« AnteriorContinua »
the greatest tenderness that he gives out the exhortation, Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways ; for wby will ye die ? Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
2. How unreasonable are the hard and horrid thoughts, whereby finners, awakened to a sense of their vileness and guilt, are kept off from a forgiving God ? He hath proclaimed and proved mercy to be his delight, even towards 'the most unworthy, by frankly cancelling all the score of those upon whom he hath the largest demands, but yet
who have nothing wherewith to pay? 3. How disingenuous would it be for any to go on with the greater security and boldness, in fin, because God is ready fo freely to forgive the greatest debt? This would be to cross the nature and design of grace, and cut off from ourselves all pleas for it. Shall we, faith the Apostle, continue in fin, that grace may abound? God forbid. The thought is shocking, and strikes with horror. It can come from no where, but from hell, and leads to it: As there is not a more dangerous fymptom of a forsaken soul, than to prefume to fin upon this consideration : That God is ready to forgive the greatest debt, and thereupon to put it to the trial. To do thus, is to turn the grace of God into wantonness : And what, but perdition, can be the end of such a course?
4. For the greatest sinners to say, There is no hope in their case, is to say what they have no warrant for, from God or his word. If any man fin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : Who hath been the propitiation for sin, and is exalted to be a Prince and
a Saviour, to give both repentance and forgiveness ; and this is the gospel, which he hath commanded to be preached in his name, among all nations. Upon this ground the weary and heavy laden are to apply to God in Chrift, by earnest prayer for repentance and faith, that the burden of fin may be taken off, and they find rest unto their souls.
Lastly, Let such as have any good hope that their debts, how large foever, are forgiven, love much, yea love the more, the larger their debts have been. If we are pardoned at all, it is a very great debt from which we are discharged. O let us labour after suitable affection, and Thew it.
1. By reflecting upon sin with the greater shame and sorrow, hatred and abhorrence, as committed against so good a God. Ye that love the Lord, bate evil.
2. Having much forgiven, love God the more, and give him the glory due unto his name. Who is a God like unto thee, who pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by transgression, &c. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, &c. who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies, Psal. ciii. 1, 2, 3, 4. 3. Having much forgiven, let your
love shew itself greater by your growing esteem of Jesus Christ, whose blood was the price of your pardon, and though it is given you freely, cost him his life. In the sense of this, to them that believe, he is precious.
If he be fo to you, thew it by your delight in his presence, and particularly by making conscience of meeting him at his table, to give him the glory of the grace you have received, and by waiting for all that you further need.
Thus shew forth his death till he come: And the time of his coming will be a time of refreshing, when your sins shall be blotted out, and you shall be led into that state where all his ransomed shall sing unto him that loved them and washed them from their fins in his own blood. To him be glory and dominion for ever. Amen.
SE R MON XIV.
LUKE. XVI. 2. -Give an account of thy stewardship: for thou mayest be no longer steward.
HESE words are part of a parable : and TH
the making use of parables, comparisons and fimilitudes, adapted to instruct his hearers in the important doctrines he meant to communicate to them, was a way frequently used by our. blessed Saviour.
In the way of relating some short particular history taken from, or built upon the way of transacting affairs in common life, which all would be desirous to hear, our Lord, at this time, and at many other times, excited his careless, his apt to be weary, yea and his prejudiced auditors to lend their attention to, and receive instruction in matters of the greatest moment to their concerns of another life, which they cared not to hear of; and to their deep conviction too of the truth and importance of these matters, even before they were well aware of his wise design to call them to think of them,
Instruction in moral and spiritual things by fit parables, is memorable instruction : It is an easy and pleasing way of teaching, and one stealing in upon the consciences of those only amused by it at first : For after they, from one word or two of application, come to see its drift, it often proves very awakening and convincing, Our Lord by great wisdom and art, as well as zeal and affection, got within the doors of the hearts of his hearers.
The design of our Lord in this parable we máy plainly see, was to call his present auditors, and all others, to the greatest care and diligence in improving the advantages wherewith they were intrusted, as those that were accountable to God, and to fare for ever hereafter, according to their good or evil management and conduct here.
The steward spoken of in the text, points to every man and woman in the world.
The goods he was entrusted with, represent the several talents received by them.
The certain rich man, whose servant the steward was, notes the great God, by and from whom all gifts and advantages of every kind are mitted to Us - his creatures. The account demanded of the steward, refers to the strict en-. quiry that will be made another day, how every one has improved, or wasted this his Lord's goods or gifts: according to which he will be approved or condemned.
And warning is given of the certainty and approach of such a day, from the notice they have in scripture that their state of probation shall end,