Page images

have not thus wisely Husbanded all Things, so that they may do you good hereafter, when you shall be turn’d out of all here, you will be in a very miserable condition. Therefore, Make to to your felves, &c.

Mammon is a Syriack word signifying Gain or Riches, and is observed to be used fometimes for the Idol which fome Heathens worshipped as the God of Riches. To which use of the word our Saviour seems to have Respect. Mat. 6. 24. say. ing, No Man can serve two Masters. Ye cannot Serve God and Mammon. By shewing what use he would have us make of our Riches, he hewech us also how to use all the other things which here we enjoy.

Riches are called the Mammon of unrighteousness, or the unrighteous Mammon, either first, because they are too often gotten orimpro. ved by unrighteousness; or Secondly, because they are as often made the Instruments of unrighteousness. An Instance of both in one, may be what is common enough, the bribing of Men in power to do Injustice; and such an Instance is that of the unjust Steward in the Parable, corrupting his Lord's Debtors with his Lord's Money. Or fourthly, they both tempt, and help Men to do wickedly, whence the Love of Money is called the Root of all Evil. 1 Tim. 6. 10. Or Lastly, which seems most probable, because in comparison of Spiritual and Heavenly Things, they are false and vain, and because of that unrighteous and wicked Men have often the greatest share of them, which could not be, were they indeed the true Riches. And thus the unrighteous Mammon, y.'11. is used in opposition to the true Riches in the same Verfe. If therefore, ye bave not been faithful

of, neiion by any mentioned, anore largely in

in the unrighteous Mammon, that is, in the things of

this world; thare but false and deceitful, very wcertain things, uncertain Riches as they are cal

led. 1 Tim. 6. 15. Who will commit to your Trust the true Riches? That is, those Spiritual Gifts, which make the possessors of them good and blessed, making them rich towards God, and happy for ever.

What more in the Words needs to be explained, it shall be done as there is occasion for it. Now we observe in them, for our Instruction, divers things, which we shall nor now speak largely of, neither need we, seeing they cannot be called in Question by any one. They shall be therefore little more than mentioned, and only the main thing here intended a liule niore largely inlifted on.

1. Observe, that Worldly Riches are here called the Mammon of unrighteousness, or the unrighteous Mammon. Men indeed, are too generally apt to idolize them, and to offer up not only their Time, their Strength, their Quier, but their Conscience and Religion, all Honesty and Justice, their Neighbours Rights, and the publick Good, and even their own Souls unto them. Therefore is Covetousness called Idolatry. Col. 3. 5. But our Blessed Saviour here teacherh us how, little we ought to esteem them; for they are indeed no better, but the unrighteous Mammon. They are nor so called, either because they are always unrighteously gotten, or because they always make or witness the Owners of them to be unrighteous Persons, or because one cannot be rich and righteous too. For many have becn at once very sich, and very just and good, and have both gotten, and encreased their wealth by righteous


ways, and done abundance of good, and wrought much righteousness with them in the World. But for some of these Reasons doth our Saviour thus call them. Either,

First, Because they are too often gor, and improved by unrighteousness; a thing so common, that it hach occasioned a Proverbial Saying, That a rich Man is either an unjust Man, or an unjust Man's Heir. And Solomon hath this among his Proverbs. He that maketh bafte to be Rich shall not be Innocent, Prov. 28. 20. This should mightily lessen the value of Riches in our Efteem

of Things, that they may be often, and possibly - it may be truly said, are for the most part gotten by fuch Arts and Means as are displeasing to God; and therefore cannot be reckoned among the best things, seeing God useth not to crown unrighteous doings, with his best Gifts. But such mean things are Riches in God's Account, that he seems to cast them out for the Wicked of the World to scramble for, and let's them take most of them that can by any means get them, so that the Tabernacles of the Robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure, into whole Hand God bringeth abundantly. Job. 12. 6. Or, - Secondly, Because they very often are the Inftrum ments, and always are strong Temprations to unrighteousness. They help Men to act a great deal of Wickedness, which without them, how much foever inclined unco it, they could not act; and by them Men are tempted to do the Evils, which had they not been rich, they might probably never have thought of. The deceitfulness of Riches chokes the Word of God, which should make us fruitful in goodness. Mat. 13. 22. And they that will be rich, fall into Temptation, and a


richinings, seeing cat be reckonedung to God

Share, and into many foolish and hurtful Lufts. 1 Tim. 6.9. Wherefore our Saviour hath said, that tho'it be not a thing impossible with God, who can give grace sufficient to use Riches well; yet is it a very hard thing for a Rich Man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat. 19. 23. And this again should ahate our eager defire of them, and make us regard them as things which are more to be feared than desired. Or,

Thirdly, Because they are but at best uncertain things, and of short continuance and profit, buc are rich in comparison of the Treasures of righteousness, the true and permanent Riches, which will never fail us. Wilt thou set thine Eyes upon that which is not? For Riches certainly make themselves Wings, they flie away as an Eagle towards Heaven. Prov. 23.5. No Man can be sure to get them, none can be sure to keep them when he hach got them. And this is enough to teach us how to prize them; even as perishing Things. Therefore if Riches encrease, 'tis a madness to sec our Hearts upon them, or to trust in them, seeing we never have any sure hold of them.

2. Observe, That our blessed Saviour saying --that when ye fail, would have us to conclude upon it, That fail we must, sooner or later, that is, one time or other we must forsake and take our last Leave of all our Earthly Enjoyments, when , we can make no more use of them, nor will be aa' ny longer, as they have been serviceable to us. If we be not deprived of all our Wealth before we die, yer when Death comes, we must leave all behind us. We brought not bing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 1. Tim. 6. 7. As we came forth of our Mother's Womb, naked mall we return to go as we came, and shall take nothing of



our Labour, which we may carry away in our Hand. Ecclef. 5.15. As we may be deprived of them before we come most to need them; so tho' they

should continue with us as long as we live, yet may we out-live the use of them, we may be fick, and in such a condition, as we can reap no good of all that we posless. However, tho' one be made rich, and the Glory of his House encrecseth; yet when be dieth, he shall carry nothing away ; bis Glory Mall not d-fcend after him. Pfal. 49. 16. 17.

'Tl is we all know well enough, howsoever we are affected with it. And truly, when this is well thought on, one would think it should have this eff et upon us.

First, To abate that Pride which we are too apt to take in our Wealth. If we be rich, we expect that our poorer Neighbours should adore, and idolize us, as much as we do our Ri. ches. And they must call us their betrers, tho' for no other reason, but that we are sunk deeper into the Mire, or have a greater Load of thick Clay upon our Shoulders than they have. And all the V Vorld must honour and respect us, tho' all the good we do in it is to draw away the Nourishment it affords from those who would make better use of it. But a time is coming, when we shall have as little of it as they who have least, we hall go to the Generation of our Fax thers, as well as the meanest Begger, and shall never see Light. Pfal.49. 19.

Secondly, To cool our ardent desire of growing tich. For why should we lo eagerly hunt after that, which when found, muft so quickly be loft again? It must needs be a great Folly in any one impatiently to thirst after that, which he knows not whether he may live another Day to enjoy.


it is to draipect us

make bertant it affords

« PreviousContinue »