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Lord Jesus Christ, our fellow man, our elder brother, is in Heaven. After His long labours He is at rest. After three and thirty years of toil and struggle and strife, He is at peace. He has His dwelling in that
peace of God which passeth all understanding." His warfare is over. He is no more a stranger and a pilgrim upon the earth ; sometimes without a home to shelter Him, without a place in which He might lay down His head. He is gone home. “ He has ascended up on high. He has led captivity captive." He has conquered all His enemies, and now He is gone back to the bosom of the Father who loved Him from before the worlds were made. He is exalted. Men on earth adore Him. Angels give glory to His human nature and confess that it is nobler and greater than their own, because “ Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Oh how great is His glory, how profound His peace. There He is dwelling, in the Heaven which is highest, in that Heaven which is the Heaven of Heavens, in the innermost recess and shrine of God, in that place where not a breath of tumult enters, where all is hushed. There they dwell together, Three in One, One in Three; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons, coequal, coeternal, yet but One God. There, on the topmost mountain peak and summit of glory, He looks down upon the storms of earth which rage beneath Him, the ruler and the arbiter of all, Himself unmoved and still. And He gives us a little foretaste of His peace now,
if we anchor hope within the vail. “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.” “Peace I leave with you ;" peace in the midst of trouble now, perfect peace hereafter
a calm between the storms now; a glimpse of heavenly sunshine now and then; a glance into the depths of that sea of glass which is around the throne; a look by faith into the hidden mysteries of the unfathomed will of God. But then,-after life is over, when our warfare is accomplished and our iniquity pardoned, when" the winter is past and the rain is over and gone,” when all evil has been washed away, then—"we shall see Him as He is.” In peace we shall see His peace.
Meanwhile let us hope, and wait, and be patient. Cast anchor now within the vail. “ Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” “Wait on the Lord and keep His way.” “ Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee thy heart's desires.” If He sends thee calm, be thankful. If storms come upon thee, hope and be still. The winds are in the hollow of His hand. They blow not but by His permission. When He says, Peace, there shall be a calm. Only hope. Hope and look forward. The world is growing old. The end of all things comes nearer and more near. The sun is shining “more and more unto the perfect day.” In Heaven there is no more trial, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more tears. There is “no ñight there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light.” “There the wicked cease from troubling and there the weary be at rest.” Rise upon the wings of hope, and pass through Christ within the vail, that hereafter ye may see what now ye believe. “Now I see through a glass darkly ; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS.
ST. LUKE xvi, 9. “I say anto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of
unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”
NHE meaning of these words of our Lord is obvious
enough. They are words of counsel. They address themselves to the wisdom and sound sense of thoughtful prudent men. Knowing the excellence of friendship, and the importance of having friends in Heaven, our Lord proposes to His followers that they should aim at making friends. “ Make to yourselves friends."
And, further, He goes on to show them how to make friends. Not only does He point them to the end, but He shows them the way by which they must attain it. Not, indeed, what seems at first sight a likely road to such an issue, but the true road nevertheless. They are to make friends out of mammon. Mammon is to be the means by which they are to win friends. Nor does our Lord say of mammon only, stopping when He had said this. But, as if to increase our astonishment, He adds an expression which places mammon in the worst light, and ascribes to it the most infamous character,—“ the mammon of unrighteousness," So our Lord describes it. The fact is, that money, representing as it does the worth of worldly goods, is most intimately connected with the world itself, and is almost identified and consubstantial with it; so that whatever the world is, money must be the same, and if the “world lieth in wickedness," as we know that it does, money must lie in wickedness also. And, in truth, money and sin are 80 closely allied to each other that it is not easy to dissolve the connection, and keep the two separate. “ Sin,” says a proverb, “doth stick close between buying and selling;” and sin is never at any very great distance from any transaction in which money plays a leading part. Mammon therefore may well be called “unrighteous;" unrighteous, as the love of it is “the root of all evil,” and it is not easy not to love it; unrighteous, as often gained by wrongful dealing, and as the dreadful source of half the sins which make the world miserable, and of more than half the quarrels by which men, and families, and nations are torn asunder.
And yet, for all this, mammon has its fair side. Mammon, like everything else which sin has cursed, has been redeemed by Christ. It can be used well. If well cultivated it can bear most admirable fruit. If directed into good channels it can become a rich and fertilizing stream of bounty. It can conduct its possessor, if he employ it wisely, to the most glorious and resplendent issues. It can even make friends ; and those friends so good, and so powerful, and so able to assist their benefactors, that they will stand as porters at the gates of those bright mansions which are the home of everlasting felicity, and open those eternal doors which are the entrance to an endless kingdom and never-fading bliss,
That is the prospect which is opened to us in this saying of our Lord. Excellent friends are promised. Everlasting habitations are pictured to our admiring and astonished view. And the soil in which this rich harvest grows
is the sterile soil of mammon. Mammon -unrighteous mammon, mammon, that fruitful mother of so much that “is mean, and selfish, and unjust, and violent, and criminal," -may be turned from its natural and downward bias, till it ascends to God in Heaven, and crowns its owner, if he use it well and prudently, with joys which cannot end. This our Lord teaches, and it is worth our while to spend some little time and thought in considering a saying which puts an old subject before us under a new aspect, and shows us that money is given to our stewardship, that it may make us benefactors, and win for us great and influential friends.
I. I would first observe that our Lord would evidently show us that to “make friends is the grand business of life. He sees eternity before Him. He beholds afar off the mansions which He will afterwards prepare for those who love Him. And looking thus to the end of all things, and to man's final and everlasting destiny, He shows that friendship is the means by which this good end will be obtained. Make to yourselves friends, that they may receive you into everlasting habitations, is the substance of the precept which he enforces by a parable, and enjoins on his followers as a maxim and habitual rule of life.
Now, I am not at all sure that we are generally alive to this. We are most of us aware that friends are a good thing. We can appreciate that saying of the wise Solomon, when he declares that, iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance