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purpose will this examination be made, this account be required ? For the most solemn and important of all purposes: that "every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,"* that every one may receive his just recompense of reward, and be sentenced to that state of happiness or mise. ry, in which he will remain for ever; that the faithful stewards, who have improved the talents committed to them, may " have praise of God," and be admitted into the joy of their LORD: that the slothful and wicked servants, who have buried or wasted their master's goods, may be exposed, condemned, and" cast into outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous, into life eternal.”+

These, my brethren, are truths, which ought to make a deep impression on every heart. But to aid and increase this impression, I shall go more into particulars. Having shewn you that we are Stewards, and must one day give an account of our Stewardship, I shall endeavour, by way of application, more clearly and distinctly to point out to you the nature of that account; what it will be, and how it will be required of us. With

* 2 Cor. v. 10. + Matt. xxv. 46.

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this view, I shall set before you what we may reasonably conclude will in that day be the grand subject of inquiry to all the servants of Christ. Let us suppose this our great Lord and Master then speaking to every one of us in these solemn and searching words:

Give an account of thy stewardship." Call to mind the goods and talents which I intrusted to your care; and shew what fuse and improvement you have made of them.

gave to you a soul, a reasonable, an immortal, an invaluable soul. I committed this precious treasure to your keeping. What have you done with it? Have you. lost, or have you saved it? What have you done to save it?. Have you made the care of your soul your chief concern? Amidst all your engagements and employments in the world, has it been your grand, your first business to “ work out your salvation with fear and trembling?" I admit that the work was hard, the labour was great, the difficulties were many; -but I left you not without sufficient help. I am not the hard master which some represent me to be. I do not expect to reap where I have not sown, nor to gather where I have not strewed. I

provided you with ample means for the saying


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of your soul. Have you carefully and faithfully employed these means ?

'I gave to you my Word. What use have you made of this gift? It was “able to save your soul ;" “ to make you wise unto salvation."* It was intended to be

a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your paths. Have you - used it as such ? Have you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God?" - Have you read it, meditated on it, prayed over it, and sought for grace, that you might understand it, and that it might be mixed with faith in your heart? Have you practised what you did understand of it? Have you governed your life by its holy precepts, doing what it commands, and abstaining from what it forbids? Have you believed its precious promises, casting all your care upon them, and patiently waiting for their accomplishment ?

. I gave to you my Sabbaths. How have you employed this gift? My sabbath was designed to be a day of holy rest.

I commanded you on that day to cease from .worldly labour-not that you might waste the hours in idleness and worldly pleasurebut that amidst your earthly callings, you * James, i. 21.2 Tim. iii. 15. + Psalm, cxix. 105.

I 1 Thess. ii. 13.

might have time to attend your soul, and to provide for eternity. I knew that you were prone to forget these things. I knew that unless some set time was fixed for more especially furthering the work of your salvation, the work itself would be greatly bindered and neglected. For your sake, therefore, I gave to you the Sabbath. I charged you in the most solemn manner to remember to keep it holy: and I added the promise of a blessing, if you would diligently observe my command, and would employ this sacred day to the purposes, for which I had separated it from all the other days of the week. Have you used it thus? Have you habitually made it a day of holy rest, of religious exercise ? Have you employed it in taking care of your soul, and in making yourself fitter for heaven? Look back on the many sabbaths which you have enjoy. ed. Call to mind the way in which you have spent them. They were talents com- . mitted to your trust.


you duly improved them?

I gave to you my Ministers.' How have you profited by this gift? I sent them to is waich for your souls ;” to remind you of your dangers, and your duties; to shew you the way

of peace; to be your spiritual guides and comforters, helpers of your joy,


and furtherers of your salvation. They were my ambassadors

, who came to you in my name, invited

you to my kingdom, and prayed you in my stead, to be reconciled unto me. How did you receive them? Did you

** esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake ?"* Did you take in good part their friendly admonitions ? Did you listen to their words with reverence and attention? Did you pray for a blessing on their labours ? Did you wait on their ministry with a view to your own spiritual edification? Did “ your profiting appear unto all men ?"

· I gave to you the privilege of Prayer. Have you improved this privilege? I opened to you a way of access to the throne of mercy. I commanded you to ways and not to faint.”+ I exhorted you “ in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, to let your requests be made known unto God.”* I taught you to pray." in my name."!.. I promised that “all things whatsoever you should ask in prayer believing, you should receive.”l! Have you availed yourself of this privilege? Have you turned it to good account? Have you prayed constantly, earnestly, in my * Thess. v. 13. + Luke, xviii. 1. I Phil. iv. 6.


§ John, xvi. 23. 26. || Matt. xxi. 22.

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