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gree is it obedience to very numerous commands of the Gospel; and, in a degree no less eminent, is it an object of Scriptural promises. • Blessed is he that considereth the poor : the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble; the Lord will preserve bim and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth : the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing. He hath dispersed; he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever.'
5. It is a striking resemblance to the character of the Redeemer.
• Jesus Christ,' saith St. Peter, ' a man who went about doing good. How exact a description is this of our Saviour's life! To pass by the divine doctrines which he taught, how entirely were all his miracles directed to this single end! He healed the sick, he fed the hungry, he comforted the sorrowful, cleansed the leprous, cast out devils, and restored soundness to the lame, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead ; and still more wonderful were his sufferings. All the contradictions which he endured from sinners, all the agonies of the garden and the cross, and all the humiliation of the grave, he endured solely for the purpose of rescuing wretched apostates, condemned and ruined, from final perdition. How lovely, how glorious a character! Mine elect,' saith God the Father in whom my soul delighteth : my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' What angel would not delight to make such a character his pattern! What Christian would not follow his example !
6. It will secure a divine reward.
It is a most remarkable fact, that in our Saviour's account of bis administrations at the final day, he has founded his approbation of good men, and their everlasting reward upon their performance of the duties of charity. Come, ye blessed of my Father,' will the Judge of the quick and the dead say to them on bis right hand, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ; for I was an bungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in ; naked, and clothed thee; or when saw we thee sick, and in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'
On the other hand, the cause expressly assigned for the condemnation of the wicked at the same awful day, is their omission of these very duties. How delightful then will it be, to go from this world with a consciousness that the duties of charity have been all performed by ourselves! How melancholy, how dreadful, to stand before the Judge with a conviction that they bave been all neglected !
THE LAW OF GOD.
THE TENTH COMMAND MEN T.“
THEY, THAT WILL BE RICH, FALL INTO TEMPTATION, AND A SNARE,
AND INTO MANY FOOLISH AND HURTFUL LUSTS, WHICH DROWN MEN IN DESTRUCTION AND PERDITION. FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY 3$ THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL; WHICH WHILE SOME COVETED AFTER, THEY HAVE ERRED FROM THE FAITH, AND PIERCED THEMSELVES THROUGH WITH MANY SORROWS.
1 TIMOTHY VI. 9, 10.
In the two preceding Discourses, I examiỹed the nature and benefits of contentment, the immediate object of injunction in the tenth command; and of charity, a duty which it obviously implies. The subject which next offers itself to consideration is the covetousness which is the immediate object of prohibition in this precept. This I shall discuss under the two general heads of avarice and ambition.
The former of these shall occupy the present Discourse.
The spirit of covetousness extends indeed both its views and desires to the objects of sensuality, as well as to wealth, and distinction. But, beside that these are not commonly considered as the proper objects of covetousness, I have already discoursed so extensively concerning several sensual gratifications, as to render it unnecessary again to bring them into a particular examination.
In the present discussion, it is my design to consider,
All these subjects are directly mentioned in the text. or those, who will be rich,' it is said, that they · fall into many foolish lusts. These lusts are also said to be · hurtful,' and to * drown men in destruction and perdition. It is further said, that the love of money is the root of all evil. Some, who had coveted after it,' in or before the days of St. Paul, he declares, erred,' or were seduced, from the faith; and pierced themselves through ;' (TEPHETIpxo, pierced themselves all around ;) with many sorrows. Here we find the fully, guilt, and mischiefs of avarice asserted in the strongest, as well as the most explicit terms. What is thus testified by St. Paul, the common sense of mankind bas in every age and country attested in the most ample manner. All nations, wherever wealth has existed, have declared covetousness to be eminently foolish, sinful, and mischievous. A stronger specimen of this testimony can hardly be given, than in the appropriation of the name Miser, (a wretch,) to the avaricious
The proofs, which I shall give, at the present time, of the folly of avarice, are the following:
1. The pursuits of the avaricious man are attended by many unnecessary anxieties, labours, and distresses.
The mind of an avaricious man is always the seat of eager desire. · So peculiarly is this the fact, that the words covetous, and covetousness, although originally signifying any inordinate desire, denote in common usage, when unqualified by other phraseology, the inordinate desire of wealth ; and are equivalent to the words avaricious and avarice. Tbis fact, mure strongly than any reasoning could, proves that the love of riches is usually, in an eminent degree, inordinate. But whenever our desires sustain this character, the mind becomes proportionally anxious. Our attainment of the coveted object is, in most cases, necessarily uncertain. Between the fear of losing, and the hope of acquiring it, the mind is necessarily suspended. As these desires are continually exerted, the suspense becomes, of course, continual also. A state of suspense is always a state of anxiety. Here the anxiety is regularly great and distressing ; because the desires are incessant, eager, and sufficiently strong to control all the powers of the mind.
But this anxiety is unnecessarily suffered. All the prudence and industry which can be lawfully exerted for the acquisition of wealth, may be employed, and all the property which can be lawfully acquired, may be gained, without the exercise of a single avaricious feeling, and without the sufferance of a single avaricious anxiety. The contented man often becomes rich to every desirable degree, amid the full possession of serenity, peace, and self-approbation.
Nor are the labours of the avaricious man of a less unfortunate nature. His mind is continually strained with effort. The strength of his desires goads him into an unceasing course of contrivances to gratify them. His thirst for property drives him to an incessant formation of plans by which he hopes to acquire it. The fear of lessening what he has acquired hurries bim into an endless and wearisome train of exertions to secure himself from losses. Thus, a course of mental toil is voluntarily assumed by him, resembling, not the independent labours of a freeman, but the drudgery of a slave. The mind of an old miser is thus in a continual state of travail, and struggles through life under the pressure of an iron bondage.
A mind burried by eager schemes of effort is always a tyrant to the body. Accordingly, the bodily labours of the miser commence before the dawn, worry him through the day, and scarcely permit him to lie down at night. A mere drayhorse, he is destined to a course of incessant toil. The only changes of life to him are from dragging loads, to bearing burdens; and, like those of the dray-borse, they are all borne and dragged for the use of others.
To the pains springing hourly from this unintermitted toil are added the daily reproaches of conscience; the sufferings of disease and accident, to which such a life is peculiarly exposed; the contempt of those around him; the denial of their pity to his sufferings ; and their universal joy in his mortification,