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have great reason immediately to prepare for it. This life is the only time we have to prepare for it. Death puts an end to our account for eternity; for we shall be judged according to what we have done in the body, whether it be good or bad; and the final sentence will pass on us according to that state which death finds us in.-Whatever the intermediate state be, how long soever it be between Death and Judgment, yet our account is the same; and to be surprised by Death before we are provided for it, is the same thing as to be surprised by Judgment. SHerlock.
They that were ready went in with him to the marriage. The heavenly bridegroom intends to entertain all pious men with an everlasting supper; to make them a never ceasing jubilee; and treat them with such sumptuous magnificence that there will not be tongues enough among them all to publish his praises, and their own thankfulness. Only you must remember that the entertainment he will give them is himself, and they will feast eternally upon his blessed presence. Their happiness will be to see God, to behold the glory which is given to our Lord; that is, to know him, and to be filled with his wisdom, love, and likeness. Their life and felicity consists in a clear and distinct perception of him; in a close union and conjunction of heart and will with him; in a feeling of the pleasures that are in him. Thither if we can but get, we shall love as much as we are able, and be able to love far more than we can
now think. The greatness of the object will enlarge the affection. The vastness of the good will force the will to desire and love more than else it would. We shall enjoy according to the wideness of our capacity; and all our capacities will be so enlarged, that they will exceed the extent of our present thoughts, as much as our present thoughts exceed our present enjoyments. It is a life wherein we shall do nothing but what we desire; and wherein all things shall be just as we will ourselves; and wherein will nothing but that which is most to be chosen ;-a life, every act of which must needs be sweet, and full of joy, beyond all the measures of all our present wishes. When we think, we shall rejoice; when we love, we shall rejoice; when we adore or praise, we shall rejoice. Whatsoever we do, it will have infinite delight and pleasure in it; and when we have done it ever so often, it will be eternally to be done again; and we shall likewise have more power to do it; and every repetition of such act will be a fresh addition of contentment in the doing of them. There is no satiety nor loathing in the enjoyment of that good; no fainting nor growing weary; but we shall always think we have enough, and yet still be enjoying more; we shall be in a perpetual youth and vigour, and yet daily growing more strong and able to converse with God. For that great good cannot be known at once, nor can all the sweetness of that life be instantly tasted, nor the uses of those
pleasures be drunk up at one draught: but fresh delights will continually entertain us; new pleasures will be springing forth unto us; and a flood of joy that we never knew before will overflow us, out of that full fountain which now issues forth in so many streams, and diffuses himself in such great varieties in this world; that our minds may be every moment employed in some rarity of nature, which, till then, did never affect their eyes. A happy life that will be, when we shall have before us such an inexhausted ocean of good to fill us, and such great appetites to be filled, and such repeated satisfaction in the filling of them, and such an increase of strength by their satisfaction; and wider capacities also created by the continual flowing in of that good upon us, which will enlarge our souls by its enjoyment, to make us more able to enjoy it.-PATRICK.
And the door was shut.-Though the happiness or misery of the next world may increase, yet the state can never alter. If we die in a state of grace and favour with God, we shall always continue so: if we die in a state of sin, under the wrath and displeasure of God, there is no altering our state in the other world; we must abide under his wrath for ever. It ought to be the work and business of our whole lives to prepare for death, which comes but once, but that once is for eternity. What an unpardonable folly for any man to be surprised by death,-to fall into the grave without thinking of it!-We can die but once, and if
we miscarry that once, we are undone for ever.-Who would try how long death will delay its coming? how long he may sin on safely, without thinking of death or judg ment, whether death will give him timely notice to repent, or whether God will give him grace to repent if it does? Who would venture the infinite hazards of death-bed repentance?-If men sin on, till they harden themselves in sin, and are forsaken of the grace of God; if death comes long before they expected, and cut them off by surprise and without warning; if their dying and despairing agonies and horrors should not prove a true godly sorrow, nor that repentance to salvation never to be repented of, they are lost to eternity! And what wise man would expose his soul to such a hazard as this?SHERLOCK.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.-Were we always in a preparation to die, with our lamps trimmed and burning, like virgins who expect the bridegroom, to die then without notice, without fear and apprehension, without the melancholy solemnities of dying, were most desirable. most desirable. But the danger of a sudden death is that men are surprised in their sins, and hurried away to judgment, before their accounts are ready-that they are snatched out of this world before they have made any provision for the next. And the only way to prevent this, is to be always upon our watch, always in expectation of death, and
always prepared for it.-SHERLOCK. | into a far country, who called
his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; " to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
Ye waiting souls, arise,
With all the dead, awake;
Oil in your vessels take:
Up starting at the midnight cry
He comes, he comes, to call
And raise to glory all
Who fit for glory are;
Make ready for your full reward,
Go meet him in the sky,
With all his saints ascend;
Ye that have here received
Obedient to his love;
Rejoice in glorious hope
Of that great day unknown, When you shall be caught up
To stand before his throne; Called to partake the marriage feast, And lean on our Immanuel's breast.
Then let us wait to hear
May we be watching found;
CHAP. XXV. 14-30.
The Parable of the Talents.
For the kingdom of
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, "I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the "joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received
heaven is as a man travelling two talents came, and said,
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came, and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he
shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant 'into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
A Luke xix. 12.-7 ch. xxi. 33.- A talent is 1877. 10. ch. xviii. 24.- Rom. xii. 6. 1 Cor. xii. 7, 11, 29. Eph. iv. 11.-n ch. xxiv. 47; ver. 34, 46. Luke xii. 44; & xxii. 29,30.- Heb. xii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 12. 1 Pet. i. 8.-p ver. 21.-g ch. xiii. 12. Mark iv. 25. Luke viii. 18; & xix. 26. John xv. 2.-r ch. viii. 12; & xxiv. 51.
READER.-The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another ten, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability.—As we are to serve God with all we are
(1 Cor. vi. 20), so also with all we have, (Prov. iii. 9). Whatsoever we have we receive from his bounty, and therefore whatsoever we have we should employ for his glory: our parts, our gifts, our estates, our power, our time. Whatsoever we call ours is his in our hands, and therefore to be improved, not for ourselves, but for him. As our Saviour shows in this parable of the Talents, which the master of the house distributed among his servants; to some he gave one, to some two, to others five, that every one might employ his proportion to his master's use, neither squandering it away, nor yet laying it up in a napkin. It is God that is the grand master and possessor of the world, who parcels it out amongst his creatures, as himself sees good; but wheresoever he entrusteth any
thing, he expects the improvement forms us better,-that we must give
of it for himself. And so, I suppose, doth every one of us from such servants as we keep; we expect that what we put into their hands be laid out, not for themselves, but for and that they spend their time in our service, not their own; and if they do otherwise, there is none of us but will say they do not serve us, but themselves. How then can we expect that God will look upon us as serving him, when we do not so much for him as we expect from our own servants, though our fellow-creatures? Or how can we think that we serve him as we ought, unless we serve him as much as we can? Or that God should look upon us as his servants, unless we employ and improve whatsoever we have, not for our own pleasure, profit, or applause, but for his honour and glory, from whom we did receive it? Let us remember our Saviour's words, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." BEVERIDGE.
He that received one, went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.-We shall be judged for not improving the talents we are intrusted with; that is, for not doing good in the world. This many men are apt to forget. To squander away and waste their master's goods, to do that which is evil,-this they think they must give account of; but if they do no hurt, they are not much concerned what good they do. But our Saviour in this parable in
an account of our improvements; for he who received but one talent went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money; and when his lord came to reckon with him. he said, "Thou wicked servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Here we plainly see that this servant was not punished for spending his master's money, for he returned to him the talent which he gave him,-"Lo, there thou hast that is thine," but for not improving it, as the other servants had done. He was an unprofitable servant, who had brought no advantage to his master. plain, men judge of servants. He is a very wicked steward indeed, who embezzles his master's goods; but he is an unprofitable servant who makes no improvements: and thus God will judge of us, as we think it reasonable to judge of our servants. And when we consider how many talents we are entrusted with, it should make us humble to think what little improvements we make of them. Every thing that is improvable to the service and glory of God is a talent; and if we do not improve it to God's glory, and to do good in the world, it is a
And thus, it is