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was the effect of irreligion and unbelief: he lived at ease, and God was not in all his thoughts. To his request Abraham replies, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them : fhewing us again, that the fault of these rich inen was contempt of the prophets and irreligion. The rich man tacitly owns this contempt, both for himself and his brethren, by saying, Nay, but if one went from the dead, they will repent : which was confessing that they had not reverence enough for Moses and the prophets, to repent upon their authority and admonition, but wanted some greater motive, which he thought might be found in the appearance of one coming from the grave. From these circumstances it is evident, that the purport of the parable is not to represent to us the heinousness of any one particular crime for which the rich man suffered ; but to shew how fatally riches influence the mind to irreligion, and make men forget God; whilst the poor, living in continual want, have a perpetual sense of their dependence, and do in all their distress look up to Him of whom cometh their salvation. This sense of dependence creates in the poor man a fear to offend, a desire to please ; whilft the rich man, wanting, as he thinks, nothing from God, has no desire to court his favour ; but grows negligent and remiss in all the parts of religion, from which it is a very easy step to infidelity.
It is from these considerations that the love of the world is said in Scripture to be enmity with God. All vices are not attended with hatred and contempt of God; not all the vices that are commonly ascribed to riches : and therefore the love of
the world, that is enmity with God, is not to be expounded by covetousness or uncharitableness, or any other particular vice ; but denotes the rich man's temper and disposition, the habit of mind that grows out of a plentiful estate : and this indeed is very commonly enmity with God, inclining men not only to disobey his commands, but, as far as lies in them, to throw him out of the world, and depose him from the throne of heaven.
To the same purpose our Lord speaks, when he tells us, Ņo 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. Here our Lord speaks without a parable, and tells us plainly what it is that makes wealth to be so dangerous a poffeffion; namely, because it is the rival of God : and if it once get possession of the mind, it will expel all trust and confidence in God, all regard to faith and religion : for ye cannot ferve God and Mammon.
From what has been discoursed upon this subject, we may learn, where a rich man ought to place his guard : if he is not covetous or uncharitable, if he is not luxurious and intemperate, so far it is well: but above all, let him take heed, that the pride and insolence of mind, too common in plentiful circumstances, grow not upon him; the pride, I mean, of self-sufficiency, as if he were able to guide and to guard himself through the world, and had not so much need of the care of God over him, as the poor who enjoy nothing: let him learn to know, that in riches is no security, and that he wants the protection of Heaven as much as the poorest wretch in the world. A rich man, that has this sense as he ought to have, will in consequence have the other virtues proper to his state: he will be gentle, affable, kind, and charitable ; and his fpirit, in the height of fortune, will be adorned with the meekness of the Gofpel of Christ. A man of sense need not go far to learn this submission to God in the highest fortune: our Saviour's argument, that follows close after the text, will teach him the reasonableness of the duty : The life, says he, is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. · The utmost riches can do, upon the largest concessions made to them, is to provide food and raiment, and such like necessaries and conveniences of life. Put the case then, that, by be. ing master of a great estate, you are master of food and raiment, and can have them in what quantity or quality you please: What then? Have
less reafon, upon this account, to depend upon God, and to implore his aid? Consider a little : To what purpose serves food ? Is it not for the support of life ? But can food ward off death? Are
your plenty of provisions, one jot securer against fickness, or any accident that
of your life, than the poorest man? Will not a tile from an house kill a rich man, as well as a beggar? If this be the case, is
not very absurd to plume yourself, and to think of security, because of your plenty, when life itself, which is more than meat, is still exposed, and for which you can have no security, but in the goodness of God? You have many changes of raiment, and the poor has only rags. What then? Will the gout or stone or burning fever pay such respect to fine clothes, as not to approach them? Will health
always attend upon gold lace and embroidery? If it will, you are right to multiply garments: but if, after all
your care for raiment, you must still depend upon God, as well as the beggar, for health and strength of body, how ridiculous is the joy over many changes of garments ! Is not the body more than raiment ? Since then you must trust God for your life and strength, because they are things which no care of your own, no degree of wealth can insure ; had you not even as good trust him a little farther, and case yourself of this unreasonable care for the things of life? From these and the like confiderations you may see, that dependence upon God is as much the rich man's duty and interest, as it is the poor man's; that to trust God, and to rely on his goodness, is to be rich towards God, and is that sort of riches which will make us easy and happy in this life, and glorious and ever-blessed in that which is to come. By these means we may still enjoy our fortunes; and, as our Church has taught us to pray,
fo pass through things temporal, that we finally lose “ not the things eternal.”
66 We may
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter re
membered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Pe
ter went out, and wept bitterly. The fall of St. Peter would be a very melancholy instance of human infirmity, did it not likewise set before us a signal example of the divine mercy, and of the power of grace triumphing over the weakness of nature. St. Peter seems to have had the greatest share of natural courage and resolution of any of the disciples, and the fullest perfuafion of faith. He it was who made the first confeffion, and faid, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God; by which he obtained the promise of his Lord, I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He it was, who, when his Master's life was affaulted, drew the sword in his defence, and smote off the servant's ear; and had left still greater marks of his courage and zeal, had not his Mafter rebuked his fire, bidding him put up the sword into its place again. When our Lord foretold the flight of his disciples, and that all should be offended because of