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The subject of the following treatise, considered in all its aspects, is one which has an important bearing on the happi. ness and improvement both of Christian and Civil society. Impressed with a deep conviction of this truth, the author intended, sometime ago, to address his fellow-men on the subject; but other engagements prevented him from entering on the consideration of the several topics connected with it, till about the month of August last, when a Prize, to be given for the best Essay on the subject, was announced in some of our religious periodicals. Being then engaged in conducting his work “On the Mental Ilumination of Mankind," &c., through the press, and in various other apocations, he could not find leisure to finish the Essay within the time prescribed in the advertisement. It was, however, sent sometime afterwards, and returned unopened, on the ground" that the carriage and porterage of it were not paid;" and had it not been for a particular circumstance, the package might have been lost, as there was no intimation on its exterior as to whom it should be addressed and returned. These circumstances the author was disposed to consider as little short of an exemplification of Covetousness—the very evil which the Essays advertised for were intended to counteract. For, although a hundred Essays had been sent, the carriage of which was two shillings each, the whole sum thus expended would not have amounted to above £10—which could only be a trivial sum to the individuals who offered the Prize. And equity required, that those who had been at the expense of paper and quills, and who had devoted a certain portion of their time to the subject, in compliance with the request of those gentle
men, should have been freed from the expense of carriage, especially when no intimation of this circumstance was contained in the announcement. But we too frequently find, that it is much easier to laud a virtue than to practise it, and to denounce a vicious principle than to act in opposition to it.
The Essay is now presented to the public by the Author, on his own responsibility, as he originally intended, in the hope that it may not be altogether inefficient, in counteracting the principle of Covetousness, and stimulating the Christian to those noble acts of Beneficence by which physical and moral evil may be prevented, religious society improved, and the world enlightened and regenerated. Having been composed in the course of four or five months, and in the midst of many interruptions and avocations, it is hoped, the critical reader will candidly overlook any slight inaccuracies it may contain.
Should any pecuniary emolument be derived from the sale of this volume, the greater portion of it will be devoted to the purpose of social and religious improvement.
BROUGHTY Apra, 1838. DUNDEE, }
On the disposition or propensity designated by COVETOUSNESS and the
VARIOUS MODES in which it has operated in the world, and in Christian
General remarks-description of covetousness, 15, 16.
SECTION 1. On the operations and effects of covetousness as displayed
in the world at large, 17.
Historical sketch of its operations and progress in ancient times, 18, 19.
Modern examples—plunder of Mexico and Peru—Slave trade-Coloniza
tion, Piracy, &c. 19-27.
SECTION 2. On the effects of covetousness, and the manner in which
it has displayed itself among those who acknowledge the authority of.
Christianity, and profess to submit to its dictates, 27.
Benevolent dispositions of the first Christians, &c. 28, 29. Progress
of Covetousness in the Christian Church-rapaciousness of the Popes and
Bishops-sale of indulgences-vast quantity of wealth extorted from the
people by the Romish church, on the continent and in England-practices
of the Pope's Nephews-extracts from the writings of an Italian Catholic,
&c. 29–39. Operations of covetousness in Protestant and Evangelical
churches, 40. Miscellaneous remarks. 1. Practice of hoarding money
and acquiring houses and lands, 41. Description of a miser, 44. Various
examples of avarice, 45–48. 2. Gratifying a desire for ostentatious dis.
play, 49. 3. Providing portions for children, 52. 4. Covetousness in the
mercantile transactions of mankind, 55. 5. In cases of bankruptcy, 58.
6. As it sometimes appears in the conduct of ministers of religion, 61-65.
Miscellaneous examples, in people professing evangelical religion, 65.
Covetousness of Great Britain, in a national point of view, 69. Various
instances-Revenues derived from the support of idolatry in India-scenes
of Juggernaut-description of his temple, &c.-Pilgrim hunters General
On the inconsistency of Covetousness with the WORD OF GOD, 93.
The idolatry and atheism of covetousness particularly illustrated, 93.
It forms an impassable barrier to the kingdom of heaven, 109–incon-
sistent with the idea of our being redeemed by the blood of Christ, 114-
inconsistent with love to God, 116—its malignity demonstrated from the
numerous cautions and exhortations of Scripture, in relation to this pro-
pensity, 118. Selection of a variety of Scriptural declarations on this
subject, 119. General remarks and reflections, 124, 125.
On the Evils which flow from Covetousness, 126.
The covetous man a thief and robber. He robs his Maker, 126-ho
robs the poor and distressed, 129-he robs his family and himself, 130
he robs society, 131. Covetousness leads to falsehood and injustice, 132–
destroys natural feeling and tenderness of conscience, 135-leads to the
indulgence of murderous wishes, and to murder itself, 136–prevents the
administration of the law, and the ends of public justice, (illustrated with
examples,) 139–143—transforms many of the ministers of religion into
hunters after places and pensions, 144 – leads to presumption and a
virtual denial of Providence, 147—has produced all the public evils, wars,
&c. which have prevailed in the world, 150-prevents the extension of
the Christian church and the improvement of society, 154. What would
be the consequences, were it universally to prevail, 156—it infallibly leads
to misery in the life to come, 159.
On the PRINCIPLES by which Christians should be directed in the ap.
plication of their wealth, 162.
Preliminary remarks-general observations connected with this topic
-God the original source of wealth, 163. Riches a trust to be employed
in his service, 164. Christians bound to such appropriation, from a con.
sideration of the love of Christ, 166. A particular enquiry into the pro.
portion of wealth which should be directly consecrated to the service of
God, 168. General remarks and maxims on this point-considerations to
direct u in this particular. Proportion of wealth dedicated to God,
under the Jewish economy, 169. Proportion of wealth which might be
raised in Great Britain for religious and philanthropic purposes, 173.
2. Voluntary contributions made at different times under the 0. T. dis.
pensation, 174. Offerings at the erection and dedication of the tabernacle,
175—at the dedication of the temple, 176_offerings by Josiah, Hezekiah,
David, &c. 178–179. 3. Predictions of the prophets in reference to the
liberality to be displayed by the Christian church, 180. Remarks on
these predictions, 183. Amount of what might be raised in our country,
184. Appeal to Christians, 185–187.
General remarks, 188. Provision for the external comfort of the poor
and destitute, 189. State of the poor in Ireland, in Italy, &c. 190-193.
Method of promoting the best interests of the poor, 195. Improvement
of general society-removal of physical evils, 197. Original and present
state of the globe-evils which require to be removed, and scriptural pre.
dictions in relation to this subject, 197–205. Universal education would
be promoted, 206. Utility of, in reference to the spread of the gospel, 207.
Defects in this respect, in the present state of society, 208. Expense of
establishing universal instruction, 209. Promotion of science and art,
210. Connection of science and art with the objects of religion, 211. The
progress of Christianity would be promoted, 214-exertions requisite for
this end, and the extent of the object to be accomplished, 215, 216-reflec.
tions on this subject, and appeal to Christians, 218–221. Preparation
might soon be made for the speedy arrival of the millennium, 223. Pre-
dictions in relation to this period-by what means it will be introduced
arrangements requisite for preparing the way for its arrival-addresses to
professing Christians on this subject, 224-232.
Introductory remarks—frequent preaching and public discussions on
this suhject, 234. Duty of Christian churches in relation to their mem.
bers, 235. More particular care requisite than hitherto, for detecting the
latent principle of avarice, and for exciting to liberality, 236. Acts which
display the covetous principle-various examples illustrative of this sub-
ject, 238–242. The churches of Christ should now begin to distinguish
themselves by a spirit of liberality, 242. Examples of liberality, in
Britain and America, calculated to stimulate Christians to this duty, 243-
253. Various remarks on this subject, 253. Associations might bo
formed for encouraging liberality and counteracting avarico, 254.