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SERM. ample they supply to the world. But
if on the other hand they are manifestly wandering into the fatal paths of sin, instead of despising them like the Pharisees and Scribes, and standing aloof from the office of administering counsel and assistance, let us follow the example of our blessed Lord in his dealings to Publicans and Sinners; in true charity to their souls let us use all means and opportunities to convince them of their danger, to retrieve them from an evil course, and to restore them to the better way. So shall we concur with Angels now in promoting their return to their heavenly Father's house. And so shall we rejoice with Angels hereafter on their final acceptance into the great household of God.
SERMON XI. '
THE STEWARD OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
LUKE XVI. 8, 9.
Steward, because he had done wisely : for the Children of this World are wiser in their generation than the Children of Light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. IT is one principal branch of wisdom SERM. I to understand the best application XI. of worldly wealth. This wisdom the w men of this world profess to know to perfection. But their knowledge in the most essential point is of little use, as it is limited altogether to this life. The best and only certain Guide, to whom we can resort for instruction in this
SERM. particular, is our holy Teacher Jesus
XI. Christ: and this he has imparted in the w following parable.
There was a certain Rich Man who had a Steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. Justly offended at his unfaithful dealing he - called him and said unto him, What is this that I hear of thee? Give an account of thy Stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer Steward. Conscious of the justice of this accusation and alarmed at the consequence, the Steward began to meditate within himself what means he should use to provide for a day of kwant: What shall I now do, when my
Lord taketh away from me the Stewardship? I cannot dig : to beg I am ashamed.
Not readily discovering any honest means of subsistence, he had recourse to measures of another kind: I am resolved what to do, that when I am put out of my stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his Lord's Debtors unto him, and he said unto the first, How much owest thou to my Lord? And he said, A hundred measures of oil: and he said unto him,
Take thy bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty, Then said he to another,
And how much owest thou? And he said, SERM. A hundred measures of cheat: and he said XI. unto him; Take thy bill, and write fourscore. Thus by striking off a large portion from their several debts he sought 'to conciliate their friendship: and having shewn himself attentive to their interest, while he had the means of serving them, he looked to them for sustenance, when his stewardship should be taken from him.
His scheme was politic, though highly fraudulent. If in wast
Lord's goods he merited dismission from his office, this closing act of his stewardship deserved a severer reprehension. Yet we read in the sequel, The Lord commended the unjust Steward, because he had done wisely. We may here be disposed to ask, how he should commend an act as wise, which was dishonest in its principle, and even injurious to himself. Now we are not here to suppose, that he approved the conduct of the Steward, or accounted it wise in a moral view. It is simply to be understood, that he admired his craft or worldly wisdom in taking such a measure to provide himself a home for the time when he should be in need.. And
SERM. this acceptation is countenanced by the
XI., sentiment which our Saviour adds, For m the Children of this lorld are wiser in
their generation than ile Children of Light. The Children of this world are they, who set their hearts and affections on this world: and the Children of light are they, who walk according to the light, and seek an inheritance among the Saints in light. Thus the plirase implies that inch of worldly minds are wiser toward the concerns of the world, than are men of heavenly ininds to the concerns of heaven. Now though the Children of this world are far from being a pattern to imitate in the choice they make, yet in the zeal with which they pursue their choice thcy may yield an example to the Children of light. Thus though the dealings of the Steward were flagrantly dishonest, yet his policy in providing for a future day suggests a lesson of true wisdom even to men of heavenly minds in providing for the life to come. Agreeable to which is the application which our Saviour adds, I say unto you, Make to yourselves Friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.