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great House of the Universe with useless and fuperfluous Goods. All that he made was very Good. Gen. l. ult. that is, very useful in its kind, and fit for the use which God design'd ic for. The infinitely wise God made nothing uscless, altho it may be we, such is our blindness, understand not the use of all things; yet it becomes us to say with the Psalmit, Pfal. 106. 24. O Lord, how manifold are thy works? 'In Wisdom balt thou made them all. Neither doth God delight to have a houseful of vain Servants, for Shew more than for Service, and who have nothing to do, but to consume what he hath pro. vided, and rather make their Master minister to their Lusts, than employ themselves in any businels, whereby they may serve him. He hathap. pointed every one of us our work, and commit. ied something to our Charge, which he expects we should take care of. This, if we do not, we are unfaithful Stewards, and are said to waste his Goods.. And thus we may do inore ways than one,
. 1. By misusing, or abusing, any part of his Goods. If we make a wrong use of them, such as he alloweth not, we abuse them. If in the use of them, we follow nor his Directions, and the Orders which he hath given us, we misuse them. We cannot be ignorart, unless we be careless, and mind not what's said unto us, what thele Directions are. They are some of them writien in the very nature of the Things themselves, and all of them in his holy word. We are there taught how to use every Thing to God's honour and ŝlory, and to the good both of our Neighbours, or Fellow Servants, and of our selves. If then we consult nor God's honour' in every S 3
Thing, if we do not in the first place ferve him with his own, nor by bringing him in any real advantage or profir, that's impossible, but by doing his Will and Pleasure with every Thing, which is to give him his due honour, we abuse, and waste his Goods. The Rule is plain. Whetber ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ge do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10. 31. When therefore we make the Goods of God Instruments of Sin against God, we most abominably abuse and waste them. We have again another Rule as plain as the former. Gal. 6.10. As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all Men. When therefore we do hurt to any one with the Goods God hach given us, we abuse them. We have also a third Rule, which Nacure it self, tho'we had it not exprelly ser down in God's Word, will fufficiently reach us. Phil. 2. 12. Work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling. When therefore we hurt our felves, or obftru&t our own happiness with any of God's Goods, we abufe them. In short then, when we serve the Devil with any thing we have, doing his Will; when we gratifie the vain Humours of foolish Men with them, doing their Will; when we feed and pamper our Lusts with them, doing the will of the Flesh; when we grow proud of them, and give not God all the honour of them, as the Author of all; or when we idolize them, ferring them up in our Hearts in God's stead, and giving them our Love, we waste them in abusing them
- 2. We waste them by not using them, and neglecting to improve them to the ends for which God bestow'd them upon us. We must not only take heed that we do no hurt with a
ny thing, but we must also take care to do good with every thing. Every thing is given to profit with. It is not enough, that the Fig tree brings forth no bad, or poisonous Fruit; it must also bring forth good Fruit, such as is useful to the World, and ic was made co bear; or else it is to be.cut down as a Thing good for nothing, and cumbersome to the Ground. Luk. 13. 7. Every thing which God gave us, is a Talent to be improved, as in the Parable, Luk. 25. God delivering to us any portion of bis Goods, v. 14. expects we should husband the fame to the best advantage, and gain what we can by Trading with them; and he that doch nor so, wasts his Talent. It was not enough that the sothful Servant had his 'Talent laid up carefully, but because he had done no good with it, his Master called hiin wicked as well as fothful, v. 26. and commanded him to be cast into outer darkness, because he was an unprofitable Servant. v. 30. He then that doth no good with his Master's Goods, is accounted a waster of them.
3. We walte our Lord's Goods, when through negligence and carelessness, we suffer them to be lost, or broken, or so spoild and marred, that they become useless and unserviceable. When we are not watchful over every thing we are trusted withal, nor take that care which we ought to keep and preserve every thing in such good order, that it inay be ready on all occafions, and fit for present use, this is one kind of wasting of our Master's Goods, as may be shew'n more fully hercafter. This, at present, may fuffice to make us understand how the Steward may waste his Lord's Goods.
B=fore we proceed to the third thing to be enquired into, i mean the Acculation of the wastful Steward to his Master, it will be fit that we make fome Reflc ction on our present Carriage and Behaviour towards God, and the use that we ge.. nerally make of his Goods. Let us but im parrially examine every one himself, ler every one fer himself at the Bar of Conscience, and answer faithfully to the charge which there may be brought against him, and every one must confess himself guilty in many things, whereof we are apt to take too little notice. Ever liuce the Devil taught our first parents the art of wasting, Mankind hath been a very waftful thing, and we our selves will, at this day, it may be fear’d, be found to be as wafful a Generation as any that went before us. Tho' our first Parents having wasted so much, hath left us all in comparison of them very poor, and in all reason should make us more thrifty, and better Husbands of that little which they have left us, yer go we on fill very confidently in their waftful way ; and our Poverty it self will nou teach us good Husbandry, but we generally live, as, tho' we were to live by warting.
In the first place; how do we waste those Outward Worldly Goods, which in any measure God hath given us? What good use do most of us make of them ? Nay, what ill use do we not make of them, to the dishonour of God, the wronging of our Neighbours, and the hurting of our Selves? Do we indeed, as we are commanded, honour the LORD with our Subltance, and with the first Fruits of our increase? Prov. 3. 9. And as we bave opportunity, do good especially to the Howfhold of Faith Gal, 6, 10. How freely and li
with our Weall!
berally are we wone to communicate unto him that teacbeth in every good Thing? Gal. 6,6. Do we not indeed serve the Devil a great deal more than God with these Goods? Are we not much more free of them in upholding the Service of the Devil, than the Service of God? Do not we make them the Instruments of Sin, and of those Works of the Devil, which the Son of God was manifefted ihat be might destroy? 1 Joh. 3. 6. This we cerrainly do, whilst with our Wealth we minister to the Pride and Luxury either of our felves, or others, which is a thing very common amongst us. Do we not very ordinarily gracifie the extravagant Humours of vain Men with our Wealth, and whilst we most finfully comply with their Lufts in Feasting, Drinking, and all Excess of Riot, endeavour to chriften our Walte by the name of Hospitality ? Are we not daily feeding our Lufts with our Goods, and contrary to the command, Rom. 13. ult, making Provision for the Flesh, to fulfil the Lusts thereof? How many of us glory in our Riches? Are we nor proud of our felves, accounting our felves so much better than our poor Neighbours, as we are richer than they, tho’indeed we be so much the worse than they, taking the advantages which our Wealth gives us 10 oppress, crush, and ruin them? How many 2gain idolize their Riches, loving, and trusting to nothing so much, nor fearing so much to offend God by breaking his Commandments, as they do to lose, or diminish their Riches? Thus many of us waste them in the very worst way of wasting them; making them the means and helps to us of doing most wickedly. How many more of us abuse them another way, that is, in doing none, or yery little good with them? We are