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$. IX. There is yet another mischief to government; for covetousness leads inen to abuse and defraud it, by concealing or falsifying the goods they deal in : as bringing in forbidden goods by stealth ; or lawful goods, so as to avoid the payment of dues, or owning the goods of enemies for gain; or that they are not well made, or full measure ; with abundance of that fort of deceit.
$. X. But covetousness has caused destructive feuds in families; for estates falling into the hands of those, whose avarice has put them upon drawing greater profit to themselves than was consistent with justice, has given birth to much trouble, and caused great oppreflion : it too often falling out, that such executors have kept the right owners out of poffeffion with the money they should
them. S. Xl. But this is not all; for covetousness betrays friendship; a bribe cannot be better placed to do an ill thing, or undo a man. Nay, it is a murderer too often both of foul and body: of the soul, because it kills that life it should have in God: where money, masters the mind, it extinguishes all love to better things : of the body, for it will kill for money, by assassinations, poisons, false witness, &c. I shall end this head of covetousness, with the fin and doom of two covetous men, Judas, and Simon the forcerer.
Judas's religion fell in thorny ground : love of money choaked him. Pride and anger in the Jews endeavoured to murder Christ; but till covetousness fet her hand to effect it, they were all at a loss. They found Judas had the bag, and probably loved money; they would iry him, and did.
The price was set, and Judas betrays his Master, his Lord, that never did him wrong, into the hands of his most cruel adversaries. But to do him right he returned the money, and to be revenged of himself, was his own hangman. A wicked act, a wicked end. Come on, you covetous: what say you now to brother Judas? Was he not an ill man? Did he not very wickedly? Yes, yes: would you have done fo? No, no; by no means. Very well; but so faid those evil Jews of ftoning the prophets, and that yet crucified the beloved Son of God; he that came to save them, and would bave done it, if they had received him, and not rejected the day of their visitation. Rub your eyes well, for the dust is got into them; and carefully read in your own consciences, and see, if out of love to money you have not betrayed the just One in yourselves, and so are brethren with Judas in iniquity. I speak for God against an idol; bear with me. Have you not resisted, yea, quenched the good Spirit of Christ in your pursuit after your beloved wealth ? Examine yourselves, try yourselves; know ye not your own selves; that if Christ dwell not, if he rule not, and be not above all beloved, in you, ye are reprobates ? in an undone condition ?
§. XII. The other covetous man-is Simon the forcerer, a believer too; but his faith could not go deep enough for covetousness, He would have driven a bargain with Peter,
• Ads viii. 9, to 24.
2 Cor. xiij.
So much money for so much Holy Ghost; that he might sell it again, and make a good trade of it; corruptly measuring Peter by himfelf, as if he had only had a better knack of cozening the people than himfelf, who had set up in Samaria for the great power of God, before the power of God in Philip and Peter undeceived the people. But what was Peter's answer and judgment ? Thy money, says he, perish with thee; thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter : thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. A dismal sentence, Besides, it tends to luxury, and rises often out of it: for from having much, they spend much, and so become poor by luxury: such are covetous to get, to spend more, which temperance would prevent.
For if men would not, or could not, by good laws well executed, and a better education, be so lavish in their tables, houses, furniture, apparel, and gaming, there would be no such temptation to covet earnestly after what they could not spend : for there is but here and there a miler that love's
money for money's fake.
$. XIII. Which leads to the last and bafest part of covetousness, which is yet the most fordid, to wit, hoarding up, or keeping money unprofitably, both to others and then felves too. This is Solomon's miser, that makes, himself rich, and hath nothing :' a great sin in the fight of God. He complained of fuch as had stored up the labours of the poor in their houses;' he calls it their spoils, and that it is
• Prov, xiii. 7.
Ifai. iii. 14. 15.
a grinding of the poor, because they see it not again. But he blesseth those that consider the poor, and commandeth every one, To open freely to his brother that is in need;' not only he that is spiritually, but naturally so; and, not to withhold his gift from the poor. The apostle chargeth Timothy, in the fight of God, and before Jesus Christ, That he fail not to charge them that are rich in this world, that they trust not in their uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth liberally; and that they do good with them, that they may be rich in good works. Riches are apt to corrupt; and that which keeps them sweet and best is charity: he that uses them not, gets them not For the end for which they are given ; but loves them for themselves, and not their fervice. The avaricious is poor in his wealth: he wants for fear of spending; and increases his fear with his hope, which is his gain; and so tor. tures himself with his pleasure: the most-like to the man that hid his talent in a napkin, of all others; for this man's talents are hid in his bags out of sight, in vaults, under boards, behind wainscots; else upon bonds and mort. gages, growing but as under ground; for it is good to none.
XIV. This covetous man is a monster in nature; for he has no bowels, and is like the poles, always cold. An enemy to the state, for he fpirits their money away: a disease to the body politic, for he obstructs the circulation of blood, and ought to be removed by a you would
c Pfalm xli, s. Deut. xv. 7, 8, di Tim. vi. 17,18.
purge of the law: for these are vices at heart, that destroy by wholesale. The covętous, he hates all useful arts and sciences as vain, left they should cost him something the learning : wherefore ingenuity has no more place in his mind than in his pocket. He lets houses fall, to prevent the charge of repairs : and for his fpare diet, plain clothes, and mean furniture, he would place them to the account of moderation. O monster of a man! that can take up the cross for covetousness, and not for Christ.
§. XV. But he pretends negatively to some religion too; for he always rails at prodigality, the better to cover his avarice. If bestow a box of spikenard on a good man's head ; to save money, and to seem righteous, he tells you of the poor : but if the poor come,
, he excuses his want of charity with the uş. worthiness of the object, or the causes of his poverty, or that he can bestow his money upom those that deserve it better; who rarely opens his purse till quarter-day, for fear of losing it.
$. XVI. But he is more iniferable than the poorest; for he enjoys not what he yet fears to lofe; they fear not what they do not enjoy.. Thus is he poor by over-valuing his wealth : but he is wretched, that hungers with money in a cook's shop: yet having made a god of his gold, who knows, but he thinks it unna. tural to eat what he worships?
$. XVII. But, which aggravates this sin, I have myself once known fome, that to get money, have wearied themselves into the grave;