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is a burden to him. But covetousness is not the thirst of nature, but of a diseased mind. It is the thirst of a fever, or of a dropsy; the more a man drinks, the more he desires, and the more he is inílamed. In like manner, the more the covetous man increaseth his eftate, the more his defires are enlarged and extended, and he finds continually new occasions and new necellities, and every day as he grows richer, he discovers new wants; and a new poverty to be provided against, which he did not think of before, comes into his mind : Et minus hæc optat, qui non habet; and be that is without these things, covets them less than be that hath thein. So far is a covetous man's attaining to riches from giving him satisfaction, that he who hath scarce any thing at all, is many times much nearer to contentment, than he that haih got so much; nay, so unreasonable is this appetite, as to de. fire rnore, even when the man knows not how to be. stow what he hath already. This Solomon observed long since, (for the vices and humours of men are much the same in all ages), Eccles. iv. 8. There is one alone, and there is not a second; gea, he hath neither child, nor brother ; j'et is íhere no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither faith key For whom do í labour, and bereave my foul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a fore travel. And.indeed what can be greater vanity and fölly, than to be at certain pains and labour all the days of a man's. life, and yet to be uncertain all the while for whom it is that he drudgeth and taketh all these pains.
And if this be the nature of this vice, the more it gets, still to covet the more; then nothing can be more unreasonable, than to think to gratify this appetite; because' at this rate, the man can never be contented, because he can never have enough; nay, fo far is it from that, that every new'accession to his fortune, fets his defires one degree farther from rest and satisfaction : for a covetous mind having no bounds, it is very probable that the man's desire will increase much faster than his estate; and then the richer he is, he is still the poorer, because he is still
the less contented with his condition. However, it is impossible that the man's desire should ever be fatisfied; for defire being always first, if the man's de. fire of riches advanceth, and goes forward as fast as riches follow, then it is not possible for riches ever to overtake the desire of them, no more than the hinder wheels of a coach can overtake those which are before ; because, as they were at a distance at first setting out, so let them go never so far, or so fast, they keep the fame distance itill.
So that it is the vainest thing in the world, for a man to design his own fatisfaction by the perpetual increase of his fortune, because contentment doth not arise from the abundance of what a man hath, but it mult spring from the inward frame and temper of our minds; and the true way to it, is not to enlarge our estate, but to contract our desires; and then it is poffible, that a man's money and his mind may meet ; otherwise, the pursuit is endless, and the farther a man follows contentment, it will but flee so much the farther from him; and when he hath attained the estate of a Prince, and a revenue as great as that of France, or the Turkish empire, he shall be farther from being satisfied, than when he began the world, and had no more: before hand than would just pay for his next meal.
I should now have proceeded to the fourth thing, whereby the unreasonableness of covetousness doth appear ; because the liappiness of human life doth not. confit in riches. And this is the argument which I Thall more especially insist upon, because it is that which our Saviour useth here in the text, to take. men off from this vice. The life of a man confifteth not. in the abundance of the things which he polleseth. And this certainly is one of the best and most reasonable: confiderations in the world, to moderate mens affections towards these things. Every reasonable desire: propounds fome end to itself. Now to what pur. pole thould any man desire to increase his wealth so vastly beyond the proportion of his necessities and real occasions ? What benefit and advantage would it be to any man, to have an hundred times more than
he knows what to do withal ? But I shall not enlarge upon this argument at present, but refer it to another opportunity
And he said unto them, Take heed, and bewarë of co
velousness; for a man's life confteth not in the ai bundance of the things which he feth.
The third sermon on this text. .
Fter I had in my first discourse upon this subject, ,
given you an account of the nature of the vice of covetoufness, I proceeded in the next place to represent the great evil and unreasonableness of it.
First, Because it takes men off from religion, and the care of their souls.
Secondly, Because it tempts men to many things which are inconfifent with religion, and directly contrary to it.
Thirdly, Because it is an endless and infatiable des fire. Thus far I have gone ; I proceed to the
Fourth thing, whereby the unreafonableness of co vetousness will yet farther appear", namely, because the happiness of human life doth not consist in riches and abundance. And this I shall insist upon fome: what the more largely, because it is the argument which our Saviour makes use of here in the text, to take men off from this fin : The life of man consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he poléleth ;, therefore take heed, and beware of covelousness. And this certainly is one of the best and most reasonable : considerations in the world, to moderate our affec-
tions towards these things. For every reasonable defire propounds fome end to itself. Now, to what purpole should any man desire to increase his wealth. fo. vastly, and beyond the proportion of his neceflitiesand real occasions ? What benefit and advantage canit be to any man, to have an hundred, or perhaps a thousand times more than he knows what to do withal ?
And as for the other world, no man ever pretended, that the heaping up riches here would be useful to him there : Riches will not deliver him in the day of wrath. No man was ever so senseless, as to imagine, that he could take his estate along with them into the other world ; or if he could, that heaven was to be bought with money ; or that a great estate, or a. great many lordlhips, would recommend him to the favour of God. It is true indeed, a man may so use riches in this world, as thereby to promote and further: his happiness in the next. But then it is likewise as true, that a man may so demean himself in a poor and low condition, as thereby to render himself as acceptable to God, and capable of as great a reward as the richest man can do. The poor woman's two mites chearfully given to pious and charitable uses, will go as far in the other world, and find as great a reward there, as the rich man's thousands of gold and silver
And a man may be as truly generous and charitable out of a little, as out of the greatest fortune. Besides, that the poor man's contentedness in a mean condition, is more admirable in itself, and more valuable with God, than for a rich man to be fo.
So that the great use of riches respects this world, and the best use of them is in ways of charity ; and the poor man's charity, though it cannot be of so great an extent in the effects of it, yet in the degree of its virtue and merit, it may be equal to it.
Now the two great designs of men, in regard to this world, are these.
1. To maintain and support our lives as long as we
2. To make our lives as truly happy and comfortable as we can.
To the first of these ends, namely, the support of our lives, a very little will suffice; and it is not much that is necessary to the other, to render our lives as truly comfortable as this world can make them : fo that a vast estate is not neceffary to either of these ends ; for a man may live, by having what is necessary; and may live comfortably, by having that which is convenient.
No man lives the longer by having abundance; it is many times an occafion of shortening a man's life, by ministring to excess and intemperance; but seldom of prolonging it. And setting aside the 'vain fancy and conceit of men, no man lives the more happily, for having more than he hath real use and occasion for,
These two heads I shall at present speak to, to make out the full force of this reason, which our Sa. viour here uleth, namely, That a man's life confifteth not in the abundance of the things which he poselseth.
i. That riches do not contribute to the support of our lives; nor,
2. To the happiness and comfort of them. That is, they are not neceffary to either of these ends. For by riches I mean, whatever is beyond a sufficient competency of those things which are requisite to the real uses and occasions of human life.
Firft; - Riches and abundance do not contribute to the support of our lives. And this our Saviour very well represents to us in the parable immediately after the text, of the rich man, who was continually increafing his estate, so that he had goods laid up for many years; but he lived not one jot the longer for being provided of the conveniencies of life for fo long a time before hand; for whilft he was blessing himself, as if he had secured his happiness sufficiently for this world, he was uncertain of his continuance in it; God having decreed to take him out of this world, at that very time when he had determined to enter upon the enjoyment of those things which he had