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is alive again; he was
25 Now his elder
and as he came and
fafe and found.
28 And he was
angry, and would
29 And he an-
and, yet thou never
I might make merry
Means of Grace and the Poffibility of
29 & 30. And when his Father himself came out, and endeavoured to appeafe him, he fill perfifted in his Difcontent, and refused to go in; alledging, That his Father had dealt very unkindly by him, to make greater Rejoycings for the return of his disobedient and debauched Son, than he had ever done for the continued Obedience
of him that had never offended him. Thus the Pharifees and chief of the Jews, notwithstanding the earnest and repeated Invitations of Chrift, perfifted obftinately in their discontented refufal of joining with the Penitent Gentiles to embrace the common Salvation of the Gospel. And thus alfo many particular Men, who have never fallen into the Habits of great Sins, may be fo weak as to presume with an unreasonable Confidence, that Penitent Sinners ought not to be equalled with them in partaking of the Divine Favours and Rewards. 31 & & 32. But his Father replied; Son, you have always received the Reward of your Obedience, in living continually with me, and partaking daily of all that I have: But your Brother is just returned from a long Abfence, and from a riotous Courfe of Life, to a fenfe of his Duty, and to the enjoyment of my Prefence. Ought we not therefore to make extraordinary Rejoicings at this furprizing and unexpected Happiness; even as you would fhow greater marks of Joy at the fudden recovery of a Friend whofe Life was defpaired of, than for the Health of one that was never fick? Thus in the reason of the thing, it was very fit, that tho' the Jews Profeffion of Obedience had really always been as fincere as they pretended; yet that the Gentiles upon their true Repentance fhould be admitted to an equal Share with them in the Covenant of Grace and Salvation, and that all good Men among the Jews fhould have rejoiced at their Converfion. And thus alfo 'tis highly reafonable, that all good Men at all times, should rejoice at the Converfion and
come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou haft killed for him
the fatted calf.
31 And he faid unto him, Son, thou art ever with me,
and all that I have is
32 It was meet
that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was loft and is found.
Happiness of penitent Sinners, and not murmur at their being equalled with themselves in partaking of the undeferved Mercy and Bounty of God.
CHA P. XVI.
The Parable of the unjuft Steward, ver. 1. Worldly Mens. Diligence in Temporal Affairs, ought to be imitated by good Men in Spiritual, ver. 8. Of Worldly-mindedness, ver. 10. Jefus reproveth the Pharifees for their Covetousness and Hypocrify, ver. 15. The Gospel does not destroy, but fulfil the Law, ver. 17. The danger of a voluptuous and worldly Life, ver. 19. That God has given Men all reasonable Evidence of the Certainty of a future State, ver. 29, 31. AND he faid alfo unto his
difciples, There was a certain rich man which had afteward; and the fame was ac
cufed unto him that he had wafted his goods.
HAving thus rebuked the Pha
rifees for their unreasonable Pride and Uncharitableness, Jefus proceeded afterwards to give his Disciples several Inftructions about the true Use of Riches: Showing them, that if they would act wifely, they ought to be as diligent and induftrious in their Proportion, to employ their Riches to the best Advantages in Acts of Piety and Charity, in order to promote their future and eternal Welfare; as worldly Men are in laying them out to the greatest temporal Profit, in making to themselves Friends, and fecuring other Secular Interests. And to this purpose, he fpake to them the following Similitude. There was a great Man, faid he, that had a plentiful Eftate, and he kept a Steward to receive his Money,. and to manage his Affairs: And after a while he discovered that his Steward
dealt dishonestly by him, wronging him in his Accounts, and embezzeling his Goods.
2. Calling therefore the Steward to him, he charged him with his Crime, and commanded him to deliver up his Accounts, and to leave his Service within fuch a
34. Upon this, the Steward, feeing that he could not avoid being very Speedily put out of his Place; and confidering with himself, that he could neither get a Livelihood by Labour, which he had never been brought up to; nor by Begging, which he was now ashamed to begin: He at laft refolved to procure Friends to himself by the following Policy. 5, 6, 7. Sending for all the Debtors that owed his Mafter Money, be abated every one of them a certain Proportion of their Debt: And thereby made Provifion for himself against the time to come; that when he was put out of his Place, thefe Men, having received fo great a Kindness from him, might be obliged in Gratitude to take him into their own Houfes and maintain him.
8. Now when his Mafter heard how diligently the Steward had contrived make himself Friends; though he was highly difpleafed at his Dishonesty, yet he could not but acknowledge his Forefight and worldly Policy, in making fuch Provifion for himself before-hand. Thus, continued Jefus, applying the Parable to his Difciples, ye fee how pro
vident and induftrious the Men of this World are, to fecure themselves a Portion in the fading and uncertain Enjoyments of this present Life. If Pious and Good Men would be any thing near as diligent and
4 I am refolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
So he called eve
one of his lords
debtors unto him, and faid unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he faid, An hundred measures of oyl. And he faid unto him, Take thy bill, and fit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then faid he to another, And how much oweft thou? And he faid, An hundred measures of wheat. And he faid bill, and write fourunto him, Take thy
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wifely:
for the children of this world are in their generation wifer than the children of light.
9 And I fay unto you, Make to your felves friends of the mammon of un righteoufnefs; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlafting habi
10 He that is faithful in that which is leaft, is faithful alfo in much: and he that is unjust in the
follicitous to fecure to themselves an Eternal Happiness in the Life to come, as worldly Men are dextrous and unwearied in providing for themselves the things of this fhort and tranfitory Life; they could not poffibly fail of their Reward.
9. Bewife therefore and confiderate; and fhow your felves Men: Suffer not the covetous and worldly-minded, the unjust and dishonest Men of this prefent Time, to out-do you in Care and Diligence: But be ye as prudent and induftrious, in the Ways of Virtue and Charity, to gain an eternal and never-failing Treasure; as they are to provide for themselves the fhort and uncertain things of this present State. Ye are Stewards, as many of you as God has entrusted with any worldly Riches; and 'tis but a very short time, before ye will be called to give an Account of your Stewardship. Lay out therefore this tranfitory and uncertain Treasure, in fuch a manner, and to fuch Purposes, in Acts of Righteoufnefs and Piety, Mercy and Charity; as that you may thereby fecure to your felves an eternal and incorruptible Treafure in the future State, when this World and all its Enjoyments fhall fail and utterly perish.
* That Μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας does not fignifie Unrighteous or Il-gotten, but False and Tranfitory Riches, is evident from ver. 11 where av dixov is opposed, not to dixasov, but to ἀληθινόν.