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An exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) online

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gentle rebuke, and says, " This thy brother." If you are
an elder brother in the faith of the gospel, despise none-
Call to mind your own wanderings, and the bowels of your
heavenly Father towards you. Remember that you are
saved, as a sinner, who is, as yet, only in the way, and may
both be tempted and be drawn aside.

This is an instructive, awakening, and most comfortable
portion of holy writ. INIan needs mercy, and God has all
mercy in store for him which he wants. He is ready to be
reconciled to us; we need not perish, we may live. But this
is only a cold expression of the love and compassion of
God. It is far short of the lively representations which
we behold in this chapter, which may be well entitled,
" God unveiled to mortal eyes." He is here represented as
seeking after us with bowels of melting pity. We see him,
in this chapter, longing for the hour of our return, and re-
ceiving us with transport into his arms, as much as if his
own happiness depended upon it, and every lost soul was
the loss of a child to him.

This is knocking hard at the door of our hearts; this is
stooping low, and bringing the matter home to our senses
indeed : and could our extreme danger, in sin, be more
feelingly described, than by showing us that all heaven is
interested in our recovery, and how great an accession of
joy every penitent, — each single penitent, — is to the blessed
inhabitants in heaven. O ! why tlicn do any perish ? If


the triitli is licre told, and God has such an earnest will for
the salvation of all, what should hinder it, why are not all
saved ? Hear the reason, and ponder it in your hearts. It
is because we do not desire it, and no man can be saved
against his own choice. We are miserable, only by de-
parting from God, and can only be happy in returning to
him. He calls aloud to us to return : he makes us all pos-
sible offers of kindness, and tries all ways to work upon our
stubborn natures. But if we do not say, " I will arise, and
go to my Father :" if our wills do not bring us back to
him ; the separation still continues, and the misery will
cleave to us for ever. Now, therefore, let us attend : O
Lord ! help us !

Chap. xvi. ver. 1 — 13.


1. And he said also unto liis disciples.

He speaks to us, if we are his disciples. And his design
is to teach us to draw all our thoughts to one point, to
manage our concerns in this life with a view to a better :
and when we have chosen the good part, to be as carefid
and wise to make everything turn to our everlasting ad-
vantage, as worldly men are for their own ends.

1. There was a certain rich man, which had a steward ; and the
same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

What is this to us, if it does not turn our eyes inward,
and put us upon thinking that we are stewards under God,
and have an account to give of what is entrusted to us; this
consists, with some, in this world's goods, more or less, and
with all, in a portion of grace !

2. And he called liiin, and said unto him, How is it that I

286 ST. LUKE. [chap. xvr.

lieav this of thee ? give an account of thy stewardship ; for them
nia3^est be no longer steward.

This will be said to every one of us. O that the words
might sound deep into our hearts ! It is a mercy that we are
not yet called to our last account, and that we have a little
time still allowed to us. Let us redeem and improve it,
and be no longer wasters of our Lord's goods, by being
idle for our souls.

3. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do ? for
inv lord taketh away from me the stewardship : I cannot dig; to
beg I am ashamed.

And so he took a worvse course. Alas ! what a picture
of human nature ! He was not ashamed of dishonesty :
and the excuse he made was, that he could not dig : this
might, or might not be true.

4. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the
stewaixlship, they may receive me into their houses.

5. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and
said unto the 6rst, How much owest thou unto my lord ?

6. And he said. An hundred measures of oil. And he said
unto him. Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7. Then said he to another. And how much owest thou ? And
he said. An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him,
Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

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.

It was the steward's own master who commended hin),
not Christ. He took notice of it as a notable piece of cun-
ning, but nothing else. For the steward was as much a
knave to his master, and as unjust to him in this respect,
as he had been before.

The reflection of our Lord upon it is to be noted.
" For the children of this world are in their generation
wiser than the children of light :" — They have but one end
in view, and bend all their thoughts that way. The chil-
dren of light have two; but, chiefly, the next world : this,

VIM. 1 — 13.] ST. LUKE. 287

however, they must care for in part, while they ai-e in it :
and they are often too much divided between them. Christ
says, this shouhl not be. He observed it with grief and
concern. The disciples of Christ should be all thought
how to make sure of their chief end^ as the unjust steward
was to secure a maintenance.

9. And [ say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the
mammon of unrighteousness ; that, when ye fail, they may re-
ceive you into everlasting habitations.

This world's goods are called unrighteousness, because
they are too generally ill got, — ill spent,— or ill kept. It
was a very proper admonition to the publicans who were
present at this discourse. And the advice to all is,
so to manage their worldly substance, as to make it turn to
their eternal interest, by thinking it a trust put into their
hands, and not their own, to use, or hoard, as they please.
" That when ye fail," as fail and die we must, " they may
receive you into everlasting habitations f that is, you may
be received. Is this to be a reward, for being liberal to
the poor ? Will this merit heaven ? No ; Christ has done
that for all. But, nevertheless, the way is still barred to a
covetous, worldly heart.

10. He tliat is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in
much : and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

He that is faithful in his worldly substance ; which is a
very small matter in God's account, though not in ours.
It is our ruin that we will not learn of Christ to call thinos
by their right name. " Is faithful also in much :" — though
it is a little thing, in which he is faithful, his fidelity in it
is a great thing: and shows him to be faithful in a much
greater, namely, the grace that is given him.

"And he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in
much." Greatly, and every way unjust : he is false to his
trust, and to the grace which should have directed him in
the management of it. The sequel will show that this is
very ill husbandry.

288 ST. LUKE. [chap. xvr.

11. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous
mammon, who will commit to yonr trust the true riches ?

Certainly riches are unrighteous to us, if we are not
faithful in the use of them. Who will commit to your
trust the true riches ? That is, of grace here, and heaven
hereafter. The meaning is, we shall never come there. And
observe, again, the wide difference betwixt Christ's thoughts
and ours. We make but little account of what he knows
to be the true riches.

12. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another
man's, who shall give you that which is your own ?

Let us think, and call nothing else our own, but what
will be so for ever.

13. No servant can serve two masters : for either he will hate
the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to the one, and
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

No more can we serve both God and the world. Christ
is still teaching us what we are unwilling to understand.
One of these will have our hearts, and both cannot. And
we need not be rich to make a wrong choice. A poor man
may refuse to take God for his master, only he is the
greater fool, in serving the world for nothing.

Chap. xvi. ver. 14 — 31.


14. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these
things : and they derided hiui.

Every mere worldly man derides Christ, for his cross-
grained teaching. But we must submit ourselves to that,
or we can have no salvation by him.

YER. 14 31. J ST. LUKE. 280

15. And he said unto tlieni, Ye are they which justify your-
selves before men ; but God knoweth your hearts : for that which
is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of

Tliey had a fair appearance, else they could not have
justified themselves to the world. But God knew their
hearts; and does he not know ours? We know well
enough that aWojight to be sound there; and we, too often,
take it for granted without further inquiry, that it is so.
This also is full proof that we are miserably deceived.
The man whose eyes are opened knows better.

What men value themselves upon, and others value
them for, is, oftentimes, abomination in the sight of God.
Man's righteousness, at the best, will stand no trial : and
whoever trusts in it, is here plainly told what it is. Hear
then what we must do.

16. Tlie law and the prophets were until John : since that time
the kingdom of (Jod is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The privileges of this kingdom are remission of sins,
new^ helps for obedience, and a right to eternal life by faith
in Jesus Christ. " And every man presseth into it." This,
therefore, is what we must do; we must break through all
difficulties, and press with all our might into God's king-
dom of grace, knovving that we are saved by mercy from
first to last, and not for the merit of our own works. We
may not, indeed, be lawless in this kingdom, as we see in
the next verse.

17. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle
of the law to fail.

The law of the ten commandments, is everlasting and
unchangeable, as a rule of life, though not as a covenant ;
and none can belong to Christ who do not make it the law
of their hearts in everything, as explained by him,

18. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another,
committeth adultery : and whosoever n)arrieih her that is put
away from her husband comniiltelh adultery.

VOL. II. u

290 ST. LUKE. [chap. XVI.

The Pharisees made light of this, and often divorced
their wives ; and it is singled out to show them what sad
work they made of the law, notwithstanding their high pre-
tensions to righteousness. Let us take notice of ourselves;
and allow our own hearts to tell us in what instance, in how
many, we are transgressors.

19. Thei*e was a certain rich man, wliich was clothed in purple
and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day :

20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was
laid at his gate^, full of sores,

21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the
rich man's table : moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

He was probably relieved by the rich man ; or else he
would not have laid at his gate. But if, indeed, he did
feed him, and left his cure to the dogs, this was poor

22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried
by the angels into A.brahani's bosom : the rich man also died, and
was buried ;

The poor man was not admitted into heaven, merely for
being poor, nor the rich inan shut out of it, only for be-
ing rich ; but because the latter did set his heart upon
riches, and the other did not.

23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being hi torments, and seelh
Abraham afar oif, and Lazarus in his bosom.

In torments, O dreadful, heart-breaking thought ! Fatal
end of ill-enjoyed riches. " And Lazarus in his bosom."
O happy, if holy poverty !

24. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on
me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip tlie tip of his finger in
water, and cool my tongue ; for I am tormented in this flame.

He cried, Father Abraham : he did not say, God, have
mercy on me : he could not. There is no repenting in hell.
He begged for a little ease, but this must now be denied
him. His sentence was passed, and could not be reversed,
nor mitigated.

VER. 11.— 31.] ST. LUKE. 201

25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that ihou in thy life-
time reccivcdst thy good things, and likewise Lazarns evil things :
but now he is comforted, and ihou art tonnented.

This word would cut liini to the heart. Christian !
that name will be a iieavy load upon a lost soul in hell.

His condenniation was not for receiving or having good
things, in his lifetime ; for then Abraham would not have
been in heaven. But for receiving them as his portion, and
giving himself wholly up to the enjoyment of them, with-
out looking to anything better from the hands of God, or
considering for what he received them. In a word, he was
carnally-minded ; and that is death, as we are plainly
told, Rom. viii. 6 ; and as it is the great design of this
parable, or history, to teach us.

On the other hand, Lazarus had received evil things ;
contentedly, and with his eyes fixed upon heaven.

26. And beside all this, betvveen us and you there is a great
gulf fixed : so that they which would ])ass from hence to you can-
not ; neidicr can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

O let all impenitent sinners think of that impassable
gulf, lest death transport them beyond it, for ever from
God !

27. Then he said, 1 pray thee, dierefore, father, that thou
wouldcst send him to my fatlier's house :

28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them,
lest they also come into this place of torment.

Whether or not it is possible for the damned to have
any such concern for their surviving friends, we need not
inquire. This seems chiefly said, to introduce what fol-

29. Abraham saith unto him. They have IMoscs and the pro-
phets ; let them hear them.

It is at their peril if they do not. God knew it to be
enough. And yet we have more, namely, Moses and the
])rophets fully opened by the gospel.

u -2

292 ST. LUKE. [chap. XVII.

30. And he said, Nay, father Abraham : but if one went unto
them from the dead, they will repent.

By having this proof of a futui-e state. And perhaps
so may we think. But, Abraham says positively, not.
The reason is, nothing can work a saving change but God ;
and he does it, only, in his own way.

31. And be said unto him. If they hear not Moses and the pro-
phets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the

They might be full of wonder and surprise, for a time,
at such an apparition, but their wills would not be changed.
We all know that God says, repent ; and the heart which
stubbornly resists Him, when he speaks to us in his word,
is not to be wrought upon. If that holy book does not
convert, it will condemn us, and we shall know tlie value
of it when it is too late.

In this chapter, here is line upon line to set our thoughts
and affections right. If we cleave to the world, we lose
heaven ; if we disbelieve, or disregard the scriptures, in
this point, we are past conviction. The parable of Dives
and Lazarus speaks this to us all. Here is heaven and
hell presented as it were to our bodily eyes; with the way
to obtain the one, and to escape the other. May the Lord,
in his infinite mercy, grant that this affecting sight may
lead us to make a right choice !

Chap. xvii. ver. 1 — 10.


1. Then said he unto the disciples. It is impossible but that of-
fences will come : but woe unto him, through whom tbe}'^ come !

Christ speal

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 39)