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about antage. And, both to
nity to try their Tempers, and which way to deal with every one of them, so as to serve himself of them. He was to them in his Master's stead, and kept all the Accounts for him. He therefore could find a way to put a trick upon him well enough, so that he could but bring 'em to comply with him, both to their own, and his Advantage. And thus he brings the matter abour. Whatever, faith he, you owe my Master; own no more of the Debt but so much, and' ser down in your Bills so much, as paid to me his Steward, for his use; leave it to me to satisfy him how that part of the Debt which you pretend to have paid to me hath been disposed of, I will discharge you of it, and you and I will divide it between us, and we will live together merrily on it. Here's the Project resolv'd on, and possibly among many Tenants and Debtors, could hardly miscarry, but enough would be found ready enough to comply with him, and go shares with him in the Sin of Cozening their Lord, upon condition to share in the Gain too, and save a part of the Rents or Debts due to him in their own Purses.
This is usually the upshot and Conclusion of all the Sinners deliberation and consultation with himself, about what he is to do that he may live. As we commonly fay, over Shooes, over Boors. He cares not how deep he wades, so that he can but catch what he Fishes for. Carelefness and wasting in his Office, the Steward resolves to mend no otherwise than by cheating when he is out of it. And here we may see the Mischief of accustoming one's self to any Sin. It is rarely left off, and as rarely goeth singly, and alone,
cafy for a :pend the Doins after it. w
( 334 ) but draweth on more Sins after it. When one Devil hath open'd the Door, and is entertain'd,'tis easy for a Legion to enter, and they are not very backward to enter, where the way is open.
And indeed of all other Sing, that of Profuse. ness and Wafting, a Habit of spending and living voluptuously and prodigally, cannot endure to be alone, nor will it take Leave, and be gone quickly. Sins of this kind are they which not only gratifie the sensual and carnal Man most of any, but which give the Repute of Gentlefolks, and of Persons of a gentile Humour, and good Breeding, And such gentile Sins cannot be maintain'd at a low Rate, they must have a multitude of other Sins to bring in Provision for them. Neither Digging nor Begging will serve to feed these devouring Sins. If by honest Labour, or the Hand of Charity, we can get a bare Livelyhood, enough for Nature, and to keep us alive, and in Health, 'tis well; but what shall we do to live like our Selves, to look great, to make some Figure above our Neighbours, at least, amongst the best of them to eat and drink, and wear as well as they, and so keep gentile Company, and to appear Some-body in the World. There must to uphold us in this Condition, be a Club of Sins, and not only of our own, but of others too, at work continually. We must entertain all that will come in Volunteers to join with us, and hire as many more as we can to al fist, and all will be found little enough to supply him with what he can account fufficient, who hath always been used to have too much. A Steward that's content with his Salary, may in
deed live honestly, and Comfortably enough for an honest Man; but how shall he do either to live vainly, and to keep in the Gentleman's Row, and feed all his Lusts? Or how shall he grow rich, and leave his Children Gentlemen after him, if he make not bold with his Master's Goods more than with his own Allowance ? Neither wasting or thriving can be maintain'd by the scant Salary, or honest Industry, and faithful Ser. vice of a just Steward. Some other Tricks must be learn'd, and it's easy enough, at this Day, to find those who are very perfect and cunning at them; the Master's Negligence, and the Tenents or Debtors Dishonesty, are good helps to them. They have the Arts of thriving, by fucking from both, till they grow too great for both. And indeed whatever fuch Stewards deferve for the waste they make of what is not their own, such Lords and Tenants, well deserve to be thus drained for feeding such Leeches who will never leave fucking till they burst.
Wasting is still the thing that wicked Men refolve upon, and all they take into their consideration is, which way of VVafting will serve their turn best, or will be easiest for them to make use of. Honest Labour we find will not bring in enough for our Appetites; what then, will not Stealing, or Robbing, or Cheating, over-reaching, and taking advantage of Ignorance or Cree dulity in Trading and Bargaining; will no such Arts as these serve us neither? If we be ashamed to beg, are we also ashamed to borrow what we either never inrend, or cannot hope to be in a Condition to pay again? Or are we too modest to pay one with what we borrow of another, till
we make our last Creditor pay all? Some or ether of these will be always accounted gentile shifts, and so long as they will keep us in the Mode and Garb of Gentlemen, few of us are aThamed of them, and especially of being borrowing Thieves. Tho' I think among all sorts of Thieves, there's none so mischievous a Thief as he, that thus steals by borrowing. The righteous and good natured Man is ever merciful and lendeth, and he is the worst of Thieves by whom such good and kind Men are the greatest Sufferers. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again. Psal. 37. 21. Whereby we may underHand either his Sin, or içs Punishment, his Character of his Fate. He that useth this Trade is certainly a wicked Man; and he that is wicked, is often thus punished, by being reduced to so needy a Condition, as at once makes needful for him to borrow, and him unable to pay what he borroweth. · I shall say no more of this now, seeing it seems no way applicable to the Design of the Parable : Only thus much by way of Advice. Let us all learn to be Godly, and so shall we also learn to live soberly. Let us learn to live foberly, and that will make it very easy for us to live justly. Piety will make any one well contented with what will sustain Nature for the Service of God; and Nature is best kept in a fit Temper for God's Service with a little; and where a little is enough, there can be no Temptation to do unjustly.
just Steward, because he bad i done wisely; for the children
of this world are in their Gea neration wiser than the children of light.
T Titherto in this Parable, we have been enter11 tain'd with a Story of a rich Lord, and his , unjust Steward. We have heard how this waltful Fellow abused his Lord's goodness to him, and was false to his Truft: Whar Displeasure his Lord conceived against him for his base and ungrateful Behaviour ; how he call'd him to give up his Accounts, and discharged him from his Stewa ardlhip; and Lastly, what cunning Shifts and. Ferches this Man had for himself, co be as little a Lofer, as might be, by the Loss of his place. We have now before us, in thisVerse, two things to be consider'd.