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is alive again; he was
loft, and is found.
And they began to
be merry.

25 Now his elder
fon was in the field:

and as he came and
drew nigh to the
house, he heard mu-
fick and dancing.
26 And he called
one of the fervants,
and asked what these
things meant.
27 And he faid
unto him, Thy bro-
ther is come; and thy
father hath killed the
fatted calf, because he
hath received him

fafe and found.

28 And he was


angry, and would
not go in therefore
came his father out,
and intreated him.

29 And he an-
fwering, faid to his
father, Lo, these ma-
ny years do I ferve
thee, neither tranf
greffed I at any time
thy commandment,

and, yet thou never
gaveft me a kid, that

I might make merry
with my friends.
30 But affoon as
this thy fon was


Means of Grace and the Poffibility of
Salvation, but also beftowed fingular
Favours on them, and gave many
Marks of his being greatly pleased at
their Converfion; and the Angels in
Heaven rejoyced at it, as at the recove-
of the Dead to Life. And thus like-
wife when any Sinner humbles himself
moft, and with the deepest Sense of his
own Unworthinefs, then does God moft
readily not only receive him to Mercy,
but also frequently beftows extraordina-
Gifts upon him, as Tokens of his
being highly pleafed at his Recovery.
25, 26, 27 & 28. Now when the
elder Son, who had been abroad in the
Country, found at his coming home,
fuch great Feafting and Rejoycing in the
Houfe; and was told by the Servants,
that the occafion of it, was the unex-
pected fafe Return of his younger Bro-
ther; he was discontented at his Father's
Kindness to his Brother, and refused to
go in. Thus the Jews were displeased
at God's Mercy in receiving the Gen-
tiles. And thus many particular Per-
fons, who by the Happiness of a good
Education have never fallen into the ha-
bitual practife of any enormous Crimes,
may with great Infirmity be tempted
to be offended at God's equalling the
Repentance of notorious Sinners; to
their conftant and uninterrupted Profef-
fion of Obedience.

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.



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

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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.

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* 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.

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