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Greck, for any notice they take of it. In what Christian city do you find one man of five hundred, who makes the least scruple of laying up just as much treasure as he can,-of increasing his goods just as far as he is able? There are indeed those who would not do this unjustly: there are many who will neither rob nor steal; and some, who will not defraud their neighbour; nay, who will not gain cither by his ignorance or necessity. But this is quite another point. Even these do not scruple the things, but the manner of it. They do not scruple the “laying up treasures upon carth;” but the laying them up by dishonesty. They do not start at disobeying Christ, but at a breach of heathen morality. So that cren these honest men do no more obey this command, than a highwayman or a house-breaker. Nay, they never designed to obey it. From their youth up, it never entered into their thoughts. They were bred up by their Christian parents, masters, and friends, without any instruction at all concerning it; unless it were this, To break it as soon, and as much, as they could, and to continue breaking it to their lives' end.
10. There is no one instance of spiritual infatuation in the world, which is more amazing than this. Most of these very men read, or hear the Bible read,-many of them every Lord's day. They have read, or heard, these words an hundred times, and yet never suspect that they are themselves condemned thereby, any more than by those which forbid parents to offer up their sons or daughters unto Moloch. ( that God would speak to these miserable self-deceivers, with his own voice, his mighty voice; that they may at last awake out of the spare of the Devil, and the scales may fall from their cyes !
Hl. Do you ask what it is to “lay up treasures on carth ? It will be needful to examine this thoroughly. And let us, first, observe what is not forbidden in this command, that we may then clearly discern what is.
We are not forbidden in this command, first, to “ provide things honest in the sight of all men,” to provide wherewith we may reuder unto all their due, -whatsoever they can justly demand of 115. So far from it, that we are taught of God to
owe no man any thing.” We onght therefore to use all diligence in our calling, in order to owe no man any thing; this being no other than a plain law of common justice, which our Lord came not to destroy, but to fulfil.”'
Neither, secondly, docs he here forbid the providing for ourselves such things as are needlul for the body; a sufficiency
of plain, wholesome food to cat, and clean raiment to put on. Yea, it is our duty, so far as God puts it into our power, to provide these things also; to the end we may eat our own bread, and be burdensome to no man.
Nor yet are we forbidden, thirdly, to provide for our children, and for those of our own household. This also it is our duty to do, even upon principles of heathen morality. Every man ought to provide the plain necessaries of life, both for bis own wife and children ; and to put them into a capacity of providing these for themselves, when he is gone hence and is no more seen. I say, of providing these; the plain necessaries of life; not delicacies; not superfluities ;--and that by their diligent labour; for it is no man's duty to furnish them, any more than himself, with the means either of luxury or idleness. But if any man provide not thus far for his own children, (as well as for the widows of his own house, of whom primarily St. Paul is speaking, in those well-known words to Timothy,) he hath practically “denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,” . or heathen.
Lastly: We are not forbidden in these words, to lay up, from time to time, what is needful for the carrying on our worldly business, in such a measure and degree, as is sufficient to answer the foregoing purposes ;-in such a measure, as, first, to owe no man any thing ; secondly, to procure for ourselves the necessaries of life; and thirdly, to furnish those of our own house with them while we live, and with the means of procuring them when we are gone to God.
12. We may now clearly discern, (unless we are unwilling to discern it,) what that is which is forbidden here. It is, the designedly procuring more of this world's goods, than will answer the foregoing purposes. The labouring after a larger measure of worldly substancc, a larger increase of gold, and silver; the laying up any more than these ends require;is what is here expressly and absolutely forbidden. If the words. have any meaning at all, it must be this : for they are capable of no other. Consequently, whoever he is, that, owing no man any thing, and having food and raiment for himself and his bousehold, together with a sufficiency to carry on bis worldly business, so far as answers these reasonable purposes; whosoever, I say, being already in these circumstances, secks a still larger portion on earth ;-belives in an open, habitual denial of the Lord that bought him. He hath practically denied the faith, and is worse than an African or American infidel.
13. Hear ve this, all ye that dwell in the world, and love the world wherein ye dwell! Ye may be "highly esteemed of men ;
an abomination in the sight of God ! How long shall your souls cleave to the dust? How long will ve load yourselves with thick clay? When will ye awake and see, that the open, speculative Heathens are nearer the kingdom of heaven than you? When will ye be persuaded to choose the better part; that which cannot be taken away from you? When will ye seck only to “lar up treasures in heaven;" renouncing, dreading, abhorring all other? If you aim at "laying up treasures on earth,” you are not barely losing your time, and spending your strength for that which is not broad; for what is the fruit, if you succeed ?-You have mordered your own soul! You have extinguished the last spark of spiritual life therein! Now iudeed, in the midst of life, you are in death! You are a living man, but a cicad Christian ! where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Your heart is smuk into the dust: your soul cleareth to the ground. Your affections are set, not on things above, but on things of the earth ; ou poor husks, that may poison, but canuot satisfy, an everlasting spirit, made for God. Your love, your joy, your desire, are all placed on the things which perish in the using. You have thrown away the treasure in heaven. God and Christ are lost! You have gained riches,-and hell-fire!
14. O “how hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God!" When our Lord's disciples were astonislied at his speaking thus, he was so far from retracting it, that he repeated the same important truth in stronger ternis than before. “It is easier for a cainel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." How hard is it for them, whose every word is applauded, not to be wise in their own eyes! How hard for them not to think themselves better than thie poor, base, uneducated herd of men ! How hard not to seek happiness in their riches, or in things dependent upon them; in gratifying the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life! O ye rich, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Only with God all things are possible!
15. And even if you do not succeed, what is the fruit of your endeavouring to lay up treasures ou earth? They that will be rich,” (1 2.7!LEVOL 02.HT=, they that desire, that enderPuur nier it, whether three or 10, “fall into y
temptation and a snare,"-a gin, a trap of the Devil; " and into many foolish and hurtful lusts ;”-TiQuyulas avontus, desires with which reason hath nothing to do; such as properly belong, not to rational and immortal beings, but only to the brutebeasts, which have no understanding :-" which drown men in destruction and perdition,” in present and eternal miscry. Let us but open our eyes, and we may daily see the melancholy proofs of this, men, who, desiring, resolving to be rich, coveting after money, the root of all evil, have already pierced themselves through with many sorrows, and anticipated the hell to which they are going !
The cautiousness with which the Apostle here speaks, is highly observable. He does not affirm this absolutely of the rich : for a man may possibly be rich, without any fault of his, by an over-ruling Providence, preventing his own choice: But he affirms it of ot Bohomeyou #AUTely, those who desire, or seek, to be rich. Riches, dangerous as they are, do not always " drown men in destruction and perdition :" But the desire of riches does. Those who calmly desire, and deliberately seek, to attain them, whether they do, in fact, gain the world or uo, do ipfallibly lose their own souls. These are they that sell Him who bought them with his blood, for a few pieces of gold or silver. These enter into a covenant with death and hell, and their covenant shall stand; for they are daily making themselves nieet to partake of their inheritance with the Devil and his angels!
16. O who shall warn this generation of vipers to flce from the wrath to come! Not those who lie at their gate, or cringe at their feet, desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fall from their tables. Not those who court their favour, or fear their frown ; none of those who mind earthly things. But if there be a Christian upon carth, if there be a man who hath overcome the world, who desires nothing but God, and fears none but Him that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell; thou, O man of God, speak, and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet! Cry aloud, and show these honourable sinners the desperate condition wherein they stand! It may be, one in a thousand may have ears to hear; may arise and shake himself from the dust; may break loose from these chains that bind bim to the earth, and at length lay up treasures in heaven!
17. And if it should be, that one of these, by the mighty power of God, awoke and asked, “What must I do to be saved ? " The answer, according to the Oracles of God, is clear, full, and express. God doth not say to thee,“ Sell all that thou hast." Indeed he who sccth the hearts of men, saw it needlul to enjoin this in one peculiar case, that of the young rich Ruler. But he never laid it down for a general rule, to all rich men, in all succeeding gencrations. His general direction is, first, “Be pot highminded." God sceth not as man seeth. He esteems thee not for thy riches, for the grandeur or equipage, for any qualification or accomplishment, which is directly or indirectly owing to thy wealth, which can be bought or procured thereby. All these are with him as dung and dross : let them be so with thee also. Beware thou think not thyself to be one jot wiser or better for all these things. Weigh thyself in another balance: estimate thyself only by the measure of faith and love which God hath given thee. If thou hast more of the knowledge and love of God than be, thou art on this account, and no other, wiser and better, more valuable and honourable, than him who is with the dogs of thy flock. But if thou bast not this treasure, thou art more foolish, more vile, more truly contemptible, I will not say than the lowest servant under thy roof, but than the beggar laid at thy gate, full of sores.
18. Secondly: “Trust not in uncertain riches.” Trust not in them for Help: and trust not in them for Happiness.
First, Trust not in them for Help. Thou art miserably mistaken, if thou lookest for this in gold or silver. These are no more able to set thec above the world, than to set thee above the Devil. Know that both the world, and the prince of this world, laugh at all such preparations against them. These will little avail in the day of trouble; even if they remain in the trying hour. But it is not certain that they will; for how oft do they “make themselves wings and fly away!” But if not, what support will they afford, even in the ordinary troubles of life? The desire of thy cyes, the wife of thy youth, thy son, thine only son, or the friend which was as thy own soul, is taken away at a stroke. Will thy riches re-animate the breathless clay, or call back its late inhabitant? Will they secure thee from sickness, diseases, pain ? Do these visit the poor only? Nay, he that feeds thy blocks, or tills thy ground, has less sickness and pain than thou. He is more rarely visited by these unwelcome guests; and if they come there at all, they are more easily driven away from the little cot, tban from “the cloud-top: palaces." And during the time that thy body is chastened with pain, or consumes away with pining sickness, how do thy treasure help thee. Let the poor Heatheu alster,