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greater wonders than Achilles is said to have achieved in the fields of Troy.

(4.) Another expression of Christian wisdom, is to improve. the property God has given us.

He surely is a foolish man who puts not out his money to use, 'neglects to cultivate his lands, and suffers his estate to run to rack and ruin. His neighbours of course blame him, and all prudent people conclude that he has no just idea of the value of worldly things. Some by economy and good management in a few years double their property, and so acquire the character of wise as well as rich men. Indeed it too frequently happens that this sort of wisdom pushed to an extreme degenerates into folly. The improvement, however, of heavenly riches is in no danger of being carried to an extreme. For the more our wealth increases the more we shall enjoy it, and the more good we shall do with it. So that avarice, which in rez. gard of the things of this world is justly accounted a vice, is in regard of religion a virtue.

Let us then improve this invaluable treasure of divine knowledge with which God has entrusted us. Do you ask, How this is to be done? I answer, The wisdom which is from above will instruct you. The Bible must be studied, its doctrines felt, and its duties practised. In order to your affixing right ideas to what you read, it will be prudent, first, to examine the Scriptures unembarrassed with any comment, and then to call in the aid of preaching, exposition, and discourse with religious friends. Providence must be consulted in connection with Scripture : the one will throw a light on the other. The de vout feelings of your heart must be daily tried by this unerring standard of truth. And to all these endeavours must be added fervent prayer to him who giveth wisdom to them who ask it, and upbraideth not a. These measures unweariedly pursued, your wealth will rapidly increase. In knowledge, faith, and love you

will abound. With David you will not only be wiser than your enemies, but have more understanding than all your teachers b. And with Apollos you will be mighty in the Scriptures c. Your pound will become not five only, but ten @ James i. 5. Psal. cxix. 98, 99.

c Acts xvii. 24.

try a.

pounds; and to the talents you possess will be added many more, by way of gracious reward for your attention and indus

Again, (5.) It will be our wisdom to live on what we have, and to enjoy it.

No observation is more common than the extreme folly of starving amidst plenty. What a miserable wretch is he who abounds with wealth, and will scarce allow himself bread to eat or raiment to wear! Such penury makes a man contemptible to the last degree, leaves him without a friend, and exposes him to insult and ridicule from every quarter. He is an idiot, a cypher in the creation, or rather an unprincipled wretch with whom no one cares to associate.

Apply this reasoning to the matter before us. What is he better than a fool who has these riches, and yet lives in want and penury ? The word of God is able to make us wise unto salvation. Why then do we reason no better about God and ourselves, about this world and another? Why is our dress so mean and sordid, our food so coarse and scanty, and our habitations so strait and inconvenient? Why are our countenances so pale and meagre, our spirits so languid, and our hands so feeble? Are we the sons of a King, heirs of God, and joint heirs of Jesus Christ b? Why then are we lean from day to day c? Why keep we no better company, and cultivate no more the manners of men of high birth and education, and of princely fortunes and expectations ? The fault is in ourselves. We have the word of God, but, alas ! want wisdom to use it properly.

Here I might lay down rules for such a prudent arrangement of these heavenly riches, as may render them the most serviceable to our spiritual health and prosperity. But as we have pointed out, in a former discourse d, the various uses to which the holy Scriptures are to be applied ; and, in another e, shewn what measures are to be taken in order to our understanding them and entering into the spirit of them, it shall

a Matt. xxv. 14-30. c 2 Sam. xiji. 4.

See Disc. VII,

b Rom. viii. 17. d See Disc. IV,

1

suffice here, in the language of metaphor, to bring forward again to your view the general ideas of their use.

It is much to the reputation of a man of wealth, that his mind is stocked with useful knowledge. Converse daily with this book, and your knowledge will wonderfully increase. The doctrines of this book will give you the most exalted ideas of the majesty and grace of God, and of the wisdom and equity of his government. The precepts of this book will give you a clear idea of the difference between good and evil, the beauty of the former and the deformity of the latter. And the histories of this book will substantiate all its wise speculations, maxims, and counsels respecting the nature, interest, and happiness of man.

A man of wealth is supposed to live in ease and affluence, without anxiety and care. You, Christians, have here the means of support and enjoyment. The best of food is here provided for you, such as will please your taste, and cheer your heart. Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God a. The truths, hopes, and promises of the Bible are the most substantial and delicate provisions an immortal mind can feed upon. Oh! if we had wisdom and faith to make a right use of the Scriptures, how would our hearts rejoice and our countenances shine! Our table would be daily spread for us, and our cup run over b. We should have the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness c. Like the King's daughter we should be all glorious within, our clothing would be of wrought gold d. This heavenly wealth would hold poverty, and with it gloominess and anxiety, at a distance from our habitation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation would be heard in our tabernacles e, and all around us would say, How happy a man is the Christian !

The rich are generally supposed to dwell in security; and indeed they are too apt to consider their wealth as a strong tower, impregnable to every attack. But however mistaken they may be in their estimate of worldly riches, it is certain

c Isa. Ixi. 3.

a Matt. iv. 4.
d Psal. xlv. 13.

6 Psal. xxiii. 5.
e Psal. cxviii. 15.

the word of God, become ours by a lively faith, is a sure defence against the evils mankind have most to dread. Use it, Christian, with wisdom and resolution, and you need not fear the artful stratagems, or open assaults, of your most insidious and determined enemies. This wealth well managed will keep sin, Satan, and the world at a distance, or if they dare assault you, will quickly baffle all their attempts.

Honour is generally considered as the perquisite of wealth. It gives men influence and a power of doing good, and therefore entitles them to respect. Nor is there a man living so justly entitled to honour, as he who possesses these heavenly riches under consideration, and faithfully uses them to the purpose of the divine donor. His character, be the rank he holds in life what it may, is truly noble. Dignity marks his countenance and demeanour, and commands reverence from all beholders. Which leads me to observe,

(6.) That it is a dictate of wisdom to do all the good we can with our substance.

Riches come from God, and to him an account must be rendered of our abuse or improvement of the property with which we are entrusted. A wise man therefore considers, in the first place, that wealth is given him not merely for his own personal convenience and gratification, but for the benefit of others. And being of a liberal spirit he cheerfully falls in with the will of his divine Benefactor: for next to the satisfaction of pleasing God, one main part of his enjoyment is, the making those around him happy. His next question is, how he may best carry his views into effect? Here discretion is necessary. The liberal man therefore deviseth liberal things a, considers well who are the first and fittest objects of his bounty, in what mode and degree they are to be assisted, and how he may best manage his affairs so as to be largely and extensively useful. With a little prudence a small fortune has enabled its owner to do a great deal of good.

In like manner the heavenly riches are given the Christian, not for his own emolument only, but for the good of others. Persuaded of this he is anxious to know how he may acquit himself with discretion as well as liberality. And here I have to recommend not only giving the Bible to the poor, reading it in our families, and, if we have ability, explaining it to our children and servants; but the prudent use, as occasion offers, of that knowledge and experience which we have derived from this blessed book, to the purpose of spreading religion abroad in the world. A word fitly spoken is as apples of gold in pictures of silver a. There is a mode of conveying instruction to the ignorant, reproof to the scorner, counsel to the doubtful, and comfort to the afflicted, which does as much honour to the prudence as to the piety of the Christian. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without--Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man b. If the word of God dwells richly in us in all wisdom, it will not only furnish matter suited to all the cases just mentioned, but will direct us as to the season, manner, variety, and the length or brevity of our discourse. In our private intercourses and public walks, in our own houses and at the tables of our friends, in the cottages of the poor, and in the circles of the great, we might be benefactors to mankind. We might instruct, entertain, and edify; diffuse knowledge, wisdom, and happiness far and wide. A most illustrious example our Saviour, who was the light of the world, has set us in this particular. What pity it is not more diligently copied by his disciples ?-Once more,

a Isa. xxxii. 8.

(7.) The last and noblest expression of wisdom I shall mention is a devout regard to God our kind and generous Benefactor. . That man is

poor in the extreme, be his wealth what it may, who forgets the fountain whence it flows. Every good and perfect gift is from above c, and he who feels not the generosity of the giver, and observes not the wise and gracious manner in which it is communicated, can have but little relish of the boon conferred. It is religion that gives sweetness to all our worldly enjoyments, without it they may intoxicate, but they cannot satisfy.

With how much greater force may it be affirmed of that profusion of wealth which the Bible pours upon us, that its a Prov. xxv. II.

6 Col. iv. 5, 6.

c James i. 17.

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