« AnteriorContinuar »
as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him? Godliness with contentment is great gain; and is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come1. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's*. He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him also freely give us all things'? But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions: for ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven, a better and an enduring substance". Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us°.
SECT. 9. The example of our Lord Jesus.
It came to pass that Jesus went through every city and village, preaching, and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, ministered unto him of their substance". And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head'.
f Heb. xiii. 5.
1 Tim. iv. 8. m Heb. x. 32.
§ 9. Luke, yiii. 1, 2, 3.
* James, ii. 5.
k 1 Cor. iii. 21,22,23.
Matt. vii. 19, 20.
b 1 Tim. vi. 6.
Rom. viii. 32.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor; that ye through his poverty might be made rich.
SECT. 10. The example of the Apostle Paul.
Ye know from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you, at all seasons. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me"; not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labour working with our hands. As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things. For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Every where, and in all things, I am instructed; both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me.
SECT. 11. Though covetousness is sinful, yet a moderate concern about our temporal affairs is necessary, and is expressly enjoined.
Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus" that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your hands; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing"; providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of
men. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear, that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busy bodies. Now them that are such, we command and exhort, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
SECT. 12. The sentiments and prayers of the Saints relative to this subject.
Deliver my soul from the wicked, from men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure; they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes". As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked". Their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart could wish. Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world, they increase in riches". When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I went unto the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest thou shalt despise their image.
* 2 Cor. viii. 21.
a Psalm xvii. 13, 14.
d 2 Thess. iii. 7-12.
* 1 Tim. v. 8. Psalm lxxiii. 7.
Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Surely every man walketh in a vain show; surely they are disquieted in vain; he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Two things have I required of thee, deny me them not before I die. Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the naine of my God in vain. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness; turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way". The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver'. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold, yea above fine gold. There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased'.
Illustration by examples.
"To all that hath been quoted in this chapter, it may be added, that the scriptures give many striking instances of the fatal consequences of avarice, on the one hand; and, on the other, of that noble elevation of mind, and superiority to the world, with which real religion inspires a devout soul."
"The indignation of God against covetousness, is strongly marked in the affair of Achan, the son of Carmi. He" took of the accursed thing, and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel". "They were smitten before the men of Ai, till Achan was discovered, and made the following confession." Indeed, I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and
Psal. xxxix. 5, 6, 7. i Psalm cxix. 72. Josh. vii. 1.
* Prov. xxx. 7, 8, 9.
h Psalm cxix. 36, 37. I Psalm iv. 6, 7.
two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them, and behold they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it". "The punishment inflicted on Achan, we find recorded Josh. vii. 24, 25, 26."
"The character of the sons of Eli, and their rapacious behaviour, (1 Sam. ii. 12-17.) provoked the Lord to send to Eli the dreadful message recorded 1 Sam. ii. 31 -36; and issued in the destruction of that whole family."
"The sons of Samuel profited not by this awful example." His sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment°. "It is probable, that they escaped not without due punishment, since we find no more mention made of the house of that Prophet in holy writ."
"Ahab's coveting the vineyard of Naboth, first led him to perfidy and murder; and at last issued in those judgments on all his house, which the Prophet Elijah denounced against that wicked prince, 1 Kings, xxi. 1-24."
"The punishment of Gehazi, for his fraud and covetousness, was fully merited. By one gross lie he cheated Naaman, that generous Syrian; and, by another, he denied and endeavoured to conceal his crime." And Elisha said unto him, The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as
"The most terrible effect of covetousness that can be on any record, is, that of Judas Iscariot, who" went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give