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exhort you to be liberal--and give you some prudential directions for the management of your wealth.

First, Let the word of God dwell in you richly, that is, be of a liberal spirit.

A narrow, selfish, penurious disposition, ill becomes a Christian. How despicable is the wretch who hoards up his treasure, without communicating any portion of it to others, or enjoying it himself! The reverse is the character of a disciple of Jesus. If riches are his lot, his religion will dispose him to acts of beneficence. His heart will feel for the wretched, and his hand afford them relief. And his gratitude to God will express itself by enjoying the good bestowed upon him. And may not the same temper be expected of the Christian in regard of that better wealth now under consideration ? The argument here receives additional force from the superior value of heavenly riches, their congeniality to his renewed nature, and the divine munificence in the bestowment of them.

In his word God has opened to you, Christian, treasures of knowledge, grace, and happiness. He hath abounded towards you in all wisdom and prudence a. Being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved you, even when you were dead in sins, he quickened you together with Christ, and raised you up together, and made you sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards you, through Christ Jesus b. And is it possible that the charter of your rights and liberties, the instrument by which this glorious inheritance is conveyed to you, the covenant which secures it, yea, that this immense wealth itself, the noblest gift of the great God, the purchase of his Son’s blood, and what raises you above the rank of angels; is it possible, I say, that these riches' should be yours, and you have no heart to use and enjoy them?

That nobility of mind too which makes you superior to the abject grovelling spirit of the miser, must surely make you proud of property the value of which angels cannot compute, a Eph. i. 8.

b Eph. ii. 447,

can you

and which exalts you to a seat near the throne of God himself. Nothing is more remote from the prevailing temper of a Christian than avarice. The Scriptures speak of many excellent characters as sullied with other irregular passions, but none with, this. The reason is, divine grace elevates, expands, and sublimates the soul of man. He who has drank into the spirit of the gospel is superior to a base action, and delights in offices of kindness and love. Ought you not then, Christians, this being your nature, to treat heavenly with the same liberality you do earthly treasure ?

But the argument receives still greater force from a recollection of the immense benignity of your divine Benefactor. Has he who enriches you with this wealth, loved you so dearly as to redeem you with his blood ? And

be so unlike him as to deal out the riches he has thus procured for you with a sparing hand ?

Yet-strange to think! We sometimes feel a narrow, penurious, frigid temper creeping upon us unawares, sinking us into the slumbers of self-security, defacing our high and noble character, interdicting our pleasures, and checking our exertions for the glory of God and the good of mankind. Instead of his word's dwelling opulently in us, it seems as if it had no place in us at all. And what makes this cold neutral spirit in the Christian the more inexcusable is, that it deprives him of even the little pittance of pleasure which the worldling enjoys, I mean that of contemplating the wealth he possesses: for when this unhappy frame of mind prevails, he forgets that the word of God is in him. Awake then, ye drowsy Christians, from your slumbers.

slumbers. Know that God has made you rich, and be, like him the Father of the family, and your fellow Christians the children of it, of a liberal spirit.-And now you wish,

SECONDLY, To be assisted with some prudential directions for the management of this wealth. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.

If a comprehensive view of our temporal circumstancesfrugality in the management of them-care to defend them taking proper measures to improve them—using and enjoying

them-applying them to the most benevolent purposesiwand aiming at God's glory in all; if these are expressions of wisdom in regard of worldly riches, the like wisdom is required of us in the disposition and arrangement of this more poble treasure. Let me then exhort you, Christians,

(1.) To get a clear idea of the wealth you possess.

A wise man will have a rent-roll of his estate, an estimate of his property, an accurate account of his treasures. He will be diligent to know the state of his flocks, and look well to his herds a. He will not suffer his affairs to lie in disorder, contenting himself with a general potion that he is rich.

In like manner, possessed as you are of the Bible, it will be your wisdom to get as comprehensive a view as you can of its contents. Walk round your estate, mark the boundaries of it, consider the several parts of it, their extent, use, and value, Here you have histories, there prophecies; here doctrines, there precepts; here counsels, and there reproofs ; here in structions, and there animating hopes, and consolatory promises. These should be considered in all their variety, cone nection, and dependance. And such view of them may be acquired by an orderly reading of the Scriptures, and a diligent study of their several parts. The Bible, thus becoming a well digested system of divine truth, will be more clearly understood, better retained in your memory, afford you greater entertainment, and be of more substantial use.

(2.) Squander not away your wealth on trifes.

It is lamentable to think what folly of this kind is observable among too many people of large fortunes. Their fancy is their only guide in the disposal of their riches. Every bau

. ble they set their eye upon must be theirs, and like children they have no sooner got one toy, but they exchange it for another. So their wealth is of little real use to them, and their character for discretion sinks in the esteem of prudent observers.

Beware, Christians, of the like folly in your treatment of the word of God. If your time is spent in mere speculation, in philosophising on divine truth, in attempting to explain mysteries not to be explored by human sagacity, and in developing questions of no real importance, you are trifling with your Bible, and wantonly throwing away the treasure which God has given you. Your character must suffer in the opinion of wise and good men, who will rather lament your folly than applaud your ingenuity. Your prodigality will impoverish you. Instead of growing wise, you will grow conceited, arrogant, and self-sufficient. Instead of enjoying solid tranquillity and happiness, you will have little other pleasure than is vain and imaginary. And instead of bringing forth fruit to the glory of God and the good of your fellow-creatures, you will be like the barren fig-tree a mere cumberer of the ground.

a Proy. xxvii. 23.

There is too a mode of treating the word of God in our social intercourses, which falls under the notion of squandering away our substance. He who is fond of talking and disputing about religion in all companies, without regard to the rules of prudence or Scripture, is guilty of this great evil. Pearls are not to be cast before swine a ; nor are the great things of God to be discoursed of with the same indifference that men treat the common affairs of life. As the word of Christ should dwell in us in all wisdom, so it should be communicated to others in a discreet and reverend manner. If no respect is had to the time or occasion of religious discourse, to the sort of company with which we associate, and to the frame of our own minds, we shall be likely to do more harm than good, and to disgrace rather than honour our holy profession.

(3.) Guard this heavenly treasure committed to your trust against every attempt to deprive you of it.

A wise man will take every prudent measure to secure his substance from fraud and violence as well as the common accidents of life. And not a little discretion is necessary to this end, considering the depravity of mankind and the precariousness of all worldly things. How many in opulent circumstances have been reduced to beggary through their own sloth and folly!

a Matt. vis. 6.

In like manner, the Christian had need summon together all the wisdom and resolution he is master of, to defend his Bible from the insidious arts and daring assaults of Satan and his emissaries. We have seen how the divine authority of Scripture has been attacked by infidels, under the specious pretence of free enquiry. We have seen the Man of Sin, with the terrors of the sword, arrogantly claiming an exclusive right to this sacred book, and so robbing an infinite multitude of people of their just property. We have seen men of various descriptions, under various pretences, and with various success, tearing these venerable records to pieces, explaining away almost every important doctrine therein revealed, and obtruding upon the world their own vain and novel opinions as the infallible dictates of heaven. We have seen the Christian, through his own mistaken reasonings, and under the pressure of a gloomy imagination, upon the point of giving up his Bible, or at least his own personal interest in the blessings of it. And we have seen good men so intoxicated by the smiles of worldly prosperity, and so shook by the influence of ill example, as to forget for a moment this nobler wealth they possess, and suffer themselves to be reduced to the extreme danger of want and bega gary.

Amidst all these assaults from subtle and powerful adversaries, not a little skill and fortitude is necessary to defend our just rights. It behoves us therefore to be awake, to have our eyes about us, to watch every avenue to our hearts, and to be prepared with every proper weapon to resist the enemy. The word of Christ, dwelling richly in you in all wisdom, will furnish replies to all the boasted objections of sceptics and infidels, and to all the sophistry of those who walk in craftiness, and handle the word of God deceitfully a. Study it, use your own judgment in reasoning upon it, compare it with the history of human nature, and the daily events of life, lay it to your heart, get an experimental acquaintance with it, and beg of God to teach your hands to war and your fingers to fight b. So you need not fear the event. With the sword of the Spirit in one hand, and the 'shield of faith in the other, you will perform

a 2 Cor. iv. 2.

b Psal. cxliv. I.

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