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as the worshipper of money, may be the servant of mammon, as much as the prodigal and voluptuary; but he is the slave of a master who pays him no wages, and puts him to a kind of Egyptian bondage, of making him bricks without straw. The voluptuary is the votary of Baal, as well as the retainer of mammon; but the slave of the demon of avarice is condemned to an unmixed service, or offers the sacrifice of Moloch upon the altar of mammon, pinching and starving the body to immolate and murder the soul.

The character of the prodigal and voluptuary too, is more dangerous than that of the miserly and covetous, because it is more specious, and exhibits a false show of liberality, humanity, and refinement. It is more agreeable to our natural inclinations, and finds more imitators in the world at large. The abuse of wealth which is consequent upon it is one in which numbers are interested, besides the author of the abuse himself; and consequently which numbers are ready to applaud, to defend, to encourage. Hence the pernicious maxim, to justify or palliate so much immorality and licentiousness; that private luxury is public good. Measuring both kinds of the abuse of wealth, then, by their possible consequences, each on as large a scale as the nature of the case will admit—that is, supposing each to be responsible for all the mischief, directly or indirectly resulting from it-we cannot hesitate to conclude that the abuse of his trust by the voluptuary is infinitely more criminal than that by the avaricious; for the bad effects of the one are confined to the abuser himself, or are most directly and sensibly felt in his own person-but the influence and effects of

the other, may extend as widely as the sphere of social intercourse, and diffuse a moral contagion far beyond the circle of the first offender. The character of the miser too is as generally detested and reprobated, as that of the prodigal is admired or excused; and he is considered as much the enemy of all mankind as of himself. His sin goes before him to judgment—and meets with its punishment in this life, in the infamy or contempt which it procures its author; but the sins of the prodigal follow afterand may pass current for virtues in this life: and men require as little persuasion to avoid the one, as encouragement to imitate the other.

PARABLE TWENTIETH. MORAL.

THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW.

LUKE XVII. 20-XVIII. 8. HARMONY, P. IV. 47. 48.

LUKE XVii. 20-xviii. 8. .

20 And being demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God is coming, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of "God is not coming with observation: 21 nor shall men say, "Lo here! or Lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is among you."

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22 He said moreover to the disciples, "Days shall come when shall desire to behold one of the days of the Son of man, "and shall not behold it. 23 And they will say to you, Lo here! "or, Lo there! Go not away, nor follow after it. "the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under hea"ven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall the "Son of man also be in his day. 25 But first it behoveth him "to suffer many things, and to be reprobated of this generation. “26 And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be "in the days also of the Son of man. 27 They were eating, 'they were drinking, they were marrying, they were giving in "marriage, until the day when Noe entered into the ark, and the deluge came and destroyed them all. 28 In like wise also

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as it came to pass in the days of Lot.

They were eating,

they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they

were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day when "Lot went forth from Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from "heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 According to these things "shall it be, in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In "that day, let not him, who shall be on the housetop, and his

implements in the house, go down to take them up; and in like "manner, let not him who is in the field, turn behind him. 32 Re"member the wife of Lot. 33 Whoso may seek to save his life, "shall lose it; and whoso may lose it, shall quicken it. 34 I "tell you, this night there shall be two men on one couch; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women "shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the "other shall be left." 36 And they answered and say unto him, Where, Lord?" And he said unto them, "Where the car"cass is, there will the eagles be gathered together."

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1 Moreover he spake a parable also unto them, in respect to its being needful to pray at all time, and not to grow weary, saying, "There was a certain judge in a certain city, who "feared not God, and respected not man. 3 And there was a "widow in that city, and she went to him, saying, Avenge me " of mine adversary: 4 and he would not for a time. But after "these things he said in himself, Even though I fear not God, "and respect not man, yet because this widow is giving me that she may not come continually, " and weary me." 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the judge "of injustice saith. 7 And shall not God cause the avenging of "his elect ones, that are crying to him nights and days, though forbearing unto them long? 8 I tell you, He will cause their "avenging speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man is 66 come, will he find the faith on the earth?"

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PRELIMINARY MATTER.

THE most obvious division of the preliminary matter in the present instance, is into the question of the Pharisees, and its answer, which precedes, and the discourse addressed to the disciples, subjoined to it. The connection between these divisions will be pointed out by and by.

If any thing had recently transpired to produce such a question from the Pharisees, as this, when the kingdom of God should come, the evangelist has

passed it over; whence he may infer, that the immediate cause of the question, whatsoever it was, was of no importance to the answer, returned to it; and still less so to the disclosures, immediately after vouchsafed to the disciples. The remote or ulterior cause however of such a question from such a quarter, may probably be explained as follows:

The substance of the ministry of John the Baptist, in his proper order of time, was comprised in these terms, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The substance of the ministry of our Saviour, from the time that he succeeded to the Baptist, was summed up in the same words, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The proper character therefore, both of the Baptist in his order of time, and of our Saviour in direct succession upon him, was that of the heralds or harbingers of this kingdom; the proper business of each, in the discharge of his ministry, was to announce it as coming, but not yet arrived, as ready indeed to be revealed, but not yet declared and manifested; and by inculcating the necessity of repentance and amendment of life, as founded upon faith in the assurance of its proximity, and in the prediction of its arrival ere long, to prepare their contemporaries for its reception c.

There can be little doubt that the first and proper sense of the phrase, kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, in this regular mode of describing the business of the ministry of John the Baptist and of our Lord, is the Christian religion; and there can be as

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On this subject the reader may consult Diss. v. of vol. ii. of my former work.

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