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stance in particular. And he has told you in the most elear and express terms, how you are to employ it for him, in such a manner, that it may be an holy sacrifice, acceptable through Christ Jesus. And this light, easy service he has promised to reward with an eternal weight of glory.
3. The directions which God has given us, touching the irse of our worldly substance, may be comprized in the following particulars. If you desire to be a faithful and wise steward, out of that portion of your Lord's goods, which he has for the present lodged in your hands, but with the right of resuming whenever it pleases him, first, provide things needful for yourself, food to eat, raiment to put on, whatever naiure moderately requires, for preserving the body in health and strength : secondly, provide these for your wife, your children, your servants, or any others who pertain to your houshold. If when this is done, there be an overplus lett, then do good to then that are of the houshold of faith. If there be an overp!us still, as you have opportunity, do good unto all men. In so doing, you give all you can': nay, in a sound sense, all you have : for all that is laid out in this manner, is really given to God. You render unto God the things that are God's, not only by what you give to the poor, but also by that which you expend in providing things needful for yourself and your houshold.
4. If then a doubt should at any time arise in your mind, concerning what you are going to expend, either on yourself or any part of your tamily, you have an easy way to remove it. Calmly and seriously enquire, 1. In expending this, Am I acting according to my character ? Am I acting herein, not as a proprietor, but as a steward of my Lord's goods? 2. Am I doing this in obedience to his word ? In what scripture does he require me so to do? 3. Can I offer up this action, this expence, as a sacrifice to God through Jesus Christ ? 4. Have I reason to believe, that for this very work I shall have a reward at the resurection of the just ? You will seldom need any thing more to remove any doubt which arises on his head ; but No. XIII.
by this fourfold consideration you will receive clear light as to the way wherein you should go.
5. If any doubt still remain, you may farther examine yourself by prayer,'according to those heads of enquiry. Try whether you can say to the Searcher of Hearts, your conscience not condemniņg you, “ Lord, thou seest, I'am going to expend this sum on ebat food, apparel, Turniture. And thou knowest, I act therein with a single eye, as a steward of thy goods, expending this portion of thein thus, in pursuance of the design thou hadst in intrusting me with them. Thou knowest I do this, in obedience to thy word, as thou commandest, and because thou commandest it. Let this, I beseech, thee, be an holy sacrifice, acceptable throughi Jesus Christ! And give me a witness in myself, that for this labour of love, I shall have a recompenee; when thou rewardest every man according to his works.” Now if your conscience bear you witness in the Holy Ghost, that this prayer is well pleasing to God, then have you no reason to doubt, but that expence is right and good, and such as will never make
6. You see then what it is, to make yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, and by what means you may procure, that when he fail they may receive you into the everlasting habitations. You see the nature and extent of truly Christiao prudence, so far as it relates to the use of that great talent, Money. Gain all you can, without hurting either yourself or your neighbour, in soul or body; by applying hereto with unintermitted diligence, and with all the understanding which God has given you.
Save all you can, by cutting off every expence; which serves only to indulge foolish desire: to gratisy either the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life. Waste nothing, living or dying, ou sin or folly, whether for yourself or your children. And then Give all you can, or in other words, give all you have to God.
have to God. Do not stint yourself, like a Jew rather than a Christian to this or that proportion. Render un o God, tot a leith, not a third, not hall; but all that is God's, be it more or less : by employing all,
on yourself, your houshold, the boushold of faith and all mankind, in such a manner, that you may give a good account of your stewardship, when ye can be no longer stewards : in such a manner as the oracles of God direct, boih by general and particular precepts: in such a manner, that whatever ye do may be a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour to God; and that every act may be rewarded in that day, when the Lord cometh with all his saints.
7. Brethren, can we be either wise or faithful stewards, unless we thus manage our Lord's goods? We cannot; as not only the oracles of God, but our own conscience beareth witness. Then why should we delay? Why should we confer any longer with flesh and blood, or men of the world ? Our kingdom, our wisdom is not of this world. Heathen custom is nothing to us. We follow no men any farther, than they are followers of Christ." Hear y'e him: yea, to-day, while it is called to-day, hear and obey his voice. At this hour and from this hour do his will : fulfil his word, in this and in all things. I intreat you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, act up to the dignity of your calling. No'more sloth! Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might. No more waste ! Cut off every expence which fashion, caprice, or Mesh and blood demand. No more covetousness! But en ploy whatever God has intrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree, to the household of faith, to all men. This is nosmall part of the wisdom of the just: give all ye have, as well as all ye åre, a spiritụal sacrifice to him, who with-held not from you his Soil, his only Son : so laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may attain eternal life.
Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no
HE relation which man bears to God, the crea
sture to his Creator, is exhibited to us in the oracles of God under various representations. Considered as a sinner, a fallen creature, he is there represented as a debtor to his Creator. He is also frequently represented as a servant, which indeed is essential to him as a creafure : insomuch that this appellation is given to the Son of God when in his state of humiliatiop : he took“upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
2. But no character more exactly agrees with the present state of man than that of a steward. Our blessed Lord frequently represents him as such ; and there is a peculiar propriety in the representation. It is only in one particular respect, namely, as he is a sivner, that he is stiled a dębior. And when he is stiled a servant, the appellation is general and indeterminate. But a steward is a servant of a particular kind : such a one as man is in all respects. This appellation is exactly expressive of his situation in the present world; specifying what kind of servant bc is to God, and what kind of service his divine Master expects from him.
It may be of use then to consider this point thoroughly, and to make our full improvement of it. In order to this, let us, first, inquire, in what respects we are now God's stewards. Let us, secondly, observe, that when he requires our souls of us, we can be no longer stewards, It will then only remain, as we may in the third place, observe, to give an account of our stewardship.
1. 1. And
1. 1. And, first, We are to enquire, in what respects we are now God's stowards. We are now indebted to him for all we have; but although a debtor is obliged to return what he has received, yet until the time of payment comes, he is at liberty to use it as he pleases. It is not so with a steward; he is not at liberty to use what is lodged in his hands, as he pleases, but as his master pleases. He has no right to dispose of any thing which is in his hands, but according to the will of his Lord. For he is not the proprietor of any of these things, but barely intrusted with them by ariother; and intrusted on this express condition, that he shall dispose of all as his master orders. Now this is exactly the case of every man, with relation to God. We are not at liberty to use what he has lodged in our hands, as we please, but as he pleases, who alone is the Possessor of heaven and earth, and the Lord of every creature.
We have no right to dispose of any thing we have, but according to his will, seeing we are not proprietors of any of these things : they are all, as our Lord speaks, anaomple, belong ing to another person ; nor is any thing properly our own, in the land of our pilgrimage. We shall not receive ta idia our own things, till we come to our own country. Eternal things only are our own: with all these temporal things we are barely, intrusted by another; the Disposer and Lord of all. And he intrusts us with them on this express condition, that we use them only as our master's gods, and according to the particular directions, which he has given us in his word.
2. On this condition he hath intrusted us with our souls, our bodies, our goods, and whatever other talents we have received. But in order to impress this weighty truth on our hearts, it will be needful to come to para ticulars.
And first, God has jutrusted us with our soul, an immortal spirit, made in the image of God, together with all the powers and faculties thereof, understanding, imagination, memory; will, and a train of affections, either included in it, or closely dependent upon it ; love and hatred, joy and sorrow, respecting present good and evil; desire and aversion, hope and fear, re