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the purpose of consuming it upon their lusts, or for any other selfish gratification. The voluptuary and the miser stand in this respect upon the same footing, as implicated in the guilt of covetousness; nor are even they entirely clear of it who make wealth the mere instrument of arrogant and ambitious display. In every case where it is made to minister only to worldly views, and is disconnected from all religious considerations of its use and value, it becomes a fatal snare. Against this perversion of what might otherwise prove a real blessing, all these admonitions of our Lord, and that especially in the parable before us, are evidently directed. At the same time, the mode is indicated of rendering wealth, and whatever talents may accompany it, conducive to our eternal welfare. As the unjust steward made provision, by acts of false liberality and beneficence, for his favourable reception among men iniquitous and worthless as himself; so is it in our power, by acts of true charity and piety, grounded on the sincere love of God and man, to ensure our reception into "everlasting habitations." What he did from the most unworthy and reprehensible motives, we are enjoined to do upon the pure principles of faith and virtue;-to

be active, after the pattern of our great Exemplar, and for His sake, in doing good; to make friends of our worldly goods in a spiritual sense, and thus to "lay up in store for "ourselves a good foundation against the "time to come, that we may lay hold on "eternal life."

The whole practical improvement of the subject may be summed up in few words, and is level to all capacities. The God whom we serve does not exact from us any harsh or impracticable service. He requires not, that we should renounce either the proper use or the rational enjoyments of the present life; but that we should hold them as in trust from HIM, diffuse their benefits to the full extent of the means and opportunities afforded us, and learn experimentally how much "more blessed it is to give than to re"ceive1." Thus shall we "so use this world


as not abusing it ;" and prove ourselves infinitely wiser in our generation, than the children of this world are in theirs. They seek only a treasure that abideth not; we, “an " inheritance incorruptible and that fadeth "not away"." They make provision for the body only, and its perishable concerns; we "seek first the kingdom of God and His

1 Acts xx. 35.

m 1 Peter i. 4.

righteousness," in full confidence that "all "these things shall be added unto us"," as far as the all-wise Disposer sees best and most fitting. Their maxim is that of the Epicurean atheist, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die°:"-ours, that of the Christian Apostle, "Godliness hath the pro"mise of the life that now is, and of that "which is to come"." Thus, in every point of view, "wisdom is justified of her children;" and that divine maxim of the Psalmist is fully verified, "The fear of the Lord is "the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do thereafter; "the praise of it endureth for ever'."

P 1 Tim. iv. 8.




n Matth. vi. 33.

q Matth. xi. 19.


r Psalm cxi. 10.

o 1 Cor. xv.


ACTS xxvi. 28.

Then Agrippa said, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

THIS confession was drawn from king Agrippa, by the account which St. Paul gave of his miraculous conversion to the Christian faith. The Roman governor, Festus, a heathen, and uninstructed in those evidences which the Apostle stated in confirmation of his belief, regarded his recital as the mere ravings of an enthusiast:-"Paul, thou art "beside thyself: much learning doth make "thee mad." The Apostle repels the accusation with dignity and firmness, and appeals from so incompetent a judge as Festus to the better information of the king himself: "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak the words of truth and soberness. "For the king knoweth of these things, be"fore whom also I speak freely: for I am "persuaded that none of those things are



"hidden from him: for this thing was not "done in a corner."

Agrippa, as appears from Josephus's history, had been brought up in very strict observance of the Jewish religion. His father, who preceded him in the government of Judæa, was remarkably zealous in his attention to its Law and Ritual; and had obtained for it certain privileges from the Roman emperor, which the persecuting spirit of heathenism was but ill-disposed to concede. His family are represented as partaking in the same attachment to the declining cause of Judaism and St. Paul, in the beginning of this address, expresses his satisfaction at being brought before Agrippa, whom he knew "to be expert in all customs and ques"tions which were among the Jews." He moreover challenges the king's attention to the testimony borne to the Divine mission of Jesus from the Scriptures of the Old Testament:"King Agrippa believest thou the "Prophets? I know that thou believest." This appeal Agrippa appears to have very sensibly felt. Suddenly he exclaims, "Al"most thou persuadest me to be a Christian!" -And transitory as the impression appears to have been, the record of it is an abiding attestation to the resistless energy of truth.

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