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get. "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it ?" 9 Therefore, "he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" and if he is made "a steward of the manifold grace of God," " let him remember that "it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful." î

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For all, alas! are not found faithful. All do not trade with their gifts, to the purpose for which they are bestowed.

20. "And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin :

21. "For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man; thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

22. "And he said unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow :

23. "Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?"

This, we see, God expects in His servants: that should repay Him His own with usury; with interest; with increase that as the seed is returned back to the husbandman, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred, so His gifts should not return unto Him void, but should accomplish the purpose which He desires to be performed. But the servant here brought

91 Cor. iv. 7.

101 Pet. iv. 10.

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1 Cor. iv. 1.

back his pound, which he had kept laid up in a napkin. He had neglected to use the talents bestowed on him. He had suffered his time to run to waste. He had employed his mind on things of no real value. He had not applied his reason to convince others, or his influence to persuade them. None had been benefited by his advice or his example.

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Yet, strange to say, he is described as defending himself by reasoning. He feared the strictness of the judgment, he feared the severity of the judge, and therefore he had not prepared to meet him. But he is condemned out of his own mouth and leaves a striking proof of the futility of those excuses, by which too many deceive their own souls. One says, I had little knowledge. For that very reason, thou oughtest to have sought more, and not to have been satisfied with ignorance. Another says, I was absorbed in cares. The business of this world overwhelmed me.-Thou oughtest to have first secured the "one thing needful." Another pleads, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Thou oughtest to have sought Him, who would "put a new heart and a right spirit within you. Another is enslaved by the circumstances in which he was placed.Thou oughtest to have known, that "God suffers no man to be tempted above that he is able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape, that he may be able to bear it."

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So it will appear at last: but too late for the

slothful servant, who is already turned out of his stewardship.

24. "And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25. "(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26. "For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him." 19

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It is the rule of justice, that those should be most encouraged who have been most industrious, and that those who have most laid themselves out to do good, should have their opportunities of doing good enlarged. To him that hath gotten, shall more be given, that he may be in a capacity to get more. It is also the rule of justice, that those who have their gifts as if they had them not, who have them to no purpose, should be deprived of them, Those that endeavour to increase the grace they have, God will increase it: those that neglect it, and suffer it to decline, can only expect that God should do so too." This needful warning Christ gave to His disciples, that using all diligence, they might improve the faculties, and gifts, and means of usefulness conferred upon them, "as those who must give account."

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"But Ŏ terrible voice of most just judgment, "14 which at the last shall condemn the wicked and impenitent-those enemies of Christ, who would not have Him to reign over them.

12 See on Matt. xiii. 12. 13 M. Henry in loco.

Mark iv. 25. Luke xviii. 18. 14 Commination Service.

He summoned, but they refused to hear; he offered, but they refused to receive: and the doom reserved for them, is expressed in terms at which the stoutest heart may tremble.

27. "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.'

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LECTURE LXIII.

PARABLE OF THE REBELLIOUS HUSBANDMEN.

LUKE XX. 9-18.

(Matt. xxi. 23-46. Mark xii. 1—12.)

9. "Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.

10. "And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.

11. "And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.

12. "And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.

13. "Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.

14. "But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours."

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THIS parable applied, in the first case to the Jewish nation, the vineyard which God had planted in the world, and from which he expected fruit: expected an example of national piety, of spiritual worship, of righteousness and holiness. He "fenced it," as the prophet shows: (Isa. v. 2:) he separated it from an idolatrous neighbourhood. He "gathered out the stones thereof," forbidding all that was impure and unjust "he planted it with the choicest vine," established a law which was "holy, just, and good:"-he "built a town in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein :"—"at Salem was his tabernacle, and his dwelling in Sion:"and "he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." He might justly ask, "What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?"

Isaiah, who uttered this remonstrance, was one of those servants who were sent to the husbandmen, that they might give him of the fruit of the vineyard: and the history tells us of many more, who were neglected, and ill treated, and sent away empty.

At last the Son is commissioned, for whom the whole inheritance had been prepared: and God is represented as speaking after the manner of men, It may be they will reverence him when they see him.

Now this comes more nearly home to our

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