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that evil passion. Renounce that sinful prac. tice. Give
Give up that unlawful calling. Lop. off that forbidden branch. Leave that ensnaring situation. Withdraw from those ruinous friendships and connexions.-Do these commands sound harsh ? Remember, you: have already seen and owned them to be reasonable. The flesh, we know, will protest against them, and will plead strongly for . indulgence. It will tell you, that you will • be torn from enjoyments which habit has • made a second nature: that
will lose your pleasures, ruin your prospects, make • the world your enemy, and bring on your' self disgrace, contempt, and ridicule.'Listen not to these suggestions. Silence them all by this one thought, that it is better to suffer these things, than to be shut out from heaven, than to be cast into hell. Recollect that " it is not a vain thing for
you, because it is your life.”*
Come out and be ye sepa. rate. “ Put away the accursed thing from you.' “ Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
For your direction and encouragement in the discharge of this great duty, I would remind you, that if you seriously desire to : set about the work, there is a powerful friend, who is ready to assist you with all
* Deut. xxxii. 47.
needful strength and help. It is only through the Spirit,'* that you can mortify the deeds of the body : but this Spirit is given to all who pray for, it.
“Our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.”+ It is only through the good Spirit of God working in you, and with you, that you can part with the offending member. But through Him you may certainly do it. If you call upon him he will strengthen your weakness, and will “work in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”I Nay, through his grace you shall find the work it: self far less difficult than you may now suppose it to be. By his divine consolations he will lessen the pain, and abundantly make up the loss, even in this present world. He will provide you with new comforts, new pleasures, new friends, in the room of those which you may give up. He will bestow on you better riches than those which the world can furnish. He will give you inward
peace, and abiding joy, and rest unto your soul. Pray then for the Spirit. Go forth in his strength. By his help crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin." * Rom. viji. 13,
* Luke xi. 13. # Philip. i. 13.
THE DAY OF ACCOUNT.
LUKE, xvi. 2.
Give an account of thy Stewardship. BOTH reason and the Bible agree in teaching us that this life is a state of trial. It is the time allowed to us for working out our salvation and preparing for eternity. Short then as this time may be, our everlasting condition depends on the use or abuse we make of it. We shall be happy or miserable for ever, accordingly as we now improve or waste the talents intrusted to our care. God grant! then, my brethren, that we may work,
while it is day; for the night cometh when no man can work
The words of the text are taken from the parable of the unjust steward: the chief design of which was to shew, that godly people, in following after heavenly things, may
* John, ix. 4.
do well to copy the diligence and Foresight which wicked men use in their pursuit of earthly things. My business, however, in the present discourse, is not with the parable itself, but only with that particular passage, which I have read to you from it : a passage which speaks to us in a most solemn and awful manner, "Give an account of thy stewardship.” From these words i shall set before you two important truths.
1. That we are Stewards. 11. That we must one day give an Account of our Stewardship.
And may the consideration of these truths affect our hearts suitably to their vast importance:
I.' We are Stewards.
This is true of us in general as m'en. is more particularly true of us as Christians. The New Testament frequently puts the matter in this light. While the ministers of the gospel are called “ Stewards of the mysteries of God ;*" private Christians are also said to be " Stewards of the manifold grace of God.”+ But it is in the parable of " the Talents," that we fiud the clearest view of this truth. The whole parable goes on the supposition that Christians are the 1 Col. iv. 1.
+1 Pet. iv, 10, † Matt. xxv. 14.
stewards of Jesus Christ. He is their master, who delivers to them his goods, with which they are to trade in his absence, till in the end he returns, and reckons with them. Now, there are three respects in which I shall particularly shew, that we are stewards.
1. Forasmuch as we are put in trust of things, which are not our own. Stewards are those who have the care of other men's goods. They are not owners of the property which they manage.
It belongs to some other person, who intrusts it to their keeping. Thus it is with us. We have no property of our own.
We have nothing which really belongs to us.
Christ is the great Proprietor of all. To Him, every thing which we have, belongs. Our lives are received and held from him. Our bodies and souls are not our own, but his ; for he has " bought them with a price.' Our time, our health, our money ; the powers of our mind, the means of grace, our opportunities of being useful, which we enjoy, all are talents, which he has put into our hands. They are goods committed to our care by him, who “ divideth to every man severally as he will.”—How ought this view of things to check our
* Cor. vi, 20.