Luke 16* The parable of the unjust steward. (1-12) Christ reproves thehypocrisy of the covetous Pharisees. (13-18) The rich man andLazarus. (19-31)1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we haveonly the use of it, according to the direction of our greatLord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods.And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made dueimprovement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannotdeny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This mayteach us that death will come, and deprive us of theopportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of hislord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable partof their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parablecommended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In thatrespect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice oftheir object, are foolish; but in their activity, andperseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjuststeward is not set before us as an example in cheating hismaster, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out thecareful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children oflight would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would asearnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signifyspiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoardsup what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, whatevidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ?The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us beconvinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are richin faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises;let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect ourportion from thence. 13-18 To this parable our Lord added a solemn warning. Yecannot serve God and the world, so divided are the twointerests. When our Lord spoke thus, the covetous Phariseestreated his instructions with contempt. But he warned them, thatwhat they contended for as the law, was a wresting of itsmeaning: this our Lord showed in a case respecting divorce.There are many covetous sticklers for the forms of godliness,who are the bitterest enemies to its power, and try to setothers against the truth. 19-31 Here the spiritual things are represented, in adescription of the different state of good and bad, in thisworld and in the other. We are not told that the rich man gothis estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a manmay have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of thisworld, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sinof this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is agodly man, and one that will hereafter be happy for ever, in thedepth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some ofthe dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflictedin this world. We are not told that the rich man did him anyharm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here isthe different condition of this godly poor man, and this wickedrich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up hiseyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there arediscourses between glorified saints and damned sinners, but thisdialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, towhich condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, whenthose who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladlyreceive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall nothave the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are nowcalled upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, theyfind ways to avoid it. As wicked people have good things only inthis life, and at death are for ever separated from all good, sogodly people have evil things only in this life, and at deaththey are for ever put from them. In this world, blessed be God,there is no gulf between a state of nature and grace, we maypass from sin to God; but if we die in our sins, there is nocoming out. The rich man had five brethren, and would have themstopped in their sinful course; their coming to that place oftorment, would make his misery the worse, who had helped to showthem the way thither. How many would now desire to recall or toundo what they have written or done! Those who would make therich man's praying to Abraham justify praying to saintsdeparted, go far to seek for proofs, when the mistake of adamned sinner is all they can find for an example. And surelythere is no encouragement to follow the example, when all hisprayers were made in vain. A messenger from the dead could sayno more than what is said in the Scriptures. The same strengthof corruption that breaks through the convictions of the writtenword, would triumph over a witness from the dead. Let us seek tothe law and to the testimony, #Isa 8:19,20|, for that is thesure word of prophecy, upon which we may rest, #2Pe 1:19|.Circumstances in every age show that no terrors, or arguments,can give true repentance without the special grace of Godrenewing the sinner's heart.
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