« PreviousContinue »
to observe in this our Feast; and let us all, for the Honour of Chrift’s Religion, and for the Credit of our particular Country, charge the Observation of them upon ourselves : Which if we can all resolve to do, I can safely apply to every one of you, that Say. ing of Solomon in the Ninth Chapter of this Book of Ecclefiaftes, and the Seventh Verse, with which I shall .conclude; Go thy way, eat thy Bread with Joy, and drink thy Wine with a Merry Heart; for God nom. accepteth thy Work.
1 T M. vi. 17, 18, 19. Charge them that are Rich in this World, that they
be not High-minded, nor trust in uncertain Riches, but in the Living God, who, giveth us richly all
Things to enjoy. That they do Good, that they be Rich in good
Works, ready to distribute, willing to com,
municate. Laying up in store for themselves a goud Founda
tion against the Time to come, that they may lay hold on Eternal Life.
ROTIUS his Note upon this Text is
this, That St. Paul now having G finished this his Epistle to Timothy,
it comes into his Mind, that there
was need of some more particular Application to be made, and Adinonition to be given to those Wealthy Merchants, with which the City of Ephesus (where Timothy resided) did
then abound; and upon this Confideration, he inferts those words I have now read, Charge them that are rich in this World, &c.
How famous foever the City of Ephefus was at that Time for Wealth or Trade, there is little doubt to be made,that this Cityof ours (praised be God for it) doth in those Respects, at this Day, equal, if not much exceed it. And there. fore that which St. Paul thought of so great Importance, as to give especial Orders to Timothy, to press upon the Ephesian Citizens, will always be very fit to be seriously recommended to you in this place', and more especially at this Time, fince it is the proper Work of the Day. Waving therefore wholly the Argument of our Saviour's Resurrection, upon which you have before been entertained ; I apply myself
, without farther Preface, to conclude this Easter Solemnity with that, with which St. Paul concludes his Epistle, viz. with a short Dis. course of the Rich Man's great Duty and Concernment, which is in these Words plainly set forth to us.
In them we may take notice of these Three Generals, which I shall make the Heads of my following Discourse.
First, The Duty itself incumbent upon those that are Rich in this World, expressed in several Particulars.
Secondly, The great Obligation that lies upon them to the Performance of it, which we may gather from the Vehemence and the Authority with which St. Paul orders Timothy to press it; Charge them (faith he) that are Rich, that they be noi, &c.
Thirdly, The mighty Encouragement they have to observe this Charge ; for hereby they lay up to themselves in store a good Foundation against the Time to come, that they may lay hold on Eternal Life.
First, I begin with the Rich Man's Duty, which is here express'd in Four Points; Two of them Negative, teaching what Things he ought to Avoid; the other Two Positive, teaching what he ought to Practice. They are these :
I. That he should not be high-minded,
Works, &c. The First Thing that is given in Charge to all those that are Rich in this World, is, That they be not high-minded, pis furopegvew, that they do not think too well of themselves for being Rich, and take Occa Gion from thence to despise others that are in meaner Circumtances than they. They are not to value themselves à jot the more, or to think worse of others upon Account of that outward Fortune they are possessed of, but are in all their Conversation to express the fame Moderation, and Humanity, and Easiness, and Obliging. nefs of Temper to those they have to do with, even the Meanest and the Poorest, as if they stood with them upon the fame Level.
And with very great Reason hath St. Paul given this Caution to Rich Men. For by the
Experience of the World, ic hath been als ways found, that Wealth is apt to puff up, to make Men look big, and to breed in them a Contempt of others; but what little Ground there is for this, is easily seen by any that will give themselves leave to consider.
For what doth any of these worldly Goods (which make us keep at distance) really add to a Man in Point of true Worth and Value? Do they either recommend him more to God or to wife Men, or even to himself, if he have a Grain of Sense in him, than if he was wichout them ? Certainly they do not. For that for which either God approves us, or wise Men esteem us, or we can speak Peace and Content to ourselves, is not any Thing without us, any Thing that Fortune hath given, to us; but Something that we may more truly call our own, Something that we were neither born with, nor could any Body hin. der us of, nor can be taken from us; that is to say, The Riches of our Minds, our vertu. ous and commendable Qualities.
A Man is no more a fit Obje&t of Esteem, merely for being rich, than the Beast he rides on (if I may use the old Comparison) is, of Commendation for the costly Trappings he wears,
Secondly, Another Caution given to those that are rich in this World, is, That they should not trust in uncertain Riches. This likewise is a Temptation to which they are exposed, and our Saviour hath very lively set it forth to us in the Parable of the Rich Man in the Gospel,