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pressed with the universality and supremacy of this passion and pursuit, do turn to the word of God, and find these words written: “ But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition: for the love of money is the root of all evil; which, while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows;"_when this I see and think upon, I am confounded and amazed how far the world is gone astray from the way of God's commandments: and I feel the burden of the subject so very great, that nothing could enhearten me to contend with it but the encouragement of the Lord, that he sendeth no one a warfare on his own charges—that His "grace is sufficient for us, " and that “ His strength is perfected in our weakness," and his especial promise unto the ministers of his church, “Behold I am with you unto the end of the world :"and, moreover, the necessity of the case doth oblige me, the utter hopelessness of your salvation, the utter inefficacy of my preaching, or of any man's preaching, yea, of the word of God itself, while ye are under this master-spirit: for is it not written?“ No 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.'
Nor is our Lord's doctrine yet exhausted, who warneth his church not only against these branching desires which come from the root of care, but also against the poisonous fruits they bear, which he denominates “the pleasures of this life;" or, as Mark hath it, “ the lusts of other things," which “ enter in and choke the word;" whereby we understand, “ the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the the eye, the pride of life,” and every other bodily and visible thing which the possession of riches enables us to possess, and by which the desire of riches is gratified and fostered in the soul, and the principle of carefulness is strengthened. These are the prizes and rewards which mammon holds out to the youth, that he may win them from the service of God and their Redeemer, and chain them to his golden car, and make them ministers in his lustful temple. He promiseth them ease of body after a season, during which he exhausts their strength and consumes their health in every clime from pole to pole, with every base, venial, and villainous occupation,--to fight in blood, to work in the dark bowels of the earth, to deal in stratagems and wiles; and for guerdon he giveth, to one perhaps in a hundred of the adventurers, a little dust, and saith, “There is thy hire; take now thine ease and be merry; when the mocking fiend knoweth that the body of his slave is filled with disease, his mind with care, and his whole soul with habitudes which will enslave him to sorrow and pain more perhaps than he was heretofore enslaved to toil and trouble; and while their former master mocks and derides these pensioners whom he has thus set aside when they could serve him no longer; perhaps at that very time the angel of the Lord cometh, and saith unto them, “ This night, O fool! thy soul is required of thee;” “ What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Nevertheless, brethren, be ye witnesses, that “the pleasures of this life," and “the lusts of other things ” which are thought to be within the power of riches, are the great stimulants which drive on that stern and unrelenting warfare which you wage with the obstacles and disappointments of life. It is the appetite of the body for future ease, that maketh it submit to present drudgery; it is the appetite of the body for future indulgence that makes it submit to present privations; it is hope basely limiting itself to the barren and uncertain prospect of visible things ; it is the want of faith in things invisible and eternal, which drives on this unwearied warfare, and fosters these bad passions in the soul. It is a system of earthliness which hath its great moving spring in the power which things visible have acquired over the fallen soul; which hath its fruit in the still further debasement and degradation of the soul, by the long and laborious pursuit of things seen and temporal, and the base, corrupting, and pestilential enjoyment of the sensual and vain pleasures which they bring within our reach. The care of the world is the root of it; the desire and pursuit of riches are the stem and branches of it; and the pleasures of life, and lusts of the things which life containeth, are the fruit of it. So that it is, in truth, the whole system of worldliness, which the Lord openeth to our consideration in this third part of the parable, and to the consideration of which we shall devote ourselves with all diligence, according as he giveth to us the ability, praying your patient and careful hearing throughout the whole of the great subject which we have sketched out.
And that I may observe some order and method in this large subject, I shall endeavour, first, to shew unto you the root and principle of care, and the proneness which there is towards it in all human pursuits; secondly, I shall trace out the way in which it works the effect ascribed to it in the parable, of choking the seed of the word, and preventing the fruits of the kingdom ; and, thirdly, I shall endeavour to shew you the only radical cure which there is for this malady of our fallen estate.
I. THE EVIL. I. The cares of this life, the cares of this world, or, as Mark more beautifully expresseth it, the care of this world, is that concerning which we are first to discourse, and against which we are to warn all this Christian people, as that with which the care of the world to come cannot dwell in the same bosom; a large and copious subject of discourse, and coming home to the case of every man ; for who is there born into this world that is not born to the burden of its cares? A great care it is, and enough for the occupation of the far greater portion of mankind to provide for the wants of the body, daily, yea hourly, recurring upon us.
And this our Lord counteth so much upon, that in his Sermon on the Mount, when touching this matter of care, he condescendeth to name no other; saying, “ Take no thought for tomorrow, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.” And, truly, in whatever state society is found, from the simplest to the most refined, this care of bodily necessities, to ourselves and to our children, is by far the greatest in amount, and will merit a chief observation in this discourse; but upon this root springeth, in civilized life, a stately tree, which beareth many cares, kindred and congenial with that which gave them birth :-these are the varieties of meats and drinks, which profit not the soul; the varieties of apparel, which minister no
comfort to the body, but much incense to our vanity, accommodations of the house, elegancies of the household establishment, and a thousand other things whereby the living of a nobleman or a gentleman is distinguished from that of a peasant; of which grafts and shoots upon the stock of our common nature, every one beareth cares for its fruit, and requireth a certain nourishment of the anxious and thoughtful mind, whereby it cometb to pass that the rich in this world's goods, so far from being delivered from the snare in which the poor man's foot is holden, are, as it were, surrounded and enclosed in the meshes and folds of a strongly woven net, and standeth in greater jeopardy of their life, than he : wherefore it is a mistake to think that any class of men are exempted from this common cause of care,—the daily necessities of life, from which mammon bringeth no deliverance, nor the world, nor any thing that is in the world,-every thing being the occasion of carefulness unto the soul of man, until it be delivered by that faith which overcometh the world, and is alone intent on the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, knowing that all these visible things shall be added thereunto.
There is another common ground of care from the highest to the lowest degree of men, which is the wants, not of their animal, but of their social nature: for no one is born as Adam was created at first, indebted only to God for his being; and even for Adam, though without a spot of sin, or any care, or any want, it was not good to be alone; but we are born linked and united in the very fibres of our being to many others who in time become objects of care, to us, and to whom we are objects of the dearest care so soon as we see