« PreviousContinue »
All classes of men are concerned in this precept. The Rich are concerned in it. He who uttered it was rich : he had shown himself rich in power, beyond all human wealth. He proves by his conduct both on this and on other occasions, that those who are blessed by the bounty of Providence are intended to enjoy the gifts bestowed on them. But he prohibits all waste and extravagance. He suffers nothing to be squandered or thrown away which might improve the condition or assist the comfort of others.
The poor too are concerned in it, who often waste more, in proportion, than the rich, upon what is utterly needless or superfluous. There are few who, according to their situation in life, might not be in what are called easy circumstances, if they had always attended to the maxim, that nothing be lost, nothing wasted by being spent unnecessarily or unprofitably.
But we may carry this further than merely as a lesson of frugality. There are other fragments, besides those of our daily bread, or daily income, which we are here taught to gather up and save.
1. There are fragments of TIME.
Though there is but one thing of real importance to be done, very few persons can bestow the principal portion of their time on that great object. The main part of life cannot be spent in hearing, or reading, or meditating upon eternity. It must be employed in active business of some sort or other. But mean while our hearts must be fixed, through all this active business, on the grand concern; on that which is beyond; on the end of our faith, the salvation of the soul We are travellers ; we are on a journey; we have many interests upon the road; we have much to call for our attention as we pass along : but after all, the object is not the road, or the interests of the road; but the journey's end.
For this purpose, the duty is to gather up the fragments of our time, that nothing may be lost. Notwithstanding all the labours, all the active duties which are indispensable, how many hours in every week are commonly spent in sloth, in idle conversation, in pursuits, which profit not? If those fragments were collected together for a week, or a month, or a year, what good purpose they might serve! As multitudes might be rich, who now are poor, if they had carefully husbanded the resources which God had put into their hands : so multitudes, who are ignorant, might be rich in the most precious knowledge, if they had put to good account the moments which they have wasted and misapplied. Many a poor man would be happy to redeem, at the close of life, the sums which in his youth he has thrown away : and many an ignorant man, in the decay of his strength, has still more reason to lament the time which he once neglected, when he might have learnt to become “wise unto salvation.” A slight excuse is enough for a man whilst death seems distant. He quiets his conscience while he
I am busy, I am hard working, I am constantly employed ; and God is not “ austere :” he will not expect much, where little has
been given. But this is seen at last to be a vain device of Satan, when death actually comes, and finds the soul unprepared ; much business done, but none of that which was most needful ; none of that which might have been performed, if all the fragments of time had been gathered up, and employed for the purpose which they are given to
2. Another hint of exhortation may grow out of this same precept. If ye profess to be servants of Jesus Christ, gather up all your opportunities of showing your zeal for his service; let nothing be lost, by which you can display your love for him and your desire to please him. Some may have much of this power, and some less; but all may find some fragments both of talent and opportunity, if they are careful to seize them. How few, who are ignorant, would remain without instruction ; how few that are thoughtless, would continue without warning ; if all were careful to make the most of their means of usefulness !
And is there no encouragement? He to whom this service is paid, “is not unrighteous, to forget your labours of love :” he will gather up the smallest fragments of service which you may have employed in his cause, he will let nothing be lost of obedience to his will. All will be set to your account at the great day. And though you will not venture to look back upon such works as grounds of acceptance, or as entitling you to reward ; he will receive them as tokens of faith and love-such tokens as are agreeable to our hea
“ For in this is the Father glorified,” that they who are his adopted children through Christ Jesus, bring forth much fruit;' and " abound in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as they know, that their labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
THE DISCIPLES, OVERTAKEN BY A STORM, ARE
RELIEVED BY THE PRESENCE OF JESUS.
John vi. 14-21.
14. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
The power which the Lord had displayed, in the manner before related, convinced the persons who witnessed it that he came with divine authority. And we might have hoped that being thus convinced, they would hasten to him, and learn that which it was the business of a prophet to teachthe will of God, and his counsels as concerning themselves. But their views were bounded by things present, not raised to things above: and they see in the power of Jesus nothing beyond the means of temporal advancement or prosperity. They do not say, This prophet can tell us heavenly truths; but This prophet can exalt us to wealth
It was not, however, for such a purpose that the prophet should come into the world.
15. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.1
16. And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
17. And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
19. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship : and they were afraid.
20. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
Had the disciples undertaken this voyage without instruction from their Master, we might have supposed that the difficulties which they encountered, by reason of a great wind that blew, were intended as a warning, to correct their rashness. But we learn from the other evangelists, that the voyage was undertaken at his express command. And yet they were in trouble. We are reminded,
1 Matt. xiv. 22–33; Mark vi. 46-52.