Matthew 25:14
For it is just like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted them with his possessions.
Sermons
Traders for the MasterAlexander MaclarenMatthew 25:14
A Gift and a TrustT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
A Hard ManG. J. Proctor.Matthew 25:14-30
A Picture of the DevilT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Better to Use One Talent Well than Five WickedlyDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:14-30
Christ Absent from UsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Christ's TalentsSelected.Matthew 25:14-30
Dangers of MediocrityPhillips Brooks, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
Divers TalentsS. Brown.Matthew 25:14-30
Diversity in AbilityT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Diversity in ServiceT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Diversity of Talent Helpful to ServiceT. Manton., T. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Doing Better than ExcusingT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Dread of God Natural in the Carnal MindT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Each Man has His Appropriate GiftDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:14-30
Encouragement for the Man with One TalentA. H. Crawford, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
Faithful Service and its RewardS. M'All.Matthew 25:14-30
Faithfulness is on the Direct Line of MasteryMarvin R. Vincent, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
Faithfulness the Main ThingMarvin R. Vincent, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
Few Talents Will have to be Accounted ForC. H. SpurgeonMatthew 25:14-30
Fidelity in the Service of GodC. Hodge, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
God Blesses Those Who Improve Their PrivilegesN. Emmons, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
God is Never stingy in His GiftsS. Cox, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
Great Talents and SmallDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:14-30
Hiding, not Wasting, God's TrustsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Human ResponsibilityT. D. Crothers.Matthew 25:14-30
Importance of Little ThingsMarvin R. Vincent, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
Improvement of TalentsBishop Daniel Wilson.Matthew 25:14-30
Latent Possibilities in the Man with One TalentA. H. Crawford, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
Laying Ourselves Out for GodT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Life a JourneyW. J. Hall, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
Modesty not to Invalidate TalentR. Thomas.Matthew 25:14-30
Multiplied TalentBishop Daniel Wilson.Matthew 25:14-30
Nothing Idle in NatureT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
One TalentThe Southern PulpitMatthew 25:14-30
Ordinary Talents Do Most of the WorkDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:14-30
Our Account with GodT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Our Trust of TalentsE. Sandercock.Matthew 25:14-30
Parable of TalentsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Private ConceitsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Satanic Abuse of Great TalentsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
TalentsJ. Vaughan, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
Talents for Service not OrnamentR. Morton.Matthew 25:14-30
Talents for Small SpheresC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:14-30
Talents Given for ActivityT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
The Account to be RenderedE. Bersier., J. Parsons.Matthew 25:14-30
The Advantages of MediocrityPhillips Brooks, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Average ManF. E. Clark.Matthew 25:14-30
The Capacity of Religion Extirpated by DisuseH. Bushnell, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Discharged ServantR. Jones, B. A. .Matthew 25:14-30
The Entrusted TalentsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Faithful Servant and His RewardCharles Garrett.Matthew 25:14-30
The Good and Faithful ServantH. March.Matthew 25:14-30
The Good ServantW. Jowett, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
The Grace of God was Intended to be AccumulativeDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:14-30
The Householder and His ServantsBishop Daniel Wilson.Matthew 25:14-30
The Increase of TalentR. Thomas.Matthew 25:14-30
The Joy of the Lord's ServiceMatthew 25:14-30
The Law of Spiritual CapitalMarcus Dods, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Law of Use and Neglect in the Kingdom of HeavenR. Thomas.Matthew 25:14-30
The Man with One Talent NeededA. H. Crawford, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
The Man with Two TalentsPhillips Brooks, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Master's Approval of the Faithful ServantS. Martin.Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the TalentsG. Smith.Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the TalentsS. Cox, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the TalentsW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the TalentsMarcus Dods Matthew 25:14-30
The Pleasure of Small AbilitiesR. Thomas.Matthew 25:14-30
The Predominance of MediocrityPhillips Brooks, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Replenishment of Heavenly FelicityS. M'All.Matthew 25:14-30
The Reward of FidelityS. Brown.Matthew 25:14-30
The Servants At WorkE. Bersier.Matthew 25:14-30
The Sin of UnprofitablenessE. Gibbon, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
The Sinner Self-CondemnedT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
The Sovereignty of the Divine EndowmentsC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:14-30
The TalentsExpository OutlinesMatthew 25:14-30
The TalentsJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 25:14-30
The Unprofitable are DestroyedT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
The Unprofitable ServantR. Jones, B. A.Matthew 25:14-30
The Unprofitable ServantD. Moore, M. A.Matthew 25:14-30
The Unused Talent Passes from the Servant Who Would not Use it to the One Who WillMarcus Dods, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
The Wicked and Slothful ServantH. March.Matthew 25:14-30
Trading for God, not SelfT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Trading with TalentsBenjamin Keach.Matthew 25:14-30
Unequal GiftsE. Bersier.Matthew 25:14-30
Use the Talent We HaveT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Varieties of GiftsT. Manton.Matthew 25:14-30
Variety God's LawC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:14-30
Well Used Talents Prepare for Enjoyment in HeavenN. Macleod, D. D.Matthew 25:14-30
This parable is naturally associated with that of the ten virgins. In both we have the time for preparation, the crisis of judgment, the differences of conduct, and subsequent results. But this second parable treats of higher responsibilities and graver issues. Here we have a specific trust; the duty is more than watching, it is diligent working; and the rewards and punishments are proportionately greater. We pass from the joys of the kingdom and the possibility of missing them, to the serious duties of the kingdom and the great honours and heavy penalties that follow obedience and negligence.

I. THE TALENTS ENTRUSTED.

1. The significance of the talents. This parable has given a secondary meaning to the very word "talent" in the literature of Christendom - a meaning which has come to supersede its original application, so that a talent with us is not a sum of money, but a power or faculty, and a talented person is a person highly endowed with natural gifts. In the large use of the word by our Lord the talent is anything that gives scope and facility for service - intellect, wealth, position, etc.

2. The variety of the talent. Some are more richly endowed than others. Nothing is mere false to nature than the doctrinaire theory of equality. There is the greatest possible inequality, not only in the distribution of property - which is often owing to man's injustice, but in the providential bestowal of personal gifts.

3. The trust of the talents. The owner takes a journey into another country, and leaves his property with his servants. God is not really absent, but his presence is not apparent, and he leaves scope and freedom for the right use of what he has entrusted to men.

II. THE SERVANTS' CONDUCT.

1. The diligent servants. Two do their best with what is committed to their charge, and work equally well, each just doubling his capital.

(1) God expects active service, and not merely negative innocence.

(2) Our powers and faculties are not our own; they are to be used for God.

(3) These gifts grow with use, and to ourselves the natural and the chief result of diligent service is the enlargement of our own powers.

(4) The best service must be proportionate to our natural gifts. The man with two talents can only make two more, not five; yet be works as well as his more gifted companion.

2. The slothful servant. This man had but one talent. If he had possessed more he might have been inspired to some enthusiasm.

(1) There is a temptation to neglect small gifts.

(2) It is wicked to be slothful.

(3) Inability is no excuse for indolence, because all have some powers for service.

III. THE FINAL ACCOUNT. This must be rendered. The owner will return to his estate, though he may be long absent. God will call all his servants to account for the use they make of their powers and opportunities.

1. The reward of fidelity.

(1) This is for faithfulness in service, not merely in keeping what is committed to us.

(2) It takes the form of a larger trust.

2. The punishment of indolence. The idle man has his excuse, but it is a false one. The Master does not reap where he has not sown; for he gave the talents which were to be the seed of more wealth.

(1) Neglected gifts are withdrawn. If we will not use our faculties, we shall lose them.

(2) The indolent servant is east into darkness and despair. He might have done well. Not positive sin alone, but neglect to do our duty in God's service, will be heavily punished. - W.F.A.







Who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
1. There is a variety of circumstances which will attend the believer in his journey through life.

2. Moreover travellers need not to be told that the weather during their different journeys is not uniformly the seine.

3. In point of affluence and fortune all the travellers to Canaan are not alike.

4. A passenger to Zion, like most travellers, must expect to meet with different kinds of company on the road.

5. When persons undertake a journey to a distant unknown country it is not unusual to have recourse to a guide.

5. Also a guard is necessary, as the way to heaven is infested with robbers.

6. There is no convenient travelling without a competent supply of provisions.

(W. J. Hall, M. A.)

Let us see what Jesus Christ does not say.

1. He does not say that the Master loves those least to whom He gives least.

2. He does not say that the Master acts capriciously, but in wisdom.

3. He does not say that this inequality lasts beyond the time of trial, beyond the present life. Inequality

(1)A fact.

(2)A social bond.

(3)We should contend against all the inequalities of the present life which can hurt the moral destiny of our fellow creatures.

(4)The attitude which God takes towards humanity in the short period which we call history. He appears absent.

(E. Bersier.)

1. The commendation of human industry which passed from the lips of Christ.

2. The gifts of God are multiplied in faithful hands. The gospel is life and power: it is prolific. Christ enlarges man.

(E. Bersier.)

There is an account to be given. Mediocrity has its temptations:

1. Envy.

2. Ingratitude.

3. Contempt of duty.

4. After indolence the impiety which blasphemes.

(E. Bersier.)

I. THE OFFICE SUSTAINED, a servant of God.

1. Diversity of talent.

2. Diversity of sphere.

II. THE CHARACTER ATTACHED TO THE DISCHARGE OF THIS OFFICE. "Good and faithful."

1. In a desire to be governed by our Master's will.

2. Love to our Master's service.

3. Diligence in our Master's work.

4. Rejoicing in the Master's triumphs.

III. THE RECOMPENSE BY WHICH THE OFFICE IS TO BE CROWNED. A recompense of —

1. Acknowledgment.

2. Exaltation.

3. Pleasure, "joy of thy Lord."

(J. Parsons.)

I. THAT OUR DIVINE REDEEMER IS CONSTITUTED THE HEAD AND LORD OF THE CHRISTIAN ECONOMY.

II. THAT IN THIS EXALTED CAPACITY HE BESTOWS A VARIETY OF TALENTS UPON THE CHILDREN OF MEN. Time is a talent. Intellectual power is a talent. Moral capacity is a talent. Religious opportunity is a talent. Relative influence is a talent.

III. THAT HE WHO HAS IMPARTED THESE TALENTS RIGHTEOUSLY DEMANDS THEIR IMPROVEMENT.

IV. THE PERIOD WILL ARRIVE WHEN HE WILL COME TO DEMAND AN ACCOUNT. While the investigation will be inclusive, it will embrace each individual. It will be impartial. The result will be joyful and solemn.

(G. Smith.)

What is it to trade with what God has given us, and how does the increase come?

1. Whatever God commits to us, gift or grace, has within itself a tendency to grow. The secret of worldly success is —

1. To set about at once to make the best use of whatever we have. God often puts a good thought into the mind; do not trifle, but make the best of it. Christ will come again. Love can be thus enlarged, the intellect, memory. Consecrated time becomes larger time. Specially happy the man who has put millions of minds into God's bank. Money.

2. Make a good investment by investing in eternity.

3. You are sure of good security, the promise and fidelity of God.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

This portion of the Divine word, while bearing on one great truth, was intentionally fitted to a great many truths. Such as the following:

I. As Christians, WE ARE SERVING AN UNSEEN MASTER. Our Lord is here compared to one who hath gone to a far country.

II. He hath gone to RECEIVE TO HIMSELF A KINGDOM (Luke 19:12; Matthew 25:21, etc.) The conflict is past and the labour is ended. He is exalted to the Father's right hand, etc. His people acknowledge Him to be their king.

III. In the absence of this heavenly Prince a great AND RESPONSIBLE CHARGE IS DEVOLVED UPON HIS SERVANTS (ver. 14.) His servants are charged with perpetuating and administering the affairs of His kingdom. They are the living depositories of His truth. They are not only to conserve the truth, but to diffuse it, etc.

IV. IT IS A LONG TIME ERE THE LORD OF THOSE SERVANTS COMETH AND RECKONETH WITH THEM. In some of its aspects life is short; in others it is long — very long. How long does it sometimes seem to watch with your Lord only one hour? And so, the slothful servant says, My Master delayeth His coming and the foolish virgins sink into sleep; and the soul who is like a bride adorned for her husband asks, "Why are his chariot wheels so long in coming?"

V. THE RESULTS OF WERE DONE FOR CHRIST REMAIN. When the talents are used they grow by use, and increase for God.

VI. VARIED AND ABUNDANT REWARDS ARE RESERVED FOR THE FAITHFUL SERVANTS OF CHRIST. He who had gone into the far country comes back invested with honour and power to raise others to honour. He is ableto give rule. Putting aside the imagery, may we not picture what would be the actual blessedness of a faithful servant thus applauded, and thus more than repaid. No commendation like the Master's "well done." Every faithful servant shall have praise of God. The holy felicity has within it the means of its own replenishment. It is His joy we go to share. "Be thou faithful," etc.

(S. M'All.)

In the present world it cannot be denied that sweet as peace is, even peace may be monotonous; and coveted as joy is, it is the very nature of joy to subdue the appetite that gave to it its relish. But it is His joy we go to share. Eternity will seem as natural to you as time seems now. Heaven, with all its effulgence, will not dazzle you, and that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory wilt not for a moment be oppressive to your soul. But surely something of the felicity of that state would form part of your experience if you would only believe that, imperfect as you are, you are really dear to Christ. Oh, do not think that He will begin to love you when you reach a world where there is nothing but love. Your danger, your struggle, your sorrow, attract at least the sympathy of this Friend in heaven. Your services, they are not wholly disregarded. Jesus loves you — loves you as you are, and, in a measure, for what you are as well as for what you shall be. The potter values the clay while it is yet upon the wheel, and when it is far from having reached the shape of beauty he designs to give it. The refiner prizes the silver long before the dross is entirely purged away, and the master's countenance is reflected there. Oh, thou afflicted one, tossed to and fro and not comforted — poor, timid, heir of heaven — you call yourself only vileness; not thus do you seem to your Saviour. "Since thou wast precious in My sight," He says, "thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee."

(S. M'All.)

This parable, a needful complement to the story of the virgins; outward exertion must be combined with inward character. We must work as well as wait.

I. We have here AN EXPLANATION OF THE DIVERSITY WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS IN THE MATTER OF OPPORTUNITY OF SERVICE IN THE CAUSE OF THE REDEEMER. We observe the fact that there is such a diversity. These talents do not denote the original endowments which men bring into the world with them, or the possessions into which they come by birth. These are gifts of God; but the reference here is rather to those opportunities which have been given to men in consequence of their abilities and environment. In His bestowment of spiritual opportunities Christ has regard to the natural abilities and providential surroundings of each man; and as in the sovereignity of God there is a diversity in the latter, so in the gracious administration of Christ, there is like diversity in the former. No man has more opportunities of service than he can avail himself of to the full. If Christ has given you one talent, it is because at present He sees you cannot handle more.

II. THAT NEW OPPORTUNITIES COME TO US WITH OUR IMPROVEMENT OF THOSE WHICH WE ALREADY HAVE. By utilizing what we have, we get what we have not. The foundation of colossal fortunes have been laid in the taking advantage of little opportunities. The true method of increasing our sphere is to fill to overflowing that in which we are. So heaven shall give new opportunities of service to men who have made the most faithful use of earth. Faithful service widens opportunity.

III. THE RESULT OF NEGLECTING OPPORTUNITY.

1. What is said concerning the man with one talent. It is not alleged that he wasted his master's goods; he simply neglected his opportunities. He was not notoriously wicked, but left undone what he had ability to do. Life is to be made productive. Many are content to do nothing because they cannot do some great thing. He who buried one talent would have buried five, his failure was in his character.

2. He cherished wrong views of God. All wrongness of conduct is based on a wrong view of God.Two things are to be said:

1. The more rigorous God is supposed to be, the more surely He will punish unfaithfulness.

2. It is not true that God is thus austere. The love of God must constrain us.

IV. The SENTENCE PRONOUNCED on the unprofitable servant. Here is a clear end of probation.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. The parable assumes that all who call Christ "Lord and Master," will find some work to do for Him, and even some distinctively spiritual work. We have all some "goods" of Christ's entrusted to us, and some capacity for using them. However inequitably this world's goods may be divided, in the spiritual realm every man may take and do as much as he can. Who is to hinder us from being as self-denying, as lowly in spirit as we care to be? Our ability is the only measure and limit of our duty as well as of our right.

II. That the term of service is to be followed by a day of judgment, in which every man's work will be tried, and either approved or condemned.

III. The reward of faithful service will be enlarged capacity and scope for service. The Christian reward is above suspicion; it is the power to do more work. It is a reward after which all must yearn.

IV. The spirit and character of our service will depend on our conception of the Divine character and spirit.

V. That those who have but slender capacities for service may turn them to the best account by associating themselves with others, and helping in a common work. Help to work in some organization.

VI. That the rewards are not arbitrary, but reasonable and meritable.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

I. That becoming a Christian is merely GOING OUT TO SERVICE. It is a voluntary service; not forced.

II. DIFFERENT QUALIFICATIONS ARE GIVEN TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

III. The grace of God was intended to be ACCUMULATIVE. Take the one talent and make it two.

IV. INFERIORITY OF GIFTS IS NO EXCUSE FOR INDOLENCE.

V. There is going to be a day of SOLEMN SETTLEMENT.

VI. That our degrees of happiness in heaven will be graduated according to OUR DEGREES OF USEFULNESS ON EARTH.

(Dr. Talmage.)

You are to understand that there are different qualifications for different individuals. There is a great deal of ruinous comparison when a man says: "Oh, if I only had that man's faith, or that man's money, or that man's eloquence, how I would serve God." Better take the faculty that God has given you and employ it in the right way. The rabbis used to say, that before the stone and timber were brought to Jerusalem for the Temple every stone and piece of timber was marked; so that before they started for Jerusalem, the architects knew in what place that particular piece of timber or stone should fit. And so I have to tell you we are all marked for some one place in the Great Temple of the Lord, and do not let us complain, saying: "I would like to be the foundation stone, or the cap stone." Let us go into the very place where God intends us to be, and be satisfied with the position.

(Dr. Talmage.)

The man who kindled the fire under the burnt offering in the ancient temple had a duty as imperative as that of the high priest, in magnificent robes, walking into the Holy of Holies under the cloud of Jehovah's presence. Yes, the men with one talent are to save the world, or it will never be saved at all. The men with five or ten talents are tempted to toil chiefly for themselves, to build up their own great name, and work for their own aggrandizement, and do nothing for the alleviation of the world's woes. The cedar of Lebanon standing on the mountain seems to hand down the storms out of the heavens to the earth, but it bears no fruit, while some dwarf pear-tree has more fruit on its branches than it can carry. Better to have one talent and put it to full use than five hundred wickedly neglected.

(Dr. Talmage.)

I am glad that the chief work of the Church in this day is being done by the men of one talent. Once in awhile, when a great fortress is to be taken, God will bring out a great field-piece and rake all with the fiery hail of destruction. But common muskets do most of the hard fighting.

(Dr. Talmage.)

When God plants an acorn, He means an oak, and when He plants a small amount of grace in the heart, He intends it to be growthful and enlarge until it overshadows the whole nature.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Expository Outlines.
I. WHAT WAS COMMITTED TO THEM.

1. It was a responsible trust.

2. It was not alike in the case of all. It differed not in nature, but in amount.

3. It was regulated by a certain principle — "To every man according to his several ability."

II. WHAT WAS DONE BY THEM.

1. The faithful.

2. The slothful.(1) A spirit of dissatisfaction;(2) or this servant may have felt that it was in vain for him to exert himself, on the ground that his means were so limited.(3) Again, this servant may have been one of those timid, over-cautious persons, who, lest they should do wrong, do nothing. We should "add to our faith, fortitude."

III. THE ACCOUNT REQUIRED OF THEM.

1. It was delayed for a considerable period.

2. Highly gratifying in the case of those who were first summoned.

(1)An emphatic expression of approval.

(2)Promotion to a state of high dignity and honour.

(3)The enjoyment of transporting bliss. The case of the other servant.

3. Unsatisfactory in its nature, and most serious in its results.

(1)A foolish plea.

(2)A withering rebuke.

(3)A peremptory command.

(4)A fearful doom.

(Expository Outlines.)

The Southern Pulpit.
I. THE REASON OF HIS CONDUCT.

1. He may have believed he could do nothing worth accomplishing with one talent.

2. He may have been envious of others.

3. Dissatisfaction with the distribution of the talents may have caused his inactivity.

4. Want of interest in his master's success.

5. He may have neglected his master's work for his own.

II. WHETHER ANY OF THESE MOTIVES WILL JUSTIFY HIM.

1. Does dissatisfaction with God's government of the world constitute a just excuse for inactivity? Yes; if it is unjust. I have a right to resent injustice. Is God's government unjust. Faith says "No." Vain excuse.

(1)Because God had a right to do what He would with His own.

(2)Because the responsibility was proportioned to the gift.

2. Will his belief that no very great thing could be accomplished with one talent justify him.

(1)You misunderstand God if you think He takes no account of little things.

(2)He not only notices but prizes little things. The two mites.

(3)One-talented men are the true workers of the world.

(4)It is the multitude of them that builds up the mighty result.

3. But is the servant justified in supposing that his own interests must first be considered before his master's? Certainly there are many who are now pleading this: "I will attend to God's matters one day — my own absorb my attention now." No justification in this:

(1)Because God commands you to study His interests first.

(2)Because, you being merely His steward, this is just.

(3)Because, you being the creature of His hands and His servant, it is doubly just.

(4)Because this is the true way to advance your own interests. (See Trench on Parables, p. 281, for an apt illustration.)

III. CONCLUSION. Have any of you buried talents? Dig them up and begin this glorious career of working.

(The Southern Pulpit.)

I. ALL THAT WE HAVE, AND, INDEED, ALL THAT WE ARE, BELONGS TO GOD.

1. We have nothing that we can call our own — ourselves, our possessions, etc. We are servants — under authority, etc. God's authority over us is entire and unlimited.

2. God has entrusted us with "His goods" —

(1)Minds and bodies endowed with numerous and admirable powers.

(2)More or less of worldly substance.

(3)Positions of influence and authority.

(4)The Sabbath, etc.

II. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE TALENTS IN DIFFERENT NUMBERS OR PROPORTIONS.

1. Whether the term "talents" should be applied to all the powers, possessions, and opportunities for usefulness which the Lord of heaven confers upon His servants, or only those which are most eminent and valuable in the possession of each of them, admits of doubt.

2. Their unequal distribution illustrates in various ways the Divine perfections. It manifests His sovereignty, in doing as He pleases with His own; His goodness, as we have no claim or merit; His wisdom, in their adaptation to each.

III. THE TALENTS ARE IMPROVABLE. They may be increased in value by wisdom and fidelity in their consecration to the Redeemer's service.

IV. THE CERTAINTY OF THE DAY OF RECKONING, HOWEVER IT MAY BE DELAYED. The results of death and judgment and eternity are not the less sure because some wish they were doubtful or uncertain, nor are they the less near because some choose to THINK OF them as distant.

V. THE TREATMENT OF THE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS. AS their diligence and their faithfulness had been alike, a similar reward is given to each, and both are commended in the very same words. Confessed, unnumbered sins must, from the nature of the case, be rewards, "not of debt, but of grace." What a generous Master we have! His "Well done!" will be honour and bliss that shall captivate and enrapture as can no earthly delights.

VI. THE DOOM OF THE SERVANT WHO HAD BUT ONE TALENT, AND HID IT IN THE EARTH, IS MINUTELY DESCRIBED. The ground of his condemnation. His sin was slothfulness. All his pleas were poor pretences. It was right that he should be deprived, while others were enriched. There can be no valid excuse for not serving God.

(T. D. Crothers.)

Explain the nature of fidelity.

I. Fidelity requires A KNOWLEDGE OF OUR OBLIGATIONS, and, therefore, those who wish to be faithful will endeavour to obtain clear and correct views of what they are bound to do.

II. It requires an enlightened view of the GROUNDS OF THOSE OBLIGATIONS. Without this there can be no rational desire or fixed purpose to discharge them.

III. It requires SUPERIORITY OVER ALL CONFLICTING TENDENCIES. A man may have a desire to do his duty, and he may have a general purpose to perform it, but then may be too weak to withstand temptation. Fidelity in the service of God requires, therefore:

1. A knowledge of what He would have us do, as men, in all our relations of life, as Christians or as ministers.

2. Such views of our relation to Christ, and our obligations to Him, as shall awaken in us the desire to do His will, and lead us to form the purpose that we will in all cases endeavour to perform it.

3. Such a strength of this desire and such firmness of this purpose as render them actually controlling over our whole inward and outward life.

IV. From this statement of THE DUTY IT IS PLAIN —

1. That it is a very simple one.

2. It is a very comprehensive duty. It, in fact, includes all others.

3. It is one of constant obligation.

4. It is obviously exceedingly difficult. It supposes the renunciation of ourselves and of the world.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I. His CHARACTER.

1. A good and faithful servant accepts his position as a servant, with all that is included in that position.

2. He bears the work-burden of his servitude.

3. He renders service with hearty goodwill.

4. He is obedient to his master.

5. He has his master's interest ever before him.

6. He is profitable to his master.

II. THE CONDUCT UPON WHICH THIS CHARACTER IS BASED. "Thou hast been faithful over a few things."

III. THE COMMENDATION AND REWARD. "Well done."

1. This is real commendation, not doubtful.

2. This is complete and full commendation.

3. This is useful commendation.It is not an encumbrance, like a robe of state or an official chain of gold, but it is as a strong girdle for the loins. "Enter thou into the joy of the Lord."

1. The joy of the Lord on His return to His servants.

2. The joy of the Lord in the goodness and fidelity of His servants.

3. The joy of the Lord in commending and rewarding His servants.

4. The whole personal joy of the Lord, so far as it can be shared by His servants.

5. The joy set before Him when He endured the cross.

6. The joy of finished work and completed suffering, of the joy provided in that kingdom which is joy.This text teaches

1. What the Christians are expected to be — servants.

2. What we are expected to do.

3. What we may expect to obtain.

4. Supplies a present test of character and motive to service,

(S. Martin.)

I. THE APPROVED SERVANT DESCRIBED.

1. Good.

(1)Good in nature.

(2)Good in principle.

(3)Good in motive.

(4)In fruitfulness.

2. Faithful.

(1)To God.

(2)To himself.

(3)To others.

II. THE APPROVED SERVANT COMMENDED. "Well done."

1. Surprise.

2. Humility.

3. Adoration.

4. Love.

(H. March.)

1. He is commended.

2. Promoted.

3. Admitted to joys unspeakable.

(W. Jowett, M. A.)

The parable of the ten virgins shows us our duty to ourselves; the parable to the servants our duty to others, etc. The one parable cries "Watch!" The other cries " Work!"

I. Look AT THE FAITHFUL SERVANT. There are several things respecting him illustrating our own position.

1. He was a "servant;" one who is dependent upon, and responsible to another. Whatever our position, this is the character of every one of us. Men often speak as if God had no claim upon sinners. The man who hid his talent was as much a servant as he who by diligent trading made his five talents into ten. We are all servants, whether we own our Master or not, etc. Ascertain the character you bear.

2. He was entrusted with some of his master's property. So are we.

3. The talents bestowed upon the servants varied in their number. So it is with us.

4. They are given to us to be used according to the will of the proprietor — we may invest them, or waste them, or hide them.

5. They are entrusted to us for a limited period; the extent of that period is unknown.

II. LET US LOOK AT THE CONDUCT OF THE SERVANT. He was not elated with pride because he had more than others, nor was he depressed with envy because he had less. He realized his responsibility, and at once set to work, etc. He was" good "and "faithful," referring to his character and conduct. While faithful to his master, he was good to his brethren, and the manifestation of his goodness is seen in the revelation that follows, "Faith without works is dead," etc.

III. Look at the FAITHFUL, SERVANT'S REWARD. Gives his account with joy.

1. Has his master's approval.

2. He is raised to a higher position.

3. He was admitted to his master's presence — a honour beyond our comprehension. Apply the subject.

(Charles Garrett.)

I. The individual referred to is described as acting in the capacity of a SERVANT. This denotes responsibility. Knows his Lord's will. He possesses capability.

II. His SIN. He did not squander the talent. His sin was knowing to do good and doing it not. He was of a phlegmatic constitution of body and mind. He did not seek the aid of God's grace. What a lamentable state of mind to wish to get to heaven, and yet to turn in a bad temper from the only path that leads to it! But is God a hard Master? Ask the Christian who experiences in his heart the power of the religion he professes. Ask Nature.

III. His END. "Outer darkness."

(R. Jones, B. A.)

There is, perhaps, no position more painful for a good and kind master to be placed in, no duty so painful for him to fulfil, as the being compelled to discharge a servant for misbehaviour, whatever the nature of the offence may be. There is something sad, and almost solemn, as the hour of departure draws nigh in which the servant is about to quit the threshold of the home where he has, it may be, served for years. At such a moment sins of omission and commission can scarcely fail to rise up in memory's glass slowly and upbraidingly before the downcast mind. It is then the obstinacy within relents, the hardness melts, the pride of the heart is abased, when it is too late. How apparent, then, is the folly of disobedience. Then is seen how useless were all those promises of amendment drowned in the opium of forgetfulness, or strangled in the birth by the complicated influences of procrastination. At such an hour, too, the value of the place he is leaving rises up before the mind's eye in a way never experienced before. As the foot is lingering for the last time on the step of the master's door, the comforts of a quiet and peaceful.home are then contrasted with the cold and forlorn aspect of things without. Now if this be the case in regard to the affairs of this world, how much more forcibly does it apply to the next scene of existence? Here we must imagine no longer an earthly, but a heavenly Master, about to dismiss, not a servant merely that fills his or her respective place in a common household, but a man considered as a rational and accountable being.

(R. Jones, B. A. .)

I. UNPROFITABLENESS IMPLIES A MIND UNLIKE THAT OF GOD, AND THEREFORE UNFIT FOR COMMUNION WITH GOD.

1. The mind of the unprofitable one is marked by indifference to the welfare of others.

2. The goodness of Deity is not merely negative; it seeks to bless mankind.

II. UNPROFITABLENESS WILL EXCLUDE THE SOUL FROM HEAVEN; IT IS A FRUSTRATION OF THE MERCIFUL DESIGNS OF GOD.

(E. Gibbon, M. A.)

I. The EXCUSE SET UP by the unprofitable servant for his neglect. It is general. "I know that thou art a hard man." This is the language of the disobedient heart with reference to the merciful parent of the universe. The service is framed to meet our moral happiness. The ways of wisdom axe ways of pleasantness. The excuse uses an audacious tone; God is unreasonable, and expects the impossible, and does not put forth the needful agencies.

II. THE SENTENCE pronounced on him.

1. Supposing there was truth in his accusation, why did he not adopt the course less injurious to his Master?

2. Deprivation — "Take, therefore, the talent from him." "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness."

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. His PROFESSION.

1. The name, "servant of the Lord," is most honourable.

2. It is a most comprehensive name.How comes it that any whose dispositions thus widely differ should be found among the professed followers of Christ?

1. They have false notions of what constitutes a genuine servant of the Lord.

2. They have low thoughts of God.

II. His CHARACTER.

1. He had been slothful.

2. He was therefore wicked.

(1)He was wicked because unfaithful to his trust.

(2)Because cherishing dishonouring thoughts of his Master.

(3)Because he acted contrary to his own avowed convictions.

III. His DOOM.

1. A just doom.

2. This will be the doom of many.

(1)To every individual is given at least one talent.

(2)Of even one talent a strict account will be required.

(3)This should lead us to self-examination and prayer.

(H. March.)

Many persons read this parable of the talents, I believe, very much as if it related only to gifts external to the person; or, if to gifts that are personal, to such only as are called talents in the lower and merely man-ward relations and uses of life, such as the understanding, reason, etc. But the great Teacher's meaning reaches higher than this, and comprehends more, namely, those talents which go to exalt the subject in its God-ward relations. The main stress of His doctrine hinges, I conceive, on our responsibility as regards the capacity of religion itself; for this, in highest pre-eminence, is the talent, the royal gift of man. In pursuing the subject presented, two points will naturally engage our attention.

I. THE CAPACITY FOR RELIGION IS A TALENT, THE HIGHEST TALENT WE HAVE. We mean by a talent, the capacity for doing or becoming something, as for learning, speaking, trade, command. Our talents are as numerous, therefore, and various as the effects we may operate. We have talents of the body, too, and talents of the mind, or soul. All those which can be used, or which come into play, in earthly subjects, and apart from God and religion, are natural; and those which relate immediately to God, and things unseen as connected with God, are religious. The religious talents compose the whole God-ward side of faculty in us. They are such especially as come into exercise in the matter of religious faith and experience, and nowhere else.

1. The want of God — a receptivity for God.

2. Inspiration — a capacity to be permeated, illumined, guided, exalted by God or the Spirit of God within, and yet so as not to be any the less completely ourselves.

3. The spiritual sense, or the power of Divine apprehension.

4. The capacity of religious love.

5. The power of faith a power of knowing God. Their true place and order in the soul is —(1) At the head of all its other powers, holding them subordinate.(2) All the other talents fall into a stunted and partially disabled state when they are not shone upon, kept in warmth, and raised in grade by the talents of religion.(3) All the greatest things ever done in the world have been done by the instigations and holy elevations of the religious capacity. This, therefore, is the real summit of our humanity.

II. THE RELIGIOUS TALENT OR CAPACITY IS ONE THAT, BY TOTAL DISUSE AND THE OVERGROWTH OF OTHERS, IS FINALLY EXTIRPATED. Few men living without God are aware of any such possibility, and still less of the tremendous fact itself. On the contrary, they imagine that they are getting above religion, growing too competent and wise to be longer subjected to its authority, or. incommoded by its requirements. The teaching of Scripture, "To him that hath shall be given," etc. This spiritual extirpation is referable to two great laws or causes.

1. To the neglect of the talent or capacities of religion. All living members, whether of body or mind, require use or exercise. It is necessary to their development, and without it they even die.

2. To the operation of that immense overgrowth or over-activity which is kept up in the other powers. Is it wrong to assume that your religious senses were proportionately much stronger and more active in childhood than it is now?Thus onward the thoughts that crowd upon us, standing before a subject like this, are practical and serious.

1. How manifestly hideous the process going on in human souls under the power of sin. It is a process of real and fixed deformity.

2. There is no genuine culture, no proper education, which does not include religion.

3. Let no one comfort himself in the intense activity of his mind on the subject of religion. That is one of the great things to be dreaded. To be always thinking, debating, scheming in reference to the great question of religion, without using any of the talents that belong more appropriately to God and the receiving of God, is just the way to extirpate the talents most rapidly, and so to close up the mind in spiritual darkness.

4. Make little of the hope that the Holy Spirit will at some time open your closed or consciously closing faculties.

5. This truth wears no look of promise, in regard to the future condition of bad men.

6. How clear is it that the earliest time in religion is the best time. The peculiar blessing and the hopeful advantage of youth. A great share of those who believe embrace Christ in their youth.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN MEN'S FAITHFULLY IMPROVING DIVINE BLESSINGS.

1. This implies their acknowledging that all their favours come from God. As long as men disregard the hand of the Giver, they will certainly despise His gifts.

2. A proper improvement of Divine favours implies a grateful sense of Divine goodness. The slothful servant did not thank his Master for the one talent.

3. A faithful improvement of Divine favours implies a cheerful and unreserved consecration of them to Him who gave them.

4. Faithfully improving Divine favours implies employing them in the service of God..

II. THAT THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY IMPROVE THE BLESSINGS WHICH GOD BESTOWS UPON THEM MAY REASONABLY EXPECT FURTHER MARKS OF HIS FAVOUR.

1. The faithful improvement of Divine favours affords the highest enjoyment of them. Men never enjoy their talents buried or abused.

2. The faithful improvement of Divine favours in time past prepares men for the reception of more and richer blessings in time to come. Masters bestow their best favours upon their best servants.

3. God has promised to reward past fidelity with future favours.

4. God's conduct confirms the declarations of His Word. He has in all ages bestowed peculiar advantages upon those who have improved the temporal and spiritual blessingsHe has given.

1. All the blessings we possess have been sent in mercy.

2. If God will reward only those who improve His favours in His service, then men are unwise and criminal in converting them to their own use.

3. Men ought to be more concerned to improve God's favours than to gain the possession of them.

4. Those who abuse God's favours have reason to expect that He will diminish them.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

Therefore you should keep a constant reckoning how you lay out yourselves for God.

(T. Manton.)

It was needful that Christ, should go from us for a while; for He would not govern the world by sense, but by faith.

(T. Manton.)

Every one hath his service and opportunity to do something for God; all offered to the tabernacle gold, or silver, or brass, or shittim-wood, or goats' hair, or badgers' skins. So, as Christ went to Jerusalem, some strewed the way with garments, others cut down branches, some cried "Hosanna"; that was all they could do.

(T. Manton.)

There is a diversity as to the measure and degrees. Every barque that saileth to heaven doth not draw a like depth.

(T. Manton.)

Who made thee to differ? (Romans 12:35). "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things." The sun oweth nothing to the stars, nor the fountain to the streams. Our account must be answerable to our receipts; there is a proportion of return expected.

(T. Manton.)

God will have this difference for the beauty and order of the whole; variety is more grateful. Hills and valleys make the world beautiful; so do distinct orders, ranks, and degrees of men. All eye or all belly is monstrous.; difference with proportion maketh beauty; therefore one excelleth another, and several gifts and ranks there are for the service of the whole.

(T. Manton.)As divers countries have divers commodities, and one needeth another; one aboundeth with wines, some have spices, others have skins, and commodities in other kinds, that by commerce and traffic there might be society maintained among mankind; so God in His Church hath given to one gifts, to another grace, to maintain a holy society and spiritual commerce among themselves.

(T. Manton.)

It was a good saying of Epictetus in Arrian, Si essem luscinia, etc. If I were a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale: Si essem alauda, etc. If I were a lark, I would piere as a lark; but now I am a man, I will glorify God as a man. But alas! how often do men of the best endowments miscarry.

(T. Manton.)

The devil loveth to go to work with the sharpest tools. God hath given great abilities to some above others, to enable them for his service. Now the devil, to despite God the more, turneth his own weapons against himself.

(T. Manton.)

Strength is not to be wasted in sin and vanity, but employed for God. It is better it should be worn out with labours than eaten out with rust.

(T. Manton.)

Applause, vainglory, and suchlike carnal motions and ends may set some men on work, and make them prostitutethe service of Christ to their own lusts. This is not to trade as factors for God, but to set up for ourselves.

(T. Manton.)

As a gift, they call for our thankfulness; as a trust, for our faithfulness.

(T. Manton.)

Fear is more natural in the carnal mind, because a bad conscience is very suspicious, and our sense of God's benefits is not so great as the sense of our bad deservings is quick and lively.

(T. Manton.)

The best picture that could be taken of the devil would be by the characters of malice, falsehood, and envy. But God is justice itself, goodness itself, mercy itself, as it is expressed in Scripture.

(T. Manton.)

(Matthew 3:20), "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." Not only the poisonous, but the barren tree.

(T. Manton.)

Grant the sinner's supposition, it bindeth the duty upon him, and so he cuts his throat with his own sword.

(T. Manton.)

Certainly it is better be doing than excusing. Doing is safe, but excuses are but a patch upon a sore place.

(T. Manton.)

You must not lift up your private conceits against the wisdom of God.

(T. Manton.)

In the whole course of nature nothing is idle; the sun and the stars do perpetually move and roll up and down; the earth bringeth forth; the seas have their ebbings and flowings, and the rivers their courses; the angels are described with wings, as ready to fulfil God's commandment, and run to do His pleasure. It were an unworthy thing, among so many examples and patterns of diligence, for man alone to be idle.

(T. Manton.)

Now, most men quarrel with this. But mark, the thing that you complain of in God is the very thing that you love in yourselves. Every man likes to feel that he has a night to do with his own as he pleases. We all like to be little sovereigns. You will give your money freely and liberally to the poor; but if any man should impertinently urge that he had a claim upon your charity, would you give unto him? Certainly not; and who shall impeach the greatness of your generosity in so doing? It is even as that parable, that we have in one of the Evangelists, where, after the men had toiled, some of them twelve hours, some of them six, and some of them but one, the Lord gave every man a penny. Oh! I would meekly bow my head, and say, "My Lord, hast Thou given me one talent? then I bless Thee for it, and I pray Thee bestow upon me grace to use it rightly. Hast Thou given to my brother ten talents? I thank Thee for the greatness of Thy kindness towards him; but I neither envy him, nor complain of Thee." Oh! for a spirit that bows always before the sovereignty of God.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

God gives to one five, and to another two talents, because the Creator is a lover of variety. It was said that order is heaven's first law; surely variety is the second; for in all God's works, there is the most beautiful diversity. Look ye towards the. heavens at night: all the stars shine not with the same brilliance, nor are they placed in straight lines, like the lamps of our streets. Then turn your eyes below: see in the vegetable world, how many great distinctions there are, ranging from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall, or the moss that is smaller still. See how from the huge mammoth tree, that seems as if beneath its branches it might shade an army, down to the tiny lichen, God hath made everything beautiful, but everything full of variety. Look on any one tree, if you please: see how every leaf differs from its fellow — how even the little tiny buds that are at this hour bursting at the scent of the approaching perfume of spring, differ from each other — not two of them alike. Look again, upon the animated world: God Hath not made every creature like unto another. How wide the range — from the colossal elephant to the coney that burrows in the rock — from the whale that makes the deep hoary with its lashing, to the tiny minnow that skims the brook; God hath made all things different, and we see variety everywhere. I doubt not it is the same, even in heaven, for there there are" thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers" — different ranks of angels, perhaps, rising tier upon tier. "One star different from another star in glory." And why should not the same rule stand good in manhood

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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