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Representation that is made of the miserable Condition and Punishment of the Servant that abased the seeming Delay of his Lord's Coming, to Insolence and Sloth, and to the Indulgence of his sensual Lusts: But and if that Servant fay in his Heart, My Lord delay eth his Coming; and shall begin to beat the Men-Servants and Maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the Lord of that Servant will come in a Day lichen he looketh not for him, and at an Hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his Portion with the Unbelievers. Ver. 46, 47.
These Parables, as appears from St. Luke, were spoken by our Lord, while he was yet in Galilee: But, as the Matter they were designed to recommend was of great Importance, he repeated them again, in very near the same Expressions, at Jerusalem, a little before his Passion. See Matt. xxiv. 45—51.
Thus have we considered those Parables of our Saviour that seem to have some one principal religious or moral Instruction in View, which it is the special Design of those Parables to inculcate and inforce: And it highly concerneth us to lay to Heart the important Lessons set before us. Let us frequently review the several useful and excellent Parables that have been mentioned, ed, and apply them to our own Case, considering that they are not designed merely to amuse and entertain us, but to direct and influence us to a proper Temper and Conduct. Let the amiable Representations, that our Saviour hath made to us of God's marvellous Loving-Kindness towards penitent returning Sinners, engage those of us that have gone on in a Course of Sin and Disobedience to forsake our evil Ways and to return to God with all our Hearts, casting ourselves wholly on his infinite Grace and sovereign Mercy: And, the more is forgiven us, we Jhould love him the more. Let all be careful to maintain that humble Frame of Spirit which our Lord recommendeth, and be far from a vain-glorious Boasting and Confidence in our own Righteousness and Merits; and at the fame Time we should be thoroughly sensible of, what he so. strongly inculcateth, the absolute Necessity of real Holiness of Heart and Life; and that without this no mere external Professions, how specious soever, will be of any Avail to our Acceptance with God, and to our eternal Salvation. Since our Saviour hath faid so much to encourage us to a persevering Earnestness and Importunity in Prayer, let us be fervent and afiduous in that , facred Exercise: And, finally, let us, ac-» cording to the Instructions he hath given S 3 us,
us, add to our Prayers a confantWatchfulnefs, as becometh those that wait for the Coming of ouf Lord, that we may not be surprised unprepared, but may be admitted to our Master's Joy. Happy shall we be, if these excellent Lessons of our heavenly Teacher be thus reduced by us into Practice; which will mightily tend to his Honour, and to our own unspeakable Comfort and Adyantage, both here and hereafter.
On the Parables of our Saviour.
Matthew xiii. 3.
And hi spake many Things unto them in Parables.
TH E Parables of our Lord Jesus Christ afford a useful and noble Subject for our Thoughts: They are generally designed to convey excellent religious and moral Instructions, and, with Regard to most of them, it may be observed, that each Parable hath some one principal Point of Instruction in View, which it is the special Design of that Parable to recommend and inforce: Instances of which have been already considered.
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But it may also be observed, that there are others of our Saviour's Parables which take a larger Compass, and which seem intended to inculcate several important Lessons, or Points of Instruction, in Doctrine and Practice.
Some of the Parables that were mentioned before, concerning the Nature of Chris's Kingdom, seem to be of this Kind; as particularly that excellent Parable of the Sower, and that of the Tares, both which abound with a Variety of Instructions. But, not to insist further upon these which have been already taken Notice of, that remarkable Passage of the rich Man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19—31, deserves to be distinctly considered, for the many excellent Instructions it contains. The first Part of that Parable presenteth us with a lively Image of a rich Man living in great Splendor, and flowing with Wealth and Luxury; and of a poor but good Man, reduced to the greatest Want and Penury: "There was a certain Man which was clothed in Purple and fine Linen, and fared sumptuously every Day; and there was a certain Beggar fa poor Man, as the Word there used might better be rendered, and as our Translators have constantly rendered if in other Places) named Lazarus, which was laid at his Gate, full of Sores; and desiring