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CCLXXV. THE TALENTS.

j 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.

1 THE solemnities of the day of judgment were a fre, quent subject of our Lord's discourse 3:47

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

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

Nor can we too often dwell upon it in our minds-
The parable before us leads us to the contemplation of

subject
It very: nearly resembles the parable of The Poundsa.

Yet are there soine important points of difference between themb

These points will furnish occasion for two important observations

Laman 1 : vin I. God bestows gifts on every man according to liis own

sovereign will God is the source and author of every blessing we enjoy

[To him we owe it that we were brought into the world of Christian rather than of heathen parents

From him we have received all our bodily and intellectual, powersTTo 03

22:1! ☺ Wé possess nothing good, which we have not derived from himm] critic

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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 im. prove 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.

In that of the pounds all the servants had an equal' sum mitted 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:

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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 will

The 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

Others again have had their eyes opened to behold his glory

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

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 wisely

And in this point of view only can that circumstance be applied

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

Besides, the very abilīties we possess are derived from him alone

And if map's ability were the measure of 'God's gifts, man would have room to boasti

God açts in all things according to his sovereign wilsk. Nevertheless his will is guided by consummate wisdom'

And every person, whatever his lot be, must confess with the apostlem ! These considerations are indeed humiliating to our proud hearts

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

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.

& 1 Cor. xii. 5-12.

{"1 Pet. iv, 10. 8 Ver. 15,

bi Cor. i, 26, 27. 1 Cor. iv. 7. * Dan. iv. 35.

Eph. j. 11.“ The counsel of his will." m Eph. i. 8.

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

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We may well be satisfied with his conduct in this respect; for II. He will reward every man, not so much according to

the talents he possesses, as according to his fidelity

in improving them : 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 privileges

his

person the more accepted of God an account of them

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

And he now surpasses others in ngthing but shame and miseryo

To this purpose are those warning, which our Lord gave to the cities of judeaP

Nor are those warnings inapplicable to those who hear his gospel now)

Nor will a person of the smallest talents be on that account overlooked

[“ God looks not at the outward appearance, but at the heart”

He notices them that are of a broken and contrite spirit
Few perhaps have been more destitute of gifts thạn Lazarus -
Yet how far better iş his state now than the rich man'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 rịch offerings of the opulent

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

16.1;y a a 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.

e Acts i. 25. p Matt. xi. 21-24. qi Sam. xvi. 7. * Isai. Jxvi. 2, s Luke xvi. 23, 24. + 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 upoir 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 sinnede

And St. Paul affirms, that our services shall be accepted in proportion' as they corresponded with our ability to perform themy-] INFER

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

great talents!

2

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

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

And what reason have we to think, that our diligence in serving God would be excited in proportion as our opportuni, ties were enlarged?i We all have too much reason to lament our past unprofitableness

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

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

[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!

On the contrary, how delightful to hear the Saviour's plaudit!-

*' What a recompence, to “enter into the joy of our Lord!" I O let every soul exert itself to the utmost in his service

Let none be discouraged because he can do but little for God

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

nd faithful servantsAnd many, who are ready to tremble with apprehensions of his wrath, shall be made partakers of his felicity and glory-]

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u I Cor. xv. 41, 42. 2 Pet. ii. 21.
» Luke xii. 47, 48. , 2 Cor. viii. 12.

*

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

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

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 inspiration]

2 I Cor. xv. 58.

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