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gnashing of teeth; then surely men ought to be awakened and aroused; then surely we must endeavour to shake them from their slumbers, to point out to them the guilt of indolence and inactivity, to press on them the obligations under which they lie, to tell them that their goods are not their own but their Lord's; to admonish them that the higher they are in station, rank, influence, talent, opportunity, tbe more they have to account for; to warn them of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the human heart; to caution them against the vain palliations which such a heart will devise to cover an idle and unholy life; to tell them how near they are to death and judgment; to remind them that the excuses and presumption of the slothful servant will not for one instant suspend his doom.
O allow me to draw aside the veil of time, and place before you the very tribunal of God. Mark, sinner, the awful glories of the Judge! The assembled world stands before him! Every secret of every heart is disclosed-You tremble Your pleas already fail you-A mortal coldness seizes you—You call on the rocks and mountains to hide you from the wrath of Him that sitteth on the throne. All the incidents of your life rush upon your distracted mind. Every advantage for religion is now a source of terror, The talents of which you once boasted, the
rank with which you were so flattered, the courtesy and number of your dependents, now are as so many daggers in your heart. The vain-glory is gone; the responsibility remains. The whole guilt of stifling conscience, neglecting means of religion, refusing the Saviour, doing despite to the Spirit of grace, avoiding duty, proposing a bad example to others, omitting occasions of doing or obtaining good, now fill your agonizing memory.
In the mean time, the Judge. demands the account. His eye darts through your soul. Already your sentence is about to pass his lips. You ask, what you shall do? You demand in agony if the final sentence is absolutely pronounced-A whisper of mercy says, No--there is yet a moment for salvation—The fearful words are not yet uttered-fly-fly to the mercy of the Judge -The tribunal is not yet closed; there is yet hope—There is yet forgiveness in the blood of Christ.- Infinite grace is offered you. O listen to the heavenly accents. Lay hold of the hope set before you. Confess your past unprofitableness. Implore pardon and acceptance with God through the atonement of his Son. Then sball your past sins be blotted out. This will be the first step towards your becoming a faithful servant. Repentance for sin, and faith in a dying Saviour, are the turning points. Thus, saved by the divine mercy, you shall enter with feeling
and love and gratitude, on a new and sincere course of obedience to God. You shall depend for strength on the grace of the Holy Spirit. You shall begin a holy life. Your character shall be changed.
You shall henceforth employ all your Master's goods to his glory; and shall, instead of the curse which was just about to be pronounced, receive at length the gracious and delightful commendation of
II. But we may use the whole subject in a way of INSTRUCTION to the true servant of God.
Let Christians generally learn to be HUMBLÉ UNDER THE SENSE OF THEIR DEFECTS, in every part of their weighty duty, as stewards of the Lord's talents. Pride and self-flattery, if they steal upon the mind, mar every thing. Be lowly in heart ; rely, and rely only, on the sacrifice of the death of Christ for pardon; honour the Holy Ghost in his work: dread temptation: remember how little you have as yet done, and how much is before you. Distrust yourselves. Let your frame of mind be contrite, teachable, simple. Let your efforts be patient and meek. Repose at last all your trust in the divine
grace. But in the next place, let those of us who have but few talents, BE CONTENT WITH THE STATION IN WHICH GOD HAS PLACED us. Bless
God that he calls some, and qualifies them for difficult and arduous and elevated duties; but be content with your own. You have little reason to envy those above you. We are sometimes tempted to look up to the great and learned and powerful with too much admiration. But 0, who can estimate their danger! Who can anticipate the account they must render at last! Who can tell how tremendous their responsibility! God, indeed, can give his faithful servants grace to use even five talents so as to gain five talents more; and this is an encouragement to those who are placed in such elevated, and therefore perilous, circumstances; but let each of us be satisfied with our own measure of gifts, and occupy with them till our Lord comes.
Again, be DILIGENT AND DUTY. Let not the prevalence of bad and indolent examples repress your ardour. Men of this world never condemn a steward for being too faithful and industrious; and yet if any of the servants of our heavenly Lord labour to’improve their talents, they begin to exclaim against them as extravagant. But it is a small matter to be judged of man's judgment. Let the slothful represent you as hypocrites or enthusiasts, it is enough for
if the Judge of all esteem your good and faithful. His plaudit will outweigh a thousand obloquies. Stir up, then, the gifts of
ZEALOUS IN THIS
God which are in you. Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for. asmuch as you know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
Lastly, let the ACCOUNT YOU WILL HAVE TO RENDER TO YOUR LORD BE EVER PRESENT TO YOUR MIND. Nothing will more tend to preserve your fidelity than the constant impression of the nearness and solemnity of your final reckoning. The responsibility of man lies at the foundation of all religion. Whatever difficulties may at times arise in your minds in reconciling this with some parts of the doctrine of the divine grace in the Gospel, let not this circumstance disturb your belief of it. If you can remove such difficulties by other considerations, well; if not, they must be over-ruled. If any thing is clear in the Bible, it is that every one of us must give an account of himself to God. Be not then deceived by apparent, and only appaio rent, contradictions. There is no practical difficulty to a humble Christian ; whilst the slothful and wicked man will turn the plainest truths to his own destruction. God will reward every one according to his works. They that have done good shall rise to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. Let this profoundly solemn reflection temper your joy and hope in believing. Especially, if you are a steward of the myste