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SERM. tinually sensible and present to them;
so that they can comprehend them with a nearer view, and retain them with a surer hold. The Children of light are stationed at a distance from the realms of light, and the happiness of those regions is invisible and remote as well in time as in place; so that it frequently must evade their thoughts, and can have but a faint and imperfect impression on their hearts.
The Children of the world find the present life adapted both to their desires and capacities. Their attention is fixed on this alone, and they pursue it without interruption or impediment from any other object. The Children of light are embarrassed by the double claims of the present and the future life. For though they look to things not seen and eternal, yet they • are in the midst of things visible and temporal: and though they aspire after the beatitudes of heaven, yet are they assaulted by those too perceptible cares and pleasures of the world, which have so firm a hold on the affections and so great an influence on the conduct of men. When these things are considered, we need not be surprized at our Lord's
remark, that the Children of this world serm. are wiser in their generation than the Children of light.
But though they are wiser in their generation, they are by no means wiser for the whole of their existence. Their wisdom, like the Mammon on which it is employed, is deceitful and transitory. And when they leave their generation, and come into eternity, they will find to their cost, that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God b. Wise to the present life, they know exactly to appreciate worldly things according to their value: but unwise to the whole extent of their being, they have not learnt to make a proper estimate between things temporal and things eternal; between thať unrighteous Mammon, that frail and transitory wealth, on which they set their affections, and the genuine and substantial riches of the world to come; between that substance, which is lent for a season, and that, which is given for all eternity.
That the Children of light may ensure their title to this high character on earth and all its blessed immunities in
SERM. heaven, they may derive a lesson of
instruction even from the Children of the world.
If the Children of this world have the object of their wisdom continually before their eyes and within their reach ; let the Children of light assiduously labour to anticipate the life of light, and present it as much as they are able to their faculties of perception; let them walk by faith, as if they walked by sight, as if the mighty recompence of another life were present to their eyes, and within the attainment of an industrious endeavour.
If the Children of this world are accustomed to fix their attention on one end alone, the generation in which they live, and pursue it without interruption or impediment from any other object; let the Children of light also learn to fix their attention on one end alone; but let that be the great and important end of man, the future generation to which they would belong, and pursue it, as far as their present capacities and station will allow, without interruption or incumbrance from the objects of the world.
By such an application of their hearts serm. and lives they will not be embarrassed with the claims of two Masters of such opposite characters as God and Mammon: but accepting Mammon as their Servant, and not as their Master, they will give to God the full measure of their obedience; being always animated by this assurance, that God is not unrighteous to forget their service, but that in due season he will advance them to the promised recompence; and will give them the inheritance assigned for the Children of light.
While men are in the world, the world will have some claim upon the attention of all, even of those who are the Children of light. It is no part of wisdom to neglect our worldly comforts, or to forego those benefits which the Father of mercies has placed within our reach; provided they do not engross our affections to the disparagement of superior goods. But whenever the demands of the present and the future life are not to be reconciled, whenever there arises a competition of service between God and Mammon, it is then the truest wisdom to prefer that interest, which is most durable and substantial, and to
attach ourselves to that Master, who can yield the greatest recompence.
If then we are convinced, that the goods of this world are transitory and delusive, and that the goods of another world are durable and eternal; that the reign of Mammon is only for à time, and that God is King for ever and ever; it is certainly our truest wisdom, whatever be the result of things for a season, to pay our service to God and not to Mammon, and to forego the goods of this life in order to secure our final welfare in the world to come.
Thus may we draw a lesson of wisdom even from the Children of this world in obtaining for ourselves a name among the Children of light. And thus according to that precept of our Lord, on which I have now to speak, we may make to ourselves Friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness; that when we fail, they may receive us into everlasting habitations.
As the Lord in the parable had committed his goods to a Steward; so God has committed to nhankind their several talents, not to be wasted, but employed to good account in the service of God and to the benefit