to have the true heaven, and the greaterincludes all the less. lie who hath that, is God'schosen — chosen for the crowns and thrones and gloriesthat are eternal.This thought, from the very poverty of language, isextremely difficult to express. The principle that per-vades it, the law that underlies it, is this : every soulshall have exactly that it works for — the bargain withnature shall be kept to a mite.God and man do sustain relations toward each othersomewhat resembling those existing between the ownerof a vineyard and a day laborer. All things in natureare but supplementary to each other. Capital is asdependent upon labor as labor upon capital. God wantsus, as we want God. The Creator hath a purpose in thiscreation. Man must execute this purpose, his part of it,at any rate. Work is an absolute necessity for man.I do not speak now in any economic sense, that work isthe means by which man must earn his bread, but in thatbroader sense, that all man's faculties fit him for work.He is a working being. The crudest of all work wouldbe to have no work to do. It is a relief to him to work ;without that, his being would be a blur. God wkntsthe work done ; man wants the work to do. Thereyou have the householder and the laborers.God never forgets His work. He is constantly goingout at every period of this our earthly day to call mento their work. He deals directly with us Himself.Every man has to deal immediately with the great all-owner.Then the whole work of God on earth is a unit. It.-JO234 SERMOS.

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