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Luke

Who provides for his subsistence on losing his stewardship. 43 What shall I do? for himself, in the reasonings of his own mind, SECT. my lord taketh away What shall I do in this unhappy situation of my

ccxxiv. from me the steward. ship: I cannot dig, to affairs ? for my lord is taking away my stewardbeg I am ashamed. ship, and with it I shall lose my subsistence. I XVI. S.

am not able to dig, or to apply myself to any
other laborious work of husbandry a; nor can I
expect, under this load of infamy, to be trusted
by another in the business I have been accus-
tomed to ; [and] I am utterly ashamed to beg my

bread, after having lived so handsomely in the
4 1 am resolved what world thus long. And, after a pause, he added, 4.
put out of the steward. I have at length bethought myself, and now
ship, they may receive know what I will do ; an expedient offers itself
me into their houses.

to my mind by which I mav secure myself
friends, so that when I am removed from my of-

fice, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every And, in pursuance of this scheme, having call-5
one of his lord's debtors ed every one of his lord's debtors to him whom he
to the first, How much could hope to oblige by so fraudulent a proposal,
ovest thou unto my he determined to lower the several articles in his
lord?

book which stood chargeable to the account of

each ; and said, for instance, to the first, Ilow 6 And he said, An much owest thou to my lord? And he said, An 6 hundred measures of hundred baths of oil". And he said to him, Take to him, Take thy bill, thy bill, in which thou hast acknowledged the and sit down quickly, receipt of it', and sit down directly, and write and write fifty,

another,

a I am not able to dig, or to apply my. cor, or homer of the Hebrews, containing self to-husbandry.) Raphelius cinnot.er about eight bushels and an haif, Winchester Ven. p. 104, 105), and Elsner (Observ. measure. The word homer being familiar Vol. 1. p. 251), bave shewn that the word to an English ear, I have retained it in the overlauy signifies, in general, lo cultivate the version. This homer contains ten ephahs, land, and especially to prepare it for seerl; or baths (Ezek, xlv. 11, 14.) and each which was one of the inost laborious parts of these liter ten omers (Exod. xvi. 36). of the husbandınan's work in which donic Tzenty homers, which he allowed the debi. labourers were employed; and consequently or to deduct, would on this computation inost fit to be mentioned by this steward, contain 170 bushels of wheat, and might who, having been used to a delicate and be as valuable as filly baths, or about 378 luxurious way of living, would naturally gallons of oit; so that the obligation conthink of such a change of life in the most ferred on both these debtors might be equal. discouraging view. The expression, % c Take thy bill, in which thou hast ac15%ww, I am not able, or strong enough, to knowledged the receipt of it.] This bill do it, has also a peculiar beauty in this probably was something equivalent to a view, which is lost in our translation, and in note under his hand, acknowledging the remost others.

ceipt of so much oil, and promising pay. b An hundred baths of oil.] The Greek ment for it. The alieration of this plainly word farlos is evidently derived from the shews, how much Dr. Clarke is mistaken Hebreu on), which we render baths in supposing the steward did no wrong to in the Old Testament. (1 Kings vii. 26. his master in this affair, but only gave the 2 Chron. ii. 10. Ezra vin. 22.) Accoid- debtors the value of what he set off out of ing to Bishop Cumberland it contained his own stork, he undertaking to pay his about seven gallons, two quarts, und half a

lord. (See Dr. Clarke's Sermons, Vol. III. pint. Compare Joseph. Antiq. lib. viii. p. 285.) For not to say how improbable cap. 2. $ 9.The measure of wheat, ropes, willing to make such a considerable pre

it is that this bankrupt should be able or mentioned in the next verse, is the 773, sent, it is plain that, if hc had intended it, Vol. VII. F

hc

The wisdom shewn by the children of this world, SECT. another, in which thou shalt acknowledge the cxxiv.

receipt of but fifty, and I will alter my book Luke agreeable to that

Then he said to another, And 7 Then said he to an. XV1.7. how much dost thou owe? And he said, an hun- other, and how much

owest thou? And he dred homers of wheat. And he says to him, Take said, An hundred mcathy bill back, and write down an acknowledg- sures of wheat. And ment of but fourscore ; and remember how easy thy bill, and write I have made thine account.

fourscore. 8 And when the master heard of it, though he 8 And the lord

could not but be sensible that it was an act of commended the ungreat injustice, yet he praised the unjust steward, he had done wisely :

just steward, because as having done prudently however, and found out for the children of this an artfulexpedient for bis subsistence, by making world are in their sefriends, who might shelter him for the present, the children of light. and perhaps recommend him to some new trust, in hopes of sharing again in the spoils of his dishonesty. And thus, said the blessed Jesus when he had concluded the parable, the children of this world are wiser in their way and generation", that is, they generally act a more prudent part with respect to their secular interests, than even those who may be called the children of light, or than good men themselves, who are enlightened by God to see where their true happiness lies, do with respect to theirs, which are so much more important (compare John xii. 36. i Thes. v. 5. and Eph. v. 8.) for they seldom appear so thoughtful and active in the great concerns of religion as worldly men are in pursuit of the momentary and precarious possessions of this

present life. 9 And I also say to you, Endeavour to make 9 And I say unto yourselves sure friends with these riches which you, Make to your

selves friends of the may not improperly he called the unrighteous or deceitful mammone (as so little confidence can

be

mammon

he would have let the account remain un tion of the owners; and in that view is altered. But by the exchange of bills he opposed to true riches, ver. 11.-The inancunningly made each of the debtors au ac mon of unrighteousness is plainly such a hecomplice with luim in defrauding his lord, braism as the steward of unrighteousness, and thereby provided against a discovery. ver. 8. and the judge of unrighteousness,

d In their generation.] It here signifies chap. xviii. 6. Gr. which our translators affairs, or actions; as Gen.vi. 9. xxxvii. 2. have with perfect fidelity changed into the

e The wrighteous or deceitful mammon.] unjust steward and the injust judge; and Nothing can be more contrary to the whole had they taken the same liberty in many genius of the Christian religion than toima. other places, they had made many scripgine that our Lord would exhort men to tures plainer than they now appear to an lay out their ill-gotten goods in works of English reader.-See Eisner, Observ. Vol. I. charily, when justice so evidently required p. 252, where he bas shewn that adoxies they should make restitution to the utmost signifies unfaithfulness, on which account it of their abilities. - Mammon, or realih, is is often opposed to truth. Compare Rom. here called unrighteous, or deceitful, on ac i. 18. ii. 8. and Deut. xix. 19. Mic. vi, 12. count of its being so apt to fail the expecta. Heb.

f That

cxxiv.

A faithful improvement should be made of our riches. 45 mammon of unrigh- be reposed in them); that when you fail, and die sect. teousness; that when out of this world', they may receive into

You ye fail, they may receive you into ever- everlasting habitations, and you may for ever

Luke lasting habitations. enjoy the reward of your pious charity and XVI. 9.

love, in an everlasting friendship with all those
truly worthy persons who have been relieved

by it.
10 He that is faith Let this exhortation be regarded, not only by 10
ful in that which is those that abound in wealth, but by all others :
ip much: and he that for he who, acting on strict principles of inte.
is unjust in the least, grity and piety, is faithful in the smallest (trust),
is unjust also in much.

is, and would in fact appear to be faithful also
in one of much greater importance if it were
committed to him; and he who is unjust in the
least, matter, is, if he can attempt it with views

of impunity, unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye If therefore it appears that you have not been 11
have not been faithe faithful in the management of the unrighteous or
mammon, who will deceitful mammon, as I before called those pre-
commit to your trust carious treasures, who will intrust you with the

19 Add hi ve have true (riches]? And I repeat it again, if you 12 not been faithful in have not been faithful in what was really anthat which is another other's, and only was committed to your care and man's, who shall give

management for a little while; who do you think you that which is your will give you (that which shall be your own by own?

an unalienable right and eternal possession ?
You cannot sure expect so high a reward with-

out a behaviour correspondent to it. 13 No servant can But, as I formerly have said, I tell you now 13

again, No domestic whatever can serve two differ

the ent masters; for he assuredly will either hate and
other; or else he will despise the one, and love the other; or at least he
hold to the one, and will adhere to the commands of the one, and neg-
despise the other.
cannot serve God and leci those of the other: so, in like manner, you
mainmon.

cannot faithfully serve God, and yet at the same
time be the servant of mammon, having your
hearts engrossed by worldly interests and pur-

suits. (Compare Mat. vi. 24. Vol. VI. p. 227.) 14 And the Pha. And the Pharisees also, who were extremely corisees also, who were

vetous, stood by and heard all these things ; and 14 covetous, they contemptuously derided him as a poor

visionary,

Scrve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love

Ye

i That when you fail, and die out of this though not exactly rendered, in the version world] It is with apparent propriety that of 1727. If you have embezzled what our Lord suggests the thoughts of death as another gave you in trust, how can he give an antidote against covetousness. Strange you an estate in perpetuity? It probably al. it is that so many on the very borders of ludes to a custom of rewarding faithful the grave should be so wretchedly inslaved stewarls, by giving them some part of the to that unreasonable passion!

estate they have managed. 8 If you have not been faithful in what h They derided him.] The word of speuxin;mson ipas another's, &c.] This is well expressed, might more exactly be rendered, they sneer

SECT. cxxiv.

XVI.15.

God.

46

The covelous Pharisees deriding him, are reproved. visionary, who did not understand human life, covetous, heard all or only appeared to despise the world, because these things: and they

derided him. Luke (as they supposed) it was out of his reach. And he said to them, You Pharisees are they 15 And he said nnto

them, Ye are they that justify yourselves before men, and find out a

which justify yourgreat many plausible excuses for possessing and selves before men'; hut pursuing the world as you do; but God knows God knoweth your

hearts: for that which your hearts, and knows that it is not by love to

is highly esteemed nim, but to yourselves, that you are animated, among men, is abomieven in the most specious and pompous of your nation in the sight of actions: for that which is highly esteemed among men is, in many instances, an abomination before God, who observes the vile purposes from which it often proceeds, and cannot be imposed upon

by any glittering misrepresentation or disguise 16 (Compare 1 Sam. xvi. 7.) But a dispensation 16 The law and the is now opening upon the world wbich will put foun: since that time

prophets were until you to deserved shame; for the law and the pro- the kingdom of God is phets (were the only Divine revelation among preached, and every you until John the Baptist appeared; but from man presseth into it. that time the kingdom of God is publicly and plainly preached, and every one forces his way into it; for considerable numbers, not withstanding all your sophistry, stand well disposed to receive it, and are willing to secure its blessings

at any rate. (Compare Mat. xi. 12, 13. Vol. VI. 17p. 306.) Yet I would not be understood as if 17 And it is easier I intended by what I say to put any slight on

for heaven and earth for I rather establish and of the law to fail. former revelations ;

to pass, than one tittle vindicate them, and again declare it to you as a most solemn truth, That it is much easier for heaven and earth to pass away, and the whole system of created nature to be destroyed, than for one tittle of the law of God to fuil, or the least

precept of it to be set aside as faulty. (See Mat. 18 v. 18. Vol. VI. p. 205.) And, far from doing

18 Whosoever put. any thing to lessen or abate the force of it, I ra

teth away his wise,

and marrieth another ther assert it in its u: most extent and spirituality; committeth adultery: insomuch that you know I have before declared, and whosoever mare

rieth notwithstanding all your boasted, but dangers ous, traditions, that whosoever puts away his wife, and marries another, unless it be on account of a breach of the most fundamental article of

the

ed. There was a gravity and dignity in our i Forces his au into it, εις αυτην βιαζεται.]
Lord's discourse which, insolent as they Some think this intimates that those who
were, would not permit them to laughout; should have been realiest to open the door,
but by some scornful air they hinted to each rather attempted to keep them out: it cer-
other their mutual contempt: and they tainly implies that there were strong oba
have, no doubt, seriousiy answered for it, stacies in the way.
as others of their temper and character will.

cxxiv.

Reflections on a due improvement of our stewardship. 47 rieth her that is put the marriage-covenant, commits adultery; and SECT. away from her hus- whosoever marries her that is put away from her band, coinmitteth a. dultery.

former husband for any less important cause, Luke
commits adultery with her, as the first contract XVI. 18.
still continues in force by which she is the wife
of another. (Compare Mat. v. 32. Vol. VI.
p. 212.)

IMPROVEMENT.

May the wisdom of the children of this world in their compara.

Ver. tively trifling concerns excite a boly emulation in the children 8 of light! Is it not much better worth our while to employ all the attention of our thoughts in observing opportunities for the good of our souls, and to exert all the force of our resolutions in improving them, than to labour merely for the meat which perishes, for that deceitful mammon, that treacherous friend, which will at 9 best only amuse us for a few years, and will for ever forsake us in our greatest extremity.

Let us take occasion, from this parable, to think how soon we 1, 2 must part with all our present possessions; how soon we must give an account of our respective stewardships as those who must be no longer stewards. Let us therefore manage them in such a manner as may most effectually promote the great purposes of our everlasting happiness. To this end, let us remember how absolutely necessary it is that we abound in works of charity and benevolence, and that we endeavour to abstract our hearts from an over-eager attachment to these lying vanities; for surely the tri. fies of earth are no better. Let us not imagine that our particular address can find out the secret of serving God and mammon, since 13 Christ represents it as an impossibility and contradiction. May we be found faithful in what God has committed to us,

10--12 whether it be little or much; and govern ourselves, not by the maxims of this vain world, but by those of the gospel! And if the same temper that led the covetous Pharisees to deride our Lord, 14 engage the children of this world to pour contempt upon us as visionaries and enthusiasts, we have much greater reason to be grieved for them than for ourselves. Their censures can be matter of but little account to us, when we consider that the things which are highly esteemed by men are often an abomination in the 15 sight of God. His law is sacral, and the constitutions of his king-16--17 dom are unalterable : may the temper of our minds be so altered and disposed as may suit il! For another dav, and another world, will shew that real Christianity is the only wisdom; and that all the refinements of human policy without it are but specious madness and laborious ruin!

SECT.

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