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to us to watch as well as pray; to exercise a constant Vigilance over ourselves, in Expectation of the Coming of our Lord at Death or Judgment; so to engage us to this is the excellent Design of several of Christ's Parables. This Watching includes both a being upon our Gaard against the Temptations to which we are exposed, and the employing ourselves in the faithful Difcharge of the Duties required of us. And what can be more encouraging this Way than the Representations he makes of the Blessedness of those Servants whom their Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching? Luke xii. 35, 36, 37, 38. Let your Loins be girded about, and your Lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto them that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the Wedding; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those Servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching. And so he goes on to describe their Blessedness, and the Honour that shall be put upon them, in very beautiful and fignificant Expressions. And, on the other Hand, Nothing can have an apter Tendency to roufe us out of our Negligence and Security, and to keep us from suffering ourselves to be feduced by the fatal Charms of sensual Pleafures and worldly Allurements, than the
S 2 Representation
Representation that is made of the misera. ble Condition and Punishment of the Servant that abused the seeming Delay of his Lord's Coming, to Infolence and Sloth, and to the Indulgence of his sensual Lusts : But and if that Servant say in his Heart, My Lord delayeth his Coming ; and Mall 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 when he looketh not for him, and at an Hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in funder, and will appoint him bis 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 Ferufalem, a little before his Paffion. 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 mention
ed, and apply them to our own Case, confidering 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 Difobedience 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 should 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 Profesfions, how specious foever, will be of any Avail to our Acceptance with God, and to our eternal Salvation. Since our Saviour hath said so much to encourage us to a perfevering Earnestness and Importunity in Prayer, let us be fervent and assiduous in that . sacred Exercise: And, finally, let us, ac, cording to the Instructions he hath given
us, add to our Prayers a conftantWatchfulness, as becometh thoje that wait for the Coming of our Lord, that we may not be furprised unprepared, but may be admitted to our Master's Foy. Happy shall we be, if thefe excellent Lessons of our heavenly Teacher
e 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 xii. 3.
And he spake many Things unto them in
T HE Parables of our Lord Jesus
1. Chrift afford a useful and noble Sube ject 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.