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and admiration but it will not love us. We must not let it love us; we must not conform to it; we must not advance a single step from duty to gain its approbation. “Marvel not, my brethren,” says St. John, “ if the world hate you.” And the Lord himself says, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
But let none of us provoke opposition. If we are Christians indeed, we must walk circumspectly. The eyes of the world must be upon us ; and it will be the melancholy consequence of our falling, that weak brethren may be offended, and that the enemies of the Lord will have occasion to blaspheme. From the fact that His disciples are exposed to the world's hatred, our Lord argues the necessity of prudence and uprightness — “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Once more.
None of these things are to move us: no opposition, no love of pre
sent convenience, no desire to be at peace with the world, must induce us to abandon Christian principle. And may the Holy Spirit impress on our hearts the words of the Saviour,“ He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.”
Sr. LUKE xvi. 8.
“ The children of this world are in their generation
wiser than the children of light."
THESE words express the moral of our blessed Lord's parable of the unjust steward. A steward is accused to his master of improvidence and peculation, and is called upon to make up his account. Conscious of his misconduct, and perceiving that it would be impossible to satisfy his injured employer, or to gain another employment of the same kind, with his damaged character, he immediately falls to speculating how he is to live after he has been turned out of his present easy and respectable situation. He has not been used to bodily labour, he has never been in the habit of submitting to mortifying obligations. “ I cannot dig,” he says to himself; “ to beg I am ashamed.” He was not long in bethinking himself of an expedient to help him out of his difficulties; for his inventive genius was not confined by the bondage of honesty. He had, probably, trained himself by his petty knaveries for a bold stroke in fraud. By neglecting his master's interests, he had prepared the way for taking high rank as a scoundrel. Lulling to sleep his remaining scruples by the villain's plea, necessity, he determined to procure himself friends by making a sweeping sacrifice of his master's substance. He falsified the accounts, with which he was entrusted, in the way most calculated to gain the favour of his lord's debtors; that is, by giving them the benefit of his knavery. He thus secured himself an asylum in his adversity. For these unscrupulous debtors would be at his mercy; and when he was turned out of his stewardship, would be anxious to keep him quiet, by taking him into their houses, and providing for his wants. It was
an ingenious scheme.
Even his master, who was the sufferer by it, was obliged to confess its merit as a stroke of policy. “He commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely.” That is, while he exposed and discarded him, he allowed that he had acted with address and sagacity. And our Lord founds upon it the striking remark, that “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” The words are well worthy of our most serious attention. May He who spoke them, bless them to our instruction !
The general sense of our Lord's remark is evident, though it contains some unusual expressions. “The children of this world,” i. e. worldly men, who adopt and act upon the principles which prevail in the world, " are in their generation," i.e. in their manner of life, and general conduct, as the phrase means in some other places of Holy Scripture, “ wiser," or more prudent, “ than the children of light,” i. e. than persons enlightened by the Spirit of God, or believers.
Before we proceed to illustrate the truth and wisdom of this remark, it may be well