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Parable of the Feast.

Parable of the Feast.

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Published by glennpease

Luke 14 : 18. — And they all with one consent began to make excuse.

Luke 14 : 18. — And they all with one consent began to make excuse.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 29, 2013
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PARABLE OF THE FEAST.BY REV. OCTAVIUS PERICHIEFLuke 14 : 18. — And they all with one consent began to make excuse.The whole chapter in which this text occurs is oneof great simplicity, and yet one of unutterable depthand force. Christ was being entertained by a '' Chief Pharisee^'' at this Pharisee's own house. It is morethan probable that such an event did not often occur,and the deportment of Christ under the circumstances ismarked and peculiar. The Pharisees as a class werea people of what we would call great refinement — re-finement of sentiment and manner. They were strictlyobservant of all the rules of etiquette — practicing anddemanding all the ^'proprieties'' To such a people ttuth — plain, simple reality, could never be anything butvulgar. Whatever was vulgar could never be worthyof their attention from the simple fact that it was vulgar.Of necessity, to them, to seem to be was better than to be.They had attained the position which the world has296 SERMOS.mistaken over and over again (or wise cultivation — theposition from wliich that is oonsiJered beautifuHanguage,which disguises the truth, and makes tlie bi/ler appear tobe the stveet. To the Pharisees generally a pronouncementof truth was impossible, " like people, like priest." TheRabbis had grown as refined as the Pharisees. Truthwas hidden from their eyes — (»r if they saw any truth,they dared not pronounce it, because refined ears mustnever be alarmed orshoc'ke<l, but oidy soothed. A two-fold force killed the truth, the inability of the Uabbis tosee it — the inability of the people to receive it. Whatwas preached and received might have been true enoughto a certain extent, but it was not truth which theirsouls demanded. It was historic, or scientific, or theo-logical truth. It was not practical, religious truth.Theol(»gy and religion are two distinct things. Theologyis dogma and speculation. Religion is love and practice.Theology is knowledge. Religion is wisdom. The
earthly refinement of all ages has cast out religion andtaken theology. Puffed up with knowledge, the world,the church, has always prescribed what its teachersshall tiiach, and they have always prescribed only thatwhich they already thought they knew, or that whichwas only pleasant and self-indulgent. Hence truth orreligion has always had to rise against the church inopposition to it — rise in plain truth, against flowerysentiment — in the vernacular against an artificial lan-guage. It is very strange men should insist upon sodeceiving themselves, and upon being so deceived, butnevertheless the fact remains.This condition of things exists very much in the timesin which we are now living. Few of us have heart orhead for religious truth. The truth to be preached isPARABLE OF THE FEAST. 297prescribed by a vain, empty and worldly age. The peopleknow more than the preachers, and the preachers whodo know anything have no easy time in being heard.A divine of high position has recently pronounced thatthe Episcopal Church has an imbecile pulpit. Thatpronouncement has gone out all over this land, and toforeign lands with whatever of truth or error it contains.But a very legitimate question rises out of it, whether allpulpits are not to a very considerable extent "imbecile,"filled with theology rather than with religion, with con-ventional refinement, rather than with God's truth, withgentle straws for itching ears, rather than with the breadof life for lost souls. A gentleman who has renouncedour own ministry and ' gone into business, writes me," that he could not conscientiously continue in a salariedposition, when people bought not only his tongue, buthis freedom of thought and action," and though hisposition may be a very unwise one it serves to illustratethe pressure of the times, the constraint of the age.Christ was at the Pharisee's house. It is of no useto question the motive of the Pharisee in having Ilimthere. He knew Christ, and Christ knew him. In ourway of reasoning, w^e would have said here is an oppor-tunity to conciliate this man. His prejudices must bedisarmed. He must see that this Jesus of azareth
is not a vulgar plebeian. His respect must be challenged.He must be outshone even in his own splendor. ButChrist does not so understand it. He sees in the Phariseenothing but a lost sinner. He knows that the Pharisee'swhole life and being are in discord with divine wisdom.The gauze of refinement which he has hung over hisnaked and leprous soul, Christ sees immediately through,and true to His nature as the divine healer, He ministers38298 SERMOS.truth to the man's spirit. So with the friends of thePharisee around Hiin. To conciliate them is nothing — to do them good is everything. His instruction evenpartakes of the nature of a rebuke. lie transgresses thelaws of Pharisaic propriety, by being to a considerableextent personal. Their pride and self-importance inseeking out the chief rooms, He condemns, and tells themto be more retiring, self-denying and humble. A dis-course by one of the Rabbis on humility would havebeen very beautiful, but such a practical enforcementcould hardly have been edifying. Such is the way of all error and unwisdom. He turns to the Pharisee him-self — possibly appealing to the motive from which hehad made this feast. " When thou makest a feast donot call the rich and those who are able to pay you withanother feast. That is the world's way. The publican,whom you despise, does as much as that. Call the blindand the poor, and those who have nobody to makea feast for them. Then, not hoping for a reward,but simply out of the gratitude of a thankful heart,seeking to bless your brother, made in God's image.God will take care you have your reward in the king-dom of heaven." Then from these particulars He spreadsit all out in a general truth. Through these earthly re-lations — out of these every-day providences, look up andsee God above — look around and see all His childrenbelow ; view your own actions. Apply these principlesand see how you are coming short of that heaven of which I have just spoken. " A certain man made agreat supper and bade many, and sent his servant atsupper time to call them that were bidden, and they allwith one consent began to make excuse."

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