« FöregåendeFortsätt »
is a difference between having things, and enjoying them. There are many to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honor. So that they want nothing of all that their soul desireth, yet God giveth them not power to eat thereof. Eccl. vi. 2. How little are such satisfied with riches: But a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom; her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. A conscience, void of offence towards God, and towards man, is the greatest pleasure in the world. When a man does a piece of work well, the praise he receives often gives him more pleasure, than the money paid for it.
7. A good name should be sought after rather than riches because it is more lasting. "Riches take to themselves wings and fly away." A great fortune can be soon spent, and at best death strips us of all. We brought nothing into the world with us, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out with us when we die.
But our good name will last when all else is gone. Thieves cannot rob us of it. And if evil minded persons do sometimes, by reproach and unjust accusation,
take it away for a time, yet God will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and a real good man will recover his character to the confusion of his enemies. Nay, his name will live when he is dead, the just shall be had in everlasting remembrance. The name of the rich man at whose gate Lazarus sat is forgotten, and himself would never have been mentioned, but for the sake of the poor but good Lazarus. Here we see the beggar is respected and loved, while the rich man is despised and hated. So says one of
Then I'll not be proud of my wealth nor my beauty,
But gain a good name by well doing my duty;
8. A good name is more comfortable than riches, which makes it far more desirable.
In prosperity riches have their full power; and who ever enjoyed more of them than Solomon: yet he says, they are vanity and vexation of spirit, over and over again. But wisdom he praises above gold and rubics; and it made him more famous than
all his wealth. In adversity what consolation does gold give, to a heart overwhelmed with sorrow. "Riches profit not in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivereth from death." When Daniel was persecuted by his enemies, and cast into a den of lions, still he was comfortable in his own mind, having a good conscience: more comfortable than the great king who had cast him in; nay, his good name stirred up the king to deliver him from his enemies.
At death, which think you will be most comfortable to a man, a great estate, or a good name. Will riches bribe death?" The redemption of the soul is precious, and ceaseth for ever," for any thing money can do.
No man can redeem his brother, or give unto God a ransom. But a good name is better than precious ointment; and makes the day of ones death better than the day of ones birth. Eccl. vii. 1. "Though a sinner prosper ever so, and do evil an hundred times, so that his days be prolonged; yet, surely, I know it shall be well with them that fear God, that fear before him. But it shall not be well with the wicked; neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he feareth not before God." Ecel. viii. 12, 13.
In all these respects then, a good name is better than riches: it is more easily attained, more honorable in itself, more pure, and valuable; it is more useful and satisfying, more lasting, and more comfortable.
Seeing a good name is so desirable, remember,
1. There is no getting a good name, but by doing good actions. If you tell persons ever so much how good you are, it will not convince them of it so well, as their seeing you to do honest, kind, and generous actions. If you would be accounted sober, you must not get drunk: if you would be thought faithful, you must not lie: neither must you break the sabbath, or cheat, or steal, if you would be thought religious. No, not even in secret, for "be sure your sin shall find you out ;" and the name of hypocrite, or double dealer, will be given you, which is by no means a good name.
2. Remember there is no keeping a good name, but by continuing good. Do not be content to have gotten reputation, exert your utmost care to keep it. The goodness of many is like the morning cloud, and the early dew, which soon passeth away; but the path of the truly just, is like the shining light, which shineth bright
er and brighter till the perfect day. How disgraceful to begin well, and end ill. To keep a good name for a few years, and then, as though it were worth nothing, to throw it away. Especially considering,
3. One bad action will sometimes ruin a good name for ever. Adam, our first father, by one sin ruined himself, and us: Judas had a very good character till he betrayed Christ; and now how infamous he is! And do not think, because these are great offences, that lesser ones may be committed without danger. Achan, for one theft; Annanias and Saphira, for one lie; and Lot's wife, for one covetous look ; lost their reputation, and indeed their lives. A character once lost, most likely can never be regained; nay, with women, we are sure it is so nothing but shame, contempt, reproach, and detestation awaits them, their whole life through.
4. If a good name is better than riches, never for the sake of riches forfeit your good name. This is the most common temptation. If persons become dishonest, it is in hopes of gain. If they steal what comes in their way, it is because they can make money of it. If they tell a lie in making a bargain, 'tis through the hope of