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it is written: * Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth; and, † Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him: Which Texts are not to be understood of those things alone, which are in their own nature finful; for 'tis unqueftionably true, that the fixing our Affections, even upon fuch Prefent enjoyments as are in themselves Lawful, does Alienate us from the Love of God, and a Future state.

And after all, Temporal bleffings, which have fometimes been with too much Earneftnefs and Artifice recommended, are frequently denied to the Beft of men. And that Goodnefs muft be Uncertain, which is not fupported by the expectation of a Certain reward: That Religion cannot ftand very long, which is built upon an Unftable foundation. But the ftrongeft temptations will hardly Shake the virtue of those, whofe Love and Hopes are devoted to

t John, ii. 15.

*Col. iii. 2.

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the Treasures, which will Infallibly be dispensed in that day of Retribution, when they shall be refcued from the Tyranny of Death, and appear Pure and Perfect before the Judgment Seat of Chrift; when they fhall Hear the Bleffed fentence pronounced upon them, and See the first rays of Endless glory; when they fhall meet the Lord in the air, and thence with Him and the Holy Angels ascend to the manfions of Heaven; where they shall reign for ever, without any danger of revolting to Sin, or relapsing from Blifs.

Unto God Blessed for ever, Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, be all Honour, Praife and Thanksgiving, from generation to generation,

Amen.

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SERMON III.

The Neceffity and Measures, the Excellency and Efficacy of Works of Charity Represented.

LUKE XVI. Ver. 9.

Make to your felves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting Habitations.

T

HE Rule here given by our Bleffed Saviour, is grounded upon the Parable of the Unjuft Steward; who, finding that he must be put out of his Stewardship, improved the fhort Season, which was ftill in his Hands, to the utmost Advantage. He had

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had all along been as far removed from Confideration, as from Integrity: But when his Unfaithfulness was detected, and he plainly faw that the Abuse of his Privileges must be punished with the Lofs of them; this furprifing Turn puts him upon projecting fome means or other, of fheltring himself from that Storm, which was ready to fall upon him.

Indeed, the Practices wherein he laid the Foundations of a Sanctuary for himfelf, were as Indirect and Unlawful, as thofe, whereby a Sanctuary became Neceffary for him. His Injuftice expofed him to Calamities, and he made that the Inftrument of his Comfort too: He had defrauded his Lord, and was therefore to be abandon'd; and he combined with his Lord's Debtors in new Inftances of Fraud, to prevent his own Ruin. His Injustice was inexcufable, and ought to be detefted; but his Wisdom was Commendable and Exemplary: And 'tis that alone, which is Commended in the Parable.

A Man's Good Qualities, do juftly challenge Efteem and Imitation, notwith

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flanding that fome other Qualities in him, may poffibly be of a very different kind, and fhould affect us in a very different manner. And therefore our Bleffed Saviour takes Occafion, from the Cautious and Prudent Measures, even of an Unjust Steward, to recommend that Prudence, which is exercised in making Provifion for Futurity. And he brings down that General Scope of the Parable, to a single Point, in the Words of the Text; prescribing the Improvement of one particular Talent, here ftyled The Mammon of Unrighteousness.

The Word Mammon fignifies Riches; and Wealth unjustly procur'd may, in the ftricteft Senfe, be called the Mammon of Unrighteoufnefs. But that our Saviour did fix this harfh Appellation in that strictest Sense of it, upon Riches in General, is not to be imagined. And yet there is good Reason to conclude, that he does here speak of Riches in General; which may be called the Mammon of Unrighteousness, as in fome other Refpects, fo particularly as that Expreffion may be Interpreted Falfe, or Deceitful Riches.

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