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of his prospect, nor the avoidance of them guilt and profound peace to cohabit in the within the compass of his power ; but, not same breast. Jonah must not think to diswithstanding all his art, wit, and cunning, obey, and then to sleep securely and unmolies perpetually open to a thousand invisible, lested. No, the storm will quickly be about and, upon that account inevitable mischiefs. his ears, and the terrible remembrancer within And thus I have shewn the dangers which will be rubbing up old stories, and breaking attend the several ways and passages by in upon his false repose with secret intimawhich men aspire to wealth and greatness ; tions of an impending wrath. So that, if the the things upon which the abused reason of tempter, at any time, be at one elbow, to inmankind so much dotes, and in which it duce a man to sin ; conscience will not fail to places so much felicity, and finds so little. be jogging him at the other, to remind him But
what he has done, and what he is to expect 3. Men are frequently forced to make their thereupon. This has been the case of the way to great possessions, by the commission of most prosperous sinners in the world ; these great sins, and therefore the happiness of life remorses and forebodings have stuck close to cannot possibly consist in them. It has been them in the midst of all their plenty, power, a saying, and a remarkable one it is, that and splendour; a sufficient demonstration, there is no man very rich, but is either an doubtless, how thin and counterfeit all the unjust person himself, or the heir of one or joys of these grandees are, in spite of all the other who was so. I dare not pronounce so
flourishes and fine shows they make in the severe a sentence universally : for I question opinion of the foolish world, which sees and not, but, through the good providence of God, gazes upon their glistering outside, but knows some are as innocently, and with as good a not the dismal stings and secret lashes which conscience rich, as others can be poor : but they feel within. the general baseness and corruption of men's And thus much for the first general argupractices has verified this harsh saying of too ment, proving, that true happiness consists many; and is every day seen, how many | not in any earthly abundance, taken from the serve the god of this world to obtain the consideration of those evils through which riches of it. It is true, the full reward of a men commonly pass into the possession of it. man's unjust dealing never reaches him in The this life ; but if he has not siuned away all Second general argument shall be taken the sense, tenderness, and apprehensiveness from the consideration of such evils as attend of his conscience, the grudges and regrets of men, when they come to be actually possessed it will be still like death in the pot, and give of this abundance. As, a sad grumbling allay to all his comforts : nor 1. Excessive, immoderate cares. The very shall his heart ever find any entire, clear, managernent of a great estate is a greater unmixed content in the wealth he has got, and more perplexing trouble than any that when he shall reflect upon the manner of his a poor man can be subject to. Great riches getting it; and assure him, that nothing of superinduce new necessities ; necessities added all that which he possesses in the world is yet to those of nature, but accounted much paid for; so that, if the justice of God should above them; to wit, the necessities of pomp, exact his soul in payment of that vast score, grandeur, and a suitable port in the world. which his sinful gains have run him into, For he who is vastly rich must live like when this sad debt came once to be cleared one who is so : and whosoever does that, off, who then would be the gainer? or what makes himself thereby a great host, and his could be got, when the soul was lost?
house a great inn; where the noise, the One man, perhaps, has been an oppressor trouble, and the charge is sure to be his, and an extortioner, and waded to all his but the enjoyment (if there be any) descend, wealth throngh the tears of widows and upon the persons entertained by him ; nay, orphans. Another with blood and perjury, , and upon the very servants of his family, falsehood and lying, has borne down all before whose business is only to please their master, him, and now lords it in the midst of a great and live upon him, while the master's business estate ; and the like may be said of others, is to please all that come about him, and who, by other kinds of baseness, have done sometimes to fence against them too. For a the same.
But now, can any of these thriving gainer by all his costs and charges, by all that miscreants be esteemed or called happy in he can give or spend, he shall never be. Such such a condition? Is their mind clear, their being the temper of most men in the world, conscience calm and quiet, and their thoughts that though they are never so kindly used and generally undisturbed ? For there can be no so generously entertained, yet they are not to true happiness, unless they are so ; forasmuch be obliged ; but go away, rather envying their as all happiness must pass through the mind entertainer's greatness, than acknowledging and the apprehension. But God has not left his generosity. So that a man, by widening himself so without witness, even in the hearts or enlarging his condition, only affords the of the most profligate sinners, as to suffer great | malicious world about him so many more
handles to lay hold of him by, than it had of one man; but he sustains the united cares before. It is indeed impossible that riches and concerns of as many millions as he comshould increase, and that care, with many mands. The troubles of the whole nation malign accidents besides, should not increase concentre in the throne, and lodge themselves with them. This is the dark shadow, which in the royal diadem. So that it may, in efstill follows those shining bodies. And care fect, be but too truly said of every prince, that is certainly one of the greatest miseries of the he wears a crown of thorns together with his mind; the toil and very day-labour of the purple robe, (as the greatest of princes once soul. And what felicity, what enjoyment did,) and that his throne is nothing else but can there be in incessant labour ? For enjoy- | the seat imperial of care. But, ment is properly attractive, but labour expen 2. The second evil which attends the possive. And all pleasure adds and takes in session of riches is an insatiable desire of getsomething to the stores of nature ; while ting more, (Eccles. v. 10.) “He who loves work and labour is still upon the exporting money shall not be satisfied with it,” says and the spending hand. Care is a consuming Solomon. And I believe it would be no hard and a devouring thing, and with a kind of matter to assign more instances of such as spiteful as well as craving appetite, preys upon
riches have made covetous, than of such as the best and noblest things of a man, and is covetousness has made rich. Upon which not to be put off with any of the dainties of account, a man can never truly enjoy what he his full table; but his thoughts, his natural actually has, through the eager pursuit of rest and recreations, are the viands which his what he has not ; his heart is still running cares feed upon. And is not that wealthy out; still upon the chase of a new game, and great one, think we, very happy, whose riches so never thinks of using what it has already shall force him to lie awake, while his very acquired. And must not now be one of the porter is asleep? and whose greatness shall greatest miseries, for a man to have a perpehardly allow him so much as time to eat ? tual hunger upon him, and to have his appeCertainly such an one sustains all the real tite grow fiercer and sharper amidst the very miseries of want, no less than he who seeks objects and opportunities of satisfaction? Yet his meat from door to door. For he is as so it is usually with men hugely rich. They much starved, who cannot find when, as he have, and they covet ; riches flow in upon who cannot find what to eat ; and he dies as them, and yet riches are the only things they surely, who is pressed to death with heaps of are still looking after. Their desires are angold and silver, as he who is crushed under an swered, and while they are answered they are heap of stones or dirt. The maliguity and enlarged; they grow wider and stronger, and corroding quality of care is, to all intents and bring such a dropsy upon the soul, that the purposes of mischief, the same, be the causes
more it takes in, the more it may, just like of it never so different. And whether poverty some drunkards, who even drink themselves or riches produce the vexation, the impression athirst, and have no reason in the world for it makes upon the heart is alike from both. their drinking more, but their having drank “They who will be rich,” says Saint Paul, (1 too much already. Tim. vi. 9,)“ pierce themselves through with There cannot be a greater plague, than to many sorrows;” and those, it seems, sorrows be always baited with the importunities of a not of the lighter and more transient sort, growing appetite. Beggars are troublesome, which give the mind but feeble touches and even in the streets, as we pass through them; short visits, and quickly go off again ; but they but how much more, when a man shall carry are such as strike daggers into it; such as a perpetually clamorous beggar in his own enter into the innermost parts and powers of breast, which shall never leave off crying, it; and, in a word, pierce it through and Give, give, whether the man has any thing to through, and draw out the very life and spirit give or no? Such an one, though never so through the wound they make. These are rich, is like a man with a numerous charge the peculiar and extraordinary sorrows which of children, with a great many hungry mouths go before, accompany, and follow riches ; and about him to be fed, and little or nothing to there is no man, though in never so low a
feed them with. For he creates to himself a station, who sets his heart upon growing rich, kind of new nature, by bringing himself under but shall, in his proportion, be sure to have the power of new necessities and desires. his share of them. But then, let us cast our Whereas nature, considered in itself, and as eye upon the highest condition of wealth and true to its own rules, is contented with little, abundance which this world affords ; to wit, and reason and religion enables us to take up the royal estate of princes : yet neither can with less, and so adds to its strength, by conthis be truly esteemed an estate of happiness tracting its appetites, and retrenching its and fruition : but as much advanced, above occasions. all other conditions, in care and anxiety, as it There is no condition so full and affluent, is in power and dignity. The greatest and but content is and will be a necessary supplethe richest prince can have but the enjoyment ment to make a man happy in it; and to
compose the mind in the want of something purse ? Such an one's condition places him or other, which it would be otherwise hanker in the very highway to damnation ; while it ing after. And if so, how wretched must that surrounds and besets him with all those allurepian needs be, who is perpetually impoverish- ments which are apt to beguile and ruin souls. ing himself by new indigences founded upon And a man must have a rare mastery of himnew desires and imaginary emptiness, still dis- self, and control of his affections, to be able posing him to seek for new reliefs and acces to look a pleasing vice in the face, and to desions to that plenty, which is already become spise it, when the affluence of his fortune shall too big for consumption and the just measures give him his free choice of all those pleasures of nature ; which never finds any real pleasure, which his nature so mightily importunes him but in the satisfaction of some real want ! to. But it is scarce an age that can give us
But as for the insatiable miser, whom we an instance of such an impregnable and reare now speaking of, what difference is there solved abstemiousness under such circumstanbetween such an one, and a man over head ces; men are generally treacherous and false and ears in debt, and dogged by his creditors to themselves and their greatest concerns ; wherever he goes? For the miser is as much wretchedly weak and pliant to their innate disqnieted, dunned, and called upon by the viciousness, when it is once called forth and eagerness of his own desires, as he whose door inflamed by the provocations it receives from is haunted and rapped at every hour, by those the wealth and plenty they wallow in. who come crying after him for what he owes Whence it is, that many hopeful young them ; both are equally pulled and haled to men debauch and drown themselves in sendo that which they are unable to do : for as suality, and come at length to lose both their the poor man cannot satisfy his creditors, so souls and their wits too ; and that only beneither can the rich man satisfy his grasping, cause it was their lot to be born to great endless desires. And this is the direct and estates, and thereby to have money enough to natural result of increasing wealth. Riches keep pace with their lewd desires, and to are still made the reason of riches; and men answer them with full and constant supplies ; get only that they may lay up, and lay up while others, in the mean time, whose nature only that they may keep: Upon which prin- and temper was perhaps not at all better than ciple it is evident, that the covetous person is their own, have took to the ways of industry always thinking himself in want, and conse and virtue, and so made themselves both usequently as far from any true relish of happi- ful in their lives, and happy after their death, ness, as he must needs be, who apprehends only through the mercy of Providence stiuting himself under that condition, which of all their worldly fortunes, and thereby cutting things in the world he most abhors.
off those incentives of lust and instruments of 3. The third evil which attends men in the sin, which have inveigled and abused others, possession of the abundance of this world is, and brought them headlong to destruction. that such a condition is the proper scene of Certain it is, that a rich man must use greater temptation. It brings men, as the apostle caution to keep himself clear from sin, and tells us in the forecited (1 Tim. vi. 9,) « into add greater strength and force to his resolua snare, and into many foolish and hurtful tions to make himself virtuous, than men in lusts, and such as drown men in destruction other circumstances need to do: for he has and perdition.” So hard is it for the corrup-greater temptations to break through than they tion of man's nature not to work, where it has have ; and consequently cannot make good his such plenty of materials to work upon. For ground at the same rate of vigilance and actiwho so strongly tempted to pride, as he who vity, which persons less assaulted may: which has riches to bear it out? Who so prone to be being his case, it is hard to conceive wbat luxurious, as he who has wealth to feed and happiness there can be in that condition, maintain his luxury? Who so apt to besot which renders virtue, a thing in itself so difhimself with idleness, as he who can command ficult, infinitely more difficult ; which turns and have all things, and yet do nothing? It the strait gate into a needle's eye, and makes is a miracle almost for a rich man not to be hell itself, which is so broad already, ten times overrun with vice, having both such strong broader than it was before. inclinations to it from within, and such induce 4. The fourth evil attending men in the ments and opportunities to it from without. possession of this earthly abundance is, the To be rich in money and rich in good works malice and envy of the world round about too, rarely concur. All opportunity and power them. The bounties of Providence are gento gratify a man's vicious humour is a shrewd erally looked upon with an evil eye by such temptation to him actually to do so. Where as are not the objects of them themselves. riches are at hand, all impediments and ob- And some have no other fault so much as structions vanish. For what is it which gold objected against them, to provoke the invecwill not command ? What sin so costly which tives and satires of foul mouths, but only that the rich man may not venture upon, if lie can they thrive in the world, that they liave fair but stretch his conscience to the measures of his estates, and so need not herd themselves with
the rabble, nor lick the spittle of great ones, man's honour, or the like, and what miserable nor own any other dependencies, but upon comforters, in any of these cases, are the God in the first place, and upon themselves in heaviest bags and the fullest coffers? The the next. So long as malice and envy lodge pleasure arising from all other temporal enjoy. in the breasts of mankind, it is impossible for ments cannot equal the smart which the mind a man in a wealthy, flourishing condition not endures from the loss of any one of them. For to feel the stroke of men's tongues, and of what pleasure did David find in his crown and their hands too, if occasion serves. The fuller sceptre, and all his royal greatness, when his the branches are, the more shall the tree be dear (though sottishly beloved) Absalom was flung at. What impeached Naboth of treason torn from him? What enjoyment had Haman and blasphemy, but his spacious vineyard, too in all his court-preferments, his grandeur, convenient for his potent neighbour, to let the and interest in his royal master's affection, owner enjoy it long? What made the king when Mordecai, his most maligned enemy, of Babylon invade Judea, but the royal stores refused to cringe to him in the gate? Why, aud treasures displayed and boasted of by just none at all, if we may take his word for Hezekiah before the Chaldean ambassadors, it, who should know his own mind best. For, to the supplanting of his crown, and miserable in Esther, v. 11, 12, when he had reckoned up captivity of his posterity ? In Sylla's bloody all his wealth, glory, and greatness, together proscription, matters came to that pass in with his numerous offspring, designed, as he Rome, that if a man had but a fair garden, a thought, to inherit all of it, he adds in the rich jewel, or but a ring of value, it was enough 13th verse, (and a remarkable passage it is,) to get his name posted up in the cut-throat “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as roll, and to cost him his life, for having any I see Mordecai the Jew sitting in the king's thing worth the taking from him. Seldom gate.”
gate.” The pride of his swelling heart, and do armies invade poor day-labouring coun the envy of his malicious eye, racked and tortries ; they are not the thin weather-beaten mented him more than all that the splendour cottages, but the opulent trading cities, which and magnificenco of the Persian court (the invite the plunderer; and war goes on but greatest then in the world) could delight or heavily, where there is no prospect of spoil to gratify him with. And now, what poor conenliven it. So that, whether we look upon tributors must these earthly enjoyments needs societies or single persons, still we shall find be to a man's real happiness, when an hundred them both owing this to their great wealth, pleasures shall not be able to counterbalance that it gives them the honour to be thought one sorrow? But that one cross accident shall worth ruining, and a fit prey for those who sour the whole mass of a man's comforts; and shall think they deserve that wealth better the mind shall as really droop, languish, and than themselves ; as, they may be sure, enough pine away, while a man is surrounded with will.
vast treasures, rich attendance, and a plentiful And thus much for the second general table, as if he had neither where to lay his argument, proving, that true happiness con head, nor wherewithal to fill his mouth. For sists not in any earthly abundance, taken all the delight he does or can reap from his from the consideration of those evils, which, other comforts, serves only to quicken and for the most part, if not always, attend and go increase the sense of that calamity which has along with it. But,
actually took possession of him. But, in the The third general argument for the proof Second place, let us consider the miseries of the same, shall be taken from the utter in which affect the body; and we shall find, ability of the greatest earthly riches to remove that the greatest pleasure, arising from any those things which chiefly render men miser- degree of wealth or plenty whatsoever, is so able. And this will appear to us, if we reflect, far from reaching the soul, that it scarce
1. Upon what affects the mind. And, pierces the skin. What would a man give to 2. Upon what affects the body. And here, purchase a release, nay, but a small respite
First, for that which affects a man's spiritual from the extreme pains of the gout or stone ? part, his mind. Suppose that to be grieved, And yet, if he could fee his physician with and labouring under the most pressing and both the Indies, neither art nor money can insupportable of all griefs, trouble of con redeem, or but reprieve him from his misery. science; and what can riches, power, or honour | No man feels the pangs and tortures of bis contribute to its removal? Can they pluck present distemper (be it what it will) at all out any of those poisoned arrows, which the less for his being rich. His riches indeed the apprehension of God's wrath fastens in may have occasioned, but they cannot allay the soul? Can they heal tlie wounds and them. No man's fever burns the gentler for assuage the anguish of a conscience groaning his drinking his julaps in a golden cup. Nor and even gasping under the terrors of the could Alexander himself, at the price of all Almighty? Nay, let the grief arise but from his conquests, antidote or recall the poisonous a temporal cause, as suppose the death and draught, when it had once got into his veins. loss of a dear friend, the diminution of a When God shall think fit to cast a man upon
his bed of pain or sickness, let him summon comes which he daily earns with the labour about him histhousands and his ten thousands of his hands or the working of his brain. So bis lands and his rich manors, and see whether that the sum and result of all their efficacy he can bribe, or buy off, or so much as com towards a man's happiness amounts but to pound with his distemper but for one night's this; that riches may indeed minister somerest. No; the sick bed is so like the grave, thing to the making of that person happy, which it leads to, that it uses rich and poor, who is in such a condition of health and prince and peasant all alike. Pain has nó strength as may enable him, if he pleases, to respect of persons, but strikes all with an make himself happy without them. For a equal and an impartial stroke.
bare competence, and that a very slender one We know how God reproved the foolish too, will answer all the needs of nature ; and worldling, (as our Saviour tells us,) in Luke, where a competence is sufficient, an abunxii. 20.
“Thou fool,” says he, “this night dance, I am sure, cannot be necessary. And shall thy soul be required of thee; and then this introduces the whose shall all those things be which thou Fourth and last argument, to prove, that hast hoarded up?" But we may bring the man's happiness consists not in any earthly sentence here pronounced much lower, and abundance, taken from this consideration, yet render it dreadful enough, even within That the greatest happiness which this life is the compass of this life, and say, “Thou fool, capable of, may be, and actually has been this night, this day, shall thy health and enjoyed without this abundance; and consestrength be taken from thee;" and then what quently cannot depend upon it. Now that pleasure, what enjoyment will all thy posses- undoubtedly is the chief happiness of life, for sions afford thee? God may smite thee with the attainment of which all other things are some lingering, dispiriting disease, which shall designed but as the means and subservient crack the strength of thy sinews, and suck instruments. And what else can this be, but the marrow out of thy bones ; and then, what the content, quiet, and inward satisfaction of pleasure can it be to wrap thy living skeleton a man's mind ? For why, or for what other in purple, and rot alive in cloth of gold ? when imaginable reason, are riches, power, and thy clothes shall serve only to upbraid the use honour so much valued by men, but because lessness of thy limbs, and thy rich fare stand they promise themselves that content and before thee only to reproach and tantalize the satisfaction of mind from them, which, they weakness of thy stomach ; while thy con fully believe, cannot otherwise be bad? This, sumption is every day dressing thee up for no doubt, is the inward reasoning of men's the worms? All which, I think, is a suffi minds in the present case. But the experience cieut demonstration, that plenty and enjoy- of thousands (against which all arguments ment are not the same thing. They are the signify nothing) irrefragably evinces the coninward strength and sufficiency of a man's trary. For was there not a sort of men, whom faculties, which must render him a subject we read of in the former ages of the world, capable of tasting or enjoying the good things called the ancient philosophers, who, even which Providence bestows upon him. But while they lived in the world, lived above it, as it is God only who creates, so it is he and in a manner without it; and yet all the alone who must support and preserve these ; while accounted themselves the happiest men and when he withdraws his hand, and lets in it? And from these, if we pass to the nature sink into its original weakness and professors and practisers of an higher philoinsufficiency, all a man's delights fail him, all sophy, the apostles and primitive Christians, his enjoyments vanish. For no man (to be who ever so overflowed with spiritual joy as sure) can enjoy himself any longer than be they did ? “a joy unspeakable and full of can be said to be himself.
glory,” as Saint Peter terms it; a joy not to But now, if riches are thus wholly unable be forced or ravished from the heart once of themselves to effect any thing towards a possessed of it, as our Saviour himself, the man's relief under a corporal malady, how great giver of it, has assured us. Hear Saint can they, as such, deserve the name of felicity? Paul and Silas singing out this joy aloud in For what are they good for? What can they the dismal prison, where they sat expecting do for him? The inan is sick, and his disease death every moment. And from hence to torments, and death threatens him; and can proceed to the next ages of the church : who they either remove the one, or keep off the could be fuller of and inore travsported with other? Nothing less. But it will be answered, a joyous sense of their condition, than the perhaps, that when a man is well and healthy, martyrs of those primitive times, who were they may serve him for many conveniences so far from any of the accommodations of of life. They may do so, I confess ; but then, this world, that their only portion in it was this also is as true, that he who is healthy and to live in hunger, nakedness, and want, and well, may enjoy all the necessary satisfactions stripped of every thing but the bodies, in and which his nature calls for, though he has no through which they suffered all these afflicother riches in the world but those poor in tions ? And as this internal, spiritual com