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THE LORD'S PRAYER, IN ACROSTIC.*
Our Lord and King, who reign'st enthroned on high,
* Tbis ingenious Acrostic, it is stated, was composed by an American soldier, named STURDIVANT, wbile beld as a prisoner in Canad.
The whole creation knows no God but thee.
GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF THY STEWARDSHIP,
BY REV. E. HEINER. All men do not realize that they are God's stewards, and that a day of reckoning will come. There are but fet, indeed, even among christians, who feel their accountability to God as they should. The talents entrusted to men are generally neglected or misim proved.
Every man is God's steward, and as such, he has an important trust committed to his care. But in what does this trust consist? What is it that God has committed to his hands, and which he will require an account of at the last day?
God has given to man reason and understanding. One of the noblest endowments of human nature is reason, Man's chief glory consists in his rationality. The capabilities of his intellectual being are of a very high order. It is these chiefly that assimilate bim so strikingly to the angels, and even to God himself. The gift of reason, memory, judgment, understanding, is the richest and greatest gift that God could possibly have bestowed upon man. What would immortality itself be to man without reason? and what would both be to him, if the glory of God were not his chief aim, his supreme delight? Man is bound so to use his natural intellectual powers, as to be useful in his day and generation, in promoting the highest interests of christianity, and thus manifesting and advancing the true glory of God. If he do not so use these gifts, he is living and acting for ends unworthy of his nature and destiny, and how shall be account for his stewardship at the final day?
Another important gift from God, is bodily health and strength. Sickly and afflicted persons can do but little either for themselves or for others; but those who enjoy good health, and are blest with a vigorous constitution, are fitted for extensive usefulness in the world. To be well in body and sound in mind, constitute one of the most desirable of all God's blessings. This it is, that qualifies us, in so large a measure, for high personal and social enjoyments, and also for a life of great usefulness among our fellow-men.
Time, too, in which to work out our salvation, and to honor and glorify God in various ways, is another part of the high trust committed to our care. Men's chief concern in this life is to do the will of God in preparing for eternity, and in order to make a fitting preparation to meet God in judgment, he is favoured with time and opportunities. He enjoys long months and years, in which he may recover himself under God, from the ruin and degradation of the fall, and be restored to the favor and happiness of heaven. How important and necessary a trust is TIME ?
O Time, how few thy value weigh,
Beyond its measure, and its power. Another part of this trust, consists in wealth and riches, with which to do good. When God gives a man wealth, he is bound to use it for his glory. It does not come to him by chance, but by the direction of his heavenly Father; and he is to feel that he is only God's steward, and that he must dispose of his means in such a way only as will meet with the approbation of the Great Giver. The doctrine that what a man has is his own, absolutely, and that he may make such a use of it as he pleases, without any proper reference to the will of God, is false and wicked. All that a man hath, he receives from God, and he is at liberty only to use it in such a way and for such purposes, as God has been pleased to indicate in his word. And any one
who will read the Scriptures attentively, especially the Gospel, şi can easily learn how a rich man ought to dispose of his property.
The word and ordinances which God has given us, are also rich and precious treasures. These are heavenly gifts of the highest value, and of the greatest importance. How dark and wretched our world would be without the light and salvation of the Scriptures! How desirable then the provisions of God's house, and all the great and plenteous redemption of the Gospel ! Here is a trust of inestimable value to man, and which he is bound to use for his own good, and for the good of others.
God has indeed committed great things to our hands, for which we must give account. A day of reckoning will come, when it will be said to every one, “Give an account of thy
stewardship.” Man is a probationer for eternity. On earth he is entrusted with certain talents which he is required to improve for the glory of God. When his probation ends, and end it must, he will be called to his account at the judgment. Christ will occupy the throne of judgment, and will judge every one according to the number of the talents with which he entrusted him, and the opportunity that he enjoyed for improving them. Complete justice will be done to every one. He who received but one talent will not have to account for five, nor will he who received but five, have to account for ten. All will be judged according to their several ability, and rewarded or punished according to the manner in which they improved or misapproved the talent or talents with which they were entrusted. Each one must give an account for himself, and not for another; and all will be judged in righteousness and in truth. As soon as the stewardship ends, which will be at death, the account must be rendered, and the final allotments of all men determined for eternity. How solemn the thought that we must give account, and that this account may be required of us any day, and any hour!
If, then, we are stewards, how unreasonable, and foolish to be proud and “puffed up” on account of any thing we possess. We are to be judged for all we have, and to be acquitted or condemned, according to the use or misuse that we have made of our several talents.
Has God indeed blest us with reason and understanding ? Has he possessed us of minds capable of knowing him, and of being exercised and employed for his glory? Then must we give account for the way in which we have used these powers and faculties of our souls.
Has God favoured us with large measures of bodily health and strength, and thus afforded us an opportunity for active service in his cause, and for important usefulness in his kingdom? Has He favored us with long years, in which to work out our own salvation, and at the same time to exert a happy influence on the eternal destinies of some of our fellow-men? Then surely a strict account for all this precious health and time must be rendered at the approaching judgment.
Have we enjoyed the divine word; the divine ordinances ; the divine benedictions ? Have we had the gospel in our hands, and have we eaten and drinken again and again at the table of the Lord ? Have we enjoyed “the days of heaven upon earth,” and often feasted our souls upon the sweet and all-satisfying provision of God's house? For all this we must give account, and how will we fare if we have rendered ourselves un
worthy of all these rich bounties of heaven! How will matters stand, if we shall have received all this marvellous grace of God in vain ? How and what shall we answer when the Master riseth up in judgment against us?
If we are to be judged for all we have, whether it be little or much, there can be no room for pride or boasting. We should rather humble ourselves before the Lord, and cry for help from heaven, so that we may make a proper use of the high trust which God has committed to us, and fittingly discharge all the duties which we know belong to it. Where much is given, there will much be required.
How exceedingly careful should we be, that, as stewards, we received not this trust in vain, in any sense, or to any extent. If we bury our talents, it will be putting them to no account in life. In such a case we shall be reckoned as unprofitable, and shall receive the punishment that the unprofitable servant deserves. And then when we employ our talents, we should be careful to employ them in a right way, and for right ends. It is not enough that we exercise our talents and spend our strength. This is important, certainly, but it is equally important, to say the least, that in the exercise of our various powers and faculties, we should aim at the accomplishment of legitimate and proper objects. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that a man whom God has given wealth, is illiberal, and expends little or nothing in the way of Christian benevolence. Would we be authorized to say that such a man was properly employing his talents? There he is, surrounded by his worldly substance, and abounding in all the good things of this life. He has more than a competency for himself and family, while living, and for his family after he is dead and gone, and he toils and labors "in season and out of season," in order to add something more to his already superflous wealth ; and this for self-aggrandisement and self-gratification. His whole object is to pamper self, and not to help the poor or build up the cause of God in the world. Does such a man do right, though he toil day and night, and exercise his physical and mental energies to their utmost capacity ? No, he does not. No one is entrusted with riches that he may use them for self indulgence and sin. After a man has suitably provided for the wants of himself and family, whilst living, and for the comfortable support of those who may be dependent upon him, after he has passed away from earth, he is solemnly bound to devote the remainder of his wordly substance to the cause of Christian charity and benevolence. This he is bound to do as a lover of his species, if by nothing else. The world is full of all kinds of ignorance, and sorrow, and suffering; and if