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with the Fruits of substantial Piety and Righteousness.
Other are intended to engage us to Assiduity and Earnestness in the great Duty of Prayer.
And, Lastly, there are several of his Parables, which are designed to put us upon Exercising a continual Watchfulness, that we may be always in a Readiness for our Lord's Coming.
All these are manifestly Things of very great Consequence: And, by taking a brief View of our Saviour's Parables under these several Heads, the great Usefulness and Excellency of them will convincingly appear.
First, Some of his Parables are designed to guard us against an inordinate Love to this present World, and to engage us to make a right Use of worldiy Riches.
Any one that hath made just Observations upon
Mankind, must be sensible that there is scarce any Thing of more pernicious Consequence to the Interests of Religion and Virtue, or which is more apt to lead Men wrong in their whole Course, than a strong Passion for worldly Riches and Enjoyments, and a Regarding these Things as our Happiness. Accordingly this is what our blessed Lord, this incomparable heavenly Teacher, frequently warn
eth Men against by express Precepts, and hy wise and weighty Maxims concerning the great Danger of Riches : But no Words could place this in a fronger and more affecting Light, than that beautiful Parable he propoleth, Luke xii. 16-21. which tendeth to make us sensible in an easy and familiar, yet convincing Manner, of the Folly those are guilty of who place their chief Happiness in worldly Riches and Poffessions, and count as' securely upon enjoying them for many years to come, as if they had the Time future absolutely in their own Power; and who think of no other Use for their Riches, but to please themselves, and gratify their own carnal Appetites. Our Saviour after having given that excellent Advice, Take Heed and bea ware of Covetoufrefs; (by which he there intends not merely a fordid Niggardliness, the Absurdity of which is generally acknowledged; but an inordinate Love of worldly Riches and Enjoyments ;) for a Man's Life, i. e. the Satisfaction or Happinefs of Life, confisteth not in the Abundance of the Things which he polifeth; proceeds to illustrate and inforce it with this most instructive Parable : The Ground of a certain ricá Man brought forth plentifully: And be thought within himself, saying, What Shall I do, because I have no room where to
Fruits and my
bestow my Fruits. And he said, This will I do ; I will pull down my Barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my Goods: And I will say to my Soul, Soul, thou haft much Goods laid up for many Years: Take thine Ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God Jaid unto him, Thou Fool, this Night thy Soul Mall be required of thee : Then whose shall these Things be which thou hast provided? And our Lord concludes the Parable with this Application of it: So is he that layeth up Treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. By these last Words he shews who the rich Men are that he points at; viz. those that lay up Treasures for themselves, i. e. have only their own selfish Interests and Pleasures in. View in heaping up Riches, and who employ them in making Provision for the Flesh to fulfil the Lufts thereof; but are not rich towards God, i. e. do not regard their Riches as a Trust committed to them by God, and
take no Care to use them to valuable Puri poses, for the Glory of God and the Good of Mankind.
The Guilt and Danger of rich Muns' giving themselves wholly up to Luxury and Sensuality, with an utter Insensibility to the Wants and Miseries of others, and without endeavouring to do Good with their Wealth, is also represented in a very lively and striking Manner, in the Parable of the rich Man and Lazarus : Though this PaFable is also intended to convey several other important Instructions, as I shall have Occasion to fhew afterwards...
To these Parables may be added another, which is designed to engage us to be careful to make a right Use of worldly Ricbes, in order to the promoting and securing our eternal Happiness. It is drawn from a familiar Instance of a politic Steward, who, finding that he was to be turned out of his Stewardship, for having wafted bis Master's Goods, contrived to make his Lord's Debtors his Friends, by giving in their Debts less than they really were, that, when he was turned out, they might receive and entertain him. Luke xvi. 1-7. Our Lord's Observation upon this is, that the unjust Steward had acted wisely; for the Children of this World are in their Generation wiser than the Children of Light, Ver. 8. i.e. they generally take more proper Measures for securing and making Provision for their carnal Interests in this present World, than those that make a Profession of Religion do in providing for their Salvation and Happiness in a better World, which they profess to have principally in View. And then followeth the Application of this Parable : I say unto you, Make to yourselves Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness (a degrading Epithet, by
which he chuseth to describe Riches in general, as being deceitful and fading, and often falling to the Lot of unrighteous Men, and either obtained by unjust Means, or kept and
used to bad Purposes) that, when ye fail, i. e. when ye leave this World, and are obliged to quit your earthly Treasures, they may receive you (or you may received) into everlasting Habitations. Ver, 9, i. e. Take Care to use your worldly Riches in such a Manner, by doing Good with them, and employing them for the Purposes of Piety and Charity, that, though of themselves they are often apt to prove Snares and Hindrances,, they may be inftrumental to procure you a more substantial and enduring Substance in a better World. And, considered in this View, this Parable is
very well fitted to the Purpose for which it is proposed, and it ought not to be pushed farther. Hence, as was shewn at large in a former Discourse, he took Occasion from every Thing that presented itself to raise fome useful religious or moral Reflections ; a manifest Proof of the Divine Temper of his Mind.
Secondly, It was observed, that some of Christ's Parables are intended to recommend and inculcate an universal Benevolence, and a Readiness to do Good to all Men. Remarkable to this Purpose is the Para