Page images
PDF
EPUB

No man

the folly of such an attempt. can serve two masters : for either, he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." In discoursing on these words let us consider,

I. The meaning and truth of the Maxim here laid down.

II. Our Lord's application of it.

I. The maxim is this, “ No man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will holel to the one, and despise the other.” Now the meaning and truth of this maxim may be clearly seen from a very little consideration. Every one understands what is ineant by serving a master. It is spendin our time and our talents in his service. It is doing his will and his work, furthering his interests, and obeying his orders. What should we say of the man, who should betray the trusts which his master puts in him ; who, as soon as his master's back is turned, should neglect his business? or who, whenever his own inclination tempt him, should disobey his master's orders, or sacrifice his master's interests to those, of some other person? Should we say of such a man, that he seri ed his master? No. The man who serves his master, is one who serves him with faithful

ness, with diligence, with singleness of heart, with a mind ready and willing, and wholly given up to his service. Now for a man thus to serve two masters is utterly impossible. He cannot love them both alike. He cannot be devoted to both of them alike. He must secretly, at least, prefer the one to the other; and thus, in truth, must belong to the one, and not to the other. So long, indeed, as both those, whom he calls his masters, may travel the same road, or give the same orders, he may appear to serve them both. He may follow both; he may obey both ; and so may deem himself the servant of both. But when they go different ways, or give different orders; when one of them turns to the right hand, and the other to the left; when one of them commands one thing, and the other gives a directly contrary command; then what will be the case ? It will then be seen, which of them the man really serves.

It will then be seen to which of them he really belongs. However he may have hitherto hidden his mind from others, or even deceived himself, by calling them bɔth master;" yet he can now hide the matter no longer : he must now follow one of them, and forsake the other; he

must now obey one of them and disobey the other ; he must now clearly shew to which of them, either from interest or from affection he is bound, and whose service of the two he really prefers.—The meaning and Truth then of the Maxim in the text are clear. " No man can serve two masters.” He may intend to do it. He may try to do it. He may, for a time, seem to do it ; and may even think that he does it. But when something happens which brings the matter to a trial, then his real mind is discovered : then it is decidedly seen, however ignorant he may have hitherto been of his own heart, that, in fact, he" hates the one, and loves the other ; that he holds to the one, and despises the other."

II. We consider our Lord's Application of this Maxim; “ Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."

Mammon is a word which signifies gain : and it may be understood as ineaning honour, riches, pleasure, sensual gratifications, or any thing of a worldly nature, which men account to be gain, and to which they look for happiness. Of this Mammon then our

Lord
says,

« Ye cannot serve it and God." He does not say, Ye ought not to serye God and Mammon. Your duty, your interest forbid you to serve them both. But you cannot serve them both. To attempt it is to attempt what cannot be done. And why cannot it be done ? For the very reason which he had stated above : because

no man can serve two masters.” God and Mammon are two masters; and therefore no man can serve them both, They are two masters, whose interests directly thwart each other, and whose commands are continually crossing and opposing each other. For example ; God says, “ thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself !** Mammon says, . Love thyself best.' —God says, “ If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall mot oppress

one another."| Mammon says,

*Make the best bargain in your power.

Over-reach and defraud another, if you are able. Push your own interests, and care not at whose loss or expence.'--God says, ,

- Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." " Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” not conformed to this world."* Mammon says, 'Do as others do.

Avoid being singular. Comply with the customs and practices of the world.'-Now, is it possible, while God and Mammon give such different orders, that we can serve them both? Is it possible, that we can

* Matth. xxii. 39. t Lev. xxv. 14. Ley. xxiji, 2. 2. Cor. vi. 17. Rom. xii. 2,

one

6 Be

love the one without hating the other; that we can hold to the one without despising the other? Nay. The very pleas which men continally urge in defence of their sins, shew this to be the case. How often do we hear persons trying to excuse their transgressions of God's law, on the ground that their worldly affairs make such transgressions necessary ? What is the language of one ? When required to leave off such or such a practice, which the law of God clearly condemns, he answers, ,' All persons in my circuinstances follow • this practice. It is necessary to the

successful carrying on of my business. • If I were to leave it off, I should suffer a great loss. My profits would be less. Others, who are not so scrupulous, would get the start of me. Surely these reasons are sufficient to justify my conduct. 'I cannot be expected so far to injure my

self as to give up the practice in question ! What is the language of another? He is admonished to keep holy the Sabbath-day. He is tolil that many things, in which on that day he employs himself or his servants, are strictly forbidden by the holy law of God. • But such employments,' he cries are very * gainful to me. Several of these things, if * done on another day, would greatly interrupt the regular business of the week. To

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »