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tended for in respect to God is not exclusive possession, but exclusive dominion, Other things may occasionally for a certain time, and to a certain degree, have possession of our minds, but they must not rule, they must not reign over them. We cannot serve two masters; we can serve but one faithfully and effectually, and that one must be God. The concerns and comforts of this life may have their due place in our hearts, but they must not aspire to the first ; this is the prerogative of religion alone ; religion must be supreme and paramount over all. Every one, it has been often said, has his ruling passion. The ruling passion of the Christian must be the love of his Maker and Redeemer. This it is which must principally occupy his thoughts, his time, his attention, his heart. If there be any thing else which has gained the ascendancy over our souls, on which our desires, our wishes, our hopes, our fears, are chiefly fixed, God is then dispossessed of his rightful dominion over us ; we serve another master, master, and we shall think but little of our Maker, or any thing belonging to him. His empire over our hearts must in short at all events be maintained. When this point is once secured, every inferior gratification that is consistent with his sovereignty, his glory, and his commands, is perfectly allowable; every thing that is hostile to them must at once be renounced. This is a plain rule, and a very important one. It is the principle which our blessed Lord meant here to establish, and it must be the governing principle of our lives. Next to this in importance is another command, which you will find in the 12th verse of the seventh chapter; “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them ; for this is the law and the prophets.” As the former precepts which we have been considering relate to God, this relates to man; it is the grand rule, by which we must in all cases regulate our conduct P 4 towards ardent figures and metaphors, which, before their true meaning can be ascertained, require very considerable abatements, restrictions, and limitations. . 3dly, What is most of all to the purpose, these abatements are almost constantly pointed out by Scripture itself; and whenever a very strong and forcible idiom is made use of, you will generally find it explained and modified by a different expression of the same sentiment, which either immediately follows or occurs in some other passage of Scripture. Thus in the present instance, when Christ says, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon; therefore take no thought for your life what ye shall eat and what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on :” this is mostclearly explained a few verses after in these words, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”.” The meaning therefore of the precept is evidently this ; not that we are. * Matt. vi. 25. 33.

are absolutely to take no thought for our life, and the means of supporting it; but that our thoughts are not to be wholly or principally occupied with these things. We are not to indulge an immoderate and unceasing anxiety and solicitude about them; for that indeed is the true meaning of the original word Regiuvoo. In our English Bible that word is translated take no thought ; but at the time when our translation was made, that expression signified only be not too careful. Our hearts, as it is expressed in another place, are not to be overcharged with the cares of this life”, so as to exclude all other concerns, even those of religion. In the same manner with respect to pleasures, we are not forbid to have any love for them; we are only commanded not to be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God+. When therefore it is said, ye cannot serve God and mammon, the point contended * Luke, xxi. 34. + 2 Tim. iii. 4.

tended for in respect to God is not exclusive possession, but exclusive dominion. Other things may occasionally for a certain time, and to a certain degree, have possession of our minds, but they must not rule, they must not reign over them. We cannot serve two masters; we can serve but one faithfully and effectually, and that one must be God. The concerns and comforts of this life may have their due place in our hearts, but they must not aspire to the first ; this is the prerogative of religion alone ; religion must be supreme and paramount over all. Every one, it has been often said, has his ruling passion. The ruling passion of the Christian must be the love of his Maker and Redeemer. This it is which must principally occupy his thoughts, his time, his attention, his heart. If there be any thing else which has gained the ascendancy over our souls, on which our desires, our wishes, our hopes, our fears, are chiefly fixed, God is then dispossessed of his rightful dominion over us ; we serve another master,

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