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Thoughts upon Worldly Riches.
HE that seriously considers the Constitution of the Christian Religion, observing the Excellency of its Doctrines, the Clearness of its Precepts, the Severity of its Threatnings, together with the Faithfulness of its Promises, and the Certainty of its Principles to trust to; such a one may justly be astonished, and admire what should be the reason that they who profess this not only the most excellent, but only true Religion in the World, should notwithstanding be generally as wicked, debauched and prophane, as they that never heard of it. For that they are so, is but too plain and obvious to every one that observes their Actions, and compares them with the Practices of Jews, Turks, and Infidels. For what Sin have they amongst them which we have not as rise amongst our selves? Are they intemperate and luxurious? Are they envious and malicious against one another? Are they uncharitable and censorious? Are they given to Extortion, Rapine, and Oppression? So are most of those who are called Christians. Do 114they they blaspheme the Name of God, profane his Sabbaths, contemn his Word, despise his Ordinances, and trample upon the Blood of his only Son? How many have we amongst ourselves that do these things as much as they?
But how comes this about, that they who are baptized into the Name of Christ, and profess the Religion which he established in the World, should be no better than other People, and in some respects far worse? Is it because though they profess the Gospel yet they do not understand it? Nor know what Sins are forbidden, nor what Duties are enjoyned in it? That none can plead, especially amongst us who have the Gospel so clearly revealed, so fully interpreted, so constantly preach’d to us as we have. Insomuch that if there be any one Person amongst us, that understands not what is necessary to be known, in order to our everlasting Happiness, it is because we will not: wilfully shutting our Eyes against the Light.
BUT what then shall we impute this wonder to, that Christians are generally as bad as Heathens?Does Chrift in his Gospel dispence with their Impieties, and give them Indulgences for their Sins, and License to break the moral Law? It is true, his pretended Vicar at Rome doth so, but far be it from 115us to father our Sins upon him, who came into the World on purpose to save us from them. Indeed if we repent and turn from Sin, he hath both purchased and promised Pardon and Forgiveness to us, but not till then: But hath expresly told us the contrary, assuring us that except we repent we must all perish, Luc. xiii. 3. I confess there have been such blasphemous Hereticks amongst us, called Antinomians, who are altogether for Faith without good Works, making as if Christ by erecting his Gospel destroy’d the moral Law; but none can entertain such an horrible Opinion as that is, whose sinful Practices have not so far depraved their Principles, that they believe it is so only because they would have it to be so, directly contrary to our Saviour’s own Words, Matth. v. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come not to destroy, but to fulfil. But I hope there is none of us but have better learned Christ than to think that he came to patronize our Sins, who was sent to bless us, by turning away every one of us from our Iniquities, Act. iii. 26. But how come Christians then to be as bad and sinful as other Men? Is it because they are as destitute as other Men of all Means whereby to become better? No, this cannot possibly be the reason: For nothing can be more 116certain, than that we all have, or at least may, if we will, have whatsoever can any ways conduce to the making us either holy here or happy hereafter. We have the way that leads thereto revealed to us in the Word of God, we have that Word frequently expounded and applyed to us; we have all free Access not only to the Ordinances which God hath appointed for our Conversion, but even to the very Sacraments themselves, whereby our Faith may be confirmed, and our Souls nourished to eternal Life. And more than all this too, we have many gracious and faithful Promises, that if we do but what we can, God for Christ’s sake will afford us such Assistances of his Grace and Spirit, whereby we shall be enabled to perform universal Obedience to the moral Law, such as God for Christ’s sake will accept of, instead of that Perfection which the Law requires. So that now, if we be not all as real and true Saints, as good and pious Christians as ever lived, it is certainly our own Faults: For we have all things necessary to the making of us such, and if we were not wanting to our selves, it is impossible we should fail of having all our Sins subdued under us, and all true Grace and Vertue implanted in us. Insomuch that since the Christian Religion was first 117revealed to the World, there have been certainly Millions of Souls converted by it, who now are glorify’d Saints in Heaven, which once were as sinful Creatures upon Earth as we now are. But it seems they found the Gospel an effectual Means of Conversion and Salvation; and therefore it cannot be imputed to any Defect in the Gospel, or the Christian Religion, that we are not all as good Men as ever lived, and by consequence better than the Professors of all other Religions in the World.
Bur what then shall we say to this wonder of wonders, that Christians themselves in our Age live such loose and dissolute Lives, as generally they do? What should be the reason that all manner of Sin and Evil should be both practised and indulged amongst us, as much as in the darkest Corners of the World, upon which the Gospel never yet shined? Why when we have searched into all the reasons that possibly can be imagined, next to the Degeneracy and Corruption of our Nature, this must needs be acknowledged as one of the chief and principal, that Men living upon Earth, and conversing ordinarily with nothing but sensible and material Objects, they are so much taken up with them, that those divine and spiritual Truths, which are revealed in the Gospel, make little or no 118Impression at all upon them, though they hear what the Gospel saith and teacheth, yet they are no more affected with it, nor concerned about it, than as if they had never heard of it, their Affections being all bent and enclined only to the things of this World. And therefore it is no wonder, that they run with so full a Career into Sin and Wickedness, notwithstanding their Profession of the Gospel, seeing their natural Propensity and Inclination to the things of this World, are so strong and prevalent within them, that they will not suffer them to think seriously upon, much less to concern themselves about any thing else.
THE Apostle, in his Epistle to Timothy, Chap. vi. endeavouring to persuade Men from the over eager Desire of earthly Enjoyments, presses this Consideration upon us, that such an inordinate Desire of the things of this World betrays Men into many and great Temptations, Ver. 8, and 9. And then he gives this as the reason of it, Ver. 10. For the Love of Money is the Root of all Evil; that is, in brief, The Love of Riches and temporal Enjoyments is the great reason why Men are guilty of such great and atrocious Crimes as generally they are; there being no Evil but what springs from this, as from its Root and Origine; which is so plain a Truth, so constantly and 119universally experienced in all Ages, that the Heathens themselves, the ancient Poets and Philosophers, could not but take notice of it. For Bion the Philosopher was wont to say that φιλαργυρίαthe Love of Money was κακίας μητρόπολις the Metropolis of Wickedness. And Apollodorus, ἀλλὰ ηχεδόν τε τὸ καφ̤λαιον τῶν κακῶν ἔιρηκας εκ φιλαργυρί⎛, γαρ παντ᾽ ἔνι· When thou speakestl of the Love of Money, thou mentionest the Head of all Evils, for they are all contained in that. To the same purpose is that of the Poet Phocylides, ἡ δὲ φιλοχρημοσυίη μήτηρ κακότητος ἀπάσης, The Love of Riches is the Mother of all Wickedness. What these saw by the Light of Nature, hath here divine Authority stamped upon it; God himself asserting the same thing by his Apostle, ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστιν ἡ φιλαργυρία, The Love of Money is the Root of all Evils; which, that we may the better understand, we must consider.
1. WHAT is here meant by Money.
2. WHAT by the Love of Riches.
3. HOW the Love of Money is the Root of all Evils.
As for the first, I need not insist long upon it, all Men knowing well enough what Money is. But we must remember that by Money is here understood not only 120Silver and Gold, but all earthly Comforts, Possessions, and Enjoyments whatsoever, whether Goods, Lands, Houses, Wares, Wealth, or Riches of any sort or kind whatsoever.
2. By the Love of Money we are to understand that Sin which the Scriptures call Covetousness, and the true nature and notion of it consisteth especially in three things.
1. IN having a real Esteem and Value for Wealth or Money, as if it was a thing that could make Men happy, or better than otherwise they would be; as it is plain all covetous Men have their Desire of Riches proceeding only from a groundless Fancy, that their Happiness consists in having much, which makes them set a greater Value upon Riches, preferring them before other things, even before God himself. Hence the Love of Money is altogether inconsistent with the Love of God, 1 Joh. ii. 15. If any Man love the World, the love of the Farber is not in him. It being impossible to love God as we ought, above all things, and yet to love the World too at the same time.
2. HENCE the Love of Money supposeth also a Delight and Complacency in the having of it, proceeding from the foresaid Esteem they have for it: For being possessed with a fond Opinion, that the more 121they have the better they are, they cannot but be pleased with the thoughts of their present Enjoyments, as the rich Man was in the Gospel, Luk. xii. 16, 17, 18, 19. who because his Ground brought forth plentifully, refolv’d to enlarge his Barns, and lay up Stores for many Years, and bid his Soul take her Ease. How many such Fools have we amongst us, who please and pride themselves with the thoughts of their being rich?
3. FROM this Esteem for, and Complacency in Money or Wealth, it follows that Men are still desirous of having more, placing their Happiness only in Riches, because they think they can never be happy enough, therefore they think too they are never rich enough. Hence how much soever they have, they still desire more, and therefore Covetousness in Scripture is ordinarily expressed by πλεονεξία, which properly signifies an inordinate Desire of having more, which kind of Desires can never be satisfyed, because they are able to desire more than all the World, and to raise themselves as high and as far as the infinite Good itself. Now such a Love of Money as this is, consisting in having a real Esteem for it, in taking Pleasure and Delight in it, and in longing and thirsting after it; this is that which the Apostle 122here saith is the Root of all Evil; that is, it is the great and principal Cause of all sorts of Evil that Men are guilty of, or obnoxious to; which that I may clearly demonstrate to you, we must first know in general that there are but two sorts of Evil in the World, the Evil of Sin, and the Evil of Punishment or Misery; and the Love of Money is the Cause of them both.
To begin with the Evil of Sin, which is the only Fountain from whence all other Evils flow, and itself doth certainly spring from the Love of Money, as much or more than front any thing else in the whole World. Insomuch that the greatest part of those Sins which any of us are guilty of, proceeds from this Master Sin, even the Love of Money, as might easily be shewn from a particular Enumeration of those Sins which Men generally are addicted to. But that I may proceed more clearly and methodically in demonstrating this, so as to convince Men of the Danger of this above most other Sins, I desire it may be consider’d that there are two sorts of Sins that we are all guilty of, Sins of Omission and Sins of Commission, under which two Heads all Sins whatsoever are comprehended.
FIRST for Sins of Omission. It is plain that our Love of Money is the chief and 123principal Cause that makes us neglect and omit our Duties to God and Man, as it is manifest we most of us do. In speaking unto which I must take leave to deal plainly, for it is a matter that concerns our eternal Salvation; and therefore howsoever some may resent it, I am bound in Duty and Conscience to mind Men of their Sins, and particularly of this great prevailing Sin of Covetousness, or inordinate Love of Money, which most Men give but too much reason to fear they are guilty of, and therefore I may tell them of it without any breach of Charity. It is true, I cannot pretend to be a searcher of Hearts, that is only God’s Prerogative, and therefore I shall not take upon me to judge or censure any particular Persons; but I shall speak to all in general, and leave every one to make the particular Application of it to himself. Neither shall I speak of things at random, but I shall instance only in such Sins which I can assert upon my own Knowledge that most Men allow themselves, and that upon this account only, because they love Money.
FOR first, what is the reason that so few, indeed scarce any of us, are at Prayers at Church upon the Week-Day, to perform our Devotion to him that made us? Is it because we think it impertinent to pray 124unto him? No, our Presence there on Sundays contradicts that, and I have more Charity than to think that any are so atheistical as to imagine it to be superfluous to pay our Homage to the supreme Governour of the World, and to implore his Aid and Blessing upon us? But what then should be the reason of it? in plain Terms it is nothing else but because Men love Money, and therefore are loth to spare so much time from their Shops or Callings, as to go to Church to pray to God for what they want, and praise his Name for what they have. Let us search into our own Hearts, and we shall acknowledge this to be the only reason of it. But it is a very foolish one, for who can bless us but God?
2. WHAT is the reason that so many neglect the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper? Do not we all look upon it as our Duty to receive it? I dare say we do; Christ himself having commanded it, Luk. xxii. 19. and it being the only way whereby to manifest our selves to be Christians, what then can be the reason of this Neglect of it, but merely the Love of Money, which makes Men loath to spend time in preparing and fitting themselves for it.
BUT seeing Men thus excommunicate themselves by not coming to the Communion, 125in plain Terms, they deserve to be excommunicated by the Censures of the Church. And if God should in his Providence deprive them of ever having an Opportunity of receiving the Sacrament again, they must even thank themselves for for it. Howsoever this shall be their present Punishment, that they shall be deprived of it, until they think it worth their while to come unto it.
WHAT is the reason that the Sabbath is so profaned? That so many take their Recreations upon the Lord’s Day, but because they cannot spare time for it from getting Money upon other Days? thinking the Day long, because they can get little in it, as Amos viii. 5. And why do so many profane the Sabbath, while at Church, by thinking upon the World, but because they love it? Ezek. xxxiii. 31.
3. WHAT is the reason that Charity is so cold, but that the Love of Money is grown so hot amongst us? For do not we all know it is our Duty to relieve the Poor? Hath not God expressly commanded it Hath not he threatned a Curse to them that do it not, and promised a Blessing to them that do it? what then can be the reason that so many neglect it, but because they love their Money more than God?126
To these might be added many other Sins, which the Love of Money daily occasions. For what is the reason that many read the. Scriptures so seldom, and so cursorily as they do? What is the reason that they either have none, or commonly neglect their Family Duties? That every slight Occasion will make them omit their private Devotions; that they can find no time to look into their own Hearts, to consider their Condition, and meditate upon God and Christ, and the World to come. What is the reason that many know their Shops better than their Hearts, and are acquainted with the temper of their Body more than with the constitution of their Souls? That they are so careful and industrious in the Prosecution of their worldly Designs, so negligent and remiss in looking after Heaven? What is or can be the reason of these things, but that inordinate Love, and Affection they have for Money, or the things of this World, which makes them so eager in the pursuit of them, that they forget they have any thing else to mind, and so much taken up with worldly Business, that God, and Christ, and Heaven, and Soul and all, must give way to it? Oh, the Folly and Madness of sinful Men! what a strange corrupt and degenerate thing is the Heart of Man become! that we 127should be so foolish and unwise as to prefer our Bodies before our Souls, Earth before heaven, Toys and Trifles before the eternal God, the worst of Evils before the best of Goods, even Sin itself, with all the Miseries that attend it, before Holiness and that eternal Happiness which is promised to it! And all for nothing else but the love of a little Pelf and Trash, which hath no other worth but what our own distracted Fancies put upon it.
AND if the Love of Money be the Root of so many Sins of Omission, how many Sins of Commission must needs sprout from it? Indeed they are so many that it would be an endless thing to reckon them all up, and therefore I shall not undertake it, but shall mention only such of them as every one upon the first reading shall acknowledge to be the cursed Offspring of this one fruitful and big-bellyed Sin of Covetousness, or the Love of Money, of which Cicero observes, that Nullum est Officium tam sanctum atque solemne, quod non avaritia: comminuere atque violare soleat. So we may say on the other side too, That there is no Sin so great and horrid, but Covetousness will sometime put Men upon it.
Is Idolatry a Sin? yea certainly, one of the greatest that any Man can he guilty of, and yet nothing can be more plain, 128than that Coverousness, wheresoever it comes, draws it along with it; insomuch that every covetous Man is asserted by God himself to be an Idolater, Eph. v. 5. and Covetousness to be Idolatry itself, Col. iii. 5. And the reason is plain; for what is Idolatry but to give that Worship to a Creature which is due only unto God? But what higher Acts of Worship can we perform to God, than to love him and to trust on him which it is certain every covetous Man gives to his Money; and therefore Covetousness is here called φιλαργυρία, the Love of Money. And we cannot but be all sensible what Trust and Confidence Men are wont to repose in their Estates and Incomes. But such will say, we do not fall down before our Money, nor pray unto it; but they trust on it, and that is infinitely more than bare praying to it: And though they do not bow down before it in their Bodies, yet they make all the Faculties of their Souls to bow and stoop unto it; they love and desire it, they rejoyce and delight in having of it, they are grieved and troubled for nothing so much as the parting with it, nor fear any thing so much as the losing of it.
BUT they will say again, we do not sacrifice to our Bags, nor burn Incense to our Estates; we never did, nor intend to 129offer so much as a Lamb or Calf unto it! It is true, they do not, but they offer that which is far better, they offer the Poor to it, suffering them to perish with Hunger, Thirst and Cold, rather than relieve them with that necessary Maintenance which God hath put into their Hands for them; they offer their own Bodies to it, exposing them to Heats and Colds, to Dangers and Hazards both by Sea and Land, and all for Money; yea, they offer their own Souls to it likewise, as a whole Burnt-Offering, giving them to lie scorching in Hell Flames to Eternity, and that upon no other Account but to get Money: And tell me which are the greatest Fools, and the most odious Idolaters, such as offer Beasts to the. Sun and Flames, or such as offer themselves both Soul and Body to Dirt and Clay? We cannot but all acknowledge the latter to be far the worse, and by Consequence the covetous Man to be the greatest Idolater in the World, and that too only because he is a covetous Man.
MOREOVER, is not Extortion and Oppression a Sin? and yet we all know that it is the Love of Money that is the only cause of it. Is not Strife and Contention a Sin? whence comes it but from our lusting after Money, Jac. iv. 1. Is not Perjury a Sin? Is not Corruption of Justice a Sin? Is 130 not Cheating and Cousenage a Sin? Is not Pride and Haughtiness a Sin? Is not unrighteous dealing betwixt Man and Man a Sin? Is not Theft and Robbery a Sin? Is nor Treason and Rebellion a Sin? Are not all these Sins,. and great ones too? But whence spring these poysonous Fruits into the Lives of Men, but from the bitter Root of Covetousness in their Hearts? It is the Love of Money that makes these Sins so rise among us: It is this that makes Men forswear themselves, and couzen others: It is this that oft-times makes Fathers ruin their Children, and Children to long for the Death of their Fathers: It is this that makes Neighbours go to Law, and Brethren themselves to be at variance: It is this that makes Men strive to over-reach each other, and to blind the Eyes of those they deal with: It is this that hath caused some to murder others, and others to destroy themselves. What shall I say more? There is no Impiety that can be committed against God, nor Injury that can be offered unto Men, but the Love of Money hath been the Cause of it in others, and will be so in us unless it be timely prevented, and therefore it may well be termed the Root of all Evil of Sin.
AND it being the Root from whence all the Evil of Sin springs, it must needs be 131the Root of the Evil of Punishment and Misery too: Misery and Punishment being the necessary consequent of Sin. Indeed this Sin carries its Misery along with it, as Seneca himself saw by the mere Light of Nature, saying, Nulla avaritia sine pænâ est, quamvis satis sit ipsa pænarum, Avarice is without Punishment, tho’ it be itself Punishment enough. For what a Torment is it for a Mab to be always thirsty, and never able to quench his thirst? Yet this is the Misery of every covetous Man, whose thirst after Money can never be satisfyed, and who is so desirous of having more, that he can never enjoy with Comfort what he hath; loving Money so well that he grudgeth himself the oft of it. Hence the foresaid Author observed, That in nullum avarus bonus est, in se ipsam pessimus, The covetous Man is good to none, but worst of all to himself. And as this is the natural Consequent of this Sin in itself, so is it the ordinary Punishment that God inflicts upon Men for it, not suffering them to take any Pleasure in the use of what they love, Eccles. vi. 1, 2. And besides that, what Cares and Fears, what Labours and Travels, what Dangers and Hazards doth the Love of Money put Men upon? How do they rack their Brains, and break their Rest to get it; and when it is gotten, 132 what Fears are they always in lest they should lose it again? What Grief and Trouble do the poor Wretches undergo for every petty Loss that befals them? So that every covetous Man is not only miserable, but therefore miserable because covetous.
BUT if their Misery be so great in this Life, how great will it be in that to come? Concerning which there are two things to be observed: First, that the very having of Riches makes it very difficult to get to Heaven, Matth. xix. 23, 24, 25. Luk. xvi. 19, 22. Hence Agar was afraid of them, Prov. xxx. 8. Neither do we ever read of any of the Patriarchs, Prophets, or the Saints recorded in Scripture, to have been guilty of this Sin, unless Baruch, who is reproved for it, Jer. xlv. 5.
AND as the having of Money makes it difficult to get to Heaven, so the loving of it makes it impossible to keep out of Hell. For so long as a Man is covetous, he is liable to every Temptation, ready to catch at every Bait that the Devil throws before him; so that he is led by him as he pleaseth, till at length he be utterly destroyed, 1 Tim. vi. 9. And therefore the same Apostle elsewhere tells us, that the Covetous have no Inheritance in the Kingdom of God, but the Wrath of God will most certainly fall upon them, Eph. v. 5, 6. 133But the Wrath of God is the greatest Evil of Punishment that it is possible for Men to bear: Indeed it is that which being once incensed makes Hell-fire: And yet we see that the heat of our Love to Money will enkindle the flames of God’s Wrath against us, yea and such flames too as will never be quenched, Mark ix. 44. And so for the little seeming transient Pleasure they take in getting, or keeping Money now; they must live in Misery and Contempt, Shame and Torment forevermore.
THUS now we see that the Love of Money will not only put us upon the Evil of Sin, but it will also bring the Evil of Punishment upon us; both which the Apostle here, Ver. 9, 10. imputes to this Sin. And therefore he both well may and must be understood of both there sorts of Evil, when he saith, that the Love of Money is the root of all Evil; which, the Premises consider’d, I hope none can deny. And need I then heap up more Arguments to dissuade Men from this Sin, and to prevail with them to leave doting upon the World and loving Money? Is not this one Argument of it self sufficient? For is it possible for us to indulge our selves in this Sin, now we know it is the root of all Evil? And that if we still love Money there is no Sin to great but we may fall 134into it, and no Misery so heavy but it will fall upon us. Surely if this Consideration will not prevail upon us to despise and contemn, rather than to love and desire this World, for my part I know not what can. Only this I know, that so long as Men continue in this Sin, all Writing and Preaching will be in vain to them; and so will their Hearing be, their going to Church, their reading the Scriptures, their hearing them read and expounded to them, all this will signify nothing, this root of all Evil is still within us, and it will bring forth its bitter fruit, do what we can. And therefore as ever we desire to profit by what we hear, as ever we desire to avoid any one Sin whatsoever, to know what happiest means to escape either present Torment or eternal Misery, as ever we desire to be real Saints, and to manifest our selves to be so, to go to Heaven, and live with God and Christ for ever, let not our Affections be entangled any longer in the briars and thorns of this lower World, let us beware of loving Money: If Riches encreafe, let us not set our hearts upon them, Psal lxii. 10. but scorn and despise them hereafter as much as ever heretofore we have desired or loved them.
Bur I cannot, I dare not but in Charity believe and hope, that by this time my 135Readers are something weaned from their doting upon this present World, and desire to know how they may for the future get off their affections from it, so as to have this root of all Evil extirpated, and quite plucked up from within them. I hope this is now the desire of all, or at least of most of them; and therefore I shall now endeavour to shew them how they may infallibly accomplish and effect it. In order thereto,
1. LET such Persons often consider with themselves how unsuitable the things of this World are for Affections and Love, which was design’d only for the chiefest Good. When God implanted the Affection of Love within us, he did not intend it should be the root of all Evil, but of all Good unto us; and therefore he did not give it us to place it fondly upon such low and mean Objects as this World presents unto us, but that we should love Himself with all our hearts and Souls, Deut. vi. 5. And surely he infinitely deserves our Love more than such Trash can do.
2. LET them remember that so long as they love Money, they may pretend what they please, they do not love God, 1 Joh. ii. 14. nor Christ, Mat. x. 37. Luk. xiv. 26. and by consequence they have no true Religion at all in them, Jam. i. 27.136
3. LET them often read and study our Saviour’s Sermon upon the Mount, where he pronounces the meek and low, not the rich and mighty, to be blessed, Mat. v. 3, 4. and weigh those strong and undeniable Arguments which he brings, to prevail upon us not to take thought for the World, not trouble our Heads about the impertinent Concerns of this transient Life, Mat. vi. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
4. LET them labour to, confirm and strengthen their Trust and Confidences on the Promises of God, who hath assured us, that if we love and fear him, he will take care of us, and provide all things necessary for us, Mat. vi. 33. This is the great Argument which the Apostle uses, Heb. xiii. 5, 6.
5. LET them remember that they are called to higher things than this World is able to afford them: The Christian is an high and heavenly Calling; we are called by it, and invited to a Kingdom and eternal Glory, 1 Thess. 2. 12. and therefore ought not to spend our time about such low and paultry Trash as Riches and Wealth.
6. LET them get above the World, let their Conversation be in Heaven, and then they will soon look down upon all things here below as beneath their Concern. Vilescunt 137temporalia, cum desiderantur æterna, He that seriously thinks upon and desires Heaven, cannot but vilify and despise Earth. Oh what Fools and Madmen do the blessed Angels, and the glorified Saints in Heaven, think us poor Mortals upon earth to be, when they see us busying our selves about getting a little refin’d Dirt, and in the mean while neglecting those transcendent Glories which themselves enjoy, although they be offer’d to us!
7. Let them never suffer the Vanity of all things here below to go out of their minds; but remember still, that get what they can, it is but Vanity and vexation of Spirit, as Solomon himself asserted upon his own Experience, though he be sure had more than any of us are ever likely to enjoy. And them not only often repeat the words, but endeavour to get themselves convinced throughly of the truth of them, which their own Experiences duly weighed, and rightly applied will soon do.
8. LET it be their daily Prayer to Almighty God, that he would take off their Affections from the World and incline them to himself, as David did, saying, Incline my heart to thy Testimonies, and not to Covetousness, Psal. cxix. 36.138
To all these means, let them add the constant and serious Consideration of what they have here read, that the Love of Money is the root of all Evil; assuring themselves that if they will not believe it now, it is not long before they will all find it but too true by their own sad and woful Experience; when they shall be stripp’d of their present Enjoyments, and so turn Bankrupts in another World, where they will be cast into Prison without ever having a farthing to relieve themselves, or so much as a drop of water to cool their enflamed tongues.
By these and such like means none of us but may suppress the Love of Money in us, which is the root of all Evil, and so avoid or prevent all the Evil which otherwise will proceed from it. Whether any of my Readers will be persuaded to use these means or no, I know not; howsoever let me tell them, that if they are loath to strive to get their Affections deaden’d to the World, it is an infallible sign that they are too much in love with it, and that this root and seed of all manner of Evil remains in them; nor can it be expected they will be persuaded to any one Duty whatsoever, until they are first prevailed upon to do this, even to mortify their Lusts and Affections to the things of this World. For 139so long as those are predominant within us, no Grace whatsoever can be exerted, nor Duty performed, nor any Sin avoided by us.
BUT oh how happy would it be, if it should please the most high God to set what I have said so home upon any, as to induce them to set themselves seriously for the future, to the eradicating or rooting up this Love of Money out of their hearts! what a holy, what a blessed, what a peculiar People should we then be, and how zealous of good works! Then we should take all opportunities of performing our Devotions to Almighty God; then we should have as many at the Sacrament,. as at a Sermon; then our Churches would be filled all the week, as well as on Sundays, and the eternal Godconstantly worshipped with Reverence and godly Fear; then we would take delight in cloathing the Naked, feeding the Hungry, and relieving the Oppressed; Then there would be no such thing as cheating and cousenage, as lying and perjury, as strife and contention amongstl us. But we should all walk hand in hand together in the ways of Piety, Justice, and Charity upon Earth, until at length we shall come to Heaven, where we shall be so far from loving or desiring Money, that we shall account it as it is, even dross and dirt; 140where our Affections shall be wholly taken up with the Contemplation of the chiefest Good, and we shall solace our selves in the Enjoyment of his Perfections forevermore.
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