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meet God in the church and also in the street; ir the communion of saints and in the loneliness of the agony of the Garden; in the depths of spiritual thought, and the daily life of duty. All will be steps of Jacob's ladder leading up to heaven, on which the angels of God will go up to carry prayers and come down to bring blessings.
WHAT WE POSSESS AND WHAT WE
“ If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own ? "
THE doctrine of the New Testament is, that man
is a steward, not an owner, of his possessions. His powers, faculties, opportunities, time, wealth, are talents confided to him, for which he is to give an account. The joys of this life do not belong to us; we are never sure of them. God may resume them at any moment. We possess them, but do not own them.
By “ being faithful in that which is another's” is, therefore, plainly meant “ being faithful as stewards of what God lends us. But what, then, is meant by the last clause of the text, “ Who shall give you that which is your own ?” If we are only stewards of our possessions, do we own anything? What is meant by “ that which is our own”?
I answer that what we possess is outside of ourselves, and not necessarily ours; what we own is within, a part of the soul, and is ours.
What we possess is, in its very nature, transient; what we own is, in its very nature, permanent. We possess our bodily health, but we do not own it; for it may leave us at any moment. We possess wealth, but do not own it; for it may take wings and fly away. We possess time, we do not own it; for it passes away from us in a steady current. We possess fame, power, influence; and these also may be taken from us suddenly and entirely. But we own our convictions, rooted in personal knowledge; we own our character, formed by faithful struggle, self-denial, loyalty to right, obedience to God. We own the faith which resists all doubts and all trials; the hope which grows more vigorous as the body dies; the love which unites us permanently to God and
Talents God lends us for a time; but these are gifts which he bestows and gives forever. And they are sent as the result of our fidelity. Such is, I think, the meaning of the motto quoted above.
This becomes more clear if we consider the passage which precedes it, of which this statement is the conclusion and moral. Jesus had been telling his disciples the story of the unjust steward. The steward had neglected his master's interest, and wasted his property ; had been detected, and was to be removed from his office. So he determined to make use of his power wbile he had it, to procure himself advantages after he should have lost it.