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of God cleaves to the stones, the timber, the furniture of them! The curse of God is in their gardens, their walks, their groves; a fire that burns to the nethernost hell! Blood, blood is there: the foundation, the floor, the walls, the roof, are stained with blood ! And canst thou hope, O thou man of blood, though thoy art “ clothed in scarlet and fine linen, and farest sumptuously every day;" canst thou hope to deliver down thy fields of blood to the third generation ? Not so; for there is a God in heaven; therefore, thy name shall soon be rooted out. Like as those whom thou hast destroyed, body and soul, “thy memorial shall perish with thee!”
5. And are not they partakers of the same guilt, though in a lower degree, whether surgeons, apothecaries, or physicians, who play with the lives or health of men, to enlarge their own gain? Who purposely lengthen the pain or disease, which they are able to remove speedily? Who protract the cure of their patient's body, in order to plunder his substance ? Can any man be clear before God, who does not shorten every disorder, “ as much as he can,” and remove all sickness and pain, as soon as he can ?” He cannot: for nothing can be niore clear, than that he does not “do unto others, as he would they should do unto himself.”
6. This is dear-bought gain. And so is whatever is procured by hurting our neighbour in his soul ; by ministering, suppose, either directly or indirectly, to his unchastity, or intemperance; which certainly none can do, who has any fear of God, or any real desire of pleasing him. It nearly concerns all those to consider this, who have any thing to do with taverns, victualling-houses, opera-houses, play-houses, or any other places of public, fashionable diversion. If these profit the souls of men, you are clear; your employment is good, and your gain innocent: but if they are either sinful in themselves, or natural inlets to sin of various kinds, then, it is to be feared, you have a sad account to make. O bewaré, lest God say in that day, “ These have perished in their iniquity, but their blood do I require at thy bands !”
7. These cautions and restrictions being observed, it is the bounden duty of all, who are engaged in worldly business, to observe that first and great rule of Christian wisdom, with respect to money, 'Gain all you can.' Gain all you can by honest industry. Use all possible diligence in your calling. Lose no time. If you understand yourself, and your relation to God and man, you know you have none to spare. If you understand your particular calling, as you ought, you will have no time that hangs upon your hands. Every business will afford some employment sufficient for every day and every hour. That wherein you are placed, if you follow it in earnest, will leare you no leisure for silly, unprofitable diversions. You have always something better to do, something that will profit you, more or less. Aud “whatsocver thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Do it as soon as possible : No delay! No putting ofl' from day to day, or from hour to hour! Never leave any thing till tomorrow, which you can do to day. And do it as well as possible. Do not sleep or yawn over it : Pat your whole strength to the work. Spare no pains. Let nothing be done by halves, or in a slight and careless manner. Let nothing in your business be left undone, if it can be done by labour or patience.
8. Gain all you can, by common sense, by using in your business all the understanding which God has given you. It is amazing to observe, bow few ilo this; how men run on in the same dull track with their forefathers. But whatever they do, who know not God, this is no rule for you. It is a shame for a Christian not to improve upon them, in whatever he takes in hand. You should be continually learning, from the experience of others, or from your own experience, reading, and reflection, to do every thing you have to do better to day, than you did yesterday. And see that you practise whatever you learn, that you may make the best of all that is in your hands.
II. 1. Having gained all you can, by honest wisdom, and un wcaried diligence, the Second rule of Christian prudence is, • Save all you can. Do not throw the precious talent into the sca: leave that folly to heathen philosophers. Do not throw it away in idle expenses, which is just the same as throwing it into the sea. Expend no part of it merely to gratify the desire of the thesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life.
2. Do not waste any part of so precious a talent, merely in gratifying the desires of the flesh; in procuring the pleasures of sense of whatever kiud; particularly, in enlarging the pleasuure of tasting. Io not mean, avoid gluttony and drunkenness only: an honest heathen would condemn these. But there is a regular, reputable kind of sensuality, an elegant epicurism, which does not immediately disorder the stomach, nor (sensibly at least) impair the understanding; and yet (to mention no other effects of it now) it cannot be maintained without considerable expense. Cut off all this expense! Despise delicacy and variety, and be content with what plain nature requires.
3. Do not waste any part of my precions a talent, merely it. gratifying the desire of the eye, by superfluous or expensive apparel, or by needless ornaments. Waste no part of it in curiously adorning your houses; in superfluous or expensive furniture; in costly pictures, painting, gilding, books; in elegant rather than useful gardens. Let your neighbours, who know nothing better, do this : “ Let the dead bury their dead.” But " what is that to thee ? ” says our Lord: “ Follow thou me.” Are you willing? Then you are able so to do!
4. Lay out nothing to gratify the pride of life, to gain the admiration or praise of inen. This motive of expense is frequently interwoven with one or both of the former. Men are expensive in diet, or apparel, or furniture, not barely to please their appetite, or to gratify their eye, or their imagination, but their vanity too. “So long as thou docst well unto thyself, men will speak good of thec.” So long as thou art “clothed in purple and fine linen, and farest sumptuously every day,” no doubt many will applaud thy elegance of taste, thy generosity and hospitality. But do not buy their applause so dear. Rather be content with the honour that cometh from God.
5. Who would expend any thing in gratifying these desires, if he considered, that to gratify them is to increase them. Nothing can be more certain than this : daily experience shows, the more they are indulged, they increase the more. Whenever, therefore, you expend any thing to please your taste or other senses, you pay so much for sensuality. When you lay out money to please your eye, you give so much for an increase of curiosity,--for a stronger attachment to these pleasures which perish in the using. While you are purchasing any thing which men use to applaud, you are purchasing more vanity. Had you not then enough of vanity, sensuality, curiosity, before ? Was there need of any addition? And would you pay for it too? What manner of wisdom is this? Would not the literally throwing your money into the sea be a less mischievous folly?
6. And why should you throw away money upon your children, any more than upon yourself, in delicate food, in gay or costly apparel, in superfluities of any kind? Why should you purchase for them more pride or lust, more vanity, or fjolish and hurtful desires ? They do not want any more ; they have enough already; nature has made ample provision for them; why should you be at farther expense to increase their temptations and snares, and to pierce them through with many sorrows ?
7. Do not leave it to them to throw away. If you have good reason to believe they would waste what is now in your possession, in gratifying, and thereby increasing, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life; at the peril of theirs and your own soul, do not set these traps in their way. Do not offer your sons or your daughters unto Belial, any more than onto Moloch. Have pity upon them, and remove out of their way what you may casily foresee would increase their sins, and consequently plunge them deeper into everlasting perdition! How amazing then is the infatuation of those parents, who think they can never leave their children enough! What! cannot you leave them enough of arrows, firebrands, and death ? Not enough of foolish and hurtful desires ? Not enough of pride, lust, ambition, vanity? Not enough of everlasting burnings ? Poor wretch! Thou fearest where no fear is. Surely both thou and they, when ye are lifting up your cyes iu hell, will have enough both of the worm that never dicth,” and of “ the fire that never shall be quenched !” 8. What then would you do, if you was in my casc?
If you had a considerable fortune to leave ?! Whether I would do it or no, I kuow what I ought to do: This will admit of no l'easonable question. If I bad one child, elder or younger, who knew the value of money, one who, I believed, would put it to the true use, I should think it my absolute, indispensable duty, to leave that child the bulk of my fortune; and to the rest just so much as would enable them to live in the manner they had been accustomed to do. ' But what if all your children were equally ignorant of the true use of money?' 1 ought then, (hard saying! who can hear it ?) to give each what would keep him above want; and to bestow all the rest in such a manner as I judged would be most for the glory of God. III. 1. But let not any mau imagine that he has done
any thing, barely by going thus far, by “gaining and saving all he can," if he were to stop here. All this is nothing, if a man go not forward, if he does not point all this at a farther end. Nor, indeed, can a man properly be said to save any thing, if he only lays it up. You may as well throw your money into the sea, as bury it in the earth. And you may as well bury it in the earth, as in your chest, or in the Bank of England. Not to use, is effectually to throw it away. If, therefore, you would indeed “ make yourselves friends of the mammon of upright
eousness," add the Third rule to the two preceding. Having first gained all you can, and secondly saved all you can, then Give all you can.'
2. In order to see the ground and reason of this, consider, When the Possessor of heaven and earth brought you into being, and placed you in this world, he placed you here not as a proprietor, but a steward : As such he entrusted you for a season with goods of various kinds : But the sole properly of these still rests in Him, nor can ever be alienated from him. As you yourself are not your own, but His, such is, likewise, all that you enjoy. Such is your soul and your body, not your own, but God's. And so is your substance in particular. And he has told you in the most clear and express terns, how you are to employ it for him, in such a manner, that it may be all an holy sacrifice, acceptable through Christ Jesus. And this light, easy service, he hath promised to reward with an eternal weight of glory.
3. The directions which God has given us, touching the use of our worldly substance, may be comprised in the following particulars. If you desire to be a faithful and a wise steward, out of that portion of your Lord's goods, which he has for the present lodged in your hands, but witb the right of resuming whenever it pleases him, first, Provide things needful for yourself; food to eat, raiment to put on, whatever nature moderately requires for preserving the body in health and strength. Secondly, Provide these for your wife, your children, your servants, or any others who pertain to your household. If, when this is done, there be an overplus left, then “do good to them that are of the household of faith.” If there be an overplus still, “as you have opportunity, do good unto all men.” In so doing, you give all you can; nay, in a sound sense, all you
have: for all that is laid out in this manner, is really given to God. You“ render unto God the things that are God's,” not only by what you give to the poor, but also by that which you expend in providing things needful for yourself and your household.
4. If then a doubt should at any time arise in your mind, concerning what you are going to expend, either on yourself or any part of your family, you have an easy way to remove it. Calmly and seriously inquire, (1.) In expending this, am I acting according to my Character ? Ain I acting herein, not as a proprietor, but as a steward of my Lord's goods ? (2.) Am I doing this in obedience to his Word? In what Scripture does