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man fay right. He calls them uncertain, to thew their folly and danger, that set their hearts upon them. Covetousness is hateful to God: he hath denounced great judgments upon those that are guilty of it. God charged it on Israel of old, as one of the reasons of his judgments; For the iniquity of his covetoufness, faith God, was I wroth and smote him." In another place, Every one is given to covetousness, and from the prophet to the priest, every one dealeth fallly; therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them. In another place God complained thus: But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness.' By Ezekiel, God renews and repeats his complaint against their covetousness: And they come to thee as the people cometh, and fit before thee as my people: they hear thy words, but will not do them; with their mouths they fhew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.m Therefore God, in the choice of magistrates, made it part of their qualification, to hate covetousness; foreseeing the mischief that would follow to that society or government where covetous men were in power ; that self would bias them, and they would seek their own ends at the cost of the public. David defired, that his heart might not incline to covetousness, but to the testimonies of his God." And the wise man expressly tells us, that he that hateth covetoufIfai. lvii. I. 7. i Jer. vi. 13. * Jer. viii. 10. Chap. xxii. 17. * Ezek. xxxiii 31.
& Pfalm cxix. 36.
ness, shall prolong his days.° making a curse to follow it. And it is by Luke charged upon the Pharisees as a mark of their wickedness : and Christ, in that evangelist, bids his followers, Take heed, and beware of covetousness : * and he giveth a reason for it, that carrieth a most excellent instruction in it; for, faith he, a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he poffefseth : 9 but he goeth further; he joins covetousness with adultery, murder, and blasphemy. No wonder then it the apostle Paul is so liberal in his censure of this evil: he placeth it with all unrighteousness, to the Romans; to the Ephesians he writeth the like ; and addeth, Let not covetousness be so much as named among you:' and bids the Colossians mortify their members ;' and names several fins, as fornication, uncleanness, and such like, but ends with covetousness: with this at the tail of it, which, faith he, is idolatry. And we know there is not a greater offence against God: nay, this very apostle calls the love of money the root of all evil; which, faith he, whilst some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themfelves through with many sorrows. For they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts. O man of God, faith he to his beloved friend Timothy, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, patience, and meekness, • Prov. xxviii. 16. P Luke xii. 15.
« Mark vii. 21, 22. Rom. 1. 29. Eph. v. 3.
• Col. iii. 5. 'I Tim. vi. 9, 10, 15:
$. VI. Peter was of the same mind; for he maketh covetousness to be one of the great marks of the false prophets and teachers, that should arise among the Christians, and by that they might know them ; who, faith he, through covetousness shall, with feigned words, make merchandize of you.' To conclude therefore, the author to the Hebrews, at the end of his epistle, leaves this, with other things, not without great zeal and weight upon them : Let, faith he, your conversation be without covetousness;* he rests not in this generality, but goes on, and be content with such things as ye have; for God hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. What then? Must we conclude that those who are not content, but feek to be rich, have forsaken God? The conclusion seems hard ; but yet
it is natural: for such, it is plain, are not content with what they have; they would have more; they covet to be rich, if they may; they live' not with those dependencies and regards to Provi. dence, to which they are exhorted: nor is godliness, with content, great gain to them.
$. VỊI. And truly it is a reproach to a man, especially the religious man, that he knows not when he hath enough : when to leave off; when to be satisfied: that notwithstanding God sends him one plentiful season of grain after another, he is so far from making that the cause of withdrawing from the traffic of the world, that he makes it a reason of launching further into it; as if the more he bath, the more he may.
2 Pet. ji. 3.
* Heb. xiii. 5
He therefore reneweth his appetite, bestirs himself more than ever, that he may have a share in the scramble, while any thing is to be got: this is as if cumber, not retirement; and gain, not content; were the duty and comfort of a Christian. O that this thing was better considered! for by not being so observable nor obnoxious to the law, as other vices are, there is more danger for want of that check. It is plain that most people strive not for substance, but wealth. Some there be that love it strongly, and spend it liberally when they have got it. Though this be sinful, yet more commendable, than to love money for money's fake; that is one of the basest passions the mind of man can be cap. tivated with; a perfect luft; and a greater, and more foul-defiling one there is not in the whole catalogue of concupiscence. Which considered, should quicken people into a serious examination, how far this temptation of love of money hath entered them; and the rather, because the steps it maketh into the mind, are almost insensible, which renders the danger greater. Thousands think themselves unconcerned in the caution, that yet are perfectly guilty of the evil. How can it be otherwise, when those that have, from a low condition, acquired thousands, labour yet to advance, yea, double and treble those thousands; and that with the same care and contrivance by which they got them? Is this to live comfortably, or to be rich ? Do we not see how early they rise; how late they go to bed ? How full of the change, the shop, the ware-house, the custom-house; of bills, bonds, charter-parties, &c. they are? Running up and down, as if it were to save the life of a condemned innocent. An insatiable lust, and therein ungrateful to God, as well as hurtful to men, who giveth it 10 them to use, and not to love : that is theabuse. And if this care, contrivance, and industry, and that continually, be not from the love of money, in those that have ten times mere than they began with, and much more than they spend or need, I know not what ceftimony man can give of his love to any thing.
J. VIII. To conclude: It is an enemy to government in magistrates; for it tends to corruption. Wherefore those that God ordained, were such as feared him, and hated covetousness. Next, it hurts society: for old graders keep the young ones poor : and the great reason why some have too little, and so are forced to drudge like flaves to feed their families, and keep their chin above water, is, because the rich hold fast and press to be richer, and cover more, which dries up the little streams of profit from smaller folks. There should be a standard, both as to the value and time of traffic ; and then the trade of the master to be shared among his servants that deserve it. This were both to help the young to get their livelihood, and to give the old time to think of leaving this world well, in which they have been so busy, that they might obtain a share in the other, of which they have been so careless.