he invited his friends, and especially those of his own profession, piously hoping that they also might be captivated by our Lord's company and conversation. The pharisees, whose malignant eyes were constantly watching to find or create some occasion of censuring our Lord's conduct, began to suggest to His disciples that it ill became so pure and holy a person as their Master pretended to be, thus familiarly to converse with the worst of men, with publicans and sinners, persons who were infamous to a proverb. To which our Lord replied, that “they who are “ whole need not a Physician, but they who “ are sick;” that His company was most suitable among those persons, the necessities of whose souls required it, that God Himself prefers acts of mercy and charity, especially those which are administered to the souls of men, before any ritual observances, and that the main design of His appearance in the world was “not to call “ the righteous," those who proudly conceit themselves to be so, “but sinners," self accused

” offenders, “to repentance" and salvation.

After his election to the Apostolate, St. Matthew continued with the other disciples till our Lord's ascension, and then for the eight following years preached the gospel in Judea only. After this, being about to remove into the Gentile world, he was intreated by the Jewish converts to commit to writing the history of our Saviour's life and actions, and to leave it among them as a' standing record of what he had preached to them. With this request, he complied, and composed the gospel, which bears his. name. It is doubtful what became of him after this period. It is however generally supposed that he preached the gospel laboriously and

successfully in Ethiopia, and finished his useful career at Naddaber, a city of that country, but by what kind of death is altogether uncertain.

The conversion of our Apostle affords a striking instance both of the rich grace and almighty power of God. If we reflect on the previous circumstances of his life, we shall see that he was deeply immersed in the world, and under strong temptations still to pursue it as his portion. He was engaged in a very lucrative employ, was supported by the power and favour of the Roman government, and was under the influence of covetous inclinations which had been confirmed by long habits. O how rich was that grace which selected such a person for one of its happy monuments ! how great that power which, in an instant, stopped the rapid current of worldly propensity, and diverted it from its antient channel which gave a new bias to the affections, and caused them to flow in another and opposite direction ! No sooner did Christ call than St. Matthew obeyed. Without the least scruple or hesitation, he left all and followed Him. All his pleasing and enticing prospects of sublunary wealth and grandeur disappeared at once, when the light of truth burst on his mind, even as the deceitful fog-bank is dissipated by the rays of the ascending

He not only relinquished the opulence he had acquired, and the prospect of an increase, but voluntarily determined to expose himself to all the shame and sufferings which attended a connection with the despised Jesus.

From the grace which was shewn to St. Matthew in his call from the receipt of custom to be an apostle and evangelist, we take encouragement to offer a petition for ourselves that God would

grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires


“ and inordinate love of riches, and to follow His “ Son Jesus Christ.”

By our baptismal vow we have engaged to renounce the world, that is, not to seek our happi. ness, nor to make up our portion in it--to maintain the temper of pilgrims and strangers upon earth, by not laying up for ourselves treasures on earth, where the moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but by laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Such is our baptismal engagement. But Oh, how difficult is its fulfilment! Who is there that has not reason to mourn over a broken vow, when the extent of the stipulation is compared with his own spirit and conduct? Who is there that has not been influenced by “ covetous desires and an inordinate “ love of riches?" Or, in other words, Where is the man to be found, who has not preferred the world to God, its smiles to His approbation, its wealth to His grace?

If then not only “the men of the world, who “ have their portion in this life,” are implicated in the guilt of covetousness, but if even the faithful few who have chosen God for their portion, and whose affections are set on things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, are not exempt from the criminality of inordinate desires,-if these latter are conscious of an undue attachment to this present evil world, O how necessary and proper is our prayer for grace to wean us therefrom! Let the reader inquire, whether it be not a suitable and needful petition for himself to offer. Do you not find by painful experience, that, although your judgment is convinced that God only can confer on you true happiness, you are prone to seek it in the riches of this world? Is there no tendency to envy, and

no dissatisfaction with the allotments of providence, in the bosoms of the poor members of our church? No pride, self-elation, and forgetfulness of God in her more prosperous and opulent children? And is there not a necessity that all of them should devoutly join in this act of supplication ? Certain it is that no one will deem it needless who is possessed of self-knowledge, obtained by comparing the emotions of his own heart with the holy law of God.

The evil of covetous desires and an inordinate « love of riches" is very great.

“ Covetousness “is" expressly declared to be “ idolatry,” (Col. iii. 5) because it attributes to the creature that which is the exclusive prerogative of the Creator, the power of satisfying the rational soul and of making it happy. We need not therefore wonder to find that covetous persons are expressly named among those who are excluded from the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. vi. 10. Eph. v. 5.)

- To be carnally minded,” whatever earthly object be the idol of the soul, “is death,” not only meritoriously, but also efficiently, for it disqualifies the soul for the enjoyment of God, and is therefore a necessary cause of banishment from His presence.

That genuine believers have need to “watch " and pray” against this universal and destructive evil, appears from the solemn cautions and exhortations addressed by our Lord and His Apostles to true disciples. To them their Divine Master has given this affectionate warning, “Take heed « and beware of covetousness;" which is enforced by the awful parable of the rich fool. (Luke xii. 15, &c.) “Let your conversation," saith St.

' Paul, writing to the believing Hebrews, “be " without covetousness; and be content with such VOL. III.

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things as ye have." (Heb. xiii. 5.) And the reason of these exhortations is cogent; “For the “ covetous man, who is an idolater, shall not “ inherit the kingdom of God.” (Eph. v. 5.) Of this sin there are many gradations. The carnal and unconverted heart, in every instance, is enslaved by it, for the world is the God it adores. The regenerate themselves are not free from its malign influence, for they groan, being burthened, under a consciousness of inordinate affection: and if any man feel not the propensity of his heart thereto, and consequently is insensible of any necessity that exists for his joining heartily in our present collect, he is assuredly under the dominion of this sin, and totally ignorant of his own unhappy state.

In order that we may “ follow the Son of God " Jesus Christ,” our hearts must be delivered from the dominion of “ all covetous desires and the - inordinate love of riches.” For we “ cannot

serve God and Mammon. If we would be His disciples, and partake of the blessings of His kingdom, we must, in heart and affection, “sell all “ that we have.” (Matth. xix. 21.) We must be “crucified to the world, and the world must “ be crucified to us.” Let us therefore pray that we may regard it without being captivated by its charms, any more than the spectator of an executed criminal would be by the aspect of a countenance deformed by the agonies of death, * and be no more affected by worldly objects, than a crucified person would be by the prospects which his dying eyes might behold from the cross on which he was suspended.

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* Mundum abominor acsi cadaver esset latronis crucifixia Poli Syn, in Gal, vin 14.

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