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Published by glennpease


"The fashion of this world passeth away."— i CORINTHIANS
vii. 31.


"The fashion of this world passeth away."— i CORINTHIANS
vii. 31.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 10, 2013
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THE MORAL OF CHANGEBY SAMUEL COXA NEW YEAR SERMON."The fashion of this world passeth away."— i CORINTHIANSvii. 31.No doubt the world itself will pass away. For that wehave the warrant of Scripture, and Science has counter-signed the warrant. But this warrant is not to be foundhere. St. Paul is not predicting a future catastrophe ;iie is announcing a present fact. He does not affirm that"^'the cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, the so-lemn temples" of this familiar world, yea, the solid globe¦ itself, with all who inherit it, shall dissolve, and like the' baseless fabric of a vision, like an insubstantial pageantfaded, " leave not a rack behind." He affirms a factwith which we are more immediately concerned, viz.^ thatthe fashion, the form, the whole outward aspect, of theworld in which we live fades, changes, passes, while welook upon it ; that it is now, and always, passing away :and from this fact he infers the immense importance of fixing our affections and placing our aims, not on theoutward show, the frail and shifting form of things, butA NEW YEAR SERMON. 405on the sacred and enduring realities which lie beneathand behind them.The affirmation is one, therefore, which every man maytest and appreciate for himself. And, surely, no saneman will doubt or question it for a moment. For havewe not seen the fashion, the whole outward form andaspect, of the world change and pass even in the few
years in which we have lived in it ? The very physicalconfiguration of the world has largely changed since wewere born into it. Forty or fifty years ago neitherLondon (in which I was born) nor Nottingham (in whichmost of you were born) was half, nor even a quarter, of itspresent size : sheep and cattle fed in green fields whichare now covered with a wilderness of houses. Therewere no steamships in our docks, no railways runningfrom city to city and from shore to shore, no gas in ourlamps, no police in our streets, no penny post, no tele-graph or telephone. Changes like those which we havewitnessed have taken place throughout the land ; similarchanges have passed over the whole face of Europe :while in America the steps of change have been stillmore marked and rapid.Nor has the sweep of change been confined to thephysical world and the physical conditions of humanlife. Changes just as marked have taken place in thesocial world. Our manners and customs have grownmuch less severe and formal, as also much less coarseand brutal, since the time when prize-fighting was heldto be an honourable profession, and seduction wasdeemed a manly pastime, and drunkenness a gentle-4o6 THE MORAL OF CHANGE.manly vice, and even a genial and courtly statesman likeLord Melbourne could " never speak without swearing."What changes have taken place in the world of business,in which, for instance, land, from the best and securestinvestment, has become the worst and least remunerative ;
in the political world, in which government by classeswas the established order, and even by a few rulingfamilies whose main preoccupation used to be dynasticwars and what they called " the balance of power " ; orin the literary, scientific, and artistic worlds, it wouldtake too long to tell. But, I believe, I am only usingwhat as many of you as are competent to judge willacknowledge to be the words of soberness and truth if Isay, that, even during this brief period, we have seen anentire revolution in each one of these worlds ; that morethan once, even in our time, its fashion has passed away.Now this fact, that we live in a perpetual flux of change, in a complex world, or series of worlds, whoseform is for ever passing away, has always been thoughtan impressive and pathetic fact. To many, indeed, it ischarged with melancholy ; and though they cannot quiteput it out of their minds at this season of the year — forit comes to us naturally and unbidden at the close andthe opening of every considerable period of time — theylike to get it out of their minds as quickly as they can,

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