Sidor som bilder

man been a real character, it is proba- | secure his reception; and therein we ble he would have out-lived all those may imitate him-not indeed by meritmiscalled friendships which men of ing such a reception in heaven, but reevil minds form one among another; membering that our reception in heaven and would have died, probably, al is to be ascertained on earth. Now, friendless and destitute person. But, there are multitudes who say, “ Lord, however, it is plain that this dishonesty Lord,” and think they are his disciples, which calls for the reprobation of all who carry on a delusive hope even till good men, is not what our Lord calls they stand before him, and yet have on us to imitate ; he is not set up for nothing to testify that their faith is our imitation in this. The lord his genuine, and who are not in reality master, who found he had by a new believers. It is important, then, that act of knavery defrauded him in this Christians should ascertain for themsecond instance, surely could not selves, and mark out to others, that praise that villainy which he finally their faith is not that which ends in discovered. This was not, then, the perdition, the speculative belief of the subject of the Lord's commendation. unholy. How is this to be done but When it is said, that the Lord com- by such acts as the unrighteous steward mended this man, surely it could not now addresses himself to ? Our acts of be that which our Saviour proposes for obedience to God, and diligence in his our imitation. It would be unjust in service are the proper fruits of faith; the stewardship which God has given and without these we cannot assure us to waste his goods, and to violate ourselves of our reception in glory for all those relations in which we stand which we are longing. Without this to him ; which must surely bring us be effected, unless this appear, we are to eternal ruin, and is no subject of not adopted into God's family-we are praise and commendation.

not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ But, secondly, let us see whether we our hope is delusive, and will at last are called to imitate him in the design be incomplete. In this second partiby which he would avert these conse cular, then, we should imitate his dequences. The single aim of this man sign-now to assure ourselves of our was to merit and secure a kind recep- eternal happiness at last. tion from others when turned out by But we observe, that this was his his employer : he designed to merit single aim-his design was solely selftheir reception by obliging them by ish. In utter disregard of his master's this last act of dishonesty. In this interest, without a single act of conour design assuredly is not to be like trition for his monstrous dishonesty, his: we cannot imitate him in that, he now doubles his crime in order to because no creature can merit forgive- secure himself from its effects. We ness from God. We are not called by are not to imitate him in this, that our our acts to merit our reception in own happiness is to be the single heaven, as he designed to merit his object we have in view. Like him we reception into their several houses. may aim at our happiness—God has Our reception into the divine favour mercifully allowed it, as he has made depends on another source. Received it essential to our nature. But, then, by simple faith we become friends by our happiness is ever to be in harmony believing only, without all works, and with the glory of our Lord, and in before all works. God receives any every thing subordinate to it. The one of us that becomes his, solely for universal Christian rule is, “ Whether the sake of that pre-eminent merit we live we live to the Lord, and which he beholds in Christ; and all whether we die we die to the Lord ; the acts to which God's children are so that whether we live or die we are called are to be the result of his recep the Lord's.” It is to him that Christion, and not its cause. Therefore, in tians are called to yield themselves; our design to merit a reception, we are and their own happiness is never found not taught that we by our acts are to separated from that higher object of endeavour to merit it. This is a truth rendering honor to their Saviour, but so plain that I need not prove or illus- in exact conjunction with it. In this trate it by passages of Scripture. On we see, then, that we are to copy parthe other hand, his design was to tially, and not entirely, the design of the unjust steward : his injustice we circumstances to their benefit, and reap are wholly to avoid-his design we are advantage from that which would seem partly to imitate.

to crush them in their pursuit of hoBut in the third place, his wisdom nour, fame, or wealth! Christians are in securing his design is marked out for often in spiritual things, in the most our entire approbation and imitation. humiliating way, the reverse of all “ The Lord commended the unjust this. How sad it is to observe and steward because he had done wisely.” feel, that Christians, often in spiritual This was the point of commendation. matters, cannot watch against the He had acted in disregard of principle, it temptation which threatens shipis true; but with regard to his interest, wreck to their souls; whereas they most wisely. A man on the very should imitate this assiduity and proverge of ruin, he contrived to avoid it. vidence of the world! Christians not A friendless man, he contrived at the unfrequently contrive little for their very crisis of his ruin to make himself spiritual interest, not taking the adfriends. Moneyless, he employed the vantages that occur by laying themfunds of his ill-treated master to se- selves out to obtain them; whereas cure his ultimate fortune. His vil they should imitate the world's dililainy was detestable, but his wisdom gence in procuring means, and should was most to be admired. It is some contrive means by which to advance what humiliating to observe the gene. | their spiritual welfare. Christians are ral truth which our Lord has sub apt to make little use of means. Which joined to this particular example, that of you cannot recollect many opportuworldlings are in their generation nities which might have been seized wiser than the children of light; inti for your soul's advantage, but which mating that the steward was one of were suffered to pass away through this world-a humiliating remark to inconsiderateness or indisposition to show, as it seems, that this kind of improve them ?-whereas we should dishonesty is not unfrequent in this be prompt in using all those means evil world, cloaked, it may be, by va- , and opportunities when they occur. rious disguises, but still greatly pre- Christians are often indolent in emvalent; amongst savage nations, uni ploying the advantages they possess : versal; where religion is hardly pro so are not the worldly. Christians do fessed, most general; and even in those not set their minds on particular succommunities where there is a leaven cesses, and often are not ready to make of godliness, how perpetual are the the sacrifices that are necessary to secomplaints of this radical, though per- cure great spiritual objects. Also in haps not open and avowed, dishonesty. this they should follow the world.

Now, in their generation worldly Christians, finally, will often yield to persons are wiser than the children of circumstances with a lamentable weaklight. What admirable wisdom they ness, and say, If my circumstances display in securing their perishable were other than they are, I would be fortunes—how quick-sighted to foresee more holy, I would be decided if God the dangers that may accrue to them had blessed me with a stronger mind, in their pursuits after wealth and ho- and a more vigorous understanding, I nour, prompt to avail themselves of all would : if my circumstances were more advantages that may occur! How they favorable I would : I wish to be so, economize those means that are at but I am carried along by the force of their disposal, availing themselves of circumstances. Alas, the very same them to the utmost to secure their persons in their worldly business often ends! How eager to employ their show that they can wrestle with cirmeans of success, never refusing any cumstances, and turn them, however aid that another can offer in procuring untoward, to their advantage. Should connections that may probably advance | not the children of light most of all them in their fortunes! How often, possess this wisdom? In all these with admirable sagacity, will they sa- points the believer is called to mani. crifice small ends to great ones! With fest that wisdom which the world what skill, with what boldness, with shows in regard to temporal things : what decision, with what admirable and they may well do it, for the obforce, do they often turn untoward Tjects for which they strive are greater,

the rules by which they strive are distributed. Forward missionary efplainer, and the aid afforded them is forts-forward every object by which divine.

the spiritual welfare of men can be But in this passage believers are promoted. Nor neglect the temporal particularly called to imitate that wis-welfare of God's people : secure their dom which the unrighteous steward gratitude by visiting them in their displayed. What that was we have sorrow and affliction, by taking care to already seen. Believers are called to relieve them in their necessities as far imitate it in the words of the text-| as your means extend ; and thus aug“ Make to yourselves friends of the ment, as all these actions will augment, mammon of unrighteousness.” Mam- their friendship to you. And what is mon was, among the Syrians, the idol, 1 the object of all this? That when you the god of riches : and here it is used die these men may look around and for riches itself, probably because meet you, as it were, at the gates of riches are the idol of men in the world heaven, and say—I was brought here

-the mammon of unrighteousness, by the school which you foundedbecause so very often acquired in ways and I by the Bible you put into my that are not perfectly Christian, and hand-and I by the missionary you so wickedly employed when gained.supported and I by the place of Now, when our Lord says, “Make to worship you helped to found—and yourselves friends of the mammon of another may say, I, by the kind and unrighteousness,” we should not over-Christian care with which you accomlook that which is another man's snare, panied your gifts of charity when I which is often wickedly employed, was reduced to distress—I was conand so often does mischief, may, and verted, I was built up, I was estasurely should, by the children of God be blished and brought to glory by you so employed, as to be, first and last, a and now welcome to this place of rest, blessing. Make to yourselves friends, to this place of glory to which you are he says, of that which ensnares others, come. Is not such an exhibition of making it a spiritual good to your friendship the very best result that can selves. By thus employing your | take place from the use of wealth ? wealth secure to yourselves friends in | When all the luxuries of this world the eternal world, those who when have passed away—when all the lower, you die shall welcome you to be their but legitimate, purposes of wealth are friends and comrades in eternal glory. gone for ever—when strength failsSome would understand it as referring when friends are obliged to part with to Christians, by the proper use of you—when your health declines and their wealth, assuring themselves that your spirits decay-when you must they are the friends of God, and as enter alone the valley of the shadow of suring a favourable reception to them death-when you give up all these comin the other world. But as the refer forts which you have enjoyed—when ence is to the conduct of the steward you fail, as fail you must, though it is in making the debtors his friends, and no melancholy thought to the child of not in making the master his friend, it God-then those Christian friends, may be more proper to refer it to those made doubly dear to you by the emChristian friends whose love may be ployment of your riches, will receive augmented to us. We will take it in you into glory to be for ever happy this light. The words seem more pro. bably to mean, Make to yourselves But let us remember, lastly, that friends by all the means in your power. they will be gathered into the presence God says to all his servants, Employ of their Saviour. They will receive you your wealth to augment Christian into eternal habitations-not where friendship around you: by your wealth they alone are, but where Christ also endeavour to convert the wicked-en is. This will double the joy of those deavour to edify the righteous-see who, by employing their wealth well, that Christian instruction be provided have assured to themselves and others for ignorant children. By your money that they are the children of God. see that religious books be distributed 1 I will add but a few words of among the ignorant: by your money serious and plain reflections to ourthat Bibles be diffused-that tracts are selves. Let us lay these things to heart. As this man, we are stewards., by which the felicity of heaven is to be It is not others—it is we who are augmented, I doubt not the right apstewards of the divine goodness: we plication of wealth is one, and a very are bound to deliver back to him all principal one; but that which is the we received. Our stewardship is of chief is, conformity to the likeness of short duration ; we shall soon be called Christ, to give him honour, and love to account. Whatever circumstances him while on earth. The poor man we are now placed in will be remem- | always can, and often does this as bered at that day. How you have much as the rich, and even more. He employed your wealth, either already may be like the Saviour, and thereacquired and possessed, or to be here- fore secure the love of all his brother after gained, will then be noticed. At saints in heaven, more even than those that day you and I must give an ac who have by the right application of count of every single gift of every sort their wealth procured to themselves which we possess from the divine an augmentation of eternal friendship, being: and God Almighty grant to So let all the children of light in this you all that it may be with joy and place imitate the wisdom of the men gratitude.

of this world, lay their eternal interest But let us remember wherein we, to heart, live for immortality, and not others, are to imitate this man. think it worth their while by any saBeing stewards of the Divine bounty, crifice to secure and to enlarge that bleswe ourselves are by our works to assure sedness which God offers hereafter ; ourselves here that we are the children and so to be with Christ—with him of God—to assure it to others, and whose excellent goodness is even here, thereby to honour our Lord, unto whose in proportion to our faith, the foundahonour our own interests are ever to tion of every man's satisfaction. But be subservient; and thereby to augment oh, when we go there we shall see that Christian friendship which here him as he is, and be surrounded by a is one of the greatest blessings which crowd of brethren and friends, who a child of God can enjoy, and which shall bring us, when our spirits enter in the next world will be a principal the eternal world, to be with our ingredient of its felicity. Here, how. Lord. When you fail they shall reever, let us not pass by this signal ceive you—not only at the final judggoodness of the Almighty, that while ment, but when you fail, when you we are stewards, and owe him all, he die, when your eyes close on this prepermits, nay, he commands us so to sent scene, you shall have a troop of use this gift, wealth, as to secure our warm-hearted Christian brethren to own eternal blessing. By it he makes carry you to the very throne of your us the possessors of what is good in incarnate Saviour, to see him and know order that we may employ it for him, him as he is, to feel his dying love, and in employing it for him, to em- to understand those wonders of reploy it for ourselves. How liberal, deeming love which here we do so how kind, how wise our heavenly | very imperfectly appreciate, which Father is !

here grow upon us as we grow in re. Yet let not the poor man think, that ligion, the very glance of which is so because he is not wealthy he cannot delightful, the full enjoyment of which secure this felicity. Among the means I will be heaven itself.

London : Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;

and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.

Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

A Sermon


1 Peter, i. 3–5.-Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which

according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserced in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."


THERE are, it will readily be ac- , able at all times, and under all cirknowledged, numberless benefits for cumstances, to say with the Apostle which every created being has abundant Paul, “ Thanks be unto God for his reason to bless the Father from whence unspeakable gift." they proceed. The true Christian, In the endeavour to promote so dehowever, who has been brought out lightful a frame of mind, let us pray of the world of the ungodly, who has for the Spirit of God, the Comforter, been taught to look beyond the pre- that he may be with us while we mesent state of things, where sin and ditate on the themes which call for sorrow continually intermingle, and to the Apostle's thanksgiving in the pascatch some glimpse of what shall be sage before us. his future heritage-he has indeed « Blessed be the God and Father of cause for praise which no earthly our Lord Jesus Christ." First, that sorrow can suppress, and which nei he “ hath begotten us again unto a ther difficulties nor trials can extin- lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus

Christ from the dead.” SECONDLY, This is remarkably manifested in that he has prepared for us an inhethe words of the text. In the opening | ritance. THIRDLY, that he has reof the epistle, the main intent of which served this inheritance for us, and that was to prepare the Church for a time he has promised to keep us for it. of suffering, and to warn them of per The First object of the Apostle's secution, and to arm them against thanksgiving is, that God HAS BEtheir coming trials—for one or other GOTTEN US AGAIN UNTO A LIVELY of these is alluded to in every chapter- HOPE BY THE RESURRECTION OF Jesus we yet find the language to be that of CHRIST FROM THE DEAD. thanksgiving and praise. Happy is It is natural that the first step in he who can imitate so bright an ex- the Christian life should be the first ample, who, when all earthly pros- subject of the Christian's thankspects are dark and lowering, can still giving. God has begotten us again. delight himself and joy in the God of Yes, my brethren, as surely as that his salvation. Blessed is he who you were once born of flesh and blood, really knows God as the Father of our so surely, if you are children of God, Lord Jesus Christ—that relationship have you been born again of the Spirit, 80 endearing to the heart of every made new creatures in Christ Jesus, Christian-and who knowing him, is taught to put off the old man with his


« FöregåendeFortsätt »