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Seneca, could say of Cato, that he would rather esteem drunkenness a virtue than think Cato vicious. Nor would he probably have accepted of the same compliment which Cicero pays to the famous discourse on the Immortality of the Soul, -that though Plato had given no reason for it, yet his authority would have determined him.
SAINT PAUL ON THE LOVE OF MONEY.
AMONG the innumerable difficulties
daily incident to the life of man, we may reckon as not among the least, the danger almost inseparable, which attends the yet inevitable necessity for money. To reconcile integrity in the pursuit with innocence in the possession, is indeed to convert a perilous trial into a valuable blessing. Riches are no evil in themselves; the danger lies, in not being able to manage the temptation Even where the they hold out to us. object is fairly pursued, and the acquisition not unfairly appropriated, a close application to the attainment of wealth is not without its snares to the most upright and liberal mind.
Even these better-disposed persons, in spite of purity of intention, and integrity of conduct, are in constant danger, while in pursuit of their object, of being entangled in complicated schemes, and overwhelmed with excessive solicitude; of being so overcharged with the cares of this world, as to put that world which is out of sight, out of mind also.
Others find, or fancy, that there is a shorter cut and a surer road to riches, than that in which plodding industry holds on his slow and weary way. Industry is too dull for an enterprising spirit, integrity too scrupulous for the mind which is bent on a quick accomplishment of its object. The rewards of both are too remote, too uncertain, and too penurious for him "who maketh haste to be rich."
Much occurs to this point in Saint Paul's charge to Timothy, contained in the latter part of the last chapter of his first
first Epistle. Keeping one main end in view, the apostle has indeed adopted a sort of concealed method, which requires some attention in the reader to discover. The general drift of this powerful exhortation is, less to guard his beloved friend himself, who was perhaps in comparatively small danger from the temptation, than to induce him to warn those over whom he had the spiritual superintendance, against the love of money. In order to this, he does not immediately enter upon the main subject, but opens with another proposition, though in no very remote connection with it; a proposition the most important, and the most incontrovertible, namely, the immense gain to that soul which should combine godliness with contentment. He knew the union to be inseparable; that as godliness cannot subsist without contentment, so neither can true contentment spring from any other than an inward principle of real piety. All contentment,
tentment, which has not its foundation in religion, is merely constitutional — animal hilarity, the flow of blood and spirits in the more sanguine character; coldness and apathy in the more indifferent.
The pressing, then, this preliminary principle was beginning at the right end. A spirit of contentment is stifling covetousness in its birth; it is strangling the serpent in the cradle. Strong and striking are the reasons which the apos tle produces against discontent. To the indigent he says, "they brought nothing "into the world," therefore they need the less murmur at possessing little in it. To the wealthy he holds out a still more powerful argument against the rage canine of dying rich, when he reminds them that they "can carry nothing out "of it."