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tresses of their poor brethren from their abundance. By a steady pursuit of such means, we may found rational hopes that when our Lord takes from us our steward. ship, he will admit us to a glorious abode that will never have an end. This leads me to a conclusion of the parable, “ I say

unto you, make to yourselves friends of “ the mammon of unrighteousness; that, “ when ye fail, they may

receive

you

into everlasting habitations."

By the mammon of unrighteousness, as here made use of, I understand the riches and honors of the world; which men are too apt to seek merely for themselves, but which, if properly applied, would secure them everlasting blessings. It is true that the possession of these things, too frequently, makes us forget to whom we owe them, and becomes snares to entice us to vice and folly. How many instances do we fee of persons conducting themselves with piety and resignation, in adversity, who, on a sudden change of fortune, give way to the temptations it brings with it, and are lost

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to virtue. The danger of an uninterrupted state of prosperity, to our future happiness, is repeatedly pointed out in holy Scripture; and the contrast is drawn in a very striking manner, between the future state of a rich man who abused his wealth, and a poor one who, under every circumstance of distress which hunger and disease could inflict on him, submitted with patience to his lot, nor murmured against his Creator : I allude to the parable of Lazarus ; where we find the poor man, as soon as he quits this life, carried by angels into Abraham's bosom; and the rich man lifting up his eyes in hell and foliciting a momentary relief, through the means of the person he had formerly so greatly despised: each of them sentenced according to their conduct in their different stations. Had the rich man distributed part of his superfluous wealth to relieve the distresses of his fellowcreatures, in honor of that God who had provided him with such abundance, he might have enjoyed all those advantages which a large fortune, properly used, pro

cures

cures to its possessors, and acquired the blesfing and prayers of the poor ; which, we may reasonably suppose efficacious before that Being in whose presence mercy shines forth in all its splendor. We are not to imagine that Lazarus was rewarded, merely on account of his poverty in this life: were that the case, what a misfortune would it be to be rich! It was his patient submission and firm reliance on the goodness of God, under the most trying distresses; and his humility, which confined his desires to mere food, even to the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. He murmured not at the unequal dispensations of Providence, but looked forward with confidence to the time when God in his wisdom should think fit to remove him from a world of trouble, to the mansions of eternal

peace

and rest. Had he, on the contrary, murmured against his God, or endeavored to better his situation by those vicious courses which the

poor too frequently have recourse to and fancy that poverty will plead their excuse, reason, as well as Scripture, may

convince

convince us, he would have met with punishment, instead of reward. Indeed, fo much does our future situation depend upon our present conduct, that the joys of Heaven itself could not procure us happiness, except we carried with us the requisite dispositions, which are only to be acquired in this life. How careful, therefore, ought we to be, while time is yet allowed us, to form our minds according to the precepts of the Gospel, that we may be capable of receiving those blessings which our heavenly Father intended for all his creatures.

I shall mention another instance, in which the possession of riches is represented in Scripture, as fatal to virtue: when the rich, young man, applies to our Saviour, to know what he shall do to inherit eternal life? he receives for answer, That, besides a strict observance of all the commandments, he must distribute all his wealth to the poor, and dedicate his life to the service of religion. He, who knew the inmost thoughts of the heart, perceiv

ed

ed that nothing less than such a sacrifice could save him from the dangers to which his fortune exposed him; and the event proved it to be true: the young man, tho' apparently desirous of pursuing the path of virtue, suffered avarice and the love of pleasure to stifle his good resolutions, and, though with sorrow, relinquished the inestimable blessings held out to his view:-a melancholy instance which should serve as a warning to us,

should we be ever placed in a situation which requires us to choose between our temporal and eternal possessions! But as the danger is greater, so will be the reward : riches and honors, if appropriated properly, will procure the favor of God and a sure crown of glory to their possessors.

From a review of this subject, on which I have dwelt the more at length from a conviction of the importance of judging of it aright, I trust it will appear to my. readers that the dispensations of Providence are much more equal than we are

apt

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