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Sodom ?* “ The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.”+ The Saviour says, “Come, for all things are now ready ;” the feast is provided ; “ and yet there is
"I God the Father, Son, and Spirit, the Eternal Jehovah, invites thee to happiness and glory; he calls thee to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where saints and angels are the guests; yea, where He Himself will be thy everlasting Portion.
LXIV.-THE DESIRE OF MORE.
“ He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase. This is also vanity."Eccles. v. 10.
COVETOUSNESS, in the language of inspiration, is the desire of having more. If we are habitually desirous of riches, for their own sake, we are, in the estimation of heaven, covetous persons, idolaters, the servants of mammon. Our station may be exalted ; our profession of religion may be outwardly strict, but still our destruction is sure; for Jesus has pro. nounced the sentence, “ How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.''S
“Man is a restless thing: still vain and wild,
Gen. xix. 16.
Luke xiv. 17, 22.
+ Rev. xxii. 17.
Another tribe toil in a different strife,
Riches and destruction are not necessarily connected together, for we read that “ Abram was very rich, in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”+ But riches have a tendency to draw away the heart from God, by opening the door to all earthly gratifications, as in the case of Solomon ; by leading the possessor to the summit of power; by throwing around the rich, the splendid appendages of grandeur. Riches and humility, much wealth and great self-denial, are seldom found together. As “money answereth all things,”! in the estimation of the worldly, so it is sought after, above all things spiritual and eternal.
Nothing can be more opposed to each other than covetousness and contentment. Thousands labour to be rich, hoping thereby to enjoy the sweets of quietude, but when they have reached the object of their wishes, the desire of more, like “the horse-leach," which cries, “Give, give,”'S urges them onwards, till, not unfrequently, like the ponderous avalanche, they roll down the precipice, and are shivered to pieces in the vale below.
In this commercial country, where Satan has set up his golden image, instances are not wanting to exemplify this truth.“ The love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."| How many families have to mourn over the desire of more,—that insati
+ Gen. xiii. 2. * Eccles. X. 19. S Prov. xxx. 15. || 1 Tim. vi. 10.
able thirst for wealth, which brings its own curse along with it; for 6 they that will be rich," at all hazards, and by all means, “fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."*
The remedy for this evil is given us by St. Paul, “ Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.”+ How precious is “ godliness with contentment;” an efficacious antidote to the evil of covetousness.
The advice of the Apostle is equally valuable : “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
The example of St. Paul was in unison with his precept: “ I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where, and in all things, I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." And then, he lets us into the secret of all this elevation above the changing varieties of time:-“ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This is the great secret, which is hid from the rich formalist, as well as from the rich worldling. The grace of Christ in the hearts of his people, is the strengthening remedy against the covetous desire of more.
He can give the blessing of peace in the absence of plenty. He can impart contentment, yea, even rejoicing, in a time of famine. Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ;" though “ the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat;" though “the * I Tim. vi. O. +1 Tim vi. 68. Heb. xiii. 5, 6.
§ Phil. iv. 11-13.
flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."*
Can the world, with all its promises, confer such blessedness on its votaries ? In the season of privation, do we find the worldly, calm, patient, and thankful ? Is no repining word suffered to escape their lips? No hard thoughts of God permitted to invade their hearts ? This fruit of contentment is not found on nature's ground. It is the product of godliness; the work of Christ in the soul.
To those who are observant of the signs of the times, and of the sins of the nation, it must be apparent that the love of money, like a fatal worm, is gnawing at the root of our prosperity.
The men of the world behold the withering process, and ascribe it to natural causes, though evidently baffled to discover the true one. The believer in Jesus, with the Bible in his hand, sees with unclouded clearness the source of all the evil. Covetousness, or the desire of more, eating, like a canker, upon the vitals of our religion, is the crying evil of the Church and of the world. The love of money insinuates itself into every heart, under every form. Economy, prudence, foresight, and forethought, claim a place in the judgment and conduct. They approach us as friends, as auxiliaries to our comforts, while they are, too often, enemies in disguise. Thus Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, more effectually to deceive. Had he come to Eve in his proper character, as a fallen spirit, she would have dreaded his approach ; but he came under a guise which caused her no alarm, and thus the poison stole into her heart. She was deceived ;--and fell ! She believed the lying spirit in the serpent, instead of the God of Truth and Love. Her sin was a compound of unbelief and rebellion.
0! my soul, watch and pray, lest thou enter into temptation.t Beware of the golden bait which
Hab. iii. 17, 18. + Mark xiv. 38.; Luke xxii. 46.
covers the fatal hook. To his own people, the Almighty said : “ Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver.” The heart is seldom refined by the accumulation of wealth. 6 I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."*
To apostate Judah, Jehovah uttered, by his prophet, words of judgment : “ Thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because......their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses ; neither is there any end of their chariots: their land also is full of idols...... The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day ....... when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”+
How true are the words of Solomon : “ Riches profit not in the day of wrath."! Covetousness and idolatry are so closely allied, that St. Paul declares, “ No covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."S*
The proud city of Tyre, for her covetousness and idolatry, was doomed to destruction : " Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire."|| “ Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth."** Well might the prophet say: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?”++
A day is fast approaching, when it will be clearly seen, whether Christ or Mammon has swayed our
# Isa. ii. 6~19. # Prov. xi. 4. § Eph. v. 5. 11 Zech. ix. 3, 4.
** Isa. xxiii. 8, 9. ++ Isa. ii. 22.
Isa. xlviii. 10.