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talents, and he that had received the two, did, during the absence of their Lord, so diligently cultivate and so considerably improve them, that when at length he came to reckon with them, they returned him his own again with usury, and received both applause and reward ; while that slothful and indolent servant, who had received only one talent, and instead of improving it went and hid it in the earth, when his lord came and required it at his hands, was severely reprimanded for his want of activity and exertion, and was cast out as an unprofitable servant into outer darkness.
This, like the former parable, was plainly meant to intimate to us that we ought to be always prepared to meet our Lord, and to give him a good account of the use we have made of our time, and of the talents, whether many or few, that were
entrusted to our care. After these admonitory parables, and these earnest exhortations to prepare for the last great day, our blessed Lord is naturally naturally led on to a description of the day itself; and it is a description which for dignity and grandeur has not its equal in any writer, sacred or profane. It is as follows: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and ye clothed me ; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink P When saw we thee
a stranger, and took thee in ; or naked, and clothed thee P or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he also say unto those on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but
the righteous into life eternal.” Such Such is the description which our divine Master gives us of the great day of account; and so solemn, so awful, so sublime a scene, was never before presented
to the mind of man. Our Saviour represents himself as a great and mighty King, as the supreme Lord of all, sitting on the throne of his glory, with all the nations of the earth assembled before him, and waiting their final doom from his lips. What an astonishing and stupendous spectacle is this He then at one glance, which penetrates the hearts of every individual of that immense multitude, discerns the respective merits or demerits of every human being there present, and separates the good from the bad with as much ease as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats. He next questions them on one most important branch of their duty as a specimen of the manner in which the inquiry into the whole of their behaviour will be conducted; and then, with the authority of an almighty Judge and Sovereign, he in a few words pronounces the the irreversible sentence, which consigns the wicked to everlasting punishment, and the righteous to life eternal. Before I press this important subject any further on the hearts of those who hear me, I must make a few observations on the description which has been just laid before you. The first is, that all mankind, when assembled before the judgment-seat of Christ, are divided into two great classes, the wicked and the good, those who are punished, and those who are rewarded. There is no middle, nointermediate station provided for those who may be called neutrals in religion, who are indifferent and lukewarm, who are “neither hot nor cold,” who do not reject the Gospel, but give themselves very little concern about it, who, instead of working out their salvation with fear and trembling, leave that matter to take care of itself, and are at perfect ease as to the event. These men cannot certainly expect to inherit everlasting life. But they hope, probably, to