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f. IX. There is yet another mischief to government; for covetoufnefs leads men to abuse and defraud it, by concealing or falfifying the goods they deal in: as bringing in forbidden goods by ftealth; or lawful goods, fo 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 covetoufnefs has caufed deftructive feuds in families; for eftates falling into the hands of those, whose avarice has put them upon drawing greater profit to themselves than was confiftent with justice, has given birth to much trouble, and caufed great oppreffion: it too often falling out, that fuch executors have kept the right owners out of poffeffion with the money they should pay them.
§. XI. But this is not all; for covetoufnefs 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 foul, because it kills that life it fhould have in God: where money, mafters the mind, it extinguishes all love to better things: of the body, for it will kill for money, by affaffinations, poifons, falfe witnefs, &c. I fhall end this head of covetoufnefs, 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 Chrift; but ill covetoufnefs fet her hand to effect it, they were all at a lofs. They found Judas had the
bag, and probably loved money; they would try him, and did. The price was fet, and Judas betrays his Master, his Lord, that never did him wrong, into the hands of his moft cruel adverfaries. 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 fay 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 fo faid thofe evil Jews of ftoning the prophets, and that yet crucified the beloved Son of God; he that came to fave them, and would have done it, if they had received him, and not rejected the day of their vifitation. Rub your eyes well, for the dust is got into them; and carefully read in your own confciences, and fee, if out of love to money you have not betrayed the just One in yourselves, and fo are brethren with Judas in iniquity. I fpeak for God against an idol; bear with me. Have you not refifted, yea, quenched the good Spirit of Chrift in your purfuit after your beloved wealth? Examine yourfelves, try yourselves; know ye not your own felves; that if Christ dwell not, if he rule not, and be not above all beloved, in you, ye are reprobates? in an undone condition? Y
§. 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,
y 2 Cor. xiii. 5.
Acts viii. 9, to 24.
So much money for fo much Holy Ghost; that he might fell 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 fet 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 anfwer and judgment? Thy money, fays he, perifh with thee; thou haft neither part nor lot in this matter thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. A dismal sentence. Befides, it tends to luxury, and rifes often out of it for from having much, they spend much, and fo become poor by luxury: fuch 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 fo lavish in their tables, houses, furniture, apparel, and gaming, there would be no fuch temptation to covet earnestly after what they could not fpend: for there is but here and there a mifer that love's money for money's fake.
S. XIII. Which leads to the laft and bafeft part of covetoufnefs, which is yet the most fordid, to wit, hoarding up, or keeping money unprofitably, both to others and themfelves too. This is Solomon's mifer, that makes himself rich, and hath nothing: a great fin in the fight of God. He complained of fuch as had ftored up the labours of the poor in their houfes; 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 bleffeth thofe that confider the poor, and commandeth every one, To open freely to his brother that is in need; not only he that is fpiritually, but naturally fo; and, not to withhold his gift from the poor. The apostle chargeth Timothy, in the fight of God, and before Jefus Chrift, That he fail not to charge them that are rich in this world, that they truft 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 fweet and beft 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 fo tortures 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 fight, in vaults, under boards, behind wainscots; else upon bonds and mortgages, 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 obftructs the circu lation of blood, and ought to be removed by a Pfalm xli, 1. Deut. xv. 7, 8. d 1 Tim. vi, 17, 18.
purge of the law: for thefe are vices at heart, that deftroy by wholefale. The covetous, he hates all useful arts and fciences as vain, left they fhould cost him fomething the learning: wherefore ingenuity has no more place in his mind than in his pocket. He lets houfes 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 monfter of a man! that can take up the cross for covetoufnefs, and not for Chrift.
§. XV. But he pretends negatively to fome religion too; for he always rails at prodigality, the better to cover his avarice. If you would bestow a box of fpikenard on a good man's head; to fave money, and to feem righteous, he tells you of the poor: but if the poor come, he excufes his want of charity with the upworthiness of the object, or the caufes of his poverty, or that he can bestow his money upon those that deserve it better; who rarely opens his purfe till quarter-day, for fear of lofing it. §. XVI. But he is more miferable than the pooreft; 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 fhop: yet having made a god of his gold, who knows, but he thinks it unnatural to eat what he worships?
§. XVII. But, which aggravates this fin, I have myself once known fome, that to get money, have wearied themselves into the grave;