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enlighten the papist, who can reform the careless, who can make us all walk as dear children in love, as GoD hath loved us, be with us to bless our exertions and to crown our labours

with success; and may grace, mercy, peace, and love be multiplied unto you from GoD our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Sermon



Matthew, xxv. 19.-" After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them."

My dear brethren, we are heirs through | by patient continuance in well-doing, hope of the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we are looking for, and hasting unto the coming of the day of GOD. And it is incumbent upon us all, and it is the warranted privilege of us all, to look forward with joy to that glorious day, and to have that hope in us-a hope full of glory.

seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, there shall be eternal life; but indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile, for there is no respect of persons with GOD.

There is one branch of God's revealed truth in his dear Son, closely This truth is plainly declared in the connected with that glorious day of holy Scriptures, none more plainly. the church's hope, to which, I desire That ALMIGHTY GOD, in his sovereign now, to direct your attention; and it grace, hath chosen to himself a people should not be received as any limita- out of mankind-that he hath predestion of the joy of the church's hope. tinated them unto the adoption of No, beloved brethren, it becomes our sons by his dear Son Jesus Christ, privilege in Christ to look at this por- their head, is not more true in itself, tion of truth, as at every other, with is not more clearly revealed that they joy and gladness. The portion of rewho be endowed with GOD with so vealed truth to which I refer, is that, excellent a benefit, shall in due time at the second coming of the Lord Jesus be called by the Spirit of GOD working Christ, there shall be a righteous judg-in due season—that through the grace ment of God to every man according of GOD they obey that calling-that to his works. That unto them, who they be justified freely without merits

(To be continued.)

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GOD is its author, and it must be at unity with itself as He is; but it is a divine system, and the perfect harmony of it is too high for human at

of their own, without conditions to be performed, freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus-that they be quickened into new creatures in Christ by the Holy Ghost in them-tainment, it is too deep for human that they walk religiously in good works, and, at length, by the infinite, enduring mercy of GoD, attain everlasting life.

No one portion of this glorious truth is more true in itself, or more clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, than that there shall be a judgment at the coming of Jesus Christ—a judgment unto every man according to his works-that we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, and receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or bad. This great truth is implied in the parable from which our text is taken; nay, rather, it forms the basis upon which that parable is constructed, and it constitutes the chief difficulty in the interpretation of the parable to those lovers of a human system who wish to limit the Gospel of GOD to one narrow line of doctrine. Just as the sovereignty of God's grace, the absosolute election of a people in Christ, and their assured salvation by the power of God, forms the stumbling difficulty in the way of the lovers of another human system, who would limit the Gospel of GOD to another line, a narrow line of doctrine; I say, human system, for beyond all question, there is a system in the Bible;


penetration. The bold outline of it, for all the needful purposes of men, is as clear to every intelligent, to every reasonable, to every unprejudiced reader, as the colours of the rainbow are to the eye of the peasant; but the delicacies of its shadowing baffles the most improved optics of the deepest theologian. No human sagacity can demonstrate its perfect harmony-no human ingenuity can convict it of a contradiction.

True, my brethren, there is a system, but true it is that the system consists of a number of component parts, each of which deserves our attention, from no one of which should we wilfully withdraw. It becomes us to take the whole round of revealed truth-it becomes us, beloved brethren, to declare in our places every portion of the truth of God, which we have been taught by GoD, not to be satisfied with any peculiar portion of it, but going on learning more, and teaching more as we learn, making progress, and growing in the knowledge of GOD. There remains much in the Scriptures yet to be learned, and there is here the true groundwork of humility in those who have learned most, and of forbearance with Christian brethren, who as yet have learned little,


We are now, then, to consider and may the living GOD enable us to consider it as in the eye of eternity— that there shall be a judgment according to works at the coming of the Son of man.

| cometh, shall find so doing." But if any servant shall not be found so doing, his lord shall cut him asunder at his coming, and assign him his portion with the unbeliever.

The main object of the twenty-fifth chapter of this book is to impress upon the disciples of Christ these two instructions grounded upon his prophecy the watchfulness and the diligence becoming Christian people. This he does by two parables, winding up with a sublime description of his judgment at his appearing. Doubtless there are other objects answered by this parable. Doubtless, in the details of these parables, other points of truth are touched, and a rich fund of instruction is left for the church to examine into, and become rich in the enjoyment of. This fullness is characteristic of the divine word; but that the main scope of the parable of the Virgins is to impress upon the disciples of Christ the watchfulness to which he had exhorted them, is evident from our Lord's own application of it in the thirteenth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter. After having uttered that parable, he says, "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." And that to inculcate diligence and faithful activity in the use

Let me direct your attention, in the first place, to the connection in which this parable stands. And let me entreat you, my dear brethren, not to be impatient of such a subject as this. It is not so spirit-stirring as many themes which might have been chosen; but if it be comparatively neglected among a certain class of the professing people of God, you ought to be thankful, for the opportunity which GOD hath given you, of hearing it brought forward; for, assuredly, if you be students of the Bible, you read of it, whether you hear it in the church or not. Our Lord, we find, had predicted, in the twenty-fourth chapter, his second coming, in power and great glory. He had predicted the suddenness of the event, and the separation which should take place immediately upon the Advent between his friends and his enemies. Upon this prediction he had grounded two themes of practical instruction to his people-watchfulness and diligence. Watchfulness at the forty-second verse of the twenty-fourth chapter-and diligence from the forty-of all the means, in our reach, of gloryfifth verse to the end. "Watch, therefore," he said, "for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Then he inculcated diligence"Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he

fying his name, is the main scope of the parable of the Talents, will appear, if we will only read it with attention, and examine the context in which it stands, and the application which our Lord makes of it.

Now, in turning our attention to the fourteenth verse, the first thing to be observed is, that the words, "kingdom of heaven is," are inserted by our translators. This you will recognise in a moment, who have your Bibles open, by these words being printed in a different type. In the original, therefore, the verse reads thus: "For as a man travelling into a far country called

turned master of those servants shall say to the diligent, "well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy lord;" so shall the Son of man, when he comes in his glory, say to the faithful servant, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for you have been faithful over a few things. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and

his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods." Here, you observe, a comparison is instituted, "as a man," and the thing to which that man is compared is not yet stated; the comparison is instituted, and holds throughout the whole sentence. Now, to fill up the sentence with the thing to which the travelling man is compared, let us thus read: For as a man travelling into a far country, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods; so, the Son of man, when leaving this world, and returning to the Father, entrusted his servants with opportuni-ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, ties of serving him. And as the man travelling gave to one servant five talents, to another two, to another one, to every man according to his several ability, and straightway took his journey; so, the Son of man hath entrusted to his people various degrees of opportunities of serving him, and hath departed from the earth, is gone up on high, and is seated at the right hand of God.

And as amongst the servants so treated by the travelling master, some traded with the talents given to them and gained other talents, and others hid the talent in the napkin, and were slothful and gained nothing; so, amongst the people of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom he hath entrusted opportunities of serving him, some are faithful, some are diligent, cultivating those opportunities, and to them that have, more is given; others are negligent, slothful, and throw away the opportunities afforded them, do nothing for their absent master, and from them shall be taken away even that which they seem to have. And as, after a long time, the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them; so, when the Son of man shall come in his glory, with all the holy angels with him, he shall sit on the throne of his glory and shall reckon with his servants. And as the re

and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. And thus having been faithful in a few things, now I will make thee ruler over many things: inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world."

And as the returned master of the slothful servant said, thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed; thou shouldst have used my talent, thou shouldst at least have put it to the exchangers, that I might have had my own with usury; therefore take it from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents, and cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; so, when the Son of man shall return in his glory, he shall say to the faithless of those that professed to serve him, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For ye were faithless in the little; and if ye were faithless in the worldly mammon, who will give ye riches. Ye were faithless in the little for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not. Having, therefore, been unfaithful in


a little, and being thereby proved to be destitute of love towards me, depart into everlasting hell.

My brethren, this is the honest, straightforward application of the chapter, let systematizers of the Scriptures say what they will. This is the honest, unsophisticated, plain meaning of the words of the Lord; and I am persuaded, that as such it commends itself to the conscience of every honest auditor in this congregation.

The nature of the diligence to which we are exhorted in this place, is the faithful exercise of some talent or talents bestowed upon us by our Lord. Every man has some talent entrusted to his charge. Take it in its lowest and widest application, and consider man merely as distinguished from the other animals. Every animal has its appropriate gift or talent from the Lord, and even the dumb animals preach to inconsistent man; for there is not an animal of any species who is content to exercise the talent that belongs to an inferior species. The stag, to which the Lord hath given fleetness in the chase, is not content to crawl like the worm; the hawk, to which the Lord hath given the rapid wing and darting flight, is not content to run along the ground like the stag. But man, inconsistent, ungrateful man, to whom God hath given reason, reflection, immortality, is content to live the slave of sense, like the beasts that perish, eating and drinking, working and sleeping again, or, at the most, rising up only into the exercise of unsanctified intellect, but not maintaining the true and genuine dignity of a reasonable, immortal creature. "The ox knoweth his owner," exclaimeth the Lord by the prophet, looking at the ingratitude of his people, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people do not consider." And, again, he says, "Go to the ant,

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thou sluggard; be not as the horse and mule, who require bit and bridle.” Is the animal silly that will not use the gift entrusted to it? And do we say that it deserves its fate? Will the crawling hare or stag that refuses to run, deserve to be caught? Will the running hawk that refuses to fly, deserve to starve? And what shall we say of man who refuses to live for immortality? Does he not deserve to spend an immortality of death, an immortality of ruin, an immortality of misery, an immortality of separation from the fountain of light, life, and love an immortality of damnation far, far from his heavenly Father, the living GOD?

But this is low ground, we must occupy higher ground. The address in the chapter before us, is evidently made by our Lord to his own disciples, and, in point of fact, many of the particulars contained in this chapter are incapable of application, except to persons who are living among the people of GOD, and who have opportunities of showing kindness, or not showing kindness to the members of Christ here upon the earth. Every Christian man has a great talent entrusted to his charge at the very least. Some of the Lord's people upon earth are rich, some of them are poor. Some of them are very rich, and some very poor. Some of them are at ease, and peace, and comfort in their health. Some of them are a prey to diseases of various descriptions, keeping them without one single day of comfort all their lives. Some are exposed to cold and nakedness, some have many raiments to spare. Some are in prison, some at liberty. These are diversities, these are distinctions of God's own making.

My brethren, these distinctions cannot be unmade of man. If they were the inventions of man in an age of barbarism, they might be done away,

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