« AnteriorContinuar »
to have no more to do with worldly Enjoyments, than those that he chose whilst he himself was on Earth, and that he ex. pects as much Devotion to God, and heavenly Affection from us, as from any that he conversed with, and speaks the same Language, and gives the same Commands to all rich Men now, that he gave to the rich young Man in the Gospel.
HE Subject of the two preceding Chapters is of such Importance, that I cannot leave it,
without adding some farther Considerations upon it.
For notwithstanding the Scriptures are so clear and express on the side of the Doctrine there deliver’d, yet I must expect to encounter the Prejudices of Men, who are settled in other Opinions.
I know it will still be ask'd, Where can be the Impiety of getting or enjoying an Estate
WHETHER it be not honourable, and Matter of just Praise, to provide an Estate for one's Family?
It will also be ask'd What People of Birth and Fortune are to do with themselves, if they are not to live suitably to their Estates and Qualities :
ANY one that has taken the trouble to read this Trèatise, must have found, that the Doctrine here taught is none of mine, and that therefore I have no occasion to support it against such Questions as these.
T HE same Persons may as well ask, why the little Span of Life is made a State of Trial and Probation, in which Men of all Conditions are to work out their Salvation with Fear and Trembling.
But however to the first Question let it be answer'd;
TA KE no thought, saying, what fall we eat, or what fall we drink, or wherewithal Shall we be cloathed ; for after all these things do the Gentiles seek.
IF to be careful and thoughtful about the Necessaries of Life, be a Care that is here forbidden, and that because it is such a Care as only becomes Heathens, surely to be careful and thoughtful how to raise an Estate, and enrich one's Family, is a Care that is sufficiently forbidden Chriftians. And he that can yet think it lawful and creditable to make it the Care and Design of his Life to get an Estate, is too blind to be convinced by Arguments. He may with as much Regard to Scripture say, that it is lawful to swear falsely, tho' it forbids him to speak falsely.
Our Saviour faith, labour not for the Meat that perisheth, but for that Meat which endureth unto everlasting Life (a). He commands us not to lay up for our selves Treasures on Earth ; he assures us that we cannot serve God and Mammon.
Now these Places have no meaning, if it is still lawful for Christians to heap up Treasures, to labour for great Estates, and pursue Deligns of enriching their families.
I know it is easie to evade the Force of these Texts, and to make plausible Harangues upon the Innocency of labouring to be rich, and the Consistency of serving God and Mammon.
I DON'T question but the rich young Man in the Gospel, who had kept the Commandments of God from his Youth, could have made a very good Apology for himself, and have shewn how reasonable and innocent a thing it was, for so good and so young a Man to enjoy an Estate.
THE rich Man in Torments could have alledg’d how much Good he did with his Fortune, how many Trades he encouraged by his Purple and fine Linen, and faring sumptuously every Day, and how he con
(a) Joh. vi. 27.
form’d to the Ends and Advantages of Society by so spending his Eftate.
BUT to return, the Apostle faith, Having Food and Raiment, let us be therewith content, that they who will be rich fall into a Temptation and a Snare, and into many foolis and hurtful Lufts, which drown Men in Destruction and Perdition (a).
We may perhaps by some Acuteness of reasoning find out, that this Doctrine still leaves us at our liberty, whether we will labour to be rich or not, and if we do, we are as much enlighten'd as the Quakers, who find themselves at liberty from the use of the Sacraments.
We may pretend, that notwithstanding what the Apostle says, of a Snare, a Temptation, and foolish Lusts, yet that we can pursue the Means, and desire the Happiness of Riches, without any Danger to our Virtue.
But if so, we are as prudent as those Christians, who think they can secure their Virtue without Watching and Prayer, tho' our Saviour has
said, Watch and pray that ye enter not into Temptation.
He therefore that neglects Watching and Prayer, though the appointed Means
(a) 1 Tim. vi. S.