Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

developed by the successful pursuit of gain. Not that pride cannot dwell with extreme poverty, for that it can; but none can deny that pride draws nourishment from secular prosperity. And, still more, selfishness may be expected to accompany this desire. There are many noble ciceptions, in which generosity keeps pace with prosperity, and the more is gotten the more is given, and the princely income is dispensed with a princely hand. But this is far from being the rule. Generally, as riches increase, liberality either stands where it did or declines ; as the money siqnents, so augments the love of it; and the nearer the time comes when it felst all be relinquished, the more tightly it is grasped. Thus, “they that wil be rich fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts.” Side by side with the intense desire for gain, there spring up states of mind and feeling which sze inconsistent alike with reason and religion, and are destructive to happiness and injurious to moral character.

But this is not all. “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a stare "—into a thousand temptations and a thousand snares. There is the tamptation to act oppressively; and this, though in our country greatly restricted by the law, and still more restricted by the manly and independent spirit of the people, produces in other parts of the world the crimes and horrors of slavery. Even amongst ourselves, however, the passionate love of ain leads men to adopt the short-sighted policy of getting work done at the ery lowest scale of remuneration. Perhaps a good deal of nonsense is uttered bout low wages and low salaries; perhaps in an open labour market every An gets about as much as he is worth ; still, that man is not to be envied bo, in his love of gain, will take every cold-blooded advantage of the poor

the distressed, and, while himself rolling in riches, feels no pity for those to with great difficulty contrive to maintain a miserable existence. And here is the temptation to act dishonestly. A man determined to be rich is Al to make this his maxim,-that, anyhow, money must be made; and if he Show, by some fraudulent course, he can obtain it in large amounts, the aptation, favoured by circumstances, proves irresistible. Still greater, laps, is the temptation, when a man has, by his recklessness, involved mself in difficulty, and sees that, by some crafty and dishonourable Ek, he can extricate himself, it may be to the loss and ruin of those who Alide in him. Indeed, it has come to this pass, that by multitudes who will be

truth and honour are laughed at, are regarded as exploded superstitions ; d men who have dexterously evaded the law in the perpetration of crimes ainst society, compared with which some which send poor wretches to

on are but trifles, such men, as destitute of all sense of shame as so many oricted burglars, hold their heads as high as ever; and the fact that

can do go without being shunned, scorned, scouted, only shows at is the moral tone of the society in which they so freely move. And

those that will be rich there is many a snare set in these days—snares el bated with great names and great promises—snares which lead to kter ruin, and from which extrication is impossible, excepting to those to set them, who, knowing exactly when the trap will fall, get out in ele, mercilessly carrying with them the plunder taken from the

ignorant unwary fools, who, impatient of the drudgery of plain industry, are “in haste to be rich.”

And these foolish and hurtful lusts, these temptations and these snares, drown men in destruction and perdition,-destruction in regard to this world, and, very often, perdition in the world to come. The destruction, it may be, of their fortunes, and happy is the man of whom it may be said that that is his only or his greatest loss. Better, in commercial failure and distress, to lose that, than, in ever so much prosperity, to lose character, to lose integrity, to lose a sacred regard for truth and a delicate sense of honour; for, wbether it be in the failures or in the successes that attend the desire and determination to be rich, the loss of character, the loss of truthfulness, is, indeed, perdition. We have seen these miseries resulting from an ill-regulated desire for gold. We all know that it is a matter of common occurrence for a man, overwhelmed by commercial disaster, to become desperate and commit suicide ; and, perhaps those who succeed in the world are in : still worse plight, if the success has been not honestly but dishonestly obtained.

To this description of those who will be rich, Paul appends these words -“For the love of money is the root of all evil.” There are many foolish people who try to raise some fun out of these words, and probably think that Paul was a great fool to utter them. And certainly, apart from all irreverent feeling, it may be said that the love of money 13 scarcely the root of all evil; that there are some evils indeed, such as idleness, and pauperism, and debt, which, in many cases, spring from a man's not having enough of the love of money. But Paul has been misunderstood-has, I think, been mistranslated. What he sasi is this : “ The love of money is the root of all the evils ;” and the artie! prefixed to the word evils seems to show that he is referring here to the eri of which he has been speaking, the temptations and snares, the foolish an hurtful lusis, which drown men in destruction and perdition ; of these evil the love of money is the root, or, as we might read the apostle, "a root What he affirms is not that every evil springs from the love of money, bu that this passion is the root, or a principal root, of the evils which he ho spoken of. Let him deny this who can; men who know anything of ti world, and especially of the world in its commercial aspect, know that whu Paul says is terribly true, and that if he had been, not a Christian preache of the first century, but an English nierchant of the nineteenth, he coule not, in so few words, have set forth more faithfully the tendency and th results of the love of gain.

The apostle goes on to speak of this evil as it affects professedly Christis men--" Which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, að pierced themselves through with many sorrows. It is an evil from whiu professedly Christian men are not exempt. Men who have erred from t. faith are men who once were in the faith. Paul evidently refen to professing Christians. And, as a matter of fact, what see is this — that covetousness is, of all others, the sin that mon besets professedly Christian people. To be frank upon this matter,

not a fact that, of all the parts of Christ's teaching, that which we are 3st reluctant to accept is what He says about worldliness ? Christ is very crious when He tells us that He has redeemed us with His blood, and that inte vill give us eternal life; but what a chill comes over us when He says, Take heed and beware of covetousness ; ” “How hardly shall they that have des enter the kingdom of heaven ; ” “ Lay not up treasures on earth ;" Ye cannot serve God and Mammon ; ” “Take no thought for the morrow;" Whoso forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple." There is mething like consistency in the infidel who rejects Christ's words jezether; we make a very sorry business of it, with one hand clinging to the doctrine of the Cross, with the other putting from us as far as we can cits doctrine concerning the love of the world.

The apostle says that some, having given way to the love of money, * bare erred from the faith.” Now, by erring from the faith we generally blerstand a departure from some matter of orthodox belief. To deny the Teity of Christ, or the sacrificial character of His death, or the imputation of His righteousness, or the work of the Holy Spirit; to be unsound upon election, to be doubtful as to the eternity of future punishment, to tamper with the inspiration of the Scriptures ; this, or something of this sort, is what we mean by erring from the faith. Now, for once, let Paul teach us that to love money is as certainly to err from the faith as

embrace any form of what we consider doctrinal error. Of course hristians who act thus “ pierce themselves through with many UTOWs ;” with more sorrows, indeed, than those who are not Chris21ns. To both classes, it may be, that the chances of secular life sre about equal; both may experience success, both may be overwhelmed by illure ; but, in the case of the man who is not a Christian, the felicity of suc18 is not marred by any uncomfortableness of conscience, and the misery

failure is not embittered by spiritual reinorse. As long as there is any Christian life in the professor of Christianity, who gives way to the love of money, his highest prosperity, like his deepest adversity, is accompanied by an uneasy consciousness that he bas been living in a frame of mind altogether inconsistent with Christian character; and the sorrows of an accusing conscience are added, and are no small addition, to the ordinary sorrows of this changeful world.

Well may the apostle say, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Men of God, this idolatry of wealth is not for you. The world itself acknowledges,

this time of reflection, that it has gone mad in its thirst for gain, and in its relief that to amass riches, and to amass them quickly, is the great object of a man's existence. The events of the last few months are a far more powerful commentary upon this text than any which the preacher has to offer ; and the present state of things has brought home to many a sad and fearful heart the truth of the apostle's words. Let us read the lessons which 1 vast violation of financial and, in many instances, of moral law

3 capable of teaching uș. Let us resolye to be wiser for the time to come; ::99 only more prudent in the management of our affairs, but also more con

cerned about spiritual life and progress, more desirous of having in ever in creasing abundance that blessing of God which maketh truly rich, and to which no sorrow is added. And, for the rest, the sensible advice of the father of modern philosophy may not be out of place, Let us only seek such worldly wealth as we can get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly.

Liverpool.

“QUIT YOU LIKE MEN.”*

BY THE REV. J. W. LANCE.

1 Cor. xvi. 13.

It is usual. I think, on these occa- | guage of the New Testament, as wel sions, for the preacher to select hi as in the Latin tongue, there are te text either from the pastoral epistles words to signify “Man.” The meanor from our Lord's words to H ing of the one is a man, not a brute apostles and ministers: I depart from the other, a man, not a woman or this custom, not because I suppose child. It is out of the latter of these those tields of thought to be ex two that the thought of the text. hausted, or in the least likely to be springs. So that our theme this mornso, but because this text has, in some ing is, Manliness in the life and work way, ournestly impressed itself on my of the Christian ministry—“Qut you own heart, as suggesting the pattern like men”_" Be strong." and principle on which I would shape I. You are to be preachers-qui my own life. Indeed, I am not sure you like men in the work of the pal but what Paul may have intended pit. these words more especially for the Be strong in preaching. We soms elders of the Corinthian Church. They times hear of ministers much te occur at the close of the epistle, and loved by their flock because they a are surrounded by references to Timo- | such "good men out of the pulpit thy, to pollos, and to the household! In this, as it seems to me, howere of Stephanas, ministers of the Word, i kindly spoken, there lurks a lates! Bo this, however, as it mar; assume, sarcasm, to which we hope node if you will, that the exhortation is you will ever expose himself. Good addressed to all; vet vith how much | ness out of the pulpit is, of course, more torve does it apply to those who, indispensable; but, to a preacher, i are to be leaders and guides of others. i seems also eminently desirable is the If the soldiers in the ranks of Christ's ' pulpit. A teacher, who is wise out of army must nees be valiant, how much I his class: & sea captain, whose talenta mori they whe sound in the fore front I are most notable on shore: a soldier, or the battle: in your position, abure, who is valiant on parade : these are all e r , courant is a virtue, and no greater anomalies than a pracha strastha , which you owe alke whoa chief merit is that he is a good to Guimal

can of the pulpit.” Be you strong I mr read you that, in the lan- i. it. And to this end-assuming the . A serea preached in Crane Street Chapel, Pontypool, to the students of the

dove.

boundations of devout enthusiasm and , sympathy-much more difficult. The natural gifts to be already laid--one | baptism of the heart, even more than of the great conditions will be en- | the process of the intellect, is needed to during work. If it be true, as Tho make one strong in preaching. If mas Carlyle has said, and as the para while we are musing the fire burns ble of the talents seems to imply, that not, it will scarcely kindle, or at least menius consists mainly in the faculty but feebly, even under the excitement of persistent work, then we trust of a present audience; and for the that every one of you will make full absence of fire no light will compenproof of his genius. Among the rocks sate. That preacher, concerning and quicksands on which some whom the hearer, as he listens to his prochers have made shipwreck, is the exposition, clear and cold, can say idea they entertain of what they call | with truth"Suple preaching." Now in the true, and good sense of

"Tis Athens' owl, and not Mount Zion's that term, “simple preaching can

The bird of learning, not the bird of Tieter be too much admired; but if by

love"it is meant preaching that involves no diligent search and research, no that preacher has mistaken his vocaanxious thought, no hard work, no | tion, or at least has failed to make

treat of the brain, then the less I either his calling or his election sure. we have of “simple preaching" the | For the devout preparation of the better. But it is a mistake to suppose , heart, as well as for the wise that the simple is easy-at least to him answer of the tongue, let us meditate that makes it so. On the contrary, it | upon the greatness of our work. We is often very hard. Any one can be are ambassadors for Christ. Our aim obscure, but simplicity is compara- | is to bring men's wills into harmony tirely a rare gift. And let no one with the Divine will; and so of heaven imagine that because he has to preach and earth to make a gracious unity. ton simple people therefore he can use | For a work than which no greater filled sinple preaching in the sense con- | the hands of the Son of God Himself,

ined. The more ignorant the peo- let us be furnished. Like Apollos, ple, the more pains must you take to mighty in the Scriptures; like Peter, see that they clearly understand-that tender in all hallowed memories; like pour trumpet gives no uncertain Paul, familiar with the weapon called sound. “One has never so much | All-prayer. As to this last, see how Besed of his wits," says the proverb, | Paul's prayers are interwoven with his * 25 when one is dealing with a fool." | epistles; how many of your choicest

he Puritans were painful preachers texts and happiest sermons have been because they took pains themselves, gathered from this source. He who and so spared their hearers from a in prayer like a prince prevails with Teat deal of pain. There is an elabo- ! God, will, in preaching, like a prince nation, partial and crippled, that tends prevail with men. “Quit you like

obscurity ; but there is also an , men-be strong." Slaboration, complete and strong, that, II. You are to be pastors-quit you ends to simplicity, and this it is that like men in this relationship. :commend to you this morning.

The pastor is to rule in the church; But I should be sorry, indeed, to leave of this the following scriptures give

one moment upon your minds ample proof: “ Remember them which e impression, that strength in the hay the rule over you, who have pupit consists wholly in mental pre- | spoken unto you the wora

spoken unto you the word of God.”— Järation. There is a moral prepara Heb, xii. 7. Con—preparation of the heart-a “ Obey thens that have the rule over winging oneself into high and holy' you, and submit yoursolves : for they

« AnteriorContinuar »