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The Value of Inequality.

The Value of Inequality.

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Published by glennpease
BY FRANCIS ST. JOHN THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A.



" Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he
shall have abundance : but from him that hath not,
shall be taken away even that which he hath."
Matthew, xxv. 29.
BY FRANCIS ST. JOHN THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A.



" Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he
shall have abundance : but from him that hath not,
shall be taken away even that which he hath."
Matthew, xxv. 29.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 13, 2013
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THE VALUE OF IEQUALITY.BY FRACIS ST. JOH THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A." Unto every one that hath shall be given, and heshall have abundance : but from him that hath not,shall be taken away even that which he hath."Matthew, xxv. 29.OUR Saviour not rarely spoke in paradoxin unexpected and startling language,uttering words not to be pressed in the letter,but purposely put in such a form, in orderthat his hearers might stir themselves to get attheir inner and spiritual, their larger and deepermeaning.This verse of my text is one of these ratherhard sayings. ot that it drove people away.It is so, in a different way from that in whichthe discourse on the Bread of Life was hard.Then we read that many of the disciples said," This is a hard saying, who can hear it ? "and " many of them went back and walkedno more with him." 2 But here there are nomurmurs of dissent and disapproval. We arenot told that any on this ground fell away1 Quinquagesima Sunday, February 28th, 1897.2 St. John, vi. 60, 66.xv] The Value of Inequality. 203from Christ whenever the words were spoken.For they were repeated, and prominence is
 
given to them. They were delivered on atleast three different occasions, and very likelyon others that have not been recorded.This verse expresses, indeed, one of theprofoundest laws of the moral world. Weknow that our Saviour often embodied partsof the best teaching of the past in His dis-courses. Transmuting them into the fine goldof perfect truth, he brought out of them morethan had hitherto been detected within them.As He did not disdain to use such homelyproverbial expressions as " Physician, healthyself," " If the blind lead the blind, shallthey not both fall into the ditch ? " or, as whenHe gave the model of all prayer, He employedfor some of its clauses what already existed ingerm in Jewish forms of prayer, so it mayhave been in this case." To him that hath shall be given " has thering of a proverb applicable in its literal senseto the conditions of human prosperity. Itwas probably familiar to the shrewd worldlymen of the time, like such sayings currentamong ourselves as " Money comes to money,"" othing succeeds like success," " Fortunesmiles on the fortunate." The words them-selves were not novel. What was novel, andeven startling (as has been remarked), was2O4 The Value of Inequality. [xv"that this principle should be adopted byChrist and laid down as one of those uponwhich God's government is carried on." 1 Butwe remember the parable in which the sharp-ness and quickness of the business-like steward
 
forms the groundwork for the highest moraland spiritual teaching. And here, too, maywe not say that something like that law of nothing succeeding like success may be tracedin the conditions of growth in Christ-like,heavenly wisdom ?This aphorism, I said, we meet with at leastthree times ; first, in St. Matthew's thirteenthchapter, when our Lord gave His reasons forspeaking in parables ; next, as the moral of the Parable of the Talents ; and then again inthat of the Parable of the Pounds, in St. Luke.The truth thrown out at first, to set the hearerthinking, was afterwards developed and ex-panded in those two longer passages." Unto him that hath shall be given" I be-lieve that one of the chief reasons why wefind these words hard is because we will readinto them our own narrow interpretation. Wemistake their object ; we do not grasp theirfulness and their depth. We think of theopulent, the powerful, the influential, the1 Latham, " Pastor Pastorum," ch. x., to which I amindebted for the main thought, and for some expres-sions, in this sermon.xv] The Value of Inequality. 205strong in physique, the robust in health, orpersons constitutionally cheerful and buoyant ;and so long as we limit the saying to such asare girt about with advantages of this sort, wemust see in it little beyond a benediction uponthe fortunate, and a curse, or something likea curse, pronounced on others who lack these

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