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own, but of the Lord's; for, in a strict sense, we cannot appropriate to ourselves any more than what is necessary to supply our daily wants, all the rest is the property of others: for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 1 Tim. 6,7. The steward did not think it hard to distribute his lord's goods: so we also, when we consider that we do not possess our own but our Lord's goods, will not take it hard to distribute them to poor people in distress, especially to the faithful in Christ. Hé did it that, if he would have to fail, they might receive him into their houses : we ought likewise to make to ourselves friends of (or by) this mammon, that they may receive us into everlasting habitations, through the instrumentality of their prayers and thanksgivings, as Paul clearly explains it, Cor. 9th chap. 12, 13, 14 verses.
Therefore Tobit said to his son, Give alms of thy substance; and when thou givest alms, let not thine eye be envious, neither turn thy face from any poor, and the face of God shall not be turned away from thee. If thou hast abundance, give alms accordingly, if thou hast but little, be not afraid to give according to that little : for
thou layest up a good treasure for thyself against the day of necessity. Because that alms do deliver from death, and suffer not to come into darkness. For alms is a good gift unto all that give it in the sight of the Most High. Tobit 4, 7 to 12. Sirach says, Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend, and let it not rust under a stone to be lost. Lay up thy treasure according to the commandments of the Most High and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. Eccl. 29, 10. 11. Paul also says, As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Gal. 6, 10.
From this it is evident that it is enjoined upon us as a duty to show mercy to all men in distress; for mercy rejoiceth against judgment, (James 2, 13.), especially to those who believe in Christ, for what we do unto the least of those who believe in Christ, the same we do unto him. Matt.
The steward was commended by his lord because he had done wisely: so will Christ our Lord commend all those who have dealt thus with his servants and disciples, and will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was a hungered and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and yė gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in &c. Matt. 25.
Therefore I repeat it that we ought to make use of the property, which by the law of man belongs unto us, but by the law of God belongs unto the Lord, in the manner above explained ; forif, when we givealms, we pride ourselves in it, we have our reward : for in this as well as in other things we should say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do; Luke 17,10. Learn from this that thou must die in humility to the world and thy own self, and must live by love unto God, before thou art able to use the world as not abusing it, and enjoy the world as though thou didst not possess it, 1 Cor. 7, 30. 31. For if we do not give our alms through this acknowledgment and a divine charity as gifts of the Lord, but give them as our own, that we may be seen of men, and are puffed up, then our left hand knows what the right hand is doing, and we bave our reward.
But if we distribute them as the goods of the Lord and not as our own property, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, that is, our carnal mind will be restrained by the internal spiritual mind, and by the true hand of faith from arrogating any thing to itself. Therefore the righteous will answer and say, Lord, when did we do this and that thing unto thee? Then he will reply, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25, 40.
O God! grant us bountiful hearts, as thou thyself art bountiful, giving us seed to sow and bread to eat, that we may give willingly and render assistance to all necessitous and afflicted men, that we may lay up a treasure for the time to come and may glorify thee in all thy benefactions, through Jesus Christ, now and forever, Amen.
O blessed God of heaven,
Such hearts 0 do but give us,
CHAPTER FIFTH Embraces a portion from the 5th verse to the 15th. 1. An ad
dress to the reader. 2. Of the prayer of the old and new pharisees. 3. Whose prayer is acceptable to God. 4. Treats of the Lord's prayer. 1.) Who can pray to the Father as Father. 2.) In whom the name of God is glorified. 3.) Who can pray for the kingdom of God. 4. Who can say truth, Lord, thy will be done. 5. Who are qualified to pray Give us our daily bread. 6. Who pray in truth, Forgive us our debts. 7. Who may answer God, As we have forgiven our debtors. 8. Who in truth can pray, Lead us not into temp. tation. 9. And who desire from their hearts to be delivered from evil.
1. Gentle and inquiring reader! If thou hast proved, in the perusal of this treatise, that thou art such a christian, or at least willing to become such a one as is described in the four preceding chapters, then go on to cleanse thyself from all the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness, in the fear of God. 2 Cor. 7, 1.