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if he take no pleasure in seeking privacy for spiritual purposes ; or if he receive more enjoyment from things pertaining to this world than he does from spiritual pursuits, let him be assured he has no solid ground on which to rest his character as a disciple.
Those who come under the denomination of "the good,” who are ministered unto by angels, should be greatly alive to the fear of grieving the Holy Spirit, and their heavenly attendants ; the certainty of their state should emulate them to fresh zeal and aspirations after holiness. How bravely does a soldier fight when he knows that he is well seconded, that his comrades are at his side, and his general looking on! This makes him mighty to conquer : and thus should it be with every soldier of Christ.
Is the Christian poor and indigent? let him remember that God is the poor man's friend; that Jesus has all power in heaven and earth. He dispenses just what his servants possess, while he permits the adversary of souls to give largely of this world's goods to those who are his captives, and who are to be pitied rather than envied; for that which they now possess is all that they ever will have to enjoy!
The genuine believer must eventually triumph, and therefore has a right now to rejoice. His guardian angels, while conducting him through the wilderness, carry over his head a banner, on which is inscribed, in large and legible characters, “FOR GOD, FOR HONOUR OF HIS NAME HERE; FOR HEAVEN, AND THE ENJOYMENT OF HIS PRESENCE HEREAFTER!"
THE WORLDLY RICH MAN.
CHRISTIANITY is invested by its Divine founder with a gigantic power; it can overturn, it can destroy, it can divide the spoil ; it has taken possession of heartshearts of the hardest texture ; it has foiled the wit of genius-genius of the greatest calibre ; it has assailed the bravery of power, and reduced the vaunting hero to the guileless simplicity of a child. In the day in which we live, whether we direct our wondering gaze to the eastern or the western hemisphere, we behold the majestic march of its mighty achievements. Christianity erects a standard by which we measure the height of men, the intrinsic worth
hose who are candidates for the upper world, and by which we estimate the moral excellency, as well of those who profess its doctrines and love its precepts, as of all those who are indifferent to its truths, and say in their hearts, “ Who is Lord over us?"
Christianity condemns the conduct of the men who profess unto fine gold, “ Thou art my god,” and who delight in all sensual and worldly enjoyments; and this, rather than that it is opposed to opinions, may be the assigned cause why infidels and the unthinking dislike it, and wage war against its genuine professors, whose unblameable lives reproach their folly and wickedness, whose purity censures their practices, and whose heavenly aspirations reflect upon their carnal desires.
Jesus spake a parable, which, in all its length and breadth, goes to condemn the ways of worldly-minded men, and the sense of it is summed up in the last verse : “ So is he who layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God."
- The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully," That heathen philosopher, Seneca, said, “ Nature is content with but little ; those who sweat mostly do it for superfluities ;” and if so much was admitted by a heathen, what may not a Christian add to it from his experience ? He may say, that abundance is not only unnecessary, but it is not desirable ; for nature can but be satisfied, and
every superfluity that is possessed tends only to temptation, and to prepare fuel for the fire of lust : “ for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
You will observe, that it was by God's blessing, not by his own contrivances, that he became possessed of such an abundance of goods that he had not where to stow them ; it was the ground, that brought forth plentifully : and this would go to illustrate the words of our Saviour, “ He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
The Evangelist does not record the parable under consideration as a narrative of what did literally happen, although the substance or the spirit of the narrative is of every-day occurrence; and we may here remark, that an increase of temporal goods is by no means a mark of God's favour, seeing the evil as well as the good receive the bounties of a common providence. God did indeed encourage the ancient Israelites, when in the wilderness, to expect his favour, as manifested in the bestowment of temporal prosperity-the reward of obedience; but theirs was not a spiritual dispensation, ours is ! “ If thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, it shall come
that he will keep unto thee the covenant which he sware unto thy fathers : and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware runto thy fathers to give thee.” And, on the contrary, if they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord to do his commandments, then a multitude of curses were denounced upon them : “ The heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron,"-implying barrenness. We may see many passages in the word of God in which a great degree of contempt is poured upon worldly riches, when unconnected with spiritual blessings. Prov. xxiii. 4, 5 : “ Labour not to be rich : wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle toward heaven." God permits ungodly men to obtain riches, and we are taught that they need expect no other portion ; but it is very seldom that worldly riches are bestowed
the disciples of Jesus Christ ; and herein we see his fatherly care and love for his children; he will not give them anything to hurt them; he is better acquainted with the temptations that are connected with great possessions than we are: hence we learn, “ How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.” But here and there does he trust some of his followers with these
dangerous things, and that, probably, for the purpose of promoting and carrying on his cause in the world. Let us not therefore repine that we do not possess as much as others; but let us endeavour to bring our minds to think that we are unfit to be trusted with riches; that we could not bear them; they would prove to be poison to our souls; they would lead away our hearts from God; but, “having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.” “ For they that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
“ What shall I do, because I have nowhere to bestow my fruits ?" Here is an anxious inquiry. An increase of care is always an attendant upon an increase of riches ; and it is usually occasioned by an increase of servants, who consume much, without yielding a proportionate share of happiness to their employers; for wherein consists the pleasure of having many followers ? retainers, for the purpose of ostentation and the gratification of pride ? Wherein is the pleasure of having “ a house full of company," as is the boast of many a rich man ? where the pleasure of consuming the precious hours of life in a vortex of society ? “ The poor is hated, but the rich hath many friends :" wealth maketh many friends, if they are deserving of the name who attach themselves to the rich only because they are rich.
The wise man in the book of Ecclesiastes repudiates the things that men usually esteem as the greatest blessings : “ When goods increase, they are increased that eat them : and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not