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you are lying under it still, for in no other way can it be removed. Moreover, except you be born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God, you can never be received into everlasting habitations. Without holiness you can never see the Lord. Consider these things; and may God give you a saving understanding of them. Thus, and thus alone, can either your state be safe, or your charity be Christian charity, and correspond with this scriptural standard, "The end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
To those of you who are Christ's disciples indeed, and who are living in the belief and obedience of the gospel, this exhortation should come with peculiar force. See that you turn to the very best account the advantages, in point of worldly circumstances, with which you are favoured, whether they be great or small. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness." Though this vice cannot reign, it may, and often does, exercise some influence over persons of some true piety; and then it is always very much noticed by the world, and very hurtful to religion. It is also very hurtful to themselves; for undutifulness, in this respect, is punished with less abundant communications of the more valuable blessings of grace. When they are partially unfaithful in that which is another's, in worldly wealth, which is but lent, and which is foreign to them, they are, on that account, partially sufferers in that true spiritual wealth which is their own in everlasting possession. Beware, then, of grasping and hoarding avarice. Do not fail to use with freedom what God has given you for your proper support in life. Yet do not run into the extreme of lavishness, for that would be positively sinful in itself, as well as prevent the possibility of much good which you might otherwise do. Retrench, if retrenchment be practicable, rather than want the means of charity. Do not suppose that none but the rich are concerned in this exhortation. The principle may, and should, be acted on by persons of very limited incomes. The disciples, to whom our Lord originally addressed the exhortation, "Make to yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness," had, surely, in general, very small possessions, when, being at first in lowly stations, they could even say, "Lord, we have left all and followed thee." If you have first of all a willing mind, and then do what you can, you will be accepted according to what you have, and not according to what you have not. As a motive to
generosity, consider how soon you must "fail"—that is, die, and part with all you have. You brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that you can carry nothing out of it. There is, indeed, in perfect consistence with this declaration, one way in which, in a certain sense, you may carry your property away with you, a way too little thought of, and that is, the way of disposing of it now, in a truly Christian manner, on truly Christian principles. What you give to Christ's cause, and to the poor for Christ's sake, should be set down, not to the account of loss, but to the account of gain; for it is thus deposited in a safe investment, and secured to you for ever. Be encouraged, also, not only to do something, but to do much, in this way, remembering that if you sow sparingly, you shall reap but sparingly, whereas if you sow plentifully, you shall reap also plentifully. We appeal to you as rational beings, and call on you to act wisely for yourselves. We appeal to you as professing the gospel of Christ, enjoying its blessings, and desiring its advancement, and we beseech you to adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour in this way; for, "the administration of this service shall not only supply the want of the saints, but be abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; while, by the experiment of this ministration, they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.' We appeal to those of you who are rich to do comparatively much in this way. This is the injunction of Paul to Timothy, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." We appeal to every one of you, habitually to do, in this way, liberally, according as God has prospered you. Without doubt, you shall have a reward of grace; for, what but of grace can it be, when you will be only giving to God of his own? " You shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."-" He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."-" Lay not up for yourselves," then, "treasures upon earth;" "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."
The other exhortation which this passage suggests is this, Let all of you who desire the salcation of your souls, ever remember the impossibility of serving both God and mammon, and be decided for God. Do not imagine that you can please both the world and God. Do not imagine that you can set your affections both on things on earth, and on things in heaven. You cannot, at once, live to vanity and covetousness, and live to holiness and the Lord. Beware of aiming at two things so incompatible. If you do, you may lose both objects, and you will certainly lose the more important of them-you will lose your own souls. "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”—“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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."-" How long," then, "halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."-"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve;" and say, "As for us we will serve the Lord.'
LUKE XVI. 14–18.
"And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."
THESE verses follow the parable of the unjust steward, and the instructions founded on it in reference to "the mammon of unrighteousness," or deceitful worldly riches. Our Lord had been exhorting his disciples to take a lesson from the men of the world, who, however inferior the end they proposed to themselves might be, were wiser than the children of light, in the ingenuity of contrivance, earnestness, and perseverance, with which they prosecuted that end. He had also been telling them, that the most profitable way in which they could invest their property, was to use it aright, especially in deeds of piety and charity; he had been speaking, too, of the inferiority of worldly riches to the true riches the satisfying and lasting blessings of salvation; and he had, finally, been declaring the impossibility of uniting true religion with worldliness and sin-the impossibility of serving God and mammon. In this immediate connexion, the evangelist goes on to say, "And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things; and they derided him."
That there were good men among the Pharisees is not to be doubted; but that the great majority of the sect were very much the reverse, is everywhere asserted. Luke here declares that they were "covetous." They were greedy of gain; and the great end at which they aimed, even in their professedly religious observances, was to promote their temporal interest. So bent were they on acquiring, that they scrupled not to employ fraud, injustice, and oppression, to
accomplish their purpose, wearing, all the while, the cloak of hypocritical profession. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" saith our Lord,* "for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: therefore, ye shall receive the greater damnation." When these hypocritical worldlings heard Jesus opposing all their maxims, by discoursing against covetousness, and inculcating spirituality of affection and pursuit, "they derided him.” The word implies exceedingly contemptuous treatment. They could not answer him properly, and, therefore, they had recourse to mockery and insult. In this were partly fulfilled the words of prophecy, "I am a reproach of men, and despised of the people:""He is despised and rejected of men." But this is only one specimen of what is generally characteristic of sinners. It always has been, it now is, and it ever will be, common for those who will not benefit by the preaching of awakening truth, to deride it. Various parts of it excite their mockery and rage, but especially those which strike most directly at their favourite errors and sins. The contempt which they express, though frequently, is not always, really felt by them; for there is often a monitor within them, bearing testimony to the truth, while they are showing scornful audacity outwardly, in the hope of bearing down those whom they dislike, and of imposing on others. The number who manifest this scorn, partly pretended, and partly real, is great, and it is not easy to determine which is the more heinous. Selfish and worldly men, especially, in whom the present greatly predominates over the future, when they hear preachers, or private Christians, speaking of the superiority of spiritual to temporal things, and of the necessity of renouncing the world, very generally deride them as hypocrites, who, with all their pretensions, are as fond of the world as others; or as weak and enthusiastic visionaries, who are ignorant of human affairs, and neglect the substantial for the imaginary.
Various passages of Scripture prove that God's messengers have been thus disliked and derided. "A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him; neither will he go unto the wise," says Solomon.-"I am as one mocked of his neighbour," says Job; "the just upright man is laughed to scorn."-"I am in derision daily," says Jeremiah, 66 every one mocketh me." When the Athenians heard, from Paul, of the resurrection of the dead, 66 some mocked." Many * Matt. xxiii. 14.