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covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully :
turn the desires from things of eternal unawares,—the solemn parable which interest. This was illustrated by the case follows was spoken. The moral which of the person who had requested him to the parable was designed to illustrate is, interpose, that he might obtain his civil that a man's life consisteth not in the abunrights. Here was a Teacher sent from dance of things which he possesseth. Those God, one whom many acknowledged who think that these words merely sigto be an extraordinary prophet; and nify that riches have no power to secure some, the Messiah himself; and yet this a long life, not only ascribe a very trite man does not avail himself of his presence and an almost useless remark to our to know what he must do to be saved, Lord, unworthy of his wisdom ; but fail but applies to him to undertake to put entirely to show that the parable illushim in possession of his share of an in- trates that sentiment, beyond the bare heritance,-a sufficient proof that his sor- fact that a rich man suddenly and premadid soul was wholly absorbed in earthly turely dies; whilst many of its most interests. And this will further show us striking circumstances are, in that view, what our Lord here means by covetous- quite superfluous and irrelevant. Nor ness. Not the wicked desire of acquiring does it come up to our Lord's meaning, what belonged to another; for by the to take life, as Schleusner, Koinoel, and Mosaic law he had a right to his share of others, in the sense of happiness ; as if the inheritance, and there is no intimation Christ had said, “For a man's happiness that he desired more than his share; nor depends not on his riches ;" for surely that does covetousness here and in other parts is a truth very easy to be shown by many of scripture mean the hoarding up of other considerations than that the opuwealth, so as to refuse to apportion that lent, like others, are liable to sudden degree of it which duty requires to be death ; and indeed the answer to so imexpended and given away. This is the perfect a view of the subject would be, desire of keeping ; but covetousness in- “They are at least happy in their riches cludes the desire of having, of increasing so long as they live.” These and several wealth even when there is no design to sink other interpretations are frigid and triinto churlishness and illiberality. And the fling, and only show how often the learngreat rule by which this studium habendi, ed, if not themselves spiritual men, pass this criminal and dangerous desire of gain, over, without discernment, the most is ascertained to exist, is, when it prevents weighty and important lessons of holy us from applying with our whole heart to writ. By Life our Lord obviously means, the work of our salvation. For then the men's true INTEREST ; and that he teaches worldly desires extinguish or render in- us, consists not in worldly abundance, but efficient spiritual ones; prayer is restrain- in being rich towards God, or, in respect ed, or languid and powerless; and those to God; that is, spiritually rich, endowed words of St. John become applicable to with those things which form the treasure our case, “If any man love the world, of the soul, and will remain its treasure the love of the Father is not in him.” after death. Of this great truth the paraTo guard us against this sin,--a sin which ble is a solemnly impressive illustration. does not alarm like obvious immoralities, Verse 16. The ground.-Xwpa, the same which puts itself under even virtuous dis- as aypos, the land owned and cultivated guises of prudence and diligence, and by himself; for he is designated as already which, therefore, often steals upon men
a rich man.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits ?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided ?
* Greek, do they require thy soul.
Verse 17. And he thought within him. Jews, that good angels convey the deself, &c.—This opens his character. He parted spirits of the just to paradise, is full of thoughts and plans; the very and evil angels bear away the souls increase of his wealth, through the extra- of the wicked to torment. Cerordinary fertility of the season, fills him tainly there is nothing in their notions with anxiety ; but in the midst of all contrary to scripture; though whether that, he thought within himself : he thought they are taught there, may be doubted. not thankfully of God, the giver ; he The plural verb in this passage may be thought not of himself as the accountable used impersonally, an instance of which steward of a superior Lord; he thought occurs in the 48th verse of this chapnot of the interests of his spiritual and ter. Death is here spoken of as requiring immortal nature ; and though he thought back a loan. This is in the manner of of future life, he thought of it as certain, the Jews, and conveys a striking thought. not uncertain, and as a scene of sensual So in the Wisdom of Solomon, xv. 8, we enjoyment, not of holy useful works and have, “When his life, which was lent him, diligent preparation for eternity. shall be demanded,”—the same verb being have therefore the complete picture of a used as in the text. The continuance of prosperous man of the world, living with- the soul in connexion with the body is out regard to God.
the continuance of life ; their separation is Verses 19—21. And I will say to my soul, death. So long as the soul remains in 8.c.—This is truly epicurean. When the the body, life is lent us that we may apeasy and temporary work of providing ply it to the great purposes for which it places in which he might deposit an over- is dispensed ; but at death the loan is deflowing wealth was completed, he resolved manded back, and the soul is summoned to discharge his cares, summon his soul to answer for the use made of it. from a vigorous application to the gain- Then whose shall those things be 80.ing of wealth, to its enjoyment in ease, This question is asked to mark the more mirth, and luxury So he resolved to strongly the poverty of the man reputed say and act in future ; but God said, Thou rich. What he had he was about to lose : fool, appov, this night thy soul, which thou his wealth was about to pass into unknown hast resolved to summon to surrender hands; or, if known, this mitigated not the itself to ease and low gratifications, shall case, -it was to drop suddenly from his be required of thee; literally, they require, own: and yet, when stripped of the or shall require. This form of speech world, not being rich in respect of God, gives some sanction to the opinion of the he had no treasure laid up above, no pari
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, 'Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
f Matt. vi. 25.
in the inheritance of heaven, no provision the body, and shall survive it; for by the made for judgment and eternity. Here soul here is not meant animal life, as some was poverty indeed! Some understand vainly interpret, but the thinking prin. being rich towards God to signify abund- ciple in man, that very soul which, in ant in works of charity to others, and the 19th verse, this rich voluptuary adthus to stand in opposition to laying up dresses, and calls to lay aside its cares treasure for himself, for his own use and and anxieties, and to surrender itself to enjoyment; and doubtless this species of ease, and to those enjoyments of which it good works is included in those habits by is capable through the gratified senses of which a man becomes rich, and provides the body. And that this soul was refor his felicity in a future life. But the quired for judgment and punishment, aptrue antitheses in verse 21 are the laying pears from this, that it is declared to be up earthly treasures, and the securing the folly of this worldly man that he had heavenly riches; between caring for the lived so as not to be rich toward God, the body and caring for the soul; between evil of which could to him be only felt sensuality and spirituality; and between in that future state where that awful a presumptuous dependence upon life, moral poverty would be fully revealed, and a wise regard to its uncertainty lead- and the neglect of religion in this life ing to a holy preparation for it.
fully punished. Several of the most important theologi- Verse 22. Therefore I say unto you, cal points of doctrine are contained in this Take no thought, 8c.-Our Lord takes ocadmonitory parable. It teaches especially, casion to attach to this parable several 1. That the end of the present life is prepa. passages of his sermon on the mount, all ration for a future. 2. That we are to esti- of which teach lessons, for which it is admate the value of things by the manner in mirably adapted to prepare the mind. which they relate to our whole being, See the notes on Matt. vi. 25–33. In and not as they promote a temporary
and verse 29 there is a variation in the expresent advantage. 3. That the true riches pression, Neither be ye of a doubtful mind. of men are moral, and consist in all which
The word μετεωριζεσθαι signifies to be raised secures the favour of God in time and into the air as clouds, or birds, driven uneternity. Of these the holy scriptures certainly by the winds; or upon the waves only inform us. Plato could distinguish of the sea, as ships tossed in a swell of between moral gold and silver, and divine; the ocean : hence it comes to be used for and others could speak of the riches of the fluctuations of a mind produced by the soul; but the minds of those great doubt and uncertainty.
Against this we writers could never conceive what our are exhorted. We are to have so steadfast Saviour expresses by being rich in respect a faith in the providence of our heareniy of God, in the grace he imparts, in the Father, as to be assured that we shall friendship which he bestows, and in the never be left destitute of his care, and heaven which he prepares for the faithful. therefore not to perplex ourselves as to 4. That man is accountable; and death
the future. Bulkely has adduced here a the requirement of his soul, in order that happy illustration : "In Statius it is id he may give account. 5. That the soul character of his friend Pellius : is immortal, something distinct from had such a superiority to fex "
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24 Consider the ravens : for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them : how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit ?
26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest ?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow : they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye
shall drink, 'neither be ye of doubtful mind. .
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ve the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Or, live not in careful suspense.
all outward things, that his last day would the kingdom, meaning the kingdom of not find him in suspense and perturba- grace and glory, the blessings of the tion of mind about any thing of this sort, church in both worlds, be given, the but ready to go.
smaller gifts, when consistent with their Dubio quem non in turbine rerum
higher interests, could not be withheld. Deprendet suprema dies, scd abire paratum."
But at the same time, amidst all these Verse 32. Fear not, little flock, 8c.—By promises of caring for our temporal necalling his disciples a flock, he professed cessities, he elevates our thoughts to to be their shepherd, and thus added higher blessings, even those of the king. another motive to trust, by the assurance dom, his own kingdom, which he came that they should lack no supplies. They into the world to establish, and which he would naturally think of the words of rose to heaven to administer. To give the sweet singer of their own Israel, “ The this kingdom is said to be the Father's Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” good pleasure, that is, his will, purpose, By adding, It is your Father's good plea- and appointment, as the word in this consure to give you the kingdom, the argu- struction signifies. The grace and kindment was still more strengthened; for if ness are to be concluded rather from the
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; 8 provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning:
act than from the word used, though a spontaneous act. Further, in the writ. some have laid much stress upon it. To ings of the apostles to the churches, we give the kingdom signifies the entire con- perceive the distinction of rich and poor, currence of the Father in the work of spoken of as permanent, and duties enChrist, and his acceptance of it; his joined upon each. The precept is then sealing and confirming every act of grace, to be understood as lying against that and becoming a willing and rejoicing hoarding up of wealth which interferes party to the administration of eternal with the duty of generous almsgiving. glory to Christ's true disciples, in com- Hence it is enjoined to sell, because a pletion of that grand redeeming purpose, great part of the treasure laid up in those which sprung from his own eternal and times were goods of various kinds, as infinite love.
corn, fruits, spices, valuable unguents, Verse 33. Sell that ye have, and give and to a large extent vestments, as well alms. If this be understood as spoken to as money. all Christ's disciples, it must be under- Bags.—Purses, which, by not growing stood comparatively: Sell of what you old and decaying, hold and scatter not the have, a due and liberal portion of it; and treasure put into them. be not like the rich man just mentioned, A treasure in the heavens which faileth whose care was to hoard up all his fruits, not.-A treasure which fails not, either and to provide for his own indulgence by loss or exhaustion, secure and inalso. And it is more consistent with the capable of waste. The accidents to which whole scope of the discourse to interpret such hoards as the Jews were accustomed the command in this comparative sense, to accumulate were liable are suggested than, by taking it strictly, to confine it by the allusion to the thirf and the moth: wholly to the disciples then present. Nor the latter comprehends all those small indid they understand it as an injunction sects which prey upon the corn and fruits to sell all they had; for the women who in the granary, and upon garments in ministered to him of their substance do the wardrobe. not appear to have sold their property ; Verse 34. For where your treasure, &.c. and though for a time after the resurrec- See the note on Matt. vi. 21. tion, the church at Jerusalem had all Verse 35. Let your loins, 8c.---As the things in common, what the rest parted upper garment of the Asiatics is flowing, with was not so much to give alms in the so was it necessary to confine it within proper sense, as to provide a common the girdle when any one addressed himstock in which all participated in a season self to important service. Hence the adof danger and persecution. Nor was this jective eufwvos, well girded, signifies in introduced into any other of the primi- Greek writers well prepared for any active churches; which shows that it rested tion, as fighting, running, serving, &c. upon some peculiarity, and was not of In Hierocles we have it well turned to a general obligation ; if indeed even at Je- moral sense : “ This was the great end of rusalem it was ever binding, or more than the Pythagoric discipline, that men should