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to the dishonour and differvice of their Lord, which they should have employed to his fervice; and thefe have a double account to make, viz. of their talents. and of their mifemployment. 2.Such as do not at all employ their talent; but as they do no harm, so they do no good with it; these are negligent fervants, and have the fingle, but full account of their talents to make. 3. Such as do make fome use of their talents, but do not produce an increase proportionable to their stock: and fo though they are not debtors for their whole talents, yet are in arrear and grown behind hand; and fo upon the foot of their account are found debtors to their Lord, which without faith in Chrift, and his merits coming in to make up the fum, will be enough to caft them in prison, and there keep them to eternity.
And according to these varieties of degrees, of good or bad administration, are the degrees of reward or punishment. He that hath adminiftered his truft well, fo that there is a great accefs of his improvement, hath the greater accefs of glory; and he that hath lefs furplufage upon his account, fhall have the lefs degree of glory; and on the other fide, he that hath many talents, and made no improvement, his debt and punishment fhall be the greater: He that hath fewer talents, his non-improvement leaves him a debtor in a lefs fum, and confequently fubject to a lefs punishment.
The great Day of Account will be the great day of judg ment when the Lord of the families of the whole earth will call every man to his account of his ftewardship here on earth. Wherein we may with reverence, and for the better fastening it upon our affections, fuppofe the Lord thus to be fpeaking to all, and every particular perfons of the world.
• Come ye children of men, as I have formerly made you stewards of my bleffings upon earth, and committed to every one of you that come to the ufe of your understanding, feveral talents to employ and • improve
improve to the honour and service of me your Lord and Master, fo now I come to call you to render an account of your ftewardship; and because you fhall fee the particular charge of your feveral receipts, whereunto you may give your anfwers, behold here is a schedule of the particulars with which I will charge you. Give in your particular answer how you have employed and improved them, and fee you do it truly; for know, I have a control and check upon you; a control within you, your own confciences, and a control without you, my book of remembrance, wherein all your receipts, difburfements and employments are registered.
1. 'I have given unto you all your fenfes, and principally those two great fenfes of discipline, your fight • and your bearing.
Item. I have given unto you all, understanding and reafon to be a guide of your actions, and to fome of you more eminent degrees thereof.
item. I have given you all memory, a treasury of things paft, heard and obferved.
Item. I have given you a confcience to direct you and to check you in your mifcarriages, and to encourage you in well-doing; and I have furnished that confci'ence of yours with light and principles of truth and practice, conformable to my will.
Item. I have laid open to all your view the works of my power and providence, the heavens and the earth, the confpicuous administration of my wisdom ' and power in them.
Item. I have delivered over to your view, my more Special providences over the children of men, the dif penfation of rewards and punishments, according to eminent deferts or demerits.
• Item. I have given you the advantage of Speech, whereby to communicate your minds one to another, ⚫ and to inftruct and advantage one another by the help ⚫ thereof.
Item. I have given you time of life in this world, to • fome
'fome longer, to some shorter, to all a time of life, a ' season wherein you might exercise those other talents I have intrufted you withal.
Item. I have delivered over unto you the rule and dominion over my creatures, allowing you the ufe of them for your food, raiment, and other conve'niencies.
Item. Befides thefe common talents, I have in• trufted you withal, I have delivered over to you, and ' to you, &c. divers Special and eminent talents above others, viz. of the mind, or fuch as concern you, as 'intellectual creatures.
1. Great learning and knowledge in the works of nature, arts and Sciences, great prudence and wisdom in the conduct of affairs, [elocution,] excellent edu
2. Of the body, a firm and healthy conftitution, ftrength, beauty, and comeliness.
3. Of externals.
Great affluence of wealth and riches, eminence of place, and power and honour, great reputation and esteem in the world; great fuccefs in ' enterprises and undertakings, public and private: re'lations œconomical.
4. Of things of a mixt nature. Christian and liberal "education; counfel and advice of faithful and judicious 'friends; good laws in the place and country where you live, the written word of God acquainting you with my will, and the way to eternal life; the word preached by able and powerful minifters thereof; the Sacraments, both for your initiation and confirmation; fpecial and powerful motions and impulfes of my Spirit upon your confciences, diffuading from fin, and encouraging in and to holiness; fpecial providences abftracting and diverting you from the commiffion of things contrary to my will, difhonourable to my name, ' and hurtful to yourselves; chastisements and corrections ' eminently and plainly inflicted for fin committed by 'yourselves and others, fo that the guilt was legible in 'the punishment; eminent blefings upon the ways of holi
• nefs and virtue, even to the view of the world: Emi⚫nent reftitution and deliverances upon repentance and ' amendment of life; most clear and fenfible experiences of my love, favour, and liftening to your prayers, to encourage you to a dependance upon me; fingular opportunities put into your hands, of inftructing the ignorant, delivering the oppressed, promoting my
"These are some of the many talents which I have ⚫ committed to you, though in differing degrees: Give up your accounts, you children of men, how you ⚫ have employed them.'
THE ACCOUNT OF
THE GOOD STEWARD.
LORD, before I enter into account with thy Majefty, I must confefs, that if thou shouldst enter into judgment with me, and demand that account which in juftice thou mayest require of me, I fhould be found thy debtor: I confefs I have not improved my talents according to that measure of ability that thou haft lent me: I therefore most humbly offer unto thee the redundant merit of thy own Son to fupply my defects, and to make good what is wanting in my account; yet according to thy command, I do humbly render my discharge of the truth thou haft committed to me, as followeth :
1. IN GENERAL.
As to all the bleffings and talents wherewith thou haft intrusted me.
I have looked up to thee with a thankful heart, as the only author and giver of them.
I have looked upon myself as unworthy of them. I have looked upon them as committed to my trufst and stewardship, to manage them for the ends that they were given, the honour of my Lord and Master.
I have therefore been watchful and fober in the use and exercise of them, left I fhould be unfaithful in them.
If I have at any time, through weakness or inadvertence, or temptation, mifemployed any of them, I have been restless, till I have in fome measure rectified my miscarriage by repentance and amendment.
2. IN PARTICULAR.
Concerning my Senfes, and the use of them:
I have made a covenant with mine eyes, that they fhould not rove after vanity, or forbidden objects; I have employed them in beholding thy works of wonder and wisdom.
I have bufied them in reading those books and writings, that may inftruct me in the great concernments of eternal life.
I have ftopt my ears against finful and unprofitable difcourfe, and against flandering, and lying, and flattering tongues.
I have exercised them in listening to those things that might increase my faith, knowledge and piety.
I have kept them open to the cry of the poor and oppreffed, to relieve them. The reft of the employments of these and my other fenfes, have been for my neceffary preservation, and the honeft exercise of an honeft calling and conversation.
As to the REASON and UNDERSTANDING thou haft given me.
I have been careful to govern my senses and fenfual appetite by my reason, and to govern my reafon by thy word.