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blind to spectacles of misery, its hands are shut, and its ears deaf to the calls of poverty and the cries of distress. Such unhappy petitioners, instead of meeting with pity or relief, are driven from the door of avarice, with growls and insults, and the haughtiness of a tyrant. Even domestic affliction, and the death of parents, wives or children, will scarcely affect the heart, that is rendered callous by covetousness. Of this we have a striking example, in the case of Edward Nokes, some of the particulars of whose avaricious conduct were formerly stated.” In his younger days, he used, at the death of any of his children, to have a deal box made to put them in ; and, without undergoing the solemn requisites of a regular funeral, he would take them upon his shoulder to the place appropriated for their reception, as if he had been carrying a common burden or a young pig to the market, and with similar apathy and unconcern. When once deposited in the grave, he appeared to give himself no further thought about the matter, and seemingly coincided with the old maxim, “out of sight, out of mind,” and appeared as unconcerned, as if nothing had happened. A similar want of feeling seems to have characterised the old American lady, whose features are delineated above. To be “without natural affection,” is a disposition which, in the word of God, is ranked with that of “a reprobate mind, maliciousness, envy, murder, and other abominable crimes;” and is a plain proof of the malignity of the avaricious principle from which it flows. And, as natural feeling is destroyed, so the conscience is benumbed by the covetous principle, and even “seared as with a hot iron.”. Its remonstrances are gradually overcome, by the daily increase of the avaricious appetite; and, in the course of time, its “still small voice,” is altogether disregarded. Neither the promi-. ses nor the threatenings of the divine word, however frequently they may be heard, nor the joys and terrors of the unseen world, can arouse the conscience to a sense of duty or of danger. Such, in many instances,
is its insensibility, that all the arguments and motives on the necessity of faith, repentance, and amendment of life, become as ineffectual for awakening consideration, as if they were addressed to the beasts of the forest, or the stones of the field. No situation in which a man can be placed is more dismal and alarming, than such a state; and since it is the natural result of inveterate covetousness, it should make every one tremble lest he should be left to fall into those hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. - ...
4. Covetousness leads to the iono of murderous wishes, and even to murder itself. . . .
* As the lives of certain individuals frequently stand in the way of the gratification of the covetous appetite, the avaricious worldling naturally wishes that they may be removed as speedily as possible from the world; and when a relative dies at whose decease an inheritance is expected, he can scarcely refrain from expressing his satisfaction and joy. Hence the anxiety with which such persons look §o to the death of any one from whom a legacy or an inheritance is to be derived; and hence, the very common expressions of such, in reference to an uncle, an aunt, or evento a parent— “The old fellow has surely lived long enough. When will he get out of the way ?” “I wish that old dame who gives away so much money for religion, were safely landed in heaven. If she continues here much longer, I shall have a sorry chance of enjoying her possessions.” But covetousness does not always content itself with such unhallowed and diabolical wishes. Strong desires and ardent wishes genérally lead to correspond. ing actions. In the presence of the Omniscient, and in defiance of his positive laws and his Almighty power—it not unfrequently takes into its hands the power of life and death; and, by an insidious murder, rids itself of those who were considered as obstacles to its gratification. The poisoned cup is administered, or the sword and blunder-buss prepared, or the assassin hired to poignard, or to suffocate the unsuspecting vic
tim, that avarice may glut itself with the wages of unrighteousness and the spoils of violence. Cases of this kind are so numerous that many volumes would not be sufficient to record them. Perhaps it would not be going beyond the bounds of fact to affirm, that one.# of the murders committed in the world have had their origin in this abominable affection. Almost every daily newspaper that comes into our hands contains some revolting details of this description. It is seldom that a week passes in the Police offices and other criminal courts in London, in which cases of violence or of murders arising from this cause, are not exhibited to public view. And when we consider the secrecy and dexterity with which such atrocious acts are generall conducted, we may easily conceive how many such deeds may be perpetrated unknown to any human being, except the perpetrator, and to which the eye of Omniscience alone is a witness. Among all ranks of society such atrocities have been committed. Not only the lower but the very highest order of men have been implicated in the commission of such enormities. Even princes and nobles connected with the British throne, under the influence of avarice and ambition, have committed crimes of this description, at which humanity shudders. Richard III., of England, when duke of Gloucester, and protector of England, after the death of his brother, Edward W., prepared his way to the throne, by causing the Earl of Rivers and other noblemen, who had the charge of the legitimate heirs, to be beheaded, without any trial or form of process, and on the very day in which these men were murdered at Pomfret, he treacherously caused a number of armed men to rush in at a given signal, and seize Lord Hastings, when he was attendin a council at the tower—whom they instantly beheaded on a timber-log which lay in the court. And, when he had, by such atrocities and the basest treacheries seated himself on the throne, to secure its stability, as he imagined, he hired a principal assassin and three associates, to murder the two young princes, his nephews, whom his brother had committed to his protection. They came in the night time to the chamber where the young princes were lodged. They found them in bed, and fallen into a profound sleep. After suffocating them with a bolster and pillows, they showed their naked bodies to the principal assassin, who ordered them to be buried at the foot of the stairs, deep in the ground, under a heap of stones. But this atrocious monster, notwithstanding the splendors of his court, appeared never afterwards to enjoy repose. His eyes were always whirling about on this side and on that; he was always laying his hand upon his dagger, looking as furiously as if he were ready to strike. By day he had no quiet, and by night he had no rest; but, molested with terrifying dreams, would start from his bed and run about the chamber like one distracted. He enjoyed the fruits of his wickedness only two short years, and was killed at the battle of Bosworth, where his body was found in the field covered with dead enemies and all besmeared with blood. It was thrown carelessly across a horse, and carried to Leicester, amidst the shouts of insulting spectators. How many such murders may have been committed, under the influence of covetousness, by ambitious statesmen, by kings and conquerors, by
uardians and wardens, and even by the nearest relatives, God only knows; but history, both ancient and modern, is full of such revolting details; and such details relate only to such as were detected and exposed to public view. When we seriously consider this dreadful tendency of the covetous and ambitious principle, it should form a powerful motive to every one, and particularly to every professing Christian, for counteracting the first risings of such depraved affections. For, if they be harbored and cherished for any length of time, they may lead to atrocities from which the mind would have previously shrunk back with horror. As a few small sparks will sometimes produce an appalling conflagration, so a few covetous affections, nursed and fostered in the heart, may lead to the most appalling murders, and to the destruction of soul and body, both in regard to ourselves, and to the victims of our unhallowed propensities.
5. Covetousness has, in numerous instances, perverted the administration of the law, and frustrated the ends of public justice. -
Courts of Judicature were instituted for the purpose of dispensing justice between man and man, for punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent; and therefore, those who are appointed to preside in such cases, ought, in an especial manner, to be men of uprightness and impartiality, and inflexible in their adherence to the side of truth and justice. Hence, the propriety of the advice of Jethro to Moses, that, in appointing judges for Israel, he should make choice of “able men who fear God and hate covetousness.” Without the fear of God before his eyes, a judge will be liable to be biased in his decision by iño and worldly motives, and the influence of proffered bribes. And, how often does it happen that gold, or something equivalent to it, turns the scales of justice, and makes them preponderate on the side of iniquity and oppression ?—when the cause of the rich is preferred, and the poor deprived of their orights—the innocent condemned, and the guilty acquitted—“the persons of the wicked accepted, and the cause of the widow and the fatherless turned aside 7" By such unrighteous decrees in courts of Judicature, the most distressing and melancholy effects have frequently been produced. Families have been robbed of every earthly comfort, and plunged into the depths of poverty and despair. The stranger and the destitute, the widow and the orphan, have been oppressed and forsaken, and denied the common rights of justice and humanity. The wicked have been left to triumph in their wickedness, while the righteous have been condemned to imprisonment, to exile, or to death. Men of integrity and [. “of whom the world was not worthy,” have een doomed to dungeons, to racks, to tortures of every kind, and to be consumed in the flames, while their accusers and judges have been permitted to riot and fatten on the spoils of iniquity. Hence the frequent and pointed declarations of scripture in reference to judges. “They shall judge the people with just judgment,”