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it is written: * Set your afseSlions on things above, not on things on the earth; and, "t Love not the world, neither the things that are m the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father- is not in him: Which Texts are not to be understood of those things alone, which are in their own nature sinful; for 'tis unquestionably true, that the fixing our Affections, even upon such Present enjoyments as are in themselves Lawful, does Alienate us from the Love of God, and a Future state.
And after all, Temporal blessings, which have sometimes been with too much Earnestness and Artifice recommended, are frequently denied to the Best of men. And that Goodness must be Uncertain, which is not supported by the expectation of a Certain reward: That Religion cannot stand very long, which is built upon an Unstable foundation. But the strongest temptations will hafdly Shake the virtue of those, whose Love and Hopes are devoted to
. * Col. iii. 2. j i John, ii. 15.
the the Treasures, which will Infallibly be dispensed in that day of Retribution, when they shall be rescued from the Tyranny of Death, and appear Pure and Perfect before the Judgment Seat ofChrifi; when they shall Hear the Blefled sentence pronounced upon them, and See the first rays of Endless glory; when they shall meet the Lord in the air, and thence with Him and the Holy Angels ascend to the mansions of Heaven; where they shall reign for ever, without any danger of revolting to Sin, or relapsing from Bliss.
Unto God Blessed for ever, Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, be all Honour, Praise and Thanksgiving, from generation to generation, Amen.
The Necessity and Measures, the Excellency and Efficacy of Works or Charity Represented.
LUKE xvi. Ver. o.
Make to your selves friends of the Mam. mon of unrighteousness, that when ye -fail, they may receive you into everlasting Habitations.
TH E Rule here given by our Blessed Saviour, is grounded upon the Parable of the Unjufi Steward; who, finding that he must be put out of his Stewardship, improved the short Season, which was still in his Hands, to the utmost Advantage. He
had had all along been as far removed' from Consideration, as from Integrity: But when his Unfaithfulness was detected, and he plainly saw that the Abuse of his Privileges must be punished with the Loss of them; this surprising Turn puts him upon projecting some means or other, of (heltring himself from that Storm, which was ready to fall upon him.
Indeed, the Practices wherein he laid the Foundations of a Sanctuary for himself, were as Indirect and Unlawful, as thofe, whereby a Sanctuary became Necessary for him. His Injustice expofed him to Calamities, and he made that the Instrument of his Comfort too: He had defrauded his Lord, and was therefore to be abandon'd; and he combined with his Lord's Debtors in new Instances of Fraud, to prevent his own Ruin. His Injustice was inexcusable, and ought to be detested; but his Wisdom was Commendable and Exemplary: And 'tis that alone, which is Commended in the Parable.
A Man's Good Qualities, do justly challenge Esteem and Imitation, notwith
H z standing standing that some other Qualities in him, may possibly be of a very different kind, and should affect us in a very different manner. And therefore our Blessed Saviour takes Occasion, from the Cautious and Prudent Measures, even of an Unjuji Stewards to recommend that Prudence, which is exercised in making Provision for Futurity. And he brings down that General Scope of the Parable, to a single Point, in the Words of the Text; prescribing the Improvement of one particular Talent, here styled The Mammon of Unrighteousness.
The Word Mammon signifies Riches; and Wealth unjustly procur'd may, in the strictest Sense, be called the Mammon of Unrighteousness. But that our Saviour did fix this harsh Appellation in that strictest Sense of it, upon Riches in General, is not to be imagined. And yet there is good Reason to conclude, that he does here speak of Riches in General; which may be called the Mammon of Unrighteousness, as in some other Respects, so particularly as that Expression may be Interpreted False, or Deceitful Riches.