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and to be true to their principle, when fick, would not spare a fee to a doctor, to help the poor slave to live; and so died to save charges: a constancy that canonizes them martyrs for money.
§. XVIII, But now let us see what instances the scripture will give us in reproof of the fordid hoarders and hiders of money. A good, like young man came to Christ, and enquired the way to eternal life: Christ told him, he kuew the commandments: he replied, he had kept them from his youth: it seems he was no loose person, and indeed such are usually not so, to save charges. And yet lackest thou one thing, faith Christ, Sell all, distribute it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me. It seems Christ pinched him in the fore place; he hit the mark, and struck him to the heart; who knew his heart; by this he tried how well he had kept the commandment, To love God above all. It was said, the young man was very sorrowful, and went his way; and the reason which is given is, that he was very rich. The tides met, money and eternal life: contrary defires: but which prevailed? Alas! his riches. But what said Christ to this? How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God ? He adds, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven : that is, such a rich man, to wit, a covetous rich man, to whom it is hard to do good with what he has : it is more than an ordinary miracle : 0 who then would be rich and cove.
tous! It was upon these rich men that Christ pronounced his woe, saying, Woe unto you that are rich, for ye
have received your confo- . lation here. What! none in the heavens? No, unless
you become willing to be poor men, can resign all, live loose to the world, have it at arm's end, yea, under foot; a servant, and not a master.
$. XIX. The other instance is a very dismal one too: it is that of Ananias and Sapphira. In the beginning of the apostolic times, it was customary for those who received the word of life, to bring what substance they had, and lay it at the apostles feet: of these, Jofes, furnamed Barnabas, was exemplary. Among the rest, Ananias and his wife Sapphira, confessing to the truth, fold their possession, but covetously reserved some of the purchase-money from the common purse, to themselves, and brought a part for the whole, and laid it at the apostles feet. But Peter, a plain and a bold man, in the majesty of the Spirit, faid, Ananias, Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost; and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was fold, was it not in thine own power? Why haft thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. But what followed this covetousness and hypocrisy of Ananias ? Why, Ananias hearing these words, he fell down, and gave up the ghost. The like befel his wife, being privy to the deceit their avarice had led them to. And it is said, that great fear came upon all the church, and those that heard of these things: and also should on those that now read them. For if this judgment was shewn, and recorded, that we should beware of the like evils, what will become of those that under the profesfion of Christianity, a religion that teaches men to live loose from the world, and to yield up all to the will and service of Christ and his kingdom, not only retain a part, but all; and cannot part with the least thing for Christ's sake. I beseech God to incline the hearts of my readers to weigh these things. This had not befallen Ananias and Sapphira, if they had acted as in God's presence, and with that entire love, truth, and sincerity, that became them. O that people would use the light that Christ has given them, to search and fee, how far they are under the power of this iniquity! For would they but watch against the love of the world, and be less in bondage to the things that are seen, which are temporal, they would begin to set their hearts on things above, that are of an eternal nature. Their life would be hid with Christ in God, out of the reach of all the uncertainties of time, and troubles and changes of mortality. Nay, if people would but consider how hardly riches are got, how uncertainly they are kept, the envy they bring ; that they can neither make a man wife, nor cure diseases, nor add to life, much less give peace in death; no, nor hardly yield any folid benefit above food and raiment, (which may be hadi without them) and that if there be any good use for them, it is to relieve others in distress; being but stewards of the plentiful providences of God, and consequently accountable for our stewardship ; if, I say, these confiderations had any room in our minds, we should not thus post to get, nor care to hide and keep, such a mean and impotent thing. O that the cross of Christ, which is the Spirit and power of God in man, might have more place in the foul, that it might crucify us more and more to the world, and the world to us; that, like the days of paradise, the earth might again be the footstool, and the treasure of the earth a fervant, and not a god, to man!
-Many have writ against this vice; three I will mention.
$. XX. William Tindall, that worthy apostle of the English reformation, has an entire difcourse, to which I refer the reader, entitled, The parable of the wicked Mammon. The next is
§. XXI. Peter Charron, a famous Frenchman, and in particular for the book he wrote of wisdom, hath a chapter against covetousness; part of which take as followeth : To love and affect riches is covetousness : not only the love and affection, but also every over-curious care and industry about riches. The desire of goods, and the pleasure we take in possessing of them, is grounded only upon opinion: the immoderate desire to get riches is a gangreen in our foul, which with a venomous heat confumeth our natural affections, to the end it as it is lodged in our hearts, all honest and natural affection, which we owe either to our parents, our friends, or ourselves, vanilheth away: all the rest, in respect of our profit, seemeth nothing; yea, we forget, in the end, and condemn ourselves, our bodies, our minds, for this transitory trash; and as our proverb is, We sell our horse to get us hay, . Covetousness is the vile and base passion of vulgar fools, who account riches the principal good of a man, and fear poverty, as the greatest evil; and not contenting themselves with neceffary means, which are forbidden no man, weigh that which is good in a goldfmith's balance; when nature hath taught us, to measure it by the ell of necessity. For, what greater folly can there be, than to adure that which nature itself hath put under our feet, and hidden in the bowels of the earth, as unworthy to be seen; yea, rather to be contemned, and trampled under foot ? This is that which the fin of man hath only torn out of the entrails of the earth, and brought unto light to kill himself. We dig out the bowels of the eartly, and bring to light those things, for which we would fight: we are not ashamed to esteem. those things most highly, which are in the lowest parts of the earth. Nature seemeth even in the first birth of gold, and the womb from whence it proceedeth, after a fort, to have presaged the misery of those that are in love with it; for it hath so ordered the matter, that in those countries where it groweth, there groweth with it neither grass nor plant, nor