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only one of that'number of poor, whose wants were to be supplied out of that part of my substance, which I had placed in thy hands for this purpose: leaving thee the right of being supplied first, and the blessedness of giving rather than receiving? Wast thou accordingly, a general benefactor to mankind ? Feeding the hungry, cloathing the naked, comforting the sick, assisting the stranger, relieving the afflicted, according to their various necessities Wast thou eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame? A father to the fatherless, and an husband to the widow? And didst thou labour to improve all outward works of mercy, as means of saving souls from death?”
6. Thy Lord will farther enquire, “ Hast thou been a wise and faithful steward, with regard to the talents of a mixt nature which I lent thee? Didst thou employ thy health and strength, not in folly or sin, not in the pleasures which perished in the using, not in making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the desires thereof, but in a vigorous pursuit of that better part, which none could take away from thee? Didst thou employ whatever was pleasing in thy person or address, whatever advantages thou hadst by education whatever share of learning, whatever knowledge of things or men was committed to thee, for the promoting of virtue in the world, for the enlargement of my kingdom? Didst thou employ whatever share of power thou hadst, whatever influence over others, by the love or esteem of thee which they had conceived, for the increase of their wisdom and holiness ? Didst thou employ, that inestimable talent of time, with wariness and circumspection, as duly weighing the value of every moment, and knowing that all were numbered in eternity ? Above all, Wast thou a good steward of my grace, preventing, accompanying, and following thee? Didst thou duly observe and carefully improve all the influences of my Spirit ? Every good desire ? Every measure of light?: All his sharp or genile reproofs? How didst thou profit by the Spirit of Bondage and fear, which was previous to the Spirit of Adoption ? And when thou wast made a parlaker of this Spirit, crying in thy heart; Ahba, Father, didst thou stand fast in
the glorious liberty where with I made thee freet Didst thou from thenceforth present thy soul and body, all thy thoughts, thy words and actions, in one flame of love, as an holy sacrifice, glorifying me with thy body and thy. spirit.? Then IVell done, good and faithful servant ! Enter tbou into the joy of thy Lord!” And what wilt rea main, either to the faithful or unfaithful steward? Nothing but the execution of that sentence, which has been passed by the righteous Judge ; fixing thee in a state which admits of no change, through ererJasting ages. It remains only, that thou be rewarded to all eternity, according to thy works.
IV. 1. From these plain considerations we máy learn, first, How important is this short, uncertain day of life! How precious, above all utterance, above all conception, is every portion of it!
1 " The least of these a serious care demands :
“ For tho' they're liitle, they are golden Sands !"? How deeply does it concern every child of man, to let none of these run to waste; but to improve them all to the noblest purposes, as long as the breath of God is in his nostrils !
2. We learn from hence, secondly, That there is no employment of our time, no action or conversation that is purely indifferent. All is good or bad, because all our time, as every thing we have, is not our own. All these are, as our Lord speaks, ta annorpia, the property of another; of God, our Creator. Now these either are, or are not employed, according to his will. If they are so employed, all is good ; if they are not, all is evil. Again : It is his will, that we should continually grow in grace, and in the living knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, every thought, word, and work whereby this knowledge is increased, wherely we grow in grace, is good : and every one whereby this knowledge is not increased, is truly and properly evil. 3.
We learn from hence, thirdly, That there are no works of supererogation ; that we can never do more No. XIII.
than our duty : seeing all we have is not our own, but God's, all we can do is due to him.. We liave not received this or that, or many things only, but every thing from him : therefore every thing is his due. He that gives us all, must needs have a right to all. So that if we pay him auy thing less than all, we cannot be faithful stewards. And considering every man shall ret ceive his own reward, according to his own labour, we cannot be wise stewards, unless we labour to the uttermost of our power : not leaving any thing undone, which we possibly can do, but putting forth all our strength.
4. Brethren, Who is an understanding man, and endued with knowledge among you ? Let him shew the wisdom from above, by walking suitably to his character.
If he so account of himself, as a steward of the manifold gifts of God, let him see that all his thoughts, and words, and works be agreeable to the post God has assigned him. It is no small thing, to lay out for God all which you have received from God. It requires all your wisdom, all your resolution, all your patience and constancy: far more than ever you had by nature : but not more than you may have by grace. For his grace is sufficient for you, and all things, you know, are possible to him that believeth. By faith then, put on the Lord Jesus Christ; put on the whole armour of God, and you shall be enabled to glorify him in all your words and works, yea, to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
EDINBURGH, May 14, 1768.
Who will rise up with me against the wicked?
garded man, have combined together and formed gonfederacies, to carry on the works of darkness. And herein they have shewn themselves wise in their generation ; for by this means they more effectually pro, moted the kingdom of their father, the devil, than otherwise they could have done. On the other hand, men who did fear God and desire the happiness of their fellow-creatures, have in every age found it needful to join together, in order to oppose the works of darkness, to spread the knowledge of God their Saviour, and to promote his kingdom upon earth. Indeed he himself ħas instructed them so to do. From the time that men were upon the earth, he hath taught them to join tar gether in his service, and has united them in one body by one spirit. And for this very end he has joined them together, that be might destroy the works of the devil, first in them that are already united, and by them in all that are round about them.
2. This is the original design of the church of Christ. It is a body of men compacted together, in order, first, to save each his own soul, then to assist each other in working out their salvation, and afterwards as far as in them lies, "to save all men from present and future misery, to overturn the kingdom of Satan, and set up the kingdom of Christ. And this ought to be the continued care and endeavour of every member of his church. Otherwise he is not worthy to be called a member thereof, as he is not a living member of Christ.
* Preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners, on Sunday, January 30, 1763, at the Chapel in West-street, Seven Dials.
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3. Accordingly this ought to be the constant care and endeavour of all those, who are united together in these kingdoms, and are commonly called The Church of England. They are united together for this very end, to oppose the devil and all his works, and to wage war against the world and the flesh, his constant and faithful allie's. But do they in fact answer the end of their union ? Are all who stile themselves « members of the church of England” heartily engaged in opposing the works of the devil, and fighting against the world and the flesh? Alas, we cannot say this. So far from it, that a great part, I fear the greater part of them, are themselves, the world, the people that know not God, to any saving purpose : are indulging, day by day, instead of mortifying the flesh, with its affetions and desires ; and doing themselves those works of the devil, which they are peculiarly engaged to destroy. 5224. There is therefore still need, even in this Christian Country (as we courteously stile Great Britain) yea, in this Christian Church (if we may give that title to the bulk of our nation) of some to rise up against the wicked, and join together against the evil-doers. Nay, there was never more seed thán there is at this day, for them that fear the Lord, to speak often together on this very head, how they may lift up a standard against the iniqui'y which overflows the land. There is abundant cause for all the servants of God, to join together against the works of the devil, with united hearts, and counsels, and endeavours, to make a stand for God, and to repress, as much as in them lies; these floods of ungadlinssf. (""
5 For this endia few perspose in London, towards the close of the last century united together, and after a while were termed, " The 'Society for Reformation of Manners." And incredible good was done by them, for near forty years. But then most of the original members, being gone to their reward, those who suçceeded them grew faint in their mind, and departed from the work. So that a few years ago the society ceased, nor did any of the kind remain in the kingdom.
6. It is a society of the same nature, which has been lately formed." I purpose to shew, first, „The nature of