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Verses 16-18

Matthew 25:16-18. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded, &c. Thus the servants of Christ should consider the gifts or talents which they have received, whether by nature or by grace, as being intrusted with them for the sole end of their serving God and their generation with the use of them; and made them other five talents Thus he who endeavours to use the gifts of God according to the design of the giver, is sure to find them increased; and that both because the exercise of any power or ability, gift or endowment, has a natural tendency to increase it, and because the divine blessing never fails to crown human diligence, when that diligence is used in the fear of God, in obedience to his will, and with a single eye to his glory. “He who lives not solely to his own profit,” says Theophylact, “but whether he have prudence, or riches, or power, or whatever influence or art he hath, endeavours thereby to serve and be useful to others, ο τοιουτος διπλασιαζει το δοθεν αυτω , this is the man who doubles that which is given to him.” Likewise he that had received two, &c. He went immediately and traded with the talents he had received, and his improvement was in the same proportion; he gained other two. But he that had received one Being displeased, probably, that he had received no more, or being seized with servile fear, without so much as attempting to make any proper use or improvement of his talent; went and digged in the earth, &c. Buried his talent, instead of employing it according to the design of his master, who had intrusted him with it. He did not mis-spend or mis-employ it; did not embezzle or squander it away, but he hid it. Here we have the characteristic of a slothful servant, of one who has received from God an excellent gift, and yet suffers it to remain useless and unemployed, and therefore unimproved; like money laid up in a bag, which, if properly used and dispersed, might be of much advantage, as well to the possessor as others, but while so locked up, is at once unprofitable to the owner and to all besides. And the sin of this slothful servant was highly aggravated in this, that the talent intrusted to him was not his own; he hid his lord’s money. Had it been his own he might have asked, Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? but, in truth, whatever abilities and advantages men, as the creatures and servants of the living God, possess, they are not their own: they are but stewards of them, and must give an account to their lord, whose goods they are. It was, moreover, an aggravation of this servant’s slothfulness, that his fellow-servants were busy and successful in trading; their zeal and assiduity should have provoked his; and, incited by their example, he should have gone and done likewise. It will be a high aggravation of the offence of slothful professors, who have suffered the gifts of God to remain unimproved, that their fellow-servants have, with the same means, and the same opportunities, acted with the fidelity required, and gained to the talents committed to them a sufficient increase to obtain their Lord’s approbation and applause. Reader, art thou thus slothful? Art thou burying the talent God hath lent thee?

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