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Riches, than having abundance of Wealth to be cast with the rich Man into Hell. But then, as was before said, the only warrantable way of casting away our Riches, is to dispose of them as be directs us, who bestowed them upon us.
And yet the Temptations which accompany extream Poverty are, if not as many, yet as powerful, as those which attend abundance, and no less measure of Grace is needful to strengthen us against them, than against the Temptations of Riches ; and therefore well did Agur join them together in his Prayer. Give me (faith he) neither Poverty nor Riches, feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord? or left I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain, Prov. 30. 8, 9. Extream want is not easily borne, but Nature pinched hard with it, will struggle hard too, even against the Laws of God, to relieve it felf and if not restrained by the Power of Grace, will break them all rather than suffer very much.
Whoso therefore wisely consults the safety of his own Soul, will not make either of the two extreams his choice : Seeing it is no Wisdom for any one to ensnare himself in Temptations, which require a greater strength than a Man's own, to master them. It is enough, and (as a great many of us make it too manifest) too much for most of us, to manage any considerable stock of Riches so as we ought to do, when by the Providence of God they fall to our share, without our feeking for them. It is good advice which Solomon gives us. Prov. 23. 4 Labour not to be rich : Cease from thine own Wisdom. We are too apt to account it Wisdom, to sciape up to together as much of the World as we can get, for our selves
and our Children ; bur certainly it is a great Folly to run into trong Temptations. He that maketh bast to be rich, shall not be innocent, Prov. 28. 20. Therefore, baving Food and Raiment, let is be therewith content, i Tim. 6. 8. For this we ought to Labour, and for this we are taught to Pray, saying, Give us this Day our daily Bread.
What then was the Sin of this rich Man ? Was it this, that he was clothed in Purple and fine Lin. nen? It is certain, that it is not always a Sin to wear such clothing. Every one may c! th himself according to his Rank and Quality. And he who is no otherwise apparalled chan is fuirable to his Rank, may, tho' he wear Purple and fine Linnen, be more pious and bumble, than a Beggar in his Rags. As God hath ordained, that there shall be several Orders and Degrees of Dignity and Pre-eminence among Men in the World, so may all these be distinguished, and known afunder by their Habits; which may differ each from other, as well in the matter, as in the form, in the richness, as in the fashion. God hath furnith d the World with great Variety of Things fit to be worn. The Priests of old had a very rich Attire, and costly Vestments, even of Gold, and pretious Stones, Purple, and fine Linnen, commanded by God himself, wherein they were to Minister before him in their Offices. Princes and Mugistrates had their Royal Robes, and costly Ornaments; and were not rebuked or blamed by any of the Prophets for such Matters. The bare wearing of such costly and glorious Apparel, was not the fault of this rich Man, fuppofing him to be a Person of such an Order or Degree, as that this Habit might be suitable to it:
Was it then his Sin, that he fared sumptuously? Truly, for a rich Man to keep a better Table than the poor can do; to eat better or costlier Meat, and to drink better and costlier drink, than poor Men are able to afford themselves, I cannot think to be a fault, but a thing very decent. And if such an one do sometimes feast and fare fumptuously, there may be very good Reason for it, and then it very well becomes him to do so, rejoicing in God, and observing the Laws of Moderation, Sobriety and Charity. The best Men in all Ages have used on just Occasions such sumpo tuous Feafting. And the Holy JESUS refurid not to go, and be present at such Feasts, where he was richly entertain'd, and where he himself was pleased, to add to the richness of the Entertainment, at the expence of a Miracle, turning Water into Wine, Jo. 2.
And yet after all this, I make no question of it, but that our Saviour, by this Description which he gives of this rich Man, would teach us what his chief Vices were, for which he was condemned to Hell. Telling us, that he was clothed in Purple and fine Linnen, and that he fared sumptuously every Day; whilst poor Lazarus lay at bis Gate full of Sores, and desirous of a small Alms; he doth as good as tell us, that we are to look upon this rich Man, nor as a Magistrate, or a Perlon dignified, and set aloft above his Neighbours, for any real worth was in him, or any Special Service he did to his Prince or Country ; but as a vain, proud, sensual and uncharitable Epicure, whatever he was besides, wholly addicted to the Vanities of the World, and the pleasures of the Flesh; all whose Business was about the luft of the Eyes, the luft of the Flesh, and the pride of
Life. He was a lover of Pleasures, more than a lover of God, one who had set his Affections on Things below, placing all his Happiness in raking his fill of this world, and in humoring and gratis fying his carnal Mind and Appetite : Or, as we say, in leading a Gentleman's Life. God had granted him a large Portion of this World's good Things, and in this was his Heart's deight; these he loved more than he did the giver of them; and could by no means Esteem himself in any measure bappy, without the liberty of abusing them at his Pleasure, and bimself with them. He was in the fame Mind with that other rich Man in another Parable. Luke 12. 19. He said to his Soul, Soul thou bajt much goods laid up for many Tears; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Never regarding how foon God would call his Soul out of the World, and he should leave alt behind him, and he knew not to whom. He considered not himself to be but a stranger and a sojourner bere, as all his Fatbers had been before him. He remembered not his Stewardship under God, nor the account which he was shortly to be called unto; but as if all had been absolutely bis own, and he had had no other Law to govern himself by, but that brutish Appetite, he sacrific'd all freely to his Lusts.
His Purple and fine Linnen, were the Demona strations of his Pride and Vanity. Why did he not content himself with a more modest and homely Dress ? But that he had a mind to appear some Body in the World. The most Splend and glorious, the most costly and fashionable sort of Apparel then in Use amongst great Ones, iuch as Persons of highest Place and Dignity were wone to wear, he muit needs have to swagger in, and
to set himself out with to the fight and admiration of Men. What good would his riches do him ? if they made him not look like a Gentleman? And tho' Wise Men can never be perswaded, that fine' Cloths can make a Man of a Swine, or a brave Gentleman of a luxurious Epiexie; yet he knew there would be always Fools enough in the World, who never think a Man to be of any more wort', than the Suit he hath on his back, and that he who wants Honour and iVerfhip, needs do no more for it, but go to his Draper and buy it. There always will be fome, who will account him the most glorious, that glorieth in his sheme; for so doth he that glori th in his Cloths, which no Man should so much as once think upon, without considering what a foame it is to him, that he needs them.
It must be confessed, that rich Cloaths do not make any one proud, any more than they can make him good or honourable ; nor are they always signs of pride in him that weareth them. A Prince or Nobleman may be more bumble in all his outward glory, than the most ragged Beggar; and a Beggar himself may wear a rich Suit of Cloaths' thai's given him, when he hath no other to cover his nakedness, or to keep him warm, and yet be as humble as ever. Yet cer. tain it is, that cho' fine Cloaths cannot make one proud, Pride doth too often make fine Cleaths; and let them never be condemned for me, where Pride, or something else as bad, directs not the Buyer or the Tailor. Let every one consider what his Rink and Order calTech for, and what is well consistent with Humilir), Modesty, Charity and Decency; and he