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now, therefore, as a teacher sent from God, require you to sell all you have, and give to the poor, and follow me, and you shall then have treasure in heaven. The young man made no reply. He could not. He saw all his pretensions to perfection, his hopes of an extraordinary reward vanish at once. He was not disposed to purchase even treasure in heaven at the price of all he possessed on earth. He therefore went away silent and sorrowful, for he had great

possessions. . There is a question which I suppose naturally arises in every man's mind, on reading this conversation between the young ruler and Jesus. Does the injunction here given to the young man by Jesus, relate to all Christians in general, and are we all of us, without exception, bound to sell all that we have, and give to the poor, as a necessary condition of obtaining treasure in heaven? The answer is, most assuredly not. Our Lord's command refers solely to the individual person to whom he addressed himself, or at the I 3 most most to those who at that time became: disciples of Christ. I have already shown that our Saviour's object, in giving this command to the young man, was probably to lower the high opinion he seemed to entertain of his perfect obedience to the laws of Moses, to convince him that he was very far from that exalted state of piety and virtue to which he pretended, and that if he was rewarded with eternal life, it must be not in consequence of his own righteousness, but of the mercy of God, and the merits of a Redeemer, as yet unknown to him. But besides this, it is not improbable that the young ruler was ambitious to enlist under the banners of Christ, and to become one of his disciples and followers. And at that time no one could do this whose time and thoughts were engaged in worldly concerns, and in the care and management and attendant luxuries of a large fortune. Nor was this all; every man that embarked in so perilous an undertaking, did it at the risk not only of his


property, but even of life itself, from the persecuting spirit of the Jewish rulers. When, therefore, our Saviour says to the young man, If thou wilt be perfect, that is, if thou art desirous to profess the more perfect religion of the Gospel, and to become one of my followers, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and take up the cross and follow me; he only prepares him for the great hardships and dangers to which every follower of Christ was then exposed, and the necessity there was for him to sit loose to every thing most valuable in the present life. This command, therefore, does not in its primary meaning relate to Christians of the present times; nor indeed to Christians at all, properly speaking, but to those who were at that time desirous of becoming so. But though in a strict and literal sense it cannot be applied to ourselves, yet in its principle and in its general import, it conveys a most useful and most important lesson to Christians in every age and in I 4 every every nation; it is an admonition to them not to pique themselves too much on their exact obedience to all the divine commands, not to assume to themselves so much perfection, as to found upon it a right and a claim to eternal life; not to rely solely on their own righteousness, but on the merits of their Redeemer, for acceptance and salvation. It reminds them also, that they ought always to be prepared to yield an implicit obedience to the commands of their Maker; and that if their duty to him should at any time require it, they should not hesitate to renounce their dearest interests, and most favourite pleasures; to part with fame, with fortune, and even life itself; and, under all circumstances, to consider, in the first place, what it is that God requires at their hands, and to submit to whatever it may cost them, without a

murmur. After this conversation with the young ruler, follows the observation made by our Lord, on this remarkable incident. Then said said Jesus unto his disciples, “Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When his disciples heard it they were amazed, saying, “Who then can be saved ?” But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This sentence passed upon the rich is a declaration, which, if understood literally, and as applying to all Christians of the present day, who may justly be called rich, would be truly terrifying and alarming to a very large description of men, a much larger than may at first perhaps be imagined. For by rich men must be understood, not only those of high rank and large possessions, but those in every rank of life, who have any superfluity beyond what is necessary for the decent and comfortable support of themselves and their families. These are all to be considered as rich in a greater or less degree, and this

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