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The Eternal Tents

The Eternal Tents

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THE REV. DAVID SMITH, M.A., D.D.

Professor of Theology in Magee College, Londonderry


"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by
means of the mammon of unrighteousness ; that, when it
shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles."

St. Luke xvi. 9 (r.v ).
BY THE REV. DAVID SMITH, M.A., D.D.

Professor of Theology in Magee College, Londonderry


"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by
means of the mammon of unrighteousness ; that, when it
shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles."

St. Luke xvi. 9 (r.v ).

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 17, 2013
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THE ETERAL TETSBY THE REV. DAVID SMITH, M.A., D.D.Professor of Theology in Magee College, Londonderry"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends bymeans of the mammon of unrighteousness ; that, when itshall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles."St. Luke xvi. 9 (r.v ).My text is that phrase *' the eternal tabernacles "or, as it should rather be rendered, ** the eternaltents."It is an odd phrase, yet, I think, one of themost significant and instructive in the ewTestament. It occurs nowhere else in the HolyScriptures, nor, so far as I am aware, has itany parallel in ancient literature. This meansthat it is peculiar to our Blessed Lord;and He employed it to convey a great lessonto our imaginations and hearts. And it seemsto me that the thought which it expresses is oneof the most helpful in all His teaching, onewhich bears consideration and richly rewardsit. It is a thought which sheds light on thedim mystery of the Hereafter, and affords usa glimpse of that future life whither our heartskeep turning so constantly and so wistfully, and165166 THE ETERAL TETS
 
brings home to us certain truths which, I fear,we are apt to miss."The Eternal Tents": This is our Lord'sdescription of Heaven ; and if we would feelthe force of it and catch its true interpretation,we must remember the history of ancient Israel.That history, so long, so troublous, began farback with the call of Abraham to leave hispleasant home in the land of Haran. Linkedwith the call was a promise, which came tohim we know not how, that of his descendantsGod would make a great nation and give thema goodly land for their heritage.That was the beginning of Israel's nationalhistory — the call of Abraham and the promiseto his seed after him. And you remember hownobly he made the heroic venture of faith and,at the call of God, abandoned all that he had —all that, in the worldly judgment, was worthhaving— and set out in pursuit of a far-off hopeand a transcendent ideal. He went forth withhis tent and his family and his flocks and herds,and journeyed to and fro ; and through the dis-cipline of his homeless life the revelation grewever clearer and the hope more sure. He diedTHE ETERAL TETS 167ere the promise was fulfilled, but he left hischildren a heritage of tents and flocks and herds,and a heritage more precious still — a. faith andan example.And thus the nation grew, and as they in-creased in numbers, they increased also incourage and expectancy. They were, as the
 
phrase is, a nomadic tribe, wanderers over thetrackless East with no city, no abiding rest, nosettled home, dwelling in tents, which is thescriptural emblem of uncertainty and instability —pitching their tents as each evening fell, andstriking them again at break of day andtravelling on in quest of new pastures for theircattle.Thus they fared on their aimless way, andtroubles befell them. They were driven hitherand thither, harassed and oppressed, yet evercherishing a great hope in their hearts. Theywere homeless, but a home awaited them. Theywere not mere wanderers : they were pilgrims.They were dwellers in tents, but that was nottheir final condition : they were looking forsomething better than tents— a city with founda-tions and walls and bulwarks. ** By faithAbraham, when he was called, obeyed to go168 THE ETERAL TETSout unto a place which he was to receive foran inheritance ; and he went out, not knowingwhither he went. By faith he became asojourner in the land of promise, as in a landnot his own, dwelling in tents with Isaac andJacob, the heirs with him of the same promise :for he looked for the city which hath the founda-tions, whose builder and maker is God.**For four hundred years they wandered, dwell-ing in tents ; and then at length their hope wasrealised, and they reached the Promised Landand Jerusalem, the stablished city.Such was the ancient history of Israel, and it

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