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good, as the one thing needful. If you pursue worldly pleasures and advantages with such negligence, as to let your thoughts be wandering to the heavens as your chief joy, you have no great regard for me, therefore I cannot call you my servant.
The Lord enjoins it upon us to be honest in all our dealings with mankind, and not defraud or injure our neighbour. His commands are, Love your neighbour as yourself. Look not every man on his own things; but every man also on the things of others. And as ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets. Mammon says, Others defraud, and take every advantage they can; and you must do so too, or you cannot live. If others cheat and strive to over-reach, you must do the same, or you will never get along in the world, so as to make any respectable appearance in the eyes of mankind. If it will promote your worldly interest best to be honest and just in your dealings with some men, I would have you be upright with them; but still you must always consider it to be sufficient for you to look well to your own concerns, and have a sole regard for yourself.
God enjoins it upon us as a duty and privilege, to be charitable and liberal of the good things he has given us; to assist the poor, relieve the distressed, and support the important interest of his cause. With cheering words of encouragement he says, The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself.
The language of Mammon is, If you are always giving, you will always be poor; so you must keep what you bave got, and get what you can. When you behold objects of charity and distress, shut up all bowels of compassion, for fear your gift will not be wisely bestowed. And do not promote religious concerns, till you feel yourself in safety in all your worldly circumstances.
God commands us, To remember the Sabbath day
to keep it holy. The whole day must be spent in the varied private, social, and publick duties of religion. Both man and beast, on that day, are to rest from their labours, even in the time of earing and harvest. The duty of assembling together for publick devotion, and for the honour of God's holy name, and our growth in knowledge and grace, is clearly pointed out. On his holy day, we are not to think our own thoughts: that is, not let our minds be filled with perplexing cares about temporary affairs; but so to improve it, that it prove a day of preparation for a glorious and eternal Sabbath of rest.
Mammon, on the other hand, says, You must not attend publick worship on the Sabbath, unless your secular concerns be all regulated. Otherwise, you must stay at home, and see to things, or else your business will hurry you, before the close of the next week. If the cause of God does require your attendance in his house; yet one half of the day will be sufficient for you, who have so many calls to which you must attend, and who are already pretty well informed. You may find some sermon, which will be more instructive than the one your minister will preach; besides you can read in the evening by your fire-side. Moreover, in harvest time, especially, you must work on the Lord's day; for, if you should let one fair day slip, you may sustain considerable loss. And you may trade on that day for the sake of gain, if you are only careful to keep your bargain secret. Books may then be posted, to save time; and accounts settled, if your neighbour be willing. Or, if you are so far from your residence with your horse, carriage, or team, that you cannot attend publick worship in your own vicinity on that day, you may as well prosecute your journey. Mammon says, It will be expensive, if you have to pay for the keeping of yourself and horses; so you had better travel on, and make haste home. And whenever you do attend divine service in the house of God, would you have
your soul delighted? let it be by having your thoughts dwell on what you have done and gained, during the last week; and by laying plans, how to prosecute your business, through the next.
God demands family worship; and threatens with a curse, those families that call not upon his name. The evening and morning sacrifice of thanksgiving, prayer, and praise must be offered to him from the family altar, and be considered a reasonable service.
Mammon says, Confine this duty to the Sabbath, and even then esteem it no desirable privilege; but account it as a weariness and burden of the soul. To lose half an hour every morning and evening in religious duties, especially when there is a multiplicity of business on hand, would be a serious and unnecessary evil.
The Lord commands us to serve him with all our hearts. His language is, My son, give me thine heart. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and him only shalt thou serve. He complained of some who honoured him with their lips, because their hearts were far from him. He does not consider any service as true obedience, unless it proceed from a heart of supreme love to his character, and delight in his service. Therefore, he does not call any his true servants, who do not yield entire and cordial obedience.
Mammon says, Give me the heart, or you are none of my servants. Give me the chief place in your thoughts and affections, or else you will be counted the servant of another master. God holds forth the rich treasures of his holy word, for the meditation and delight of our souls. He exhibits himself as the fountain and source of blessedness, to be the object of our pursuit and highest joy. He proffers the glorious and inconceivable rewards of the righteous, as an excitement to faithfulness in his service. He calls upon the sons of men to look at the things which are unseen and eternal, and prepare
for mansions of immortal glory. Mammon holds forth herself in various forms, with all her worldly charms to allure mankind to serve her most faithfully. Worldly riches, honours, and prospects are presented to engage the highest attention and affections of men. She would have them prefer worldly and temporal enjoyments, to those which are heavenly and eternal. Thus by contrast, as it respects the nature and requirements of God and Mammon, we may see the impossibility of serving both. Then he, who loves. and holds to the world as his master, will, whether he have little or much in the affections of his heart, be an enemy and despiser of God. But he who loves and cleaves to the service of God, will renounce the friendship, and despise the frown of the world. Thus the Saviour has declared, No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other: Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
1st. We may see why the scriptures call Mammon, the Mammon of unrighteousness. It is because mankind use unlawful means to obtain it; as oppression, theft, violence, and other vicious ways. In such instances they despise the authority of God to obtain Mammon; disregard his law, and the peace and prospe rity of their fellow men. The civil law may have some restraint upon them; but we are sensible, that this is ineffectual to restrain many from openly vicious courses. Riches, or the acquiring of earthly good things, are not, in themselves, considered sinful; for by a proper management and arrangement of our worldly concerns, in subordination to religion, we may render them as a part of God's service. But worldly men make their religion, subservient to the interest of Mammon; and whatever gratifies or delights mankind the most, will be pursued with
eagerness. Then, if men have an inordinate desire for self gratification from the pleasures which Mammon affords, they will be led into all manner of unrighteousness, that they may indulge ungoverned appetites, and gratify sinful inclinations and passions. Thus the inordinate desire of gratifying their avarice, their ambition, and other sinful lusts, hurries them on to Sabbath breaking, cheating, lying, robbing, and even to the crime of murder. Hence we see,
when the thoughts and affections of men, are violent and criminal for the pleasures of Mammon, they excite to overt acts of iniquity, and all manner of unrighteousness.
2d. We may see, the most of the excuses that are made for neglecting religious duties, and doing what the Lord forbids, amount to a confession that it is more important to serve Mammon than to serve God. The reason why people work in the field, or shop, or journey on the Sabbath is, Mammon holds them fast with her claims. They know the Lord forbids such things; but they cannot obey him, when they have such a strong and cordial regard for another master. Some persons make it convenient to attend publick worship occasionally, but not statedly; and they can scarcely find leisure to attend church meetings, or religious conferences and prayer meetings; because Mammon hurries them with a multiplicity of her engagements. They cannot find time for reading the holy scriptures daily, for evening and morning devotion, for giving thanks for their daily food, or for the duties of the closet; for the god of this world troubles them frequently with very urgent and imperious calls. The most of the excuses that are made for neglecting the all-important duties of religion, are, my worldly concerns hurry me; my engagements bind me; and they are of so much importance that I am necessitated to neglect these duties. In these and other instances, confessions are virtually made.