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On the contrary, if we bury our talent, though it be but "one," we shall be punished for it—]
The scriptures speak strongly upon each of these points [They plainly declare that there are degrees of reward and punishment"—
Our Lord assures us, that the punishment of men will be proportioned to the light against which they have sinned*—
And St. Paul affirms, that our-services shall be accepted in proportion as they corresponded with our ability to perform them*—]
1. What little reason is there to envy those who have great talents!
[It is evident that an increase of talent only increases our 'responsibility—
To many, the advantages they have abused are now their greatest torment—
And what reason have we to think, that our diligence in serving God would be excited in proportion as our opportunities were enlarged?—
We all have too much reason to lament our past unprofitableness—
Let us therefore rather improve what we have, than covet what we have not—J
2. How earnest should every one be in trading with the talent committed to him!
[The time is shortly coming when we must give up our account to God— '.
And how awful will it be to be cast out as "wicked and slothful servants!"—
How will such characters weep and wail for the opportunities they have lost!—
On the contrary, how delightful to hear the Saviour's plaudit!— ..- i i.. , ._-' :;:
What a recompence, to " enter into the joy of our Lord!"— O let every soul exert itself to the utmost in his servicesLet none be discouraged because he can do but little for God— , i . . ':> .-'.. ._... ..«. . >-i u.di.ril
Many who condemn themselves as vile and faithless, shall hear him say, Well done, good and faithful servants—
And many, who are ready to tremble with apprehensions of his wrath, shall be made partakers of his felicity and glory—.*]
3. How little should we regard the attempts of the ungodlv to repress our ?eal!.
[Men never condemn their own stewards for being too faithful or diligent—
Yet if any of the Lord's stewards labour to improve their talent, the world cry out against them as over-righteous—
But " it is a very small matter to be judged of man's judgment"— , .... ... ,
Let the world exclaim against us as hypocrites or enthusiasts, if the Judge of all do but account us good and faithful—
His plaudit will abundantly compensate for the obloquy we endured—
. Let us then, every one for himself, " stir up the gift of God that is in us"— -
And let us exhort one another in the words of inspiration»—] . ,>.. , ...> I J, . .r -.
CCLXXVI. THE ANALOGY BETWEEN BODILY AND SPIRITUAL CURES.
Luke vi. 19. And the -whole multitude sought to touch hiirufor there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
IN perusing the histories of ancient heroes, we may often be led to admire their skill and valour; but we shall much oftener be shocked at the means they used to exalt and aggrandize themselves; and, when we see them raising trophies to themselves on the ruins of slaughtered nations, we shall be induced to consider them as the plagues and scourges of mankind. But how different will be our sensations, when we read the history of Jesus! There we shall meet with nothing which will not be delightful to a benevolent mind. If we trace him in his circuits through the country, and view in every place the objects that surround him, we shall behold at one time the eyes he has just now opened, gazing on him with wonder and amazement; and at another time the ears he has unstopped, drinking in his words with insatiable eagerness and attention. Here we shall behold the hands he has restored to use, stretched forth to proclaim his praises, and the feet he has strengthened, leaping and dancing round him with inexpressible delight: there we shall hear the tongues he has loosed, shouting with incessant acclamations; and see those whom he has dispossessed of devils, sitting with composure at the feet of their benefactor. Sometimes we shall see the very dead starting forth into life and vigour at his command, and either rapturously saluting their disconsolate relations, or rending the air with their acclamations and hosannas. Such accounts as these, if considered only in a temporal view, cannot but excite in us a sympathetic joy, and afford the most pleasing sensations: but, no doubt, they were intended also to convey some spiritual instruction; in which view they acquire an additional, and almost an infinite, importance. Perhaps it may be too much to say that the miracles, wrought by our Lord, were types of the spiritual blessings he conveys; but we may affirm without hesitation, that there is a very strong analogy between triemt and therefore, when we see what he did to the bodies of men, we have, at least, a very just occasion of considering what he will do for our souls. .. .. :i if i
In this view we propose to consider the account given us in the chapter before us. We are informed that a great multitude came to him out of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon to hear him,'and to be healed of their diseases: and then it is said, in thtj words of the text, "The whole multitude sought to touch him; for there went Virtue but of'him,'and'heated them all." '" ,"• ;::'".' ' ;1' ":J ". r""?
To illustrate this sqbject we shall \^ . , .„| y,. . ;;.,;jrj I. Trace the analogy between the miracles wrought by our Lord on the bodies of men,' and those which he yet works'oft menVsOuiy:'I;:* v^'( / ■
For the more distinct elucidatibii 6f this point, we'may
observe' .'", ', . ^,',,<'/';'■..'.',.'' -'./',,. .,*.'J. ii
, 1. There is, a resemblance betweeq the disorders of: the body, and the disorders of^l^e soul .; „ ; j. • i
■.; [Many were brought to,pur Lord, who were hlind»:deaf| leprous, and possessed with devils,' 4-»d such are n\ea,iat (this time, in a spiritual view. Like the Laodiceans\,how.eve;r, they may "think themselves rich and increased with goods, they are wretched, and miserable, aqd poor, and blind; and: therer fore need to take counsel of our Lord, and to anoint their eyes with his eye-salve, that they, may see."" X. Their eyes must be opened, before they will turn from, the power.of satan unto
God. .,;.; . \ ,. .^ ,.' .,i' ;T.i;f|^# ru ■:■', , ■..'■
The natural man too is represented as spiritually deaf; as having ears, and not hearing;' as being unable to hear the voice of the good shepherd;a yea, as like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear.e'" ■'..".! .■.
The leprosy also of sin lies deep in our hearts; as the prophet intimates,- When, in allusion to the convicted leper, he says of himself and of all around him, "Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips, and dwell in the midst of a people.of unclean lips."f