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SERM. shadow of turningf; who, when all XI. other Friends forsake or fail them, u will still continue true to those that
diligently seek him ; wh:), when their worldly wealth is fled or wrested from them, can supply them with a treasure which they cannot lose, and when they are ejected from this tabernacle of the body, can provide them a home eternal in the heavens.
But what means are we to use to conciliate so great a Friend ? Even às the Gospel teaches, by conforming to his image and complying with his will. In order to propitiate his favour, we must endeavour to be like him. And as it is so difficult to look up to the virtues of a Spiritual Being, he hath condescended to manifest himself to the world in the person of Jesus Christ; who, though the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, hath graciously vouchsafed to take our nature upon him, and to shew us an example of heavenly virtue in a human form.
But to limit our attention to the object of the text, we are to render
* James i. 17.
& Heb. i. 3.
God our 'Friend by the Mammon of serm. unrighteousness, or in other words by XI. the application of our worldly wealth. For though distinguished by so questionable a name, yet if we apply it to a righteous use we shall make the God of righteousness our friend.
The first disposal of our riches is in honest and equitable dealing to mankind. It is not to be imagined, that the application of our mammon can be acceptable to the Lord, if it be tarnished with injustice. The Steward in this narrative might suppose,
that he was wise in his generation in making to himself friends at the expence of another man.
But the Friend whom we have to seek, will account all offerings evil, unless they are presented with clean or honest hands. He will not be pleased with us nor accept our persons, unless
adhere to that golden rule in our dealings with our fellow creatures, Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you,
ye even so to them h
In performing this obligation of moral duty we have one certain way before uş,
h Matt. vii. 12.
SERM, in which we must not deviate either to XI. the right hand or to the left. But we
have a more extensive range of action in the exercise of our charity. This is an essential consideration in the disposition of our worldly wealth. If we would secure an interest in a divine Friend; we must be bountiful to our fellowcreatures, as he is bountiful to us. And would we know the various means of practising this virtue, the Prophet has taught us in a very
compass, That thou deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house ; when thou seest the naked, that thou clothe him; and that thou hide not thyself from thino own fleshi. And in order to induce us to such an application, it behoves us to bear in mind, that the wealth in our possession is not so much a gift, as a trust committed to our stewardship; and that at a future day an inquiry will be made by our Lord, whether we have wasted his goods in vicious and unprofitable pursuits, or whether we have employed them according to his will to righteous ends, in promoting his service and in
i Isa. lviii. 7.
improving the welfare of our fellow- SERM. creatures.
By such an application of our worldly wealth we shall make to ourselves an omnipotent and immutable Friend in Heaven, who will never leave us nor forsake us. And surely this is the greatest blessing that man can possibly attain. Assured of such a Friend we need not fear whatever may befal us. In all the changes and chances of this mortal life we may freely commit ourselves to the protection and providence of that Being, who neither slumbers nor sleeps; being fully satisfied, that though he may suffer us to be afflicted for a time, yet he designs this affliction for our genuine and our final good; to humble or to prove us, to correct our infirmities, to purify our hearts, and thus prepare and qualify us for a place among the Children of light. Even in the last trials of mortality, when our temporal riches fail us, and our mortal Friends can yield us no relief, we shall have a peace, which the world cannot give k, that peace of God which passeth all understanding': and in the end of
* John xiv. 27.
1 Phil. iv. 7.
SERM. all things, when we shall be called to XI. give an account of our Stewardship,
our Lord will commend us for having acted with true wisdom; and not only commend us, but also most abundantly reward. Having been found faithful in the unrighteous Mammon, we shall be entrusted with the true riches, the treasures of the heavenly Kingdom; and having been faithful in the riches, which are lent us for a season, we shall be recompensed with those heavenly riches, which shall be eternally and unalienably our own.