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the most odious employment for a maintenance. Such is the account given of the younger brother in the rable; and it is but too just a picture of many other payoung men, who were about to be introduced into life with every advantage for doing well, but who destroy all their fair prospects, by forsaking the guide of their youth, and placing themselves under the direction of their passions. The first part of their career may be pleasant, but it is quickly followed by a long period of pain and trouble, of shame and remorse. May others take warning from their sufferings in time, and be careful to avoid a like conduct! Let them beware of leaving a kind parent, to pursue schemes which their own imagination has suggested: for they hereby forsake an experienced counsellor and a faithful friend. that day they will probably have to date the beginning of their ruin. A young man who has been guilty of this folly, and who has by that means reduced himself to the lowest state of wretchedness, is a fit emblem of the Gentile world, who separated themselves from pious ancestors, to follow the devices of their own hearts, and to worship idols. Their history, from that time to the period of the introduction of christianity, is a melancholy detail of human depravity and misery.


2. In the conduct of the father towards the prodigal son, we have a striking representation of the goodness of God towards penitent sinners.

Great was the offence which this son had committed against his father, in setting light by the advantages of his company and counsels, and disobeying his authority; yet as soon as he appears to be sensible of his folly and misconduct, by turning his face towards home, the father, without waiting for his approach, or permitting him to make his submission, anticipates what he is about to say, runs forth to meet him, and receives him with every mark of affection and joy. Such, and much greater, were the offences of the Gentiles, and of all other sinners, against their Father in heaven: yet does he manifest the like readiness to forgive them. They have no occasion to fear that he will spurn them from his presence, or refuse the pardon which they ask: his

arms will be open to bid them welcome. tion of the supreme Being, from the conceptions of those who think that he is to be moved to exercise forgiveness, by the sufferings and intercession of a third person! Even an earthly parent, if he has the bowels of a father, does not stand in need of such a motive, to incline him to show mercy to his offending offspring; much less can we suppose it of our Father in heaven.Come then, ye wanderers from your Father's house; acknowledge your faults, throw yourselves at his feet, and depend upon being forgiven.

receive them, and his heart will How different is this representa

3. How odious is the spirit which the elder brother discovers! He has the highest sense of the merit of his own services, thinks they have been very imperfectly rewarded, and murmurs to find that his younger brother is so well received, after living in a state of alienation and absence. This is an exact delineation of the temper of the Jews towards the Christian converts, not only in the instance here referred to, but during the whole period of the first planting of Christianity. Let us cultivate a more generous spirit, and learn to rejoice in seeing the blessings of the gospel extended to all mankind, as well as bestowed upon ourselves.


Luke xvi. 1-13.

And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man which had a steward, and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods; "his substance."

Jesus, in this parable, from the example of a crafty man, who secured to himself a comfortable retreat, when he should be dismissed from employment, intended to recommend to his disciples such a wise use of

worldly possessions as would secure to them an inheritance in the heavens.

2. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

The steward had nothing to reply to the charge brought against him, and therefore only considers what he shall be able to do for himself when discarded.

3. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do: for my Lord, my master," taketh away from me the stewardship? I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed.

While he was thus musing, a thought occurs to him which relieved him from all his difficulties. As he was not yet put out of office, he resolves to make use of the power with which he was intrusted, to secure a retreat amongst his master's tenants, when dismissed from his service,

4. I am resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they, the tenants, may receive me into their houses,

5. So he called every one of his lord's, "master's," debtors unto him;

These, as appears from the nature of the debt, were also his tenants, and bound, by lease or written agreement, to pay him in kind a certain proportion of the produce, in oil or wheat or other things, according as the growth of the estate happened to be.

And said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my master?

6. And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, thine account of the debt, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat, And he said unto him, Take thy bill and write fourscore.

The measure, or bath of oil, contained a little more than seven gallons and a half of our measure; and the measure of wheat, eight bushels and a half. So that to remit fifty of the first and twenty of the second, was no small favour, and might very well dispose the tenant to receive the steward who bestowed it into his house.

8. And the master commended the unjust steward, or, "the steward for his unrighteous dealing," because he had done wisely, "because he had done it prudently."

We cannot suppose that the master really approved of the conduct of one of his servants, in cheating him; but he commended the prudence with which he provided against a day of distress.

For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

It might be better rendered, wiser for their generation, i. e. for their life in this world, than the children of light are for their life, i. e. their life in the world to come. Men of the world are more provident for their future existence here, than religious men are for their future existence hereafter.

9. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, or, "of these uncertain riches," that when ye fail," when ye die," they may receive you, or, you may be received," into everlasting habitations.


The meaning of this verse is considerably obscured by the manner in which it has been translated. The word mammon is taken from the Syriac language, in which Jesus spake, and signifies riches, or, which is the same thing, the God of riches. These riches may with propriety, and agreeably to the language of Scripture, be called false, deceitful, uncertain, but cannot be denominated unrighteous, in the common sense of that word, which is only applicable to moral character. Jesus exhorts his disciples to make such a use of things which were of such an uncertain nature, as to derive from them substantial and everlasting benefits; and his words may be thus paraphrased: As this steward secured to himself friends and a home, by the use which he made of what belonged to his master, so I exhort you to make such a prudent use of the possessions of this world, that they may prove real friends to you, at a time when you stand most in need of their aid, and procure for you not such a temporary dwelling-place as this steward obtained, but an everlasting residence in the world to come.

As some persons might not be able to comprehend what connection there could be between the right use of wealth in this world and the possession of heaven hereafter, he proceeds to explain this connection in the

next verses.

10. He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.

He who employs his worldly possessions for the purposes for which they were bestowed by Providence, is justly entitled to the happiness of heaven: for it is acknowledged that he who is faithful to the trust reposed

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