Obrazy na stronie

to the dishonour and disservice of their Lord, which they should have employed to his service; and these have a double account to make, viz. of their talents and of their misemployment. 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 servants, and have the single, but full account of their talents to make. 3. Such as do make some use of their talents, but do not produce an increase proportionable to their stock; and so though they are not debtors for their whole talents, yet are in arrear and grown behind hand; and so upon the foot of their account are found debtors to their Lord, which without faith in Christ, and his merits coming in to make up the sum, will be enough to cast 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 puniment. He that hath administered his trust well, so that there is a great access of his improvement, hath the greater access of glory; and he that hath less surplusage upon his account, shall have the lefs degree of glory; and on the other side, he that hath many talents, and made no improvement, his debt and punishment Thall be the greater : He that hath fewer talents, his non-improvement leaves him a debtor in a less sum, and consequently subject to a less punishment.

The great Day of Account will be the great day of judgment when the Lord of the families of the whole earth will call every man to his account of his stewardship here on earth. Wherein we may with reverence, and for the better fastening it upon our affections, suppose the Lord thus to be speaking to all, and every particular persons of the world.

THE CHARGE. • Come ye children of men, as I have formerly * made you stewards of my blessings upon earth, and

committed to every one of you that coine to the use of your understanding, several talents to employ and

improve improve to the honour and service of me your Lord • and Master, so now I come to call you to render an

account of your stewardship; and because you shall • see the particular charge of your several receipts,

whereunto you may give your answers, 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 see

you • do it truly; for know, I have a control and check

upon you; a control within you, your own con

sciences, and a control without you, my book of re• membrance, wherein all your receipts, disburse• ments and employments are registered.

1. “I have given unto you all your senses, and principally those two great senses of discipline, your sight • and your hearing

Item. I have given unto you all, understanding and "reason 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 past, heard and observed.

* Item. I have given you a corfience to direct you and to check you in your miscarriages, and to encourage you in well-doing ; and I have furnished that conscience of

yours with light and principles of truth and practice, conformable to my will

. Ilem. I have laid open to all your view the works of my fower and providence, the heavens and the * earth, the conspicuous 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 difpensation of rewards and punishments, according to eminent deserts or demerits.

Item. I have given you the advantage of speech, whereby to communicate your minds one to another, and to instruct and advantage one another by the help thereof. * Item. I have given you time of life in this world, to

[ocr errors]

' some longer, to some shorter, to all a time of life, a ' season wherein you might exercise those other talents • I have intrusted you withal.

"Item. I have delivered over unto you the rule and dominion over my creatures, allowing you the use of them for your food, raiment, and other conveniencies.

Item. Besides these common talents, I have in'trusted you withal, I have delivered over to you, and ' to you, &c. divers Special and eminent talents above

others, viz. of the mind, or such 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 eduocation.

2. Of the body, a firm and healthy constitution, strength, beauty, and comeliness.

3. • Of externals. Great affluence of wealth and "riches, eminence of place, and power and bonour, great reputation and esteem in the world; great success in

enterprises and undertakings, public and private : re<lations economical.

4. Of things of a mixt nature. Christian and liberal education ; counsel 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 ministers thereof; the · Sacraments, both for your initiation and confirmation ; special and powerful motions and impulses of my Spirit upon your consciences, dissuading from sin, and encouraging in and to holiness ; special providences ab

stracting and diverting you from the commission of * things contrary to my will, dishonourable to my name,

and hurtful to yourselves; chastisements and corrections eminently and plainly inflicted for sin committed by

yourselves and others, so that the guilt was legible in • the punishment; eminent blesings upon the ways of holi

[ocr errors]




'ness and virtue, even to the view of the world: Emi'nent reftitution and deliverances upon repentance and ' amendment of life ; moft clear and sensible experiences of my love, favour, and listening to your prayers, to encourage you to a dependance upon me; singular opforiunities put into your hands, of instructing the ignorant, delivering the oppressed, promoting my honour.

* 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.'



Lord, before I enter into account with thy Majesty, I must confess, that if thou shouldst enter into judgment with me, and demand that account which in jultice thou mayest require of me, I should be found thy debtor: I confess I have not improved my talents according to that measure of ability that thou hast lent me: I therefore most humbly offer unto thee the redundant merit of thy own Son to supply 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 hast committed to me, as followeth :

1. IN GENERAL. As to all the blessings and talents wherewith thou hast 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 trust 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 sober in the use and exercise of them, left I should be unfaithful in them.

If I have at any time, through weakness or inadvertence, or temptation, misemployed any of them, I have been restless, till I have in some measure rectified my miscarriage by repentance and amendment.

2. IN PARTICULAR. Concerning my Senses, and the use of them:

I have made a covenant with mine eyes, that they should not rove after vanity, or forbidden objects; I have employed them in beholding thy works of wonder and wisdom.

I have busied them in reading those books and writings, that may instruct me in the great concernments of eternal life.

I have stopt my ears against sinful and unprofitable discourse, and against slandering, 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 oppressed, to relieve them. The rest of the employments of these and my other fenfes, have been for my necessary preservation, and the honest exercise of an honest calling and conversation. As to the REASON and UNDERSTANDING thou hast

given me. I have been careful to govern my senses and sensual appetite by my reason, and to govern my reason by thy word.

I have

$ 2

« PoprzedniaDalej »