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To the salvation of the individual. A man cannot turn to Christ but covetousness is there, in perpetual ambush, to contravene his designs, from the time of his first religious impressions, to the most advanced period of his faith. Does Jesus Christ send an invitation to a great feast? covetousness induces two of the three guests to excuse themselves by saying, "I have bought a piece of ground:” “I have bought five yoke of oxen." (Luke xiv. 18, 19.) Has he inclined his ear to the truth, and received the good seed into his heart? covetousness cultivates, close at hand, thorns; soon "the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and render it unfruitful.” (Matt. xiii. 22.) Has he proceeded further, and walked some time in the paths of piety? covetousness does not despair yet to turn him aside, and to add to the number of those who, under the influence of the love of money, have erred from the faith. (1 Tim. vi. 10.) Happy if, "taking the whole armour of God," he knows how to "stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand." Happy if he does not imitate the unwary travellers whom Bunyan describes, who left, on the invitation of Demas, the road to the Holy City, to go and visit a mine of silver on the coast of Lucre. And what became of them? "Whether they fell into the pit by looking over the brink thereof, or whether they went down to dig, or whether they were smothered in the bottom by the damps which commonly arise,-of these things I am not certain; but this I observed, that they were never seen again in the way."

The love of money is not less opposed to the fidelity of the church. Who does not know the history of the Christian church? Who is not aware of the fatal influence which this sin has exerted over its organization, its enlargement, its discipline, and even its doctrines? Who is ignorant of the fact, that, trampling under foot the maxim of its Founder, "Freely ye have received, freely give,” the church has proceeded to traffic in such a manner with the truth of God, with its promises and threatenings, with heaven and hell, with holiness and sin, that its name has become, in the language of men, the very type of venality? But time would fail to tell of all the evil which the love of money has caused in the church: let us advert only to the good which it has prevented. The church was placed in the midst of the world for the benefit of the world. As the depositaries of eternal life, it was the imperative duty of Christians to convey this boon to the extremities of the world. The church was Missionary-born for the good of the whole earth: she understood this at her birth; and the angel of the Apocalypse, which flies through the midst of heaven, bearing the everlasting Gospel, is a faithful image of the ardour with which the first disciples laboured to win new kingdoms to Christ. But why has this ardour relaxed from age to age? Why has a conquest so glorious been arrested? Why has the church drawn back and finished her career, by shutting herself up in a corner of our

world? Why is it that the nations, in the bosom of which God has rekindled the ancient faith, have required three hundred years to feel what they owe to the Heathen? And why does this holy cause, which ought to enlist on its side the entire body of Christians, find, at this time, among us so many hostile or indifferent hearts? One of the Fathers of the church, St. Cyprian, shall tell us; and you shall judge whether what he wrote in the third century of the Christian era is not applicable to us: "Each one among us is eager to increase his property; and, forgetting what the faithful in the times of the Apostle did, and what they should always do, the ruling passion of Christians is an insatiable desire to augment their fortune." Where do we find that intense anxiety for the salvation of men which alone can give origin to Missions? and those generous sacrifices which alone can support them? The work is, if not abandoned, at least neglected. And what a work! O God! The world was perishing of famine, of the famine of the word of God. The mercy of God was moved. The message of grace was ready. The church was charged to convey it to all nations, and commanded not to pause so long as there was a people, a family, an individual unvisited by this good news. The church was faithful for a time; but the spirit of the world returned, and paralyzed its activity. Is the evil now less urgent? No! But the church has other cares: she is as busy as the world in "buying, selling, and getting gain:" she is too faithful to Mammon, to be able to be so to her Lord.

The avarice of the church creates another evil. Not content to prevent the church from evangelizing the world, it gives offence to the world by means of the church. Judge, dear brethren. When the man of the world gives his heart to money, which is the key of the world, this is what may be naturally expected. But you, Christians, having believed the Gospel, have certainly imbibed its spirit; and it is in heaven you lay up your treasure; and, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, every other interest exerts a feeble influence in comparison of "the one thing needful." O, if the detachment which breathes through your maxims had been infused into your spirit, would not your example have produced among men a holy emulation, similar to that with which the faith of the martyrs inspired the Pagans? And would not the world, seeing you make the sacrifice which it only partially comprehends, "confess that God is among you of a truth?" But what is the fact? The world has heard you speak as Christians, and has seen you continue to act as it does. It has seen you as much devoted to money as others,-as eager to obtain it, as reluctant to part with it. And what opinion will it form-I do not say of you, that is a matter of small moment, but-of the Gospel? "Has, then, the Gospel, with all its commands and promises, no more power to detach the heart from the love of the world, than all the lessons of philosophy?" Faith, grace, the new life, every thing, is

suspected of impotence. "The salt has lost its savour." So true is it that the love of money wages war with the work of Christ, as it has done with Christ himself; seducing the individual, corrupting the church, and giving cause of offence to the world.

Then, consider the condemnation which God has reserved for the covetous man. It begins to smite him even in this world. He is already punished by his iniquity. Covetousness invariably renders its votaries miserable. Solomon presents to us the money-lover, not able to satisfy himself with money, his cares increasing with his fortune, every one enjoying his property but himself, sleep flying from his eyes: "All his days he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness." (Eccles. v. 10-17.) St. Paul describes the same man, "piercing himself through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. vi. 10.) And our Lord says every thing on this subject in those simple but profound words which follow the text: "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Even if any thing is lacking in the chastisement which the money-lover inflicts with his own hands, divine justice takes care to supply it. The mercenary Balaam loses even the vile recompence with which the bait had allured him, and he falls by the edge of the sword. The covetous Achan, troubled by the Almighty because he had troubled his people, dies, buried beneath a heap of stones with every thing belonging to him, and even with the treasure which had seduced him. The unfaithful Gehazi introduces into his house, along with his presents, the leprosy of Naaman, and transmits to posterity the double heritage of his fortune and his scourge. And Judas, the perfidious Judas, consumed by remorse, alas! but not moved to penitence, casts his money into the temple, and inflicts upon himself at once a double death; exhibiting in his mutilated carcase the seal of the divine vengeance, and departing to his own place.

To what place? What is the eternal doom of the covetous? You imagine that the love of money is one of those infirmities which God tolerates in his children; but learn, from God himself, that it is one of those sins which exclude from his kingdom. You would tax us with exaggeration or injustice, did we place the covetous in the same class with the drunkard or the whoremonger; but know that God ranks the covetous-I mean, the covetous man of the Bible, the money-lover (and many such there are)-with the drunkard, the fornicator, and with others more abandoned still. Read the frightful lists of most detestable sins found in the Scriptures. You can scarcely advert to one in which the covetous man is omitted. We have seen that avarice is among the sins which will characterize the predicted apostasy of latter times. "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high

minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Tim. iii. 2—5.) When St. Jude is describing the false teachers who would seduce the church, he collects in one verse the names of three of the most awful sinners the earth ever bore,-the covetous Balaam figures between the murderer Cain and the rebel Core. (Jude 11.) When St. Paul collects in one awful picture the sins which reign among the Heathen, covetousness is named among the foremost. (Rom. i. 29.) The covetous man should not be endured in the church: the faithful should repel him from their table and their communion, if he professes religion. "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." (1 Cor. v. 11.) In fine, the covetous man finds his place in that awful catalogue in which the Holy Spirit proclaims, to the universal church, the sinners who are most remote from God and his kingdom: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.) Behold, then, the lover of money, who probably passes in the world for a moral man,-nay, even for a religious man,-in the centre of the most hateful community that ever existed, giving his right hand to the drunkard, and his left to the thief, with the adulterer before him, and the fornicator behind him! And is he proceeding towards the kingdom of God? Who could believe it? He is going to the place of the thief and the drunkard, towards the place of the fornicator and the adulterer, towards the place of the traitor Judas, towards the place of the devil and his angels. Let the covetous man cease to deceive himself: let him, at any rate, know whither he is going, and what he is doing. Let him not imagine that the door of heaven will open to him, should he die in his present condition. It will only open to him when it opens to the drunkard and the adulterer, whose hand will knock at it at the same time as his own.

And should your soul be required of you this night,-Lord, save us from avarice!-would you be in danger of falling into this sin? Could you have lived in the commission of it? Would you still live in it? Lighten my darkness, O Lord, and gather not my soul with those fools, "who flatter themselves in their own eyes till their iniquity is found to be hateful!"

III. The prevalence of covetousness.

We are in error with respect to the control which covetousness exercises among men. There is, perhaps, no sin to which men are so much addicted, and of which they remain in such profound ignorance, as this. "No one confesses the sin of covetousness," said a Bishop (St. Francis de Sales) who was long accustomed to the confessional.

The drunkard or the adulterer cannot disguise his violations of the law of God, the proud or the revengeful man may perceive and condemn the passions which lead him captive; but the covetous man rarely knows himself. In the former cases the objects of desire are bad in themselves, and they are treated as open enemies. Not so with regard to the love of money. Money is good in itself. Money is essential to life; it is even useful for purposes of benevolence: hence arise ready excuses. But we appeal to your conscience, we mean, a good and enlightened conscience. We only desire to propose to you a few questions, on which we leave you to examine yourselves before God. They will bear upon three points: the means you employ to acquire money, the eagerness with which you seek it, and the use to which you apply it.

Are the MEANS you employ to obtain money always pure? Be not offended at the question. I speak not of the means which lead to the galleys or the prison. But though you may escape the law, are your efforts to secure money always lawful in the estimation of men, and especially before God? Is there no one among you that lends money at a rate of interest which the law of your country, as well as that of charity, forbids? Are there not in your transactions secrets which you would blush to see exposed? Is fraud altogether unknown in your affairs? Are there no light weights, no short measures, no unfair samples, no erroneous returns of income,-is there nothing false? Is lying banished from your dealings? Have you never promised what you could not perform? nor deceived a purchaser with regard to the quality or value of your merchandise, or the place from which it has been imported? Do you never ask for your goods an exorbitant price, and such as the laws of trade do not warrant? Do you never take advantage of the position or ignorance of your customers, to impose upon them burdensome conditions, and such as you would not yourself accept? Has the love of gain never induced you to retain some office, or accept some commission, repugnant to your conscience? Have you never hazarded the property of others in venturesome speculations? Have you never reaped advantage from the injustice of others? nor refused to others the restitution they had a right to expect, though they had not the power to compel it? Have you never exacted with severity and cruelty what was due to you, forgetting the touching recommendation of Moses: "If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down; for it is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin; wherein shall he sleep?" In order to increase or preserve your fortune, have you never ventured upon divisions, family quarrels, or lawsuits, which you would not have found inevitable if you had called to mind what is written?" There is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded ?" Finally;

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