תמונות בעמוד

that thou hast.” Indeed he who seeth the hearts of men, saw it needful 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 not highminded.” God sceth not as man seeth. He esteems thee not for thy riches, for thy grandeur or equipage, for any qualification or accomplishment, which is directly or indirectly owing to thy wealth, wbich 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 bath given thec. If thou hast more of the knowledge and love of God than he, 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 hast 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 thee 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; cven 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 eyes, the wife of thy youth, thy son, thine only son, or the friend which was as thy own soul, is taken array 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 flocks, 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, than from “the cloud-topt palaces.” And during the time that thy body is chastened with pain, or consumes away with pining sickness, how do thy treasures help thice. Let the poor Heathen answer,

: : "Ut lippum pictæ tabulæ, fomenta podagrum,

Auriculas citharæ collectâ sorde dolentes.” * 19. But there is at hand a greater trouble than all these. Thou art to die! Thou art to sink into dust; to return to the ground from which thou wast taķen; to mix with common clay. Thy body is to go to the earth as it was, while thy spirit returns to God that gave it. And the time draws on: the years slide away with a swift though silent pace. Perhaps your day is far spent; the noon of life is past, and the evening shadows begin to rest upon you. You feel in yourself sure approaching decay. The springs of life wear away apace. Now what help is there in your riches ? Do they sweeten death? Do they endear that solemn hour ? Quite the reverse. "O death, how bitter art thou to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions !" How unacceptable to him is that awful sentence, “This pight shall thy soul be required of thee!"-Or will they prevent the unwelcome stroke, or protract the dreadful hour? Can they deliver your soul that it should not see death? Can they restore the years that are past? Can they add to your appoiuted time a month, a day, an hour, a moment? Or will the good things you have chosen for your portion here, follow you over the great gulf ? Not so; naked came you into this world ; naked must you return.

Liquenda tellus, et domus, et placens
Uxor : nec harum quas seris arborum
Te, præter invisam cupressum,

Ulla brevem dominum sequetur ! Surely were not these truths too plain to be observed, because they are too plain to be denied, no man that is to die could possibly trust for help in uncertain riches.

20. And trust not in them for Happiness: For here also they will be found “deceitful upon the weights." Indeed this every reasonable man may infer from what has been observed already. For if neither thousands of gold and silver, nor any of the advantages or pleasures purchased thereby, can prevent our being miserable, it evidently follows, they cannot make us happy. What happiness can they afford to him, who in the midst of all is constrained to cry out,

“To my new courts sad thought does still repair,

And round my gilded roof hangs hovering care ?" Indeed experience is here so full, strong, and undeniable, that it makes all other aguments needless. Appeal we therefore to

* “ Such help as pictures to sore eyes afford,

As heap'd up tubles to their goudy lord." Vol. I. No. 8.

2 B

fact. Are the rich and great the only happy men ? And is caci of them more or less happy in proportion to his measure of riches ? Are they happy at all? I had well nigh said, they are of all men most miserable! Rich man, for once, speak the truth from thy heart! Speal, both for thyself and for thy brethren!

“Amidst our plenty something still

To me, to thee, to him is wanting!
That cruel something, unpossess'a,

Corrodes and leavens all the rest.” Yea, and so it will, till thy wearisome days of vanity are shut up in the night of death.

Surely then to trust in riches for happiness, is the greatest folly of all that are under the sun! Are you not convinced of this? Is it possible you should still expect to find happiness in money, or all it can procure? What! Can silver and gold, and eating and drinking, and horses and servants, and glittering apparel, and diversions and pleasures, (as they are called, make thec happy? They can as soon make thee immortal!

21. These are all dead show. Regard them not. Trust thou in the living God; so shalt thou be safe under the shadow of the Almighty ; his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield and buckier. He is a very present help in time of trouble : such an help as can never fail. Then shalt thou say, if all thy other friends die, « The Lord liveth, and blessed be my strong Helper!” He shall remember thee when thou liest sick upon thy bed ; when vain is the help of man. When all the things of the earth can give no support, he will “make all thy bed in thy sickness.” He will sweeten thy pain: the consolations of God shall cause thee to clap thy hands in the flames. And even when this house of earth is well nigh shaken down, when it is just ready to drop into the dust, he will teach thee to say, “O death! where is thy sting ? O grave! where is thy victory? Thanks be unto God, which giveth [me] the victory, through (my] Lord Jesus Christ.”.

O trust in Him for happiness as well as for help. All the springs of happiness are in him, Trust “in Him who giveth us all things richly to enjoy,” TERÇEXONTI T WS TIVTZ EUS ATOLavorv --who, of his own rich and free mercy, holds them out to us, as in his own hand, that, receiving them as His gifts, and as pledges of Ilis love, we may enjoy all that we possess. It is His love gives a relish to all we taste,-puts life and sweetness into all; while every creature leads us up to the great Creator, and all earth is a scale to heaven. He transfuses the joys that are at his own right hand into all he bestows on his thankful children ; who, having fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, enjoy Him in all, and above all.

22. Thirdly, seek not to increase in goods. “ Lay not up for [thyself] treasures upon earth.” This is a flat, positive command, full as clear, as “Thou shalt not commit adultery." How then is it possible for a rich man to grow richer, without denying the Lord that bought him ? Yea, how can any man, who has already the necessaries of life, gain or aim at more, and be guiltless ? “ Lay not up,” saith our Lord, “ treasures upon earth.” If, in spite of this, you do, and will lay up money or goods, which “moth or rust may corrupt, or thieves break through and steal; if you will add house to house, or field to field, why do you call yourself a Christian ? You do not obey Jesus Christ. You do not design it. Why do you name yourself by his name? “Why call ye me Lord, Lord,” saith he himself, “ and do not the things wbich I say ?” - 23. If you ask, “But what must we do with our goods, seeing we have more than we have occasion to use, if we must not lay them up ? Must we throw them away?' I answer, if you threw them into the sea, if you were to cast them into the fire and consume them, they would be better bestowed than they are now. You cannot find so mischievous a manner of throwing them away, as either the laying them up for your posterity, or the laying them out upon yourselves in folly' and superfluity. Of all possible methods of throwing them away, these two are the very worst; the most opposite to the Gospel of Christ, and the most pernicious to your own soul. • How pernicious to your own soul the latter of these is, has been excellently shown by a late writer :: “ If we waste our money, we are not only guilty of wasting a talent which God has given us, but we do ourselves this farther harm, we turn this useful talent into a powerful means of corrupting ourselves; because so far as it is spent wrong, so far it is spent in the support of some wrong temper, in gratifying some vain and unreasonable desires, which, as Christians, we are obliged to renounce.

“ As wit and fine parts cannot be only trified away, but will expose those that have them to greater follies ; so money cannot be only trifled away, but, if it is not used according to reason and religion, will make people live a more silly and extravagant life, than they would have done without it: if therefore you do not spend your money in doing good to others, you Indust spend it to the hurt of yourself. You act like one that refuses the cordial to his sick friend, which he cannot drink himself without inflaming his blood. For this is the case of superfluous money: if you give it to those that want it, it is a cordial; if you spend it upon yourself in sometbing that you do not want, it only inflames and disorders your mind.

“In using riches where they have no real use, nor ire any rcal want, we only use them to our great burt, in creatius unreasonable desires, in nourishing ill tempers, in indulging foolishi passions, and supporting a vain turn of mind. For bigh eating and drinking, finc clothes and fine houses, state and equipage, gay pleasures and diversions, do all of them naturally hurt and disorder our heart. They are the food and wourisliment of all the folly and weakness of our nature. They are all of them the support of something, that ought not to be supported. They are contrary to that sobriety and piety of heart, which relishes divine things. They are so many reights upon our mind, that make is less able and less inclined to raise our thoughts and affections to things above.

“ So that money thus spent is not merely wasted or lost, but it is spent to bad purposes and miserable cffects; to the corruption and disorder of our hearis; to the making us unable to follow the sublime doctrives of the Gospel. It is but like keeping money from the poor, to buy poison for ourselves."

21. Equally inexcusable are those who lay up what they do not need for any reasonable purposes:-

“ If it man had hands, and eyes, and feet, that he could give to those that wanted them; if he should lock them up in a chest, instead of giving them to his brethren that were blind and lame, should we not justly reckon him an inhuman wreich. Ii be shoulų rather choose to amuse himself with boarding them up, than entite himseli to an eternal reward, by giving them to those that wanted eyes and hands, might We are junts reckon him nad?

- Pour money has very much the nature of cres and fect. If thereine We lock it up in chesis, while the poor and distressed want it foriheir necessary 1-C'n, 1re are not fur from the cruelto of him, ilar chooses raiher io hoard up the hands and eyes, Taniw vive ??!'0' that want then. If we choose to lavit ip, vather than to (litle ourselves to an eternal reward by disposing of our money rell, we are guilty of his madness

rather chooses to lock up eyes and hands, than to make

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