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men, expressing their emotions in such language as this:
" The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in Him;" “ Whom have I in heaven, but Thee, and there is none upon earth, I desire in comparison of Thee. Who in the heaven can be compared to Jehovah? who among the sons of the mighty, can be likened unto him?"
Now, this supreme affection towards God, is altogether inconsistent and incompatible with the indulgence of a principle of covetousness. For, such an affection ruling supreme in the heart, virtually deposes God from his throne, and robs him of the glory of his perfections. As soon may we expect to make the north and the south points of the firmament to meet together, or the light of the heavenly world to mingle with the darkness of the infernal pit, as to reconcile the service of God and mammon. For, while the true Christian, in all his movements, privations, and afflictions, puts his confidence in God, and looks up to Him as his portion and deliverer, " the rich man's wealth is his strong city,” and “he trusts in the abundance of his riches." The one joins with the heavenly host, in ascribing “wisdom and power, and glory, and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne;" the other is an idolater, who says to gold, “ thou art my hope, and to the fine gold, thou art my confidence," and thus in effect, “ denies that God is above."
Let Christians meditate deeply on this important point, and consider whether their affections towards the trea. sures of this world be at all compatible with supreme love to their God and Redeemer. What is it that conscience tells you is uppermost in your hearts? What are among your first thoughts in the morning, and your last in the evening? What is it that gives you most pain, the loss of a portion of your wealth, or the apprehension of the loss of the Divine favour? Are your desires more ardent after the increase of riches than after the treasure in hea. ven that fadeth not, and the incorruptible inheritance that shall last forever? Is your joy greater in the acquisition of riches or of a great estate, than in the consideration, that God is your Father, and your everlasting portion?
It was a convincing evidence of Job's heavenly temper, that “ he did not rejoice when his wealth was great, and his hand had gotten him much." Are you affected with deeper sorrow, when you lose your substance, than when you lose the benefit of Divine instructions, or although you were to lose a sense of the mercy of God? Would you rather be stripped of all your earthly possessions, and go naked into Paradise, than to be laden with gold and jewels, although you should run the risk of falling into the pit of perdition? Do you make it your great and ultimate object to gain riches or an estate-rising early, lying down late, and eating the bread of carefulness? Do you grudge your families the necessary comforts of life, and, when requested to devote an offering for promoting the cause of religion, and the benefit of mankind, do you bestow it with a grudge, or with the spirit of a cheerful giver ? In all the arrangements you make as to your lot in this world, are you chiefly directed by the prospect of worldly honour and gain, or by the opportunities you may have of glorifying God, and being useful to mankind? If you regard God as your supreme portion, and the rock of your salvation, you will consider all that you have as too little to be consecrated to his service, and will make the advancement of his kingdom, the object of all your arrangements, and will come cheerfully forward at his call to contribute for this end, according as he hath prospered you, saying with the Psalmist, “What shall I render unto the Lord, for all his benefits towards me?"
2. Consider the obligations you are under to Him who procured our redemption.
You profess as Christians, to be under infinite obligations to the mercy and love of our Redeemer, “who died and rose again,” that your souls might be rescued from destruction. You profess to believe, that you were deemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,” and that it was one great end of his death, that “ you might be delivered from this present evil world, and its affections and lusts," and
consequently, from the dominion of covetousness, which is the ruling passion of the men of the world, and which is utterly inconsistent with the character of the redeemed. While you, then, virtually acknowledge these truths, can you allow the love of the world to predominate in your hearts? Can you think it a hard demand that God makes upon you, when he requires a portion of the wealth which he himself has bestowed, to be devoted to the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the promotion of his glory? He might accomplish all his gracious designs without your assistance; for all the treasures of the universe are at his disposal. But he has condescended to put an honour upon Christians, in selecting them in particular, to be “workers together with Him," that by their voluntary and liberal oblations, they may exhibit themselves in the face of the world, as “followers of the Lamb,” and contributors to “ the prosperity of Zion.” Can you, then, in consistency with your professions, refuse to come forward with munificent and god-like offerings, according to your ability, for every enterprise that has for its object, the promotion of the Divine glory, and the present and everlasting happiness of men? For, it is by such conduct, that your avarice, or your Christian principle will be detected. The latent principle of covetousness, in its workings in the heart, though open to the inspection of Omniscience, cannot be directly traced by human eyes.
But, if you be hypocrites in religion, your hypocrisy will be laid open, and your true character determined by your refusing to contribute to the service of God, what is in your power to bestow. And this is a characteristic of the sense we entertain of our obligations to the Redeemer, which ought to be more attended to than it has hitherto been in the visible church.
If, then, Christians in general, and especially wealthy Christians, admit that they are under inexpressible obligations to Him “who came in the name of the Lord, to save them"-is it compatible with such obligations, “ to walk according to the course of this world,” and to prevent, by their niggardly offerings, the gracious purposes of God from being brought speedily into effect? If you profess to celebrate the praises of Him, “who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father”– shall you consider it as too great an expression of your gratitude, to devote a hundred or even a thousand pounds, at a time, for carrying forward the grand design of the death of Christ, and the regeneration of the world—when you have hundreds or thousands at your command ? If God were calling you to devote all your worldly possessions to his service, would you consider it as too great a sacrifice for the gift bestowed? If not, how can you stand aloof and grudge a mere tithe of your earthly estate, when it is called for at your hands, and when every needful comfort is still secured for your enjoyment?
Let Christians seriously pause on such considerations, and judge, whether the general conduct of professors of religion, in regard to the dedication of their wealth, be consistent with the obligations they profess to Him who hath procured for them all spiritual and eternal blessings.
3. Consider that all the privileges and prospects of Christians are incompatible with the indulgence of covet
Believers are brought by the gospel into the high and honourable relation of “Sons of God," and consequently, "joint heirs with Christ Jesus' of the blessings of his mediatorial kingdom. They are under the special care of the Providence of God, who has promised, that “their bread shall be given them, and their water shall be sure, and that “He will never leave them, nor forsake them.” But a spirit of conformity to the world, a covetous disposition, and an eager desire after earthly honours and splendour, are evidently inconsistent with such exalted privileges. The sons of God must resemble the moral character of their Father in heaven, particularly in the display he has given of his benevolence. But, “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him," and consequently, he can lay no claim to the prerogatives
“ Whosoever is born of God, overcometh the world,” and, of course, he whose soul is absorbed in its pursuits and vanities, has never been brought into this Divine relation, but remains among "the children of the wicked one."
The prospects to which the saints look forward in the future world are glorious and magnificent, beyond any thing which this world can present, or which human imagination can depict. In that world, there are scenes and objects calculated to gratify the sublimest faculties of the immortal spirit; an enlarged sphere of contemplation—the beatific vision of God in the effulgence of his glory—“ fullness of joy”-a treasure in the heavens that fadeth not-an incorruptible inheritance,-and “an exceeding great and an eternal weight of glory."
If Christians, then, believe in the existence of such grand and substantial realities, and have the lively hope of entering, ere long, into their full possession,—is it consistent with such exalted hopes, and such animating prospects, to have their chief affections placed on the vain and transitory objects of this earthly mansion, which must soon be snatched from their embrace? And how can they say it is otherwise, if they are found grasping their worldly treasures so firmly, that nothing but a small fraction can be squeezed from them for the cause of God and the renovation of the world? What should we think of a man come to his full stature, devoting the greater part of his time and attention to amusing himself with tops, marbles, and cherry-stones, as when he was a child, and setting a higher value upon them than upon all the serious employments of life? We should immediately denounce him as a fool, or a maniac, or, at least, as one who acted with the most glaring inconsistency. What should we think of a set of mariners, sent to circumnavigate and explore a large continent, stopping in the midst of their course in an insignificant island, and employing themselves in catching musquitoes, or fishing for shrimps, without attempting to prosecute their course? or of a traveller, on an important embassy to a large city, taking up his abode at an inn, in the midst of his journey, and amusing