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enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down."
Thus was annihilated the empire of the Jews, who rejected and crucified the Lord of Glory. Still a remnant of their wretched successors remains, a sad example of divine vengeance, scattered over the face of the earth, the scorn of almost every country whither they have flown for refuge. They are, like the unburied ashes of a corpse, which time has consumed, lifted up and scattered by the storm. Such have been the deplorable consequences of rejecting the doctrines of him whose "word was with power;” “who taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes ;" whom the Almighty recognized as his Son, and commanded us to hear. We need no loftier argument to induce us to comply, than that it is the will of God. His authority alone ought to be sufficient for us all.
Let us then respect that authority, which is only exercised to make us happy; nor, like the ancient Jews, despise the blessed Jesus, because his dispensations consist not in temporalities. As he has died for us, according to the spirit of our faith, his death will prove to us either a stumbling-block or a means of salvation. Let us set our best affections upon him! He imposes upon us no difficulties to which we should feel a repugnance in submitting, when we reflect what he has undergone, both in the flesh and in the spirit, to ransom us from the bondage of sin. If we follow his instructions with right minds and willing hearts, we shall, as he has promised, find “rest unto our souls;" and we shall not be backward to acknowledge, that “his yoke is easy and his burden light.” Now, “the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ;" to whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, dominion, and power, for ever and ever!
THE UNJUST STEWARD.
St. Luke, xvi. 8.
“And the Lord commended the unjust steward, because he
had done wisely; for the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light."
The design of this parable has been frequently mistaken, and its application misunderstood. We are to bear in mind, that the parables which Christ delivered, were invariably designed to lead to some moral inference; not to amuse the mind with any artificial ingenuity in the detail, or to challenge the investigation of learned criticism. They were addressed generally to a mixed auditory; to the unlettered apostles, as well as to the learned scribes; and, therefore, except where their divine Author particularly intended that their meaning should be involved, they were expressed in those terms, which were best comprehended by the Jewish multitude, and delivered under those images which were most familiar to them. It was sufficient
for the Saviour's purpose, that the moral of these allegories should be distinct and intelligible. This was the whole aim of his intention in delivering them; and, therefore, though the critic should imagine that the parallel between the figurative allusion, and the literal fact be not everywhere precisely exact, still, this will in nothing affect the truth of the doctrine which these parables convey, provided the inference to be derived from them be clear and determinate. The corollary, from the parable before us, obviously is, that if “the children of light” were, “in their generation,” to act as providently as the “ children of this world" do in theirs, they would receive the approbation of their Lord. In other words, if the righteous were only as solicitous about their souls, and did as much to secure their salvation, as the mere men of the world do to promote the security and comfort of their bodies, they would have “praise of God," and his praise is ever an earnest of reward.
Now, the parable before us is susceptible of two different interpretations, each leading precisely to the same conclusion, so that the doctrine intended to be conveyed remains undisturbed, whichever interpretation we embrace.
The one view of the subject will be this. The function of steward, among the opulent Jews, was nearly similar to that of a land-steward in the present age. Among the various duties attached to his office, he gave leases of portions of his