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them with ostentation. He does not compare himself with others, or endeavour to ascertain whether his talents are more or less than those of his neighbour: He does not interfere with a province not assigned to him, or hinder the work of his fellow-servants, or require every thing to be done in his own way, or quarrel with those who differ from him in their mode of acting. But he studies to do his Lord's will; he has a delight in the work; he endeavours to extend his obedience to the whole compass of his duty; he shrinks from no trouble or danger; he estimates all he can do; as nothing for such a Master ; he aims at approving himself to him, and not to the world, he laments lost opportunities, and walks wisely in the management of his concerns. He begins immediately, proceeds diligently, works contentedly, cand perseveres cheerfully.
His concern is to trade with his talents. Wbatever will tend to the discharge of his per sonal and relative duties, whatever will promote the happiness of his family and connexions, whatever will instruct the ignorant, relieve the distressed, assist the needy, guide the inquiring, comfort the sorrowful, reclaim the wandering, and confirm and encourage the sincere, all this, with a due regard to circumstances and in the fear of God, he considers his proper vocation. Whatever use he can make of any circumstances
in which he is placed, any office he holds, any influence he has gained, any knowledge he acquires, any parts or 'accomplishments which he possesses, any favour God has given him with others, any occasions or incidents which present themselves, he straightway turns to account, even as the merchant traffics with his commodities? Above all, he employs the means of salvation te his own personal benefit. He repents of his sins, and believes in the sacrifice of Christ for pardon and justification before God: 2 Hél values the Bible, prizes the Sabbath, derives improvement frompious example, profits by divine' chastiseu ment, and learns from the mistakes and sins of others; and thus Uses every advantage for spiritual instruction with fidelity and thankfulness. If he be a minister of the sanctuary, he considers all his opportunities of saving the souls of men committed to his care, and all his ability for discharging his high office, as a solemn trust deposited with him, and for which he must give account.
The consequence of this right uso of his blessings, will be the INCREASE of them. The servant with the five talents, traded with the same, and made other five talents; and likewise ke that had received two, gained other two. May God assist us in considering this topic! An unbounded field of inquiry and contemplation is here presented to - US. - It is not only enjoined
upon us, if we would be Christians, to occupy with our gifts, but to multiply them.
The industrious servant of God will do this. The very SKILL AND MANAGEMENT, which he gradually acquires in the exercise of his funetions and duties, contributes in fact to the increase of them. He learns as he goes on ; : he gains more experience; he overcomes - diffis culties. He becomes himself more and more interested in the success of his endeavours. He is at home in his work. Especially, bis growing meekness, suavity, and humility, his government of his, temper, his knowledge of human nature and the human heart; i and his practical judgment in difficult cases, greatly enlarge his capacities of usefulness, whilst they are the natural effects of the persevering pursuit of a favourite object. Need I add, that his more matured acquaintance with the Holy Scripture, his riper knowledge of the doctripes of the Gospel, its promises, its duties, its exhortations, its warnings, its supports, all furnish him with matter of increasing success ? He not only does more than when he first began, but he does things better, he comes more directly to the points and mingles less of injudicious ar misplaced endeavours in seeking to attain bis grand objęcta 014032.darshi ole seen how 21 To this are to be added the INVENTIONS if I may so speak, of ga diligent and faithful Chyism
tian. He contrives to do more good continually. His mind being engaged ardently on bis great trust, becomes fertile in expedients. He does not rest contented with the ordinary plans of others, but enters on undiscovered ground, and marks out new regions of usefulness. He does not merely yield to applications when they are made to him, and just satisfy the decent expectations of his circle of society, but he is a volunteer in every righteous and holy design. He devises every thing he can, looks all around him for oceasions of doing good to others, and getting good himself, of learning or teaching, acting or enduring for God and his neighbour. I need not say, that the opportunities wbich will arise to such a man, are in fact innumerable.
We are to consider also THE GROWING IN*FLUENCE over others which his solid excellence acquires for him. Perhaps in no way does the faithful steward gain more in his traffic than in this. By his manner of life he disarms prejudice, and becomes better known in his connexions : his motives are ascertained, his designs understood, his wisdom and piety admitted. Past experience of his consistent and friendly character speaks for him. The secret authority of beneficence and uprightness' upon the conscienees of men spreads around. The great importance of this silent but powerful auxiliary
makes it by degrees a valuable additional talent. Like a commander well known to his troops, his example and spirit fill those about him with confidence, and make him capable of the most difficult undertakings.
Then the COMMUNICATION OF FURTHER GIFTS. and of opportunities for the use of them from God, together with the blessing which more and more rests on his endeavours and renders them effectual, increase the goods and talents of the diligent Christian. As he proceeds with an ardent thirst to glorify his Master and a watchfulness which seizes all favourable events, God is pleased in his providence to answer his prayers and reward his honest diligence, Surprising turns of circumstances occur. Unexpected direction and success are given to his weak and hesitating, attempts, Difficulties apparently insuperable sink away. , Aid is afforded in exi gencies. Scenes of usefulness unfold themselves. God prepares the hearts of men with whom he is connected, prospers his pious and active endeavours to glorify him amongst them, and grants an happy issue to his various projects for doing good.
It is not easy to determine TO WHAT EXTENT the talents of the good servant may be multi, plied by these means. Į require not a perfect union of all the dispositions and circumstances which have been mentioned; for in this world