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VIII

THINGS NEW AND OLD

“Like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”—Matt. xiii. 52.

IT is the combination of the new and old which makes the wise and healthy steward in the things of the Kingdom of God. If we bring only old things out of the treasury we lose the challenge of opportunity and the inspiration of progress. The new occasion, which teaches new duties, is purposed to elicit new resource, and to make it clear that our secret wealth is more than equal to the severest and most exacting demand. If we bring only new things out of the treasury life is apt to lose its gravity; it forfeits the gathered harvest of experience. It surrenders the fine wisdom of the historic conscience. It is apt to venture forth upon an emotion without the steadying control of matured conviction. It is in the mingling of the two 38that life finds its sanity and its strength. We are to meet the novel experience of a new day with the wedded fellowship of new discernment and ripe experience.

Let us look around us. We are confronted by a new world. The year 1914 seems a century away. And, indeed, we have lived through generations of experience in this little span of six years. There are novel presences on every side, born and matured in a night. Things which were once very weak have found invincible armour, and they are marching along the roads in domineering strength. Movements, which were small as mustard seeds, have become great trees. bowing somebody else. We hear the word “rights” shouted along every road, and mingling with “rights” is the cry of “freedom.” Every sleeping thing is now awake, and it is stretching forth both hands to grasp its own inheritance. We live in a new world.

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And there are some men who, in view of all these novel conditions, are bringing only new things out of their treasury. All the old things have to be scrapped—the gathered wealth of the constitution, the well-proved axioms of political government, the sanctity of wedded life, the ministries of the Church, the sacred rites and mysteries of religion. They must all go! They have had their day, and they must cease to be! Let us have a clean sheet! Such is the cry of a multitude.

On the other hand, there are men who bring only old things out of their treasury. They are blind to the new conditions, or, if they see clearly, they decide that the new is not the true. They measure all things with straight yard-sticks, which cannot follow the new windings and convolutions of modern necessity and aspiration. They are prejudiced against everything that is new. They do not like to be troubled by novelties. They consult their sense of comfort rather than their sense of rectitude. Their emotional strength is not large enough, or sensitive enough, to feel the healthy stretchings and the growing pains of a new age. They have only old things for new worlds. They bring 40out a Sedan chair when men are learning to fly.

Surely the wise way is the Master’s way, and that is to bring out of the treasury things new and old. We need new sympathies, and by the grace of God we must grow them. Sympathies which have travelled only one mile must now travel two, and if need be twenty-two. Sympathies which have been shut within sheltered little paddocks must now go beyond the old walls and venture down very unfamiliar roads. And they must go along these new roads, not with dark flags of mistrust and depression, but under bright banners of gaiety and hope. Yes, we need new sympathies for new presences, and new causes, and new interests. The world needs these new sympathies—new tendrils of good will, and magnanimity, and perceptive understanding, feeling out for strange new things, and winding around them in helpful and fraternal support. The believers in Jesus Christ must bring out of their treasury things new.

Yes, and things old, too. We must not drop old moralities in the novel demands of a new world. The universal upheaval has 41not crumbled Sinai to a plain. The Ten Commandments are not obsolete. Calvary is not a fading name. Olivet is not a relic of an abandoned legend. Christ is not in His grave. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The things of His kingdom are as old as His love, and they are as new as our need. If we drop the old things all the new things will become insecure. Nay, they will prove to be vanity, and less than vanity. “Apart from Me ye can do nothing.”

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