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CCLXXV. THE TALENTS.,

Matt. xxv. 22, 23. He also that had received two talents came, and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

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THE solemnities of the day of judgment were afroquent subject of our Lord's discourse

This was a topic well calculated to fix the attention of his hearers

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The nearer he drew towards the close of his ministry, the more he insisted on it

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Nor can we too often dwell upon it in our mindsThe parable before us leads us to the contemplation of this awful subject

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It very nearly resembles the parable of The Pounds Yet are there some important points of difference be

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These points will furnish occasion for two important observations

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I. God bestows gifts on every man according to his own sovereign. will

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God is the source and author of every blessing we enjoy

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[To him we owe it that we were brought into the world of Christian rather than of heathen parentsFrom him we have received all our bodily and intellectual powers 63 We possess nothing good, which we have not derived from hima oda

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a Luke xix. 12-26. In both the parables a rich man going to a distant country committed a sum of money to his servants to improve for him, and on his return dealt with them according to the use they had made of it, rewarding the faithful and punishing, the negligent.

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In that of the pounds all the servants had an equal sum committed to them: but they made a different improvement of them, and were therefore differently rewarded. In the parable before us, the sums committed to the servants were different; but their im provement of them was equal (each having doubled his deposit) and therefore their reward was equal also. Jam. i. 17.

He dispenses extremely various gifts to various persons [The greater part of the world are left by him in gross

darkness

To the Jews he vouchsafed the light of his revealed willThe light that just dawned on them, has visited us in its meridian splendour

But some in this Christian land are scarcely more instructed in the knowledge of Christ, than if they had no concern with him

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Others again have had their eyes opened to behold his glory

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Great was the diversity of gifts bestowed on the Christians of oldd

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And there is the same distinction made in the church at this day

Hence we are called "stewards of the manifold grace of God"]

These he bestows according to his own sovereign will [The rich man in the parable gave to "each according to his several ability”—

Thus while he acted sovereignly, he acted also wiselyAnd in this point of view only can that circumstance be applied

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It is not true that God bestows the richest talents on the most able menh. 760

Besides, the

very abilities we possess are derived from him

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And if man's ability were the measure of God's gifts, man would have room to boast1—— THIS

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God acts in all things according to his sovereign willk Nevertheless his will is guided by consummate wisdom'-And every person, whatever his lot be, must confess with the apostle

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These considerations are indeed humiliating to our proud hearts turova Tourdat varnos

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But they are inexpressibly comforting to those whose talents are small, and whose afflictions are many

₫ 1 Cor. xii. 5-12.

g Ver. 15,

Dan. iv. 35.

Let such persons weigh them well, and make use of them for the suppressing of envy and discontent"]

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Eph. iv. 7.

f1 Pet. iv, 10.

h1 Cor. i. 26, 27. i
1.Cor. iv. 7.
1 Eph. i. 11. The counsel of his will."

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Eph. i. 8.

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This is a little digression from the subject; or rather an appli cation of it: but it is peculiarly proper in this place, in order to shew that the sovereignty of God is not a speculative point mere

We may well be satisfied with his conduct in this respect; for

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II. He will reward every man, not so much according to

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the talents he possesses, as according to his fidelity in improving them

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A man, endued with great gifts, will not be the more approved on that account

[The mere possession of great talents does not alter our moral character

Judas was not at all inferior in knowledge to the other apostles

Nor was he less endued with a power of working miracles than they

All his opportunities of spiritual improvement were the same as theirs

But his heart was not changed by means of these privilegesNor was his person the more accepted of God on account of them

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On the contrary, the greater his privileges, the greater was his guilt in neglecting to improve them—

And he now surpasses others in nothing but shame and misery0—

To this purpose are those warnings which our Lord gave to the cities of JudeaPsau owarik

Nor are those warnings inapplicable to those who hear his gospel now-]

Nor will a person of the smallest talents be on that ac

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["God looks not at the outward appearance, but at the

heart"

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He notices them that are of a broken and contrite spirit Few perhaps have been more destitute of gifts than Lazarus Yet how far better is his state now than the rich man's!s The widow that possessed but two mites was destitute enough

But the use she made of them was more acceptable to God than all the rich offerings of the opulent

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Thus, if we only improve what we have, we cannot fail of a reward

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ly, but a practical, and most comforting doctrine. We are all placed, like the different members of the body, each in the fittest place: and were our situations altered otherwise than God has ordained, the change would be to the detriment both of the individual member, and of the whole body. See 1 Cor. xii. 11, 12, 18.

• Acts i. 25.
Isai. lxvi. 2.

P Matt. xi. 21-24.
Luke xvi. 23, 24.

¶ 1 Sam. xvi. 7.
Mark xii. 43, 44.

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On the contrary, if we bury our talent, though it be but
one," we shall be punished for it-]

The scriptures speak strongly upon each of these points [They plainly declare that there are degrees of reward and punishment_

Our Lord assures us, that the punishment of men will be proportioned to the light against which they have sinned_ And St. Paul affirms, that our services shall be accepted in proportion as they corresponded with our ability to perform them-]

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1. What little reason is there to envy those who have great talents!

[It is evident that an increase of talent only increases our responsibility

To many, the advantages they have abused are now their greatest torment

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And what reason have we to think, that our diligence in serving God would be excited in proportion as our opportunities were enlarged?

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We all have too much reason to lament our past unprofitableness

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Let us therefore rather improve what we have, than covet what we have not-]

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2. How earnest should every one be in trading with the talent committed to hin!

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[The time is shortly coming when we must give up our account to God

And how awful will it be to be cast out as " wicked and slothful servants!".

How will such characters weep and wail for the opportunities they have lost!

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On the contrary, how delightful to hear the Saviour's plaudit!- 22 M dd bsen veo 36 3

What a recompence, to "enter into the joy of our Lord!"LO let every soul exert itself to the utmost in his service

Let none be discouraged because he can do but little for

God

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Many who condemn themselves as vile and faithless, shall hear him say, Well done, good and faithful servants

And many, who are ready to tremble with apprehensions of his wrath, shall be made partakers of his felicity and glory-1

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3. How little should we regard the attempts of the ungodly to repress our zeal!

[Men never condemn their own stewards for being too faithful or diligent

Yet if any of the Lord's stewards labour to improve their talent, the world cry out against them as over-righteous

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But it is a very small matter to be judged of man's judgment"

Let the world exclaim against us as hypocrites or enthusiasts, if the Judge of all do but account us good and faithful

His plaudit will abundantly compensate for the obloquy we endured

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Let us then, every one for himself, "stir up the gift of God that is in us"

And let us exhort one another in the words of inspira tion2-]

z 1 Cor. xv. 58.

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