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enlighten the papist, who can reform, with success; and may grace, mercy, the careless, who can make us all peace, and love-be multiplied unto you walk as dear children in love, as God from God our Father, and from our hath loved us, be with us to bless our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. exertions and to crown our labours
DELIVERED BY THE REV. H. MC NEILE, AT ST. CLEMENT-DANE'S CHURCH, IN SUPPORT OF THE EPISCOPAL FLOATING CHAPEL,
JUNE 7, 1831.
Matthew, xxv. 19.-—" After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and
reckoneth with them."
My dear brethren, we are heirs through, by patient continuance in well-doing. hope of the everlasting kingdom of our seek for glory, and honour, and im. Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ; we mortality, there shall be eternal life; are looking for, and hasting unto the but indignation and wrath, tribulation coming of the day of God. And it is and anguish upon every soul of man incumbent upon us all, and it is the that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also warranted privilege of us all, to look of the Gentile ; but glory, honour, and forward with joy to that glorious day, peace, to every man that worketh and to have that hope in us—a hope good, of the Jew first, and also of the full of glory.
Gentile, for there is no respect of perThere is one branch of God's re- sons with God. vealed truth in his dear Son, closely This truth is plainly declared in the connected with that glorious day of holy Scriptures, none more plainly. the church's hope, to which, I desire That Almighty God, in his sovereign now, to direct your attention ; and it grace, hath chosen to himself a people should not be received as any limita- out of mankind—that he hath predestion of the joy of the church's hope. tinated them unto the adoption of No, beloved brethren, it becomes our sons by his dear Son Jesus Christ, privilege in Christ to look at this por- their head, is not more true in itself, tion of truth, as at every other, with is not more clearly revealed—that they joy and gladness. The portion of re- who be endowed with God with so vealed truth to which I refer, is that, excellent a benefit, shall in due time at the second coming of the Lord Jesus be called by the Spirit of God working Christ, there shall be a righteous judg. in due season—that through the grace ment of God to every man according of God they obey that calling-that to his works. That unto them, who they be justified freely without merits
(To be continued.)
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of their own, without conditions to be God is its author, and it must be at performed, freely through the redemp- unity with itself as He is; but it is a tion that is in Christ Jesus—that they divine system, and the perfect harbe quickened into new creatures in mony of it is too high for human atChrist by the Holy Ghost in them- tainment, it is too deep for human that they walk religiously in good penetration. The bold outline of it, works, and, at length, by the infinite, for all the needful
is enduring mercy of God, attain ever- as clear to every intelligent, to every lasting life.
reasonable, to every unprejudiced No one portion of this glorious reader, as the colours of the rainbow truth is more true in itself, or more are to the eye of the peasant; but the clearly revealed in the Holy Scrip- delicacies of its shadowing baffles the tures, than that there shall be a judg- most improved optics of the deepest ment at the coming of Jesus Christ–a theologian. No human sagacity can judgment unto every man according to demonstrate its perfect harmony-no his works—that we shall all stand before human ingenuity can convict it of a the judgment-seat of Christ, and re- contradiction. ceive the things done in the body, True, my brethren, there is a syswhether they be good or bad. This tem, but true it is that the system great truth is implied in the parable consists of a number of component from which our text is taken; nay, parts, each of which deserves our atrather, it forms the basis upon which tention, from no one of which should that parable is constructed, and it we wilfully withdraw. It becomes us constitutes the chief difficulty in the to take the whole round of revealed interpretation of the parable to those truth-it becomes us, beloved brelovers of a húman system who wish thren, to declare in our places every to limit the Gospel of God to one portion of the truth of God, which we narrow line of doctrine. Just as the have been taught by God, not to be sovereignty of God's grace, the abso- satisfied with any peculiar portion of solute election of a people in Christ, it, but going on learning more, and and their assured salvation by the teaching more as we learn, making power of God, forms the stumbling progress, and growing in the knowdifficulty in the way of the lovers of ledge of God. There remains much another human system, who would in the Scriptures yet to be learned, limit the Gospel of God to another and there is here the true groundwork line, a narrow line of doctrine ; I say, of humility in those who have learned human system, for beyond all ques- most, and of forbearance with Christian tion, there is a system in the Bible ; brethren, who as yet have learned little,
We are now, then, to consider-, cometh, shall find so doing." But if and may the living God enable us to any servant shall not be found so doing, consider it as in the eye of eternity- | his lord shall cut him asunder at his that there shall be a judgment ac- coming, and assign him his portion cording to works at the coming of the with the unbeliever. Son of man.
The main object of the twenty-fifth Let me direct your attention, in the chapter of this book is to impress upon first place, to the connection in which the disciples of Christ these two inthis parable stands. And let me en- structions grounded upon his prophecy treat you, my dear brethren, not to be -the watchfulness and the diligence beimpatient of such a subject as this. coming Christian people. This he does It is not so spirit-stirring as many by two parables, winding up with a themes which might have been chosen; sublime description of his judgment at but if it be comparatively neglected his appearing. Doubtless there are among a certain class of the professing other objects answered by this parable. people of God, you ought to be thank - Doubtless, in the details of these paful, for the opportunity which God rables, other points of truth are touchhath given you, of hearing it brought ed, and a rich fund of instruction is forward; for, assuredly, if you be stu- | left for the church to examine into, and dents of the Bible, you read of it, become rich in the enjoyment of. This whether
you hear it in thechurch or not. fullness is characteristic of the divine Our Lord, we find, had predicted, in word; but that the main scope of the the twenty-fourth chapter, his second parable of the Virgins is to impress coming, in power and great glory. He upon the disciples of Christ the watchhad predicted the suddenness of the fulness to which he had exhorted them, event, and the separation which should is evident from our Lord's own applicatake place immediately upon the Ad- tion of it in the thirteenth verse of the vent between his friends and his ene- twenty-fifth chapter. After having utmies. Upon this prediction he had tered that parable, he says, “Watch, grounded two themes of practical in- therefore, for ye know neither the day struction to his people—watchfulness nor the hour wherein the Son of man and diligence. Watchfulness at the cometh.” And that to inculcate diliforty-second verse of the twenty-fourth gence and faithful activity in the use chapter-and diligence from the forty- of all the means, in our reach, of glory. fifth verse to the end. “Watch, there- fying his name, is the main scope of fore,” he said, “ for ye know not what the parable of the Talents, will appear, hour your Lord doth come. But if we will only read it with attention, know this, that if the good man of the and examine the context in which it house had known in what watch the stands, and the application which our thief would come, he would have Lord makes of it. watched, and would not have suffered Now, in turning our attention to the his house to be broken up. Therefore fourteenth verse, the first thing to be be ye also ready: for in such an hour observed is, that the words, " kingdom as ye think not the Son of man com- of heaven is,” are inserted by our transeth.” Then he inculcated diligence-lators. This you will recognise in a “Who, then, is a faithful and wise moment, who have your Bibles open, servant, whom his lord hath made by these words being printed in a dif. ruler over his household, to give them ferent type. In the original, theremeat in due season ? Blessed is that fore, the verse reads thus: “For as a servant, whom his lord, when he man travelling into a far country called
his own servants, and delivered unto / turned master of those servants shall them his goods." Here, you observe, say to the diligent, “well done, thou a comparison is instituted, “as a man,” good and faithful servant, thou hast and the thing to which that man is been faithful over a few things, I will compared is not yet stated; the com- make thee ruler over many things, parison is instituted, and holds through- enter thou into the joy of thy lord ;" out the whole sentence. Now, to fill so shall the Son of man, when he up the sentence with the thing to comes in his glory, say to the faithful which the travelling man is compared, servant, “Come, ye blessed of my Falet us thus read : For as a man travel ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for ling into a far country, called his own you from the foundation of the world; servants and delivered unto them his for you have been faithful over a few goods; so, the Sonof man, when leaving things. For I was an hungered, and this world, and returning to the Father, ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and entrusted his servants with opportuni- ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, ties of serving him. And as the man and ye took me in; naked, and ye travelling gave to one servant five clothed me: I was sick, and
ye visited talents, to another two, to another me: I was in prison, and ye came unto one, to every man according to his me. And thus having been faithful in several ability, and straightway took a few things, now I will make thee his journey; so, the Son of man hath ruler over many things : inherit the entrusted to his people various degrees kingdom prepared for you from the of opportunities of serving him, and beginning of the world.” hath departed from the earth, is gone And as the returned master of the up on high, and is seated at the right slothful servant said, thou wicked and hand of God.
slothful servant, thou knewest that I And as amongst the servants so reap where I sowed not, and gather treated by the travelling master, where I have not strawed; thou shouldst some traded with the talents given to have used my talent, thou shouldst at them and gained other talents, and least have put it to the exchangers, that others hid the talent in the napkin, I might have had my own with usury; and were slothful and gained nothing; therefore take it from him, and give it so, amongst the people of the Lord to him that hath ten talents, and cast the Jesus Christ, to whom he hath en- unprofitable servant into outer darktrusted opportunities of serving him, ness; so, when the Son of man shall some are faithful, some are diligent, return in his glory, he shall say to cultivating those opportunities, and to the faithless of those that professed to them that have, more is given ; others serve him, depart from me, ye cursed, are negligent, slothful, and throw away into everlasting fire, prepared for the the opportunities afforded them, do devil and his angels. For ye were nothing for their absent master, and faithless in the little ; and if ye were from them shall be taken away even
faithless in the worldly mammon, who that which they seem to have. And will give ye riches. Ye were faithless as, after a long time, the lord of those in the little : for I was an hungered, servants cometh and reckoneth with and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, them; so, when the Son of man shall and ye gave me no drink : I was a come in his glory, with all the holy stranger, and ye took me not in : angels with him, he shall sit on the naked, and ye clothed me not: sick throne of his glory and shall reckon and in prison, and ye visited me not. with his servants. And as the re- Having, therefore, been unfaithful in a little, and being thereby proved to thou sluggard; be not as the horse be destitute of love towards me, depart and mule, who require bit and bridle." into everlasting hell.
Is the animal silly that will not use My brethren, this is the honest, the gift entrusted to it? And do we straightforward application of the say that it deserves its fate? Will chapter, let systematizers of the Scrip- the crawling hare or stag that refuses tures say what they will. This is the
to run, deserve to be caught? Will honest, unsophisticated, plain meaning the running hawk that refuses to fly, of the words of the Lord, and I am deserve to starve? And what shall we persuaded, that as such it commends say of man who refuses to live for imitself to the conscience of every honest mortality? Does he not deserve to auditor in this congregation.
spend an immortality of death, an imThe nature of the diligence to which mortality of ruin, an immortality of we are exhorted in this place, is the misery, an immortality of separation faithful exercise of some talent or from the fountain of light, life, and talents bestowed upon us by our Lord. love-an immortality of damnation Every man has some talent entrusted far, far from his heavenly Father, the to his charge. Take it in its lowest living God? and widest application, and consider But this is low ground, we must man merely as distinguished from the occupy higher ground. The address other animals. Every animal has its in the chapter before us, is evidently appropriate gift or talent from the made by our Lord to his own disciLord, and even the dumb animals ples, and, in point of fact, many
of preach to inconsistent man; for there is the particulars contained in this chapnot an animal of any species who is ter are incapable of application, except content to exercise the talent that be- to persons who are living among the longs to an inferior species. The stag, people of God, and who have opporto which the Lord hath given fleetness tupities of showing kindness, or not in the chase, is not content to crawl showing kindness to the members of like the
worm ; the hawk, to which Christ here upon the earth. Every the Lord hath given the rapid wing Christian man has a great talent enand darting flight, is not content to trusted to his charge at the very least. run along the ground like the stag. Some of the Lord's people upon earth But man, inconsistent, ungrateful man, are rich, some of them are poor. Some to whom God hath given reason, re- of them are very rich, and some very flection, immortality, is content to live poor. Some of them are at ease, and the slave of sense, like the beasts that peace, and comfort in their health, perish, eating and drinking, working Some of them are a prey to diseases of and sleeping again, or, at the most, various descriptions, keeping them rising up only into the exercise of un- without one single day of comfort all sanctified intellect, but not maintain- their lives. Some are exposed to cold ing the true and genuine dignity of a and nakedness, some have many raireasonable, immortal creature. “The ments to spare. Some are in prison, ox knoweth his owner,” exclaimeth some at liberty. These are diversities, the Lord by the prophet, looking at these are distinctions of God's own the ingratitude of his people, " The ox making. knoweth his owner, and the ass his My brethren, these distinctions canmaster's crib; but Israel doth not not be unmade of man. If they were know, my people do not consider.” the inventions of man in an age of And, again, he says, “Go to the ant, barbarism, they might be done away,