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that it is deemed more suitable and important to serve Mammon, than it is to serve God.
3d. Let us examine ourselves, and determine whether God or whether Mammon, have the chief place in our thoughts, affections, and pursuits; and then we shall decide whose servants we are. If it be our great inquiry and heart's desire, to know and do the will of God, to serve him with our whole hearts, we are his servants, and shall reap the glorious rewards of the righteous. But, if we be anxious to know how we can gratify ourselves, by pursuing the pleasures of Mammon as our chief joy, we are her servants, and are preparing to reap the rewards of unrighteousness. Let us inquire, What we do more than others? Do we exceed them in morality and liberality? Still, who has our hearts? If we have not a supreme regard for the honour and glory of God in our works, we are as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; and shall appear as unfaithful stewards, in that we chose a portion, which has the inscription, vanity of vanities. The Lord is jealous for the honour of his great name, and he calls the covetous man an idolater. And although men do not worship idols and images in the form and shape of those of the heathens, yet they are as really guilty of idolatry, by idolizing Mammon, or setting the world uppermost in their hearts. If we place our affections supremely on God, on heavenly and divine things, we take them from the world; but if we exercise our noblest affections in favour of Mammon, we deny them to God. Some persons say, We will devote a little of our time in the service of God, we will keep the Sabbath so far as to spend our time in a serious manner. But their hearts are given to Mammon, and buried in the cares of the world; therefore they cannot be the servants of God. Others are called to labour, and eat bread in the sweat of their brow; but the Lord has their hearts, therefore
they cannot be the servants of Mammon. The Lord looks upon all services, which do not proceed from a heart devoted to him, as hypocrisy, or solemn mockery. They who consider it sufficient to serve him on the Sabbath, and a little on other days, should seriously inquire and examine, who has the most hearty affections of their souls. They should not be deceived: for God is not mocked. He knows and calls all his enemies, whatever their pretensions or performances, if they have not his love shed abroad in their hearts. Suffer one more remark. When men cannot part with earthly things for the cause of God, but choose rather to part with their interest in spiritual than in temporal blessings, they certainly cleave to them more than to God, and him they comparatively despise. Let us remember, that mankind are servants to whatever they make their chief concern or pursuit. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are, to whom ye obey? Then whatever engages the thoughts and affections of men supremely, is their God. If the Lord possess their hearts, he is their God: but, if the world have their hearts, Mammon is their god.
4th. Let all be exhorted to comply with the direction of the Saviour, and make to themselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness. Whatever earthly good things we possess, let us realize that these are entrusted to us as stewards, and that we must render an account to God for our stewardship. We may be so covetous of earthly gifts as to exclude our souls from spiritual and eternal blessings. We may be so glued to the enjoyments of this life, that instead of their causing our souls to ascend with gratitude and thankfulness to heaven, they will drag them down to hell. There have been instances of persons in time of fire, war, shipwreck, and other perilous situations, who, foolish and presumptuous to save their goods, have lost their lives. So may we be so heavily laden
with the earth, that our souls will be unable to as cend to heaven, and lay hold on eternal life. How kind the exhortation, then, To spend a suitable tion of Mammon in deeds of piety and charity, that many being benefited by these gifts, may pray for blessings on us as their benefactors. With what satisfaction may the faithful steward expect the hour of dissolution, and the coming of his Lord, and anticipatethe joy of being then welcomed by such friends to the regions of perfect felicity. But, if men idolize their riches, and spend all upon themselves, they may expect to be turned out of their stewardship, and cast into outer darkness, where shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. If we do not have mercy on the poor, in vain may we hope for mercy from God: For, if any man have this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? The cries of the oppressed and neglected poor, will testify against unfaithful stewards, to their condemnation; but the prayers of widows and orphans for their pious benefactors, will testify for them, that they were wise and faithful stewards. And, when they leave this world, such as have died before them and gone to glory, may be considered as standing ready to welcome them to their everlasting habitations. Earthly riches may be exchanged for heavenly; and temporal goods, for those which are eternal. The poor, the needy, and distressed, give us an opportunity of acquiring inconceivable gain. And who would not part with perishable objects, for those which are imperishable? Who would not give or lend things of trifling value, for a moment, and then receive those of inestimable value? How benignant and blessed the exhortation of the Saviour, Make to yourselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. Amen.
DESIRABLE EFFECTS OF A PREACHED GOSPEL.
Mark xvi. 15.
Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
THESE words are the commission of the divine Redeemer to his eleven apostles. After that he was risen from the dead, he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat. But shortly he was to ascend up into heaven, to sit at the right hand of the throne of God, no more to be personally present with his disciples on earth. And although this charge was given to the immediate attendants, and personal followers of the blessed Saviour; yet, it is equally applicable, and addressed to all who should henceforth sustain the character of his publick ministers. The same original phrase, which is translated every creature, is also rendered the whole human race. The latter is doubtless the most rational and correct translation. Hence, the commission of the apostles of Christ, extends to every creature throughout the world; so that wherever a human being is found, they are authorized and commanded to preach to him the gospel. They and their successors, are to go forth with unwearied exertions to the ends of the earth, as heralds of the gospel, till every nation, kindred, and tongue under the whole heaven, should enjoy its rich blessing. This is in exact accordance with the declaration of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds, who were keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. Before the advent of the Saviour, the glorious privileges of divine revelation, were chiefly confined to the Jews. And whilst he continued in the flesh, few of the Gentiles, comparatively, had the gospel preached to them; but, before the end of time, from the rising to the setting of the sun, both Jew and Gentile must enjoy its divine and meridian light. The gospel is good news; for, to a guilty and ruined world, it opens a door of hope, and publishes the way of salvation. Hence, to preach the gospel, is to announce the counsels of heaven, revealed to man; that he may be saved from sin and death, and made an heir of eternal life. But to accomplish this great and glorious end, its essential doctrines and duties must be clearly unfolded, that God may be exalted and glorified, whilst sinners. are saved.
These remarks may lead us to see, that the first important doctrine, in preaching the gospel, is to unfold the character of God. His being and perfections should clearly be held forth to the view of mankind, that they may form consistent and exalted views of his absolutely perfect, his infinitely glorious, and amiable character. His eternity and infinity, his self-existence and independence, his omnipotence and omniscience, must be maintained; whilst he is proclaimed the supreme, moral Governour of all finite, intelligent beings, their great law-giver and final Judge. His infinitely holy nature, must be declared as that moral perfection of his character, which renders him worthy of the supreme love of all created intelligences, and which is well pleased with righteousness; but, which hateth all the workers of iniquity with perfect hatred. Grace and mercy must be proved to be perfections, belonging to the moral character of God, or in vain would be the attempt to show, that he could possibly be reconciled to any of his moral subjects, who had once rebelled against him. The first and fundamental