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an end, God and their Redeemer stand SERM. ready to receive them into everlasting ha- XVIII. bitations. It is thus that the children of light may render themselves wiser in their generations than the children of this world; not by more care, but only by equal care, for the objects are transcendently greater. If it is folly to neglect our earthly concerns, it is madness in the extreme to give no thought to our concerns beyond the grave; so, if it is wise and praiseworthy to give heed to the affairs of this life, the truest and most perfect wisdom must consist in preparing for that which is to come. The one relates to an existence of endless du ration, the other to a moment only in comparison, so soon passeth it away, and it is "gone." There is another consideration still behind, and with that I shall conclude.
The unjust steward had no means of making friends of his Lord's debtors, but by inducing them to conspire with him. against the interest of his master; thus transferring at once his services from his lawful Lord, to his unjust and fraudulent debtors. And this is too much the way of the
SERM. the world in general. Naturally the things XVIII. of this world stand in much opposition to
the things of heaven, as darkness to light. Of a hundred that we should advise to make to themselves friends of the transitory possessions of this life, ninety-nine probably would think it consisted in bestowing all their attention on them, to make them yield the most pleasure, and administer the most vain delight they were capable of; yet in fact the only way to make them real friends, is to bestow no more care on them than they strictly deserve as far as they may help us to pay our great debt of duty and gratitude to the author of our being, so far it is right to attend to them; but when the pursuit or enjoyment of them is in any way incompa→ tible with the duty we owe to God, if they draw us aside from the paths of virtue and religion, that instant they become our enemies; the most insidious and base enemies, withdrawing us from our allegiance to the most gracious and best of beings; in short, we cannot serve God and mammon both the latter must be made subservient
The innocent enjoy
servient to the former, for the love of both SERM. consists not together. All the faculties we possess, therefore, let us exert and employ to the glory of God; and even if we are possessed and endowed with all the external goods of fortune, let us bring them over to the service of our heavenly Father also, and never encourage by our own infidelity the too general opposition between God and mammon. ment of the pleasures of life, and even wealth acquired honestly and applied worthily, are neither forbidden or denied to us; they need only become the mammon of unrighteousness to us, if we abuse them ungratefully, or suffer ourselves to become enslaved by them; they may be made our friends by care and prudence, even so as to be a recommendation to us hereafter, and passports for us to the joys of heaven.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
JOHN I. 23.
And he said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Esaias.
As the Church draws nearer and nearer SERM. to her celebration of the nativity of our XIX. blessed Lord, suitable portions of Scripture are selected to usher in this great event. And now that he is, as it were, upon the very dawn of his appearance, we hear the voice of his forerunner preparing the way before him. It was a custom in the East, when their kings engaged in any expedition, or undertook any journey, which should carry them through desolate or uninhabited countries, to send their harbingers before them, to provide all Y 2 things