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who on losing his Stewardship, provides for his future Subfiftence. 169 Bill, and sit down quickly, Receipt of it (c), and sit down directly, and write Sect. 124. and write fifty. .
another, in which thou shalt acknowledge them
Receipt of but fifty, and I will alter my Book 7 Then said he to ano- agreeable to that. Then he said to another, And Luke XVI. ther, And how much owest bow much dolt thou owe ? And be laid, An hun-7. thou? And he said, An hundred Measures of Wheat. dred Homers of Wbeat. And he says to him, Take And he said unto him, Take thy Bill back, and write down an Acknowledgthy Bill, and write fourscore. ment of but four
Icore. ment of but fourscore ; and remember ho
I have made thine Account.
making Friends, who might shelter him for the
carious Possessions of this present Life.
(5) Take thy Bill, in which thou hast acknowledged the Receipt of it.] This Bill probably was something equivalent to a Note under his Hand, acknowledging the Receipt of so much Oil, and promising Payment for it. The Alteration of this plainly shews, how much Dr. Clarke is mistaken, in supposing the Steward did no Wrong to his Master in this Affair, but only gave the Debtors the Value of what he set off out of his own Stock, he undertaking to pay his Lord. (See Dr. Clarke's Sermons, Vol. iii. pag. 285.). For not to say how improbable it is, that this Bankrupt should be able or willing to make such a considerable Present, it is plain that if he had intended it, he would have let the Account remain unaltered. But by the Exchange of Bills, he cunningly made each of the Debtors an Accomplice with him, in defrauding bis Lord, and thereby provided against a Discovery.
(d) In their Generation.] It here signifies Affairs or Actions ; as Gen. vi. 9. xxxvii, 2. Vol. II.
170 A faithful Improvement should be made of our Riches. Sect. 124. ceitful Mammon (e), (as so little Confidence can of the Mammon of Unrighq ui be reposed in them ;) that when you fail, and die in
e teousness; that when ye fail, Luke XVI.
they may receive you into out of this World (f), they may receive you into everlasting Habitations. everlasting Habitations, and you may for ever enjoy the Reward of your pious Charity and Love, in an everlasting Friendship with all those truly
worthy Persons who have been relieved by it. 10 Let this Exhortation be regarded, not only by 10 He that is faithfut in those that abound in Wealth, but by all others : thi
that which is least, is faith
• ful also in much : and he For be, who acting on strict Principles of Inte- that is unjust in the leaft, is grity and Piety, is faithful in the smallest [Trust, unjust also in much. is, and would in Fact appear to be, faithful allo in one of much greater Importance, if it were committed to him ; and be who is unjust in the least Matter, is, if he can attempt it with Views
of Impunity, unjust also in much. II. If therefore it appears, that you have not been 1. If therefore ye have faithful in the unrighteous or deceitful Mammon, righteous Mammon
not been faithful in the un
who as I before called those precarious Treasures, who will commit to your Truft 12 will intrust you with the true (Riches ?) And the true Riches?" I repeat it again, if you have not been faithful in , 12 And if ye have not
been faithful in that which what was but another's, and only was committed is another Man's, who shall to your Care and Management for a little while ; give you that which is your who do you think will give you (that which mall own? be your own by an unalienable Right and eternal Possession (8)? You cannot fure expect fo high
(e) The unrighteous or deceitful Mammon.] Nothing can be more contrary to the whole Genius of the Christian Religion, than to imagine, that our Lord would exhort Men to lay out their ill-gotten Goods in Works of Charity, when Yuftice so evidently required they should make Restitution to the utmost of their Abilities. Mammon, or Wealth, is here called unrighteous or deceitful, on Account of its being so apt to fail the Expectation of the Owners; and in that View is opposed to true Riches, ver. 11.- The Mamman of Unrighteousness is plainly such a Hebraism, as the Steward of Unrighteoufness, ver. 8. and the Judge of Unrighteousness, chap. xviii. 6. Gr. which our Translators have with perfect Fidelity changed into the unjusi Steward, and the unjuft Judge; and had they taken the same Liberty in many other Places, they had made many Scriptures plainer, than they now appear to an English Reader. See Elfn. Observ. Vol. i. pag. 252. where he shews, that ad ixia fignifies Unfaithfulness, on which Account it is often opposed to Truth. Compare Rom. i, 18. ji. 8. and Deut. xix. 19. Mic. vi. 12. Hebr.
0) That when you fail, and die out of this world.] It is with apparent Propriety, that our Lord suggests the Thoughts of Death, as an Antidote againft Covetousness. Strange it is, that so many on the very Borders of the Grave, should be so inslaved to that wretched Passion !
(g) If you have not been faithful in what was another's, &c.] This is well expressed, tho' not exactly rendered, in the Version of 1727. If you have embezzled what another gave you in Trust, how can he give you an Estate in perpetuity? It probably alludes to a Custom, of rewarding faithful Stewards, by giving them some Part of the Estate they have managed.
; (5) They
: The covetous Pharisees that derided him, are reproved. 171
a Reward, without à Behaviour correspondent Sect. 124.
to it. 13. No Servant can serve But as I formerly have said, I tell you now Luke XVI. two Masters : for either he
e again, No Domestick whatever can serve Two dif- 13. . will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will ferent Masters; for be will surely either bate and hold to the one, and despise despise the one, and love the other ; or else he will the other. Ye cannot serve ot leoft adhere to the Commands of
ot Terve at least adhere to the Commands of the one, and God and Mammon.
negle&t those of the other : And so in like Manner
Pursuits. (Compare Mat. vi. 24. Vol. i. p. 253.)
tous, stood by and beard all these Things; and they
derided him (b) as a poor Visionary, who did not
out of his Reach.
but to yourselves, that you are animated, even in
any glittering Misrepresentation or Disguise. (Com-
you, until John the Baptist appeared ; but from
(6) They derided him.] The Word eeuulupic ov might more exactly be rendered, they Jneered. There was a Gravity and Dignity in our Lord's Discourse, which, insolent as they were, would not permit them to laugh out; but by some fcornful Air they hinted to each other their mutual Contempt : And they have, no doubt, seriously answered for it, as others of their Temper and Character will.
172 Heaven and Earth shall pass, before a Tittle of the Law shall fail. Sect. 124. into it (i); considerable Numbers, notwithstandw h y ing all your Sophistry, stand well disposed to re10. Ke avd. ceive it, and are willing to secure its Blessings at
any Rate. (Compare Mat. xi. 12, 13. Vol. i. 17 pag. 353, 354.) Yet I would not be under 17 And it is easier for stood, as if I intended by what I say, to put any Heaven and Earth to pass,
than one Tittle of the Law Slight on former Revelations ; for I rather establish and vindicate them, and again declare it to you as a most solemn Truth, that it is much easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away, and the whole System of created Nature to be destroyed, than for one Tittle of the Law of God to fail, or
the least Precept of it to be set aside as faulty. 18 (See Mat. v. 18. Vol. i. pag. 227.) And fár 18 Whosoever putteth a
from doing any Thing to leffen or abate the Force way his Wife, and marrieth of it, I rather affert it, in its utmost Extent and
another, committeth Adul.
tery: and whosoever mar. Spirituality ; insomuch that you know I have be- rieth her that is put away fore declared, in spight of all your boasted, but from her Husband, commit. dangerous Traditions, that whosoever puts away.
Luke xvi. 8.
M A Y the Wisdom of the Children of this World in their comparatively
I trilling Concerns, excite a holy Emulation in the Children of Light!
exert all the Force of our Resolutions in improving them ; than to labour Ver. 9.
merely for the Meat which perishes, for that deceitful Mammon, that treacherous Friend, which will at best only amuse us for a few Years, and will for ever forsake us in our greatest Extremity ?
. . Let
(i) Forces his Way into it, as aulny Braxtlar.] Some think this intimates, that those who should have been readiest to open the Door, rather attempted to keep them out : It certainly implies, that there were strong Obstacles in the Way.
Reflections on a due Improvement of our Stewardship. 173 Let us take Occasion from this Parable, to think, how soon we must Sect. 124. part with all our present Poffefsions ; how soon we must give an Account w
Ver. 1, 2. of our respective Stewardships, as those who must be no longer Stewards. Let us therefore manage them in such a Manner, as may most effectually promote the great Purposes of our everlasting Happiness. To this End let us remember, how absolutely necessary it is, that we abound in Works of Charity and Benevolence, and that we endeavour to abstract our Hearts from an over-eager Attachment to these lying Vanities ; for surely the Trifles of Earth are no better. Let us not imagine, that our particular Address can find out the Secret of serving GOD and Mammon ; since Ver. 13. Christ represents it as an Impossibility and Contradiction.
May we be found faithful in what God hath committed to us, whe- Ver. 10,-12. ther it be little or much; and govern ourselves, not by the Maxims of this vain World, but by those of the Gospel ! And if the same Temper, that led the covetous Pharisees to deride our Lord, engage the Children of this Ver. 14. World to pour Contempt upon us as Vifonaries and Enthusiasts, we have much greater Reason to be grieved for them, than for ourselves. Their Censures can be Matter of but little Account to us, when we consider, that the Things which are highly esteemed by Men, are often an Abomination in the Ver. 15. Sight of GOD. His Law is sacred, and the Constitutions of his Kingdom Ver. 16, 17. are unalterable : May the Temper of our Minds be so altered and disposed, as may suit it! for another Day, and another World, will few, that real Christianity is the only Wisdom ; and that all the Refinements of human Policy without it, are but specious Madness, and laborious Ruin.
S E CT. CXXV.
the Parable of the Rich Glutton and Lazarus. Luke
Luke XVI. 19. THERE was a certain T HAT his Hearers might be more effectu-Sect. 125, 1 Rich Man, which was
ally dissuaded from addicting themselves clothed in Purple and fine
added another Parable, which might have been