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. 5. But many have found out a way never to be rich, though their substance increase ever so much. It is this. As fast as ever money comes in, they lay it out, either in land, or enlarging their business. By this means each of these, keeping himself bare of money, can still say, “ I am not rich.” Yea, though he has ten, twenty, a hundred times more substance, than he had some years, ago. This may be explained by a recent case. A gentleman came to a merchant in London a few years since, and told him, “Sir, I beg you will give me a guinea, for a worthy family in great distress.” He replied, “ Really, Mr. M. I cannot afford to give it you just now. But if you will call upon me when I am worth ten thousand pounds, upon such an occasion, I will give you ten guineas.” Mr. M., after some time, called upon him again, and said, “Sir, I claim your promise, now you are worth ten thousand pounds." He replied, “ That is very true. But I assure you, I cannot spare one guinea so well as I could then.”
6. It is possible, for a man to cheat himself by this ingenious device. And he may cheat other men : for as long " as thou doest good unto thyself, men will speak well of thee.” 66 A right good man,” says the Londoner : “ he is worth a plumb:” (a hundred thousand pounds). But, alas! he cannot deceive the devil. Ah no! The curse of God is upon thee already, and all that thou hast. And to-morrow, when the devil seizes thy soul, will he not say, “ What do all thy riches profit thee? Will they purchase a pillow for thy head, in the lake of fire burning with brimstone ? Or will they procure thee a cup of water to cool thy tongue, while thou art tormented in that flame?” follow the wise direction here given, that God may not say unto thee, « Thou fool !"
7. This shift, therefore, will not avail. It will not be any protection, either against the wrath of God, or the malice and power of the devil. Thou art convicted already of setting thy heart upon thy riches, if thou layest out all thou hast, above the conveniences of life, on adding money to money, house to house, or field to field, without giving
at least a tenth of thine income, (the Jewish proportion,) to the poor. By whatsoever means thy riches increase, whether with or without labour; whether by trade, legacies, or any other way, unless thy charities increase in the same proportion, unless thou givest a full tenth of thy substance, of thy fixed and occasional income, thou dost undoubtedly set thy heart upon thy gold, and it will eat thy flesh as fire!
8. But, O! who can convince a rich man that he sets his heart upon riches ? For considerably above half a century I have spoken on this head, with all the plainness that was in my power. But with how little effect! I doubt whether I have in all that time convinced fifty misers of covetousness. When the lover of money was described ever so clearly, and painted in the strongest colours, who applied it to himself? To whom 'did God and all that knew him say, Thou art the man? . If he speak to any of you that are present, O do not stop your ears! Rather say with Zaccheus, “ Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor: and if I have done any wrong to any man, I restore him fourfold !” He did not mean that he had done this in time past; but that he determined to do so for the time to come. I charge thee before God, thou lover of money, to go and do likewise! '
9. I have a message from God unto thee, O rich man, whether thou wilt hear, or whether thou wilt forbear. Kiches have increased with thee! at the peril of thy soul, « set not thine heart upon them.” Be thankful to him that gave thee such a talent, so much power of doing good. Yet dare not to rejoice over them, but with fear and trembling. Cave ne inhereas, says pious Kempis, ne capiaris et pereas. Beware thou cleave not unto them, lest thou be entangled and perish. - Do not make them thy end, thy chief delight; thy happiness, thy God! See that thou expect not happiness in money, nor any thing that is purchasable thereby; in gratifying either the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, or the pride of life.
10. But let us descend to particulars: and see that each
of you deal faithfully with his own soul. If any of you have now twice, thrice, or four times as much substance as when you first saw my face, faithfully examine yourselves, and see if you do not set your hearts, if not directly on money or riches themselves, yet on some of the things that are purchasable thereby, which comes to the same thing. All those the Apostle John includes under that general name, the world: and the desire of them, or to seek happiness in them, under that form, " the love, of the world.” This he divides into three branches, “ The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Fairly examine yourselves with regard to these. And first, as to “ the desire of the flesh.” I believe this means the seeking of happiness in the things that gratify the senses. To instance in one, do not you seek your happiness in enlarging the pleasure of tasting? To be more particular, Do you not eat more plentifully or more delicately than you did ten or twenty years ago ? Do not you use more drink, or drink of a more costly kind, than you did then? Do you sleep on as hard a bed as you did once, suppose your health will bear it ? To touch on one point more; Do you fast as often now you are rich, as you did when you were poor ? Ought you not in all reason to do this, rather more often than more seldom? I am afraid, your own heart condemns you." You are not clear in this matter.
11. The second branch of the love of the world, “ the desire of the eyes,” is of a wider extent. We may understand thereby, The seeking our happiness in gratifying the imagination, (which is chiefly done by means of the eyes) by grand, or new, or beautiful objects. If they may not all be reduced to one head : since neither grand nor beautiful objects are pleasing, when the novelty of them is gone. But are not the veriest trifles pleasing as long as they are new? Do not some of you on the score of novelty, seek no small part of your happiness in that trifle of trifles, dress ? Do not you bestow more money, or (which is the same) more time or pains upon it, than you did once? 1 doubt this is not done to please God. Then it pleases the devil.
If you laid aside your needless ornaments some years since, ruffles, necklaces, spider-caps, ugly, unbecoming bonnets, costly linen, expensive laces, have you not, in defiance of religion and reason, taken to them again?
12. Perhaps you say, “ You can now afford the ex. pense.” This is the quintessence of nonsense. Who gave you this addition to your fortune? Or (to speak properly) lent it to you? To speak more properly still, Who lodged
it for a time in your hands as his stewards? Informing you · at the same time, for what purposes he intrusted you with
it? And can you afford to waste your Lord's goods, for every part of which you are to give an account? Or to - expend them in any other way than that which he hath expressly appointed ? Away with this vile, diabolical cant! Let it never more come out of your lips. This affording to rob God, is the very cant of hell. Do not you know, that God intrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessaries for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless : and indeed as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind ? How can you, how dare you defraud your Lord, by applying it to any other purpose? When he intrusted you with a little, did he not intrust you with it that you might lay out all that little in doing good? And when he intrusted you with more, did he not intrust you with that additional money that you might do so much the more good, as you had more ability ? Had you any more right to waste a pound, a shilling, or a penny, than you had before? You have, therefore, no more right to gratify the desire of the flesh, or the desire of the eyes now, than when you were a beggar. O no! Do not make so poor a return to your beneficent Lord! Rather the more he intrusts you with, be so much the more careful to employ every mite as he hath appointed.
13. Ýe angels of God, ye servants of his, that continually do his pleasure; our common Lord hath intrusted you also with talents, far more precious than gold and silver, that you may minister in your various offices to the heirs of salvation. Do not you employ every mite of what you have received, to the end for which it was given you ? And hath he not directed us, to do his Will on earth, as it is done by you in heaven? Brethren, what are we doing? Let us awake! Let us arise! Let us imitate those flaming ministers! Let us employ our whole soul, body, and substance, according to the Will of our Lord. Let us render unto God the things that are God's, even all we are and all we have!
14. Most of those, who when riches increase, set their hearts upon them, do it indirectly in some of the preceding instances. But there are others who do this more directly, being properly lovers of money; who love it for its own. sake, not only for the sake of what it procures. But this, vice is very rarely found in children or young persons; but only or chiefly in the old; in those that have the least need of money, and the least time to enjoy it. Might not this induce one to think, in many cases, it is a penal evil ? That it is a sin-punishing evil? That when a man has for many years hid his precious talent in the earth, . God delivers him up to Satan, to punish him by the
inordinate love of it? Then it is that he is more and more tormented by that auri sacra fames! That execrable hunger after gold, which can never be satisfied! No. It is most true, as the very heathen observes :- Crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit.”-As money, so the love of money grows; it increases in the same proportion. As in a dropsy, the more you drink, the more you thirst; till that unquenchable thirst plunge you into the fire, which never shall be quenched.
15. But is there no way, you may ask, either to prevent or to cure this dire disease? There is one preventive of it, which is also a remedy for it: and I believe there is no other under heaven. It is this. After you have gained (with the cautions above given) all you can, and saved all you can, wanting for nothing : spend not one pound, one shilling, or one penny, to gratify either the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, or the pride of life; or indeed,