Imágenes de páginas

per name, by the genera! name of stellionatus, and dolus malus; so here in the decalogue, aster God had instanced in the chief and most common sorts of injuries which men are guilty of towards their neighbour, as murder, adulcery, theft, bearing of false witness; he sums up all the rest, which could not so easily be reckoned particularly, in this short and general prohibition, thou shalt not covet; that is, thou shalt not be injurious to thy neighbour in any other kind; in his wife, or servant, or house, or cattle, or any thing that is his. Covetousness, or any inordinate desire of that which is our neighbour's, being commonly the root and parent of all these kind of injuries.

Arid for the fame reason St. Matthew, instead of the tenth commandment, puts this general precept, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyjelf, as being the fense of it in other words: Matth. xix. 18, 19. Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou stjalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother, and thou (halt love thy neighbour as thyself. And this command of loving our neighbour as ourselves, our Saviour elsewhere tells us was the sum of the duties of the second table; and it is the fame in fense with that precept of our Saviour, Matth. vii. 12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should da unto you, do ye even so to them. That is, as thou wouldest have no man to be injurious to thee in any thing, so be not thou to any other man in any kind. And the Apostle, Rom. xiii. 8, 9, 10. shews us upon what account this general precept, Thou fialt love thy neighbour as thyself, is the sum of the second table. He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law: for this, thou (halt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou (halt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any 0ther commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou (halt love thy neighbour as thyself. And then he adds in the next words, Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; thtrefore love is the fulfilling of the law. That is, he that truly loves his Vol. V. T neigh-. neighbour, will not be injurious to him in any kind: Therefore love is the sum of the law.

The design of all this is to shew, that he that is injurious to his neighbour in his estate in any kind, is properly guilty of the sin of covetousness, which is forbidden in the tenth commandment. So that all arts of fraud and oppression whereby men endeavour to get and increase an estate by the injury of their neighbour, is a branch of the sin of covetous, ness.

2. The vice of covetousness in getting wealth, does likewise consist in an anxious and tormenting care about obtaining the things of this life. The regular and due temper of a man's mind about the things of this world, is to commit ourselves to the providence of God in the use of honest and lawful endeavours, and to refer the success of all to his good pleasure; and whatsoever is beyond this, is a branch from the evil root of covetousness. We distrust the providence of God, when, after we have used our best endeavours, and begged his blessing upon them, we torment ourselves about the issue and event of things. And as this is sinful, so it is vain, and to no purpose. Diligence in our business is the way to get an estate; but no man was ever the richer for tormenting himself because he was not so. The reason why men seek the things of this world, and take pains to get them, is to make life convenient and comfortable; and consequently he that torments himself about the getting of these things, contradicts himself in his own design, because he makes his life miserable, that he may make it comfortable.

3. The sin of covetousness in getting, consists in seeking the things of this life, with the neglect of things infinitely better, and which are of far greater and nearer concernment to us. He is a covetous man, who so minds the world, as to neglect God, and his soul; who is so busy and intent upon making provision for this life, as to take no care of the other; ib concerned for a few days of his pilgrimage here, as to have no consideration and regard for his eternal abode in another world. God allows us to provide for this life, and considers the necessities which do continually press us while we are in the body: Buz while we are making provision for these dying bodies, he expects that we should remember that we have immortal souls; which, since they are to have an endless duration in another world, ought to be provided for with far greater care. It is an inordinate desire of riches, when men so lay out all their care and industry for the obtaining of them, as if nothing else were to be regarded, as if no consideration at all were to be had ot another world, and of that better part of ourselves which is to continue and live for ever. All desires and endeavours aster riches, which take men off from the business of religion, and. the care of their fouls, which allow men neither the leisure and opportunity, nor the heart and affection to love God, and to serve him, are to be referred to this sin of covetousness, which is here condemned by our Saviour in the text.

III. There is covetousness likewise in possessing or using an estate: And this consists chiefly in these three things:

First, When men are sordid towards themselves, and cannot find in their hearts to use and enjoy what they possess; are continually adding to their estate, without any design of enjoyment; and take infinite pains to raise a huge fortune, not that they may use it, but that they may be said to have it. This is a degree of covetousness even beyond that of the rich man in the parable aster the text: For he, it seems, aster he had enlarged his barns to his mind, and laid up goods for many years, designed at last to have taken his ease, and have fallen to the enjoyment of what he had gotten; to have eat and drank, and to have been merry; and this, though it proved but a foolish design in the issue, he being cut off in that very instant, when he was come to the point of satisfaction and enjoyment; yet is it infinitely more reasonable, than to take great pains to get an estate with a full resolution never to be the better for it.

Secondly, Men are covetous in keeping. an estate, when they do not use it charitably; when they canF » not not find in their hearts to spare any thing out of their abundance, to the relief of those who are in want. Though a man get an estate without covetousness, and have an heart to enjoy it, yet so far he is covetous, as he is uncharitable. He loves money more than he ought,who having enough to spare, chooseth rather to keep it, than to do good with it, and to use it to one of the principal ends for which God gives an estate.

Thirdly, They likewise are covetous, who place their chief trust and happiness in riches, who (as the expression is, Job xxxi. 24.,) make gold their hope, and fay to the fine gold, thou art my confidence. And this is the reason,why covetousness is so often in scripture called idolatry; because the covetous man sets up his riches in the place of God, putting his trust and confidence in them, and setting his whole heart upon them, loving them as he should love God only, with all his heart, and soul, and strength: And therefore mammon, which signifies riches, is in scri- . pture represented as a deity, and the covetous man as a servant, or worshipper of mammon.

So that in scripture he is a covetous man who psaceth his chief felicity in a great fortune, and will venture to lose any thing rather than to part with that; who will quit his religion, and violate his conscience, and run the hazard of his soul, rather than forfeit his estate, or the hopes of advancing it to his mind.

And this in times of trial and difficulty, is the great temptation to which the covetous man is exposed. When a man may not only save himself, but get considerable advantage by departing from the truth; and in changing his religion, may have a good sum of money to boot, ot' which is equal to it, a good place; this to a covetous mind is a very strong temptation, and almost irresistible. When error and delusion can bid so high, and offer so good terms, no wonder if it gain some proselytes among the covetous and ambitious part of mankind. This the Apostle gives . warning of, as a great temptation to rich men in times of suffering, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. They that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare: for the love os money is' the root of all evil; which while some have lusted after,they have erred from the faith. The young man in the gospel is a fad instance of this kind, who chose rather to leave Christ, than to part with his great possessions. And such a one was Demas, who forsook the Apostles, and Christianity itself^ to cleave to this present world.

Thus I have done with the first thing I proposed to speak to, the nature of this vice, which our Saviour in the text cautions men so earnestly against; take heed and beware of covetousness. I shall now proceed, in the second place, to shew the evil and unreasonableness of this vice: But that stiall be the subject of another discourse.


The evil and Unreasonableness of covetous .' . '. ness.

Luke Xu.- i y. 'And he said unto them,Take heed and beware of co^ vetousness; for a man's life confisteth not in the abundance of the things which he fojfejjeth.

The second sermon on this text.

IHave made entrance into a discourse upon these words, in which I have told you there are three things observable. First, The manner of the cautioit, which our Saviour here gives, take heed and beware.

Secondly, The matter of the caution, or the- sip which our Saviour here warns his hearers against, take heed and beware of covetousness L And

Thirdly , The reason of this caution, because a man**: life confisteth not in the abundance of the things which he {ofiefcth.

- fv in

« AnteriorContinuar »