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is good, and then works with us till we put that good will into practice.
There is nothing good in us by nature. Whatever in us is of good is of the Spirit's planting-every movement of the better life in us, every wish to please God, every resolve to resist evil, every triumph over temper, every step in the right path, every advance in Christian holiness—all that in any character is lovely, pure, and of good report, is not of ourselves, but is a work done in us, and for us by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Remember it, brethren-Sanctification-renewal of the soul to God, is, from first to last, in one and in all of us, a Divine work: a work moreover that goes on in secret, silently, and is witnessed to by its results—The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
To conclude. From what has been said, I trust it will be clear to you, that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, high and mysterious as it is, has yet in it something that we can understand—something that is adapted to the necessities of our man's nature. It tells us-we have seen-of a Father Who loves us of a Son Who freely gave Himself for us—of a Holy Ghost Who sanctifies us, and through sanctification fits us for our everlasting home.
And this great doctrine has been revealed, not for us to speculate upon, but for our souls' daily support, health, and guidance.
May it prove so in very deed to us, brethren! May the words of my text in which that doctrine is contained, and which are familiar to us above most in the Bible, come to be accomplished more and more perfectly in the case of each individual soul amongst us! May the good wish of our Church—her solemn, oft-repeated prayer be heard and granted—may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, now, and for evermore! Amen.
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE DANGER OF WEALTH.
Sr. MATTHEW XIX, 23, 24.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich
man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you 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.
This saying of our Lord's which, when He first spake it, caused great consternation among His disciples—for they were exceedingly amazed saying, who then can be saved ! -has much light and illustration thrown upon it by the parable which comes before us this morningthe parable of Dives and Lazarus.
That, brethren, is a parable which, year by year, is selected by our Church on this First Sunday after Trinity, for our most serious meditation. If rich, we are warned in it, of the danger of wealth—if poor, if labouring at present with distress, brought low through oppression, or any plague or trouble—we are comforted in it, with the prospect that is beyond-whatever our condition, rich or poor-prosperous or otherwise, we have here enforced on us one great lesson, the necessity of using well the means of grace in our hands—we are shewn the folly of expecting any greater helps into God's kingdom, than those which He has given us already.
And first, I said, the parable warns us of the danger of wealth. And this it does in common with many other passages of Scripture—They that will be rich fall into a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition, (1 Timothy vi. 9.) Go to ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries which shall come upon you, (St. James v. 1.) Woe unto you that are rich for ye have received your consolation, (St. Luke vi. 24.) So too the text-How hardly shall they that have riches, 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!
Now, these passages, and the parable before us, speak all one and the same language.—They all represent the condition of a rich man as one of danger—They all go contrary to the opinion of the world, which looks on riches as the sum and crown of happiness, the thing most to be sought for—most satisfying when it is attained.
In direct opposition to this, Holy Scripture describes the estate of wealth-the estate so enviable in the eyes of men-as one full of peril-peril to the soul. It declares that it is harder—not impossible—but harder for a rich man than for another, to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Now, fully believing that this is true, let us consider the reason of it—the reason why, throughout the Bible, wealth is regarded with alarm-as a rock against which many souls suffer shipwreck.
All that is in the world, says 1 St. John ii. 16,—the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world—note it brethren,-the lust of the flesh—the lust of the eyes—the pride of life--these are the three chief paths by which we go astray—and wealth has a natural readiness to walk in all the three.
The rich man, with time on his hands, with no necessity to labour, is tempted to idleness, and idleness opens the door to many questionable pleasures. The rich man, faring sumptuously every day, clothed in purple and fine linen, is apt to become self-indulgent, unduly given to pampering the body—and so falls an easy prey to those enticements which allure through the lusts of the flesh.
Again—and this I think is the greatest danger of his condition—a rich man waited upon in all his wants-flattered in his very weaknesses—unaccustomed to contradiction-able to command all he fancies, and to gratify every wish, can hardly be without pride. Very difficult must it be for him to practise those graces which are the chief ornament of the Christian character—very difficult, and but for God's help impossible, for a rich man to be meek, patient, forbearing, lowly in his own eyes.
We have now seen enough to explain the language used in the Bible about wealth—to explain why a rich man more than another is placed in jeopardy—even for this—because, unless constantly on his guard, a rich man is more beset by the temptations which war the strongest