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attempting to extenuate his crime, I can find | Nobody, not one person, I except none. no colours dismal enough to describe it. No: I tremble at the bare idea of this monster, and involuntarily exclaim, "O execrable love of money! to what wilt thou not impel the hearts of men!"*


leave to the Searcher of hearts to determine whether it be the vehemence of our piety, or the impotence of our condition, that prevents our carrying avarice to this length; whether it be respect for the laws or dread of them, that keeps us from violating them; whether we abstain from oppressing mankind because we love, or because we fear them; whether sacrificing our country to our love of wealth be prevented by love to our country, or by a despair of success. Yes, I leave the decision of this question to the Searcher of hearts. I would, as far as I can without betraying my ministry, form the most favourable judgment of my hearers; therefore I affirm not one of us is avaricious in this first sense.

But does this odious picture resemble none but Judas? Ah! When I imagine a Christian born in this age of knowledge, a Christian with the gospel in his hand, convinced of the truth and beauty of religion, a Christian communicant at the table of Jesus Christ, who has vowed a hundred times an eternal obedience to God, and has "tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come:" when I consider this Christian full of contrivances, intriguing in certain circles, exposing to the world a spectacle of immodesty, resisting the Avarice, however, must be considered in a ministry, exclaiming against such religious dis- second point of light. It not only consists in courses as his depravity forbids him to obey; committing bold crimes, but in entertaining or, to confine myself to the disposition of Ju- mean ideas, and practising low methods, indas, when I observe this Christian-like Judas compatible with such magnanimity as our conpossessed with the demon of avarice, harden-dition ought to inspire. It consists not only in ing his heart against the cries of the wretched, an entire renunciation of the "kingdom of pillaging the widow and the fatherless of their God and the righteousness thereof," but in not daily bread, selling his own soul and the souls" seeking it first" in the manner proposed. It of his children rather than break through a pa- consists not only in always endeavouring to inpal interdict, rather than quit a country where crease our wealth, but in harbouring continual truth is hated and persecuted, where there is fears of losing it, and perplexing ourselves in no public worship during life, no consolations endless methods of preserving it. It consists at the hour of death: when I consider such not only in wholly withholding from the poor, Christians, I protest, I almost pity Judas, and but in giving through constraint, and in always turn all my indignation against them. fearing to give too much. It consists not only in omitting to serve God, but in trying to associate the service of God with that of mammon. Which of us is free from avarice considered in this second point of light? Strictly speaking, nobody, no, not one person.

My brethren, I said, and I repeat it again, the task is mortifying, the matter is offensive, but I must come to it, "if I seek to please men, I shall not be the servant of Christ." Let us lay aside vague ideas, and let us enter on some detail. Let us describe Judas, but let us not forget ourselves, too much resembling this ugly man. Let us examine, first, the passion that governed him-next, the crime to which it impelled him-then, the circumstances in which he committed it-fourthly, the pretexts with which he covered it-and finally, the confession he was compelled to make.

1. What passion governed Judas? Every one knows it was avarice. Which of us is given up to this passion? Rather which of us is free from it?

Avarice may be considered in two different points of light. It may be considered in those men, or rather those public bloodsuckers, or, as the officers of the Roman emperor Vespasian were called, those sponges of society, who infatuated with this passion seek after riches as the supreme good, determine to acquire it by any methods, and consider the ways that lead to wealth, legal or illegal, as the only road for them to travel. Let the laws be violated, let the people be oppressed, let equity be subverted, let, a kingdom be sacrificed to their irresistible passion for wealth, let it be across a thousand depopulated countries, a thousand ruined families, let it be over a thousand piles of mangled carcasses that they arrive at fortune, provided they can but acquire it, no matter what it costs.

This is our first notion of avarice. But in this point of light who of us has this passion!

* Quid non mortalia, &c. Virg. Æneid. L. 3.

2. But what right have we to pronounce that no one is defiled with avarice considered in the first point of light? Let us consider this passion in regard to the odious crimes which it impels us to commit. Let us review the articles just now mentioned. Are we guilty of only trying to associate God and mammon? And do we never lay aside the service of God wholly, when it clashes with that of mammon? Are we guilty of nothing more than giving through constraint? do we not often avoid giving at all? do we not always omit charity, when we can do so without being branded with infamy? Are we to blame only for fearing to lose our wealth, are we not also always occupied about increasing it, so that this desire follows us every where, through all the tumult of the day and all the silence of the night, into every company, into private prayer and public devotion? Are we guilty of only not "seeking first the kingdom of God," are we not also ready to renounce it, when we cannot enter it without losing some of our wealth? Are we guilty of violating only the laws of charity, do we not also violate those of equity? By what unheard of secret then have some of us so rapidly acquired large fortunes? What sudden revolution then has so quickly changed the appearance of some families? What remarkable Providence then has made such an extreme difference between your ancestry and your posterity? What motive then retains so many of our protestant brethren in their native country, and why are there in this assembly so

many dismembered families? Why are not children with their parents, and parents with their children in this free country, both content to have their "lives for a prey?" Ah! my brethren, what a scandalous history is that of Judas! What a horrible crime did his avarice impel him to commit! And also what a sad resemblance is there between that wretch and some Christians, who profess to abhor him!

3. As the avarice of Judas appears odious considered in itself, and more so considered in regard to the crime he committed through it, so it will appear more offensive still, if you consider it in view of the circumstances in which he was when he gave himself up to it: for how far soever the wickedest of men be from the practice of some virtues, there are occasions on which they seem to turn their attention to them. The most barbarous souls cannot help relenting, when they see the objects of their hatred reduced to extreme misery. Hearts the most lukewarm towards religion, feel, I know not what emotions of piety, when religion is exhibited in some eminent point of light, and when the love of God to his creatures, and his compassion for sinners, are described in lively colours.

On this principle, what opinion must we form of Judas? What a time did he choose to betray his master to his enemies, and to give himself up to Satan? Jesus Christ was eating the passover with his disciples, and telling them, "with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." Jesus Christ was taking leave of his disciples at a love-feast, and going, as soon as the company broke up, to substantiate the shadow exhibited in the paschal supper, by offering himself in their stead a sacrifice for sin. Judas partook of this paschal lamb, and sat at the table with Jesus Christ at this feast of love, yet in these circumstances so proper to eradicate avarice, at least to suspend the growth of it, it became more vigorous, and ripened in his unworthy soul.

of our wretched fellow-creatures, while Jesus
Christ is pouring out his blood, his life, his
soul for poor mortals; to give ourselves up to
worldly pleasures, while nothing is treated of
among us but the sufferings of Jesus Christ,
while he is represented as sweating great drops
of blood, contending with divine justice, fas
tened to a cross, and uttering these lamentable
complaints, " 'my soul is exceeding sorrowful,
very heavy, sorrowful even unto death. O
my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass
from me! My God! my God! why hast thou
forsaken me!" At such a time, and in such cir-
cumstances, to pursue worldly pleasures.
My brethren, finish this article yourselves, and
pronounce your own sentences.


4. Consider the pretexts with which Judas covered his avarice. One of the principal causes of our indignation at the irregularities of our neighbours, and our indulgence for our own is, that we see the first without the colourings, which they who commit them make use of to conceal their turpitude from themselves, whereas we always consider our own through such mediums as decorate and disguise them. Now as we palliate our own passions, we ought to believe that other people palliate theirs.

Who can imagine that Judas considered his crime in its own real horrid colours? Can any body suppose that he said to himself, "I am determined to violate the most solemn obligations for thirty pieces of silver; I am resolved to betray the Saviour of the world for thirty pieces of silver: I would rather see him crucified than be deprived of this unworthy price of treason: this contemptible reward I prefer before all the joys of heaven?" No, no, Judas did not reason thus. Judge what he did on this occasion by what he did on another. A woman poured a box of costly ointment on the feet of Jesus Christ; Judas was hurt to see this prey escape his avarice, he therefore covered the sordid disposition of his soul, with the goodly pretence of charity, "this ointment might have been sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor," John xii. 4-6. Thus in the present case, "perhaps Jesus Christ will escape from his enemies, as he has often done before. Perhaps his looks will deter them. Perhaps he will fell them to the earth with his power. Perhaps the angels of heaven will surround, protect, and defend him. Perhaps I myself shall contribute to save the world by offering the sacrifice that is to procure salvation. Perhaps too, I may have formed ideas too high of this Jesus. Perhaps God does not interest himself in his preservation, as I have hitherto supposed. Perhaps he has assumed a character which does not belong to him, and is O God, Judge of the whole earth, do not nothing but a phantom of Messiah. (Who pass sentence on this assembly according to the can tell what extravagant reasonings may be rigour of this maxim! This is passion week, formed by a mind given up to a passion, and and we are in circumstances, in which Jesus determined to justify it?) After all, should I Christ most powerfully attacks our vices. You add one more crime to what I have already need not be a saint to have emotions of piety committed, the number will not be so very in these circumstances, it is sufficient to be a great. The blood I am going to assist in shedman; but you must be a monster, a disciple of ding, will obtain my pardon for contributing to Judas, to have none. To hate in these circum-shed it. And I cannot persuade myself that a stances, to hate when Jesus Christ loves, and while he is saying of his executioners, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." To shut our hearts against the cries VOL. II.-15

My brethren, when we judge our own hearts, let us keep this principle in view. A passion hateful in itself, and hateful on account of the crimes it makes us commit, may become more so by circumstances. What is an innocent freedom in some circumstances may become licentiousness in other circumstances, and as circumstances alter, what is licentious may be come a great crime; and thus an innocent freedom, at most an act of licentiousness, at most a crime, may become an atrocious outrage, and unpardonable on account of circumstances in which it was committed. This maxim is self-evident, it is an axiom of morality.

Saviour, who came into the world on purpose to publish a general pardon to all sinners, will choose to make an exception against me, alone."

Brethren, is this source of sophistry closed in regard to you? If I may venture to speak so, did the logic of your passions expire when Judas died? Which of us is not, so to speak, two different, yea opposite men according to the agitation of our spirits, and the dominion of our passions? Let any one of us be consulted concerning a crime which we have no interest in committing or palliating, and we shall talk of nothing but equity, rectitude, and religion; but let us be questioned concerning the same crime when we have some interest in the commission of it, and behold! another language, another morality, another religion, or to say all in one word, behold another man.

faith, and that the restitution proceeded more from despair than true repentance; however, he did repent, he did say, "I have sinned," and he did restore the thirty pieces of silver, which he had so basely acquired.

But where are the Christians who repent of the extortions of which their avarice has caused them to be guilty? Where are Christians saying, "I have sinned?" Particularly, where are those Christians, who have made restitution? It is said there are some. I believe so, because credible people affirm it. But I declare solemnly, I have never seen one, and yet I have seen many people, whose hands were defiled with the accursed thing, whose magnifiTo come to the point, under what pretext cence and pomp were the fruit of the cursed does not avarice conceal itself? How many thing. Extortioners of this kind have I never forms does it take to disguise itself from the seen, I have never seen one of them repenting, man who is guilty of it, and who will be and saying, "indeed I have sinned, and thus drenched in the guilt of it till the day he dies! and thus have I done." I have never seen Sometimes it is prudence, which requires him one, who has not invented as many pretexts to to provide not only for his present wants, but keep his ill-gotten wealth as he had invented for such as he may have in future. Sometimes to get it. In one word, I never saw one who it is charity, which requires him not to give understood, or was willing to learn the elements society examples of prodigality and parade. of Christian morality on the doctrine of restiSometimes it is parental love, obliging him to tution. How rare soever the conversion of save something for his children. Sometimes it sinners of other kinds may be, thanks to divine is circumspection, which requires him not to mercy, we have sometimes seen edifying exsupply people who make an ill use of what amples of such conversions. We have seen they get. Sometimes it is necessity, which voluptuous people groan at the recollection of obliges him to repel artifice by artifice. Some- their former debaucheries, efface the dissipatimes it is good conscience, which convinces tions of their youth by the penitential grief, him, good man, that he has already exceeded and pious actions of their mature age, and affix in compassion and alms-giving, and done too that body in a mortal illness to the cross of much. Sometimes it is equity, for justice re- Christ, which, during health and strength they quires that every one should enjoy the fruit of had devoted to luxury. We have seen assashis own labours, and those of his ancestors. sins ready, if it were possible, to replace the Sometimes it is incompetence, perhaps indeed blood they had shed with their own. We have a little part of my wealth may be subject to seen vindictive people embrace inveterate enesome scruples, for who can assure himself that mies, and cover them with affectionate tears. every farthing of his fortune has been acquired But among that great number of dying people, with the most strict regard to evangelical rec- who, we know with the utmost certainty, had titude, but then I cannot tell to whom this res- become rich by oblique means; among the titution should be made, and till that is made, great number of soldiers and officers, who had justice is not satisfied, there is no room for robbed, plundered, and sacked; among the generosity. Sometimes what am I great number of merchants and tradesmen about? who can make a complete list of all the who had been guilty of falsehood, deceit, pretences with which a miser disguises himself cheating, and perjury, and who by such means in his own eyes, and imagines he can disguise had acquired a splendid fortune; among all this himself in the eyes of others! great number, we have never seen one who had the resolution to assemble his family round his dying bed, and take his leave of them in this manner: "My dear children, I have been a scandal to you through life, I will now edify you by my death. I am determined in these last moments of my life to give glory to God by acknowledging my past transgressions. The greatest part of my fortune was acquired by artful and wicked means. These elegant apartments are furnished with my oaths and perjuries. This strong and well-finished house is founded on my treachery. My sumptuous and fashionable equipage is the produce of my extortions. But I repent now of my sins. I make restitution to church and state, to the public and individuals. I choose rather to bequeath poverty to you, than to leave you a patrimony under a curse. You will gain more by the example I give you of repentance, than you will by all my unjust acquisitions." An age, a whole century, does it furnish one such example?

5. Finally, let us consider the confession which the truth forced from Judas, in spite of his reigning passion, and in the same article, let us observe the remorse inspired by his passion, and the reparation his remorse compelled him to make. Presently I see the unhappy Judas recover himself from his infatuation. Presently he sees through the pretexts, which for a while disguised his passion, and concealed the horror of the crime he was going to commit. Presently I hear him say, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood," Matt. xxvii. 4. See, he hates the abominable thirty pieces of silver, the charm of which had allured him to commit the blackest crime, and to plunge himself into the deepest wo; see, he casts down the pieces of silver at the feet of those of whom he received them.

Christians, blush! Here the comparison of Judas with some Christians is greatly to the disadvantage of the latter. I am aware, that the confession of Judas was not sanctified by

Such is the face of mankind! Such the condition of the church! And what dreadful discoveries should we now make, could we look


into futurity as easily as we can examine the THE CAUSE OF THE DESTRUCTION


HOSEA xiii. 9.

thine help.

present and the past! When Jesus Christ, that good master, uttered this painful prophecy to his family sitting round him, "Verily I say unto you, one of you shall betray me," all his disciples were exceeding sorrowful, and every one O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is said unto him, "Lord, is it " How many subjects for grief would rise to view, should God draw aside the veil that hides the destiny of all this assembly, and show us the bottomless abyss into which the love of money will plunge many who are present.

Let us prevent this great evil. Let us purify the spring from whence our actions and their consequences flow. Let us examine this idol, to which we sacrifice our all. Judge of the value of the riches in pursuit of which we are so eager, by the brevity of life. The best course of moral instruction against the passions, is death. The grave is a discoverer of the absurdity of sin of every kind. There the ambitious may learn the folly of ambition. There the vain may learn the vanity of all human things. There the voluptuous may read a mortifying lesson on the absurdity of sensual pleasure. But this school, fruitful in instructions that concern all the passions, is profusely eloquent against avarice. I recollect an anecdote of Constantine the Great. In order to reclaim a miser, he took a lance and marked out a space of ground of the size of a human body, and told him, "add heap to heap, accumulate riches upon riches, extend the bounds of your possessions, conquer the whole world, in a few days, such a spot as this will be all you will have." I take this spear, my brethren, I mark out this space among you, in a few days you will be worth no more than this. Go to the tomb of the avaricious man, go down and see his coffin and his shroud, in four days these will be all you will have.

I conclude, and I only add one word of Jesus Christ. Our divine Saviour describes a man revolving in his mind great projects, thinking of nothing but pulling down and rebuilding, dying the same night, void, destitute, miserable, and terrified at seeing all his fancied projects of felicity vanish; on which our Lord makes this reflection, “so is every one who layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God," Luke xii. 21. My God! how poor is he, though among piles of gold and silver, amidst all riches and plenty, who is not rich towards God! On the contrary, how enviable is the condition of a man hungry, indigent, and wrapped in rags, if he be rich towards God! Rich men! This is the only way to sanctify your riches. Be rich towards God. Ye poor people, this is all you want to support you under poverty, and to enable you to triumph even in your indigence. May we be all rich towards God! Let us all accumulate a treasure of good works, it is the most substantial wealth, and that only which will yield a bountiful harvest at last. "There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased," Ps. iv. 6, 7. Amen.

THESE Words are so concise in the Hebrew text that no distinct idea can be affixed to them, unless we supply something. All expositors allow this. The only question is, what word ought to be supplied to express the prophet's meaning.

Some supply, "thine idols, or thy calves, have destroyed thee:" and by these they understand the images which Jeroboam placed at Samaria to prevent the ten tribes, who had revolted under his direction from the government of Rehoboam, from returning to that prince, as probably they might have been tempted to do, had they gone to worship the true God at Jerusalem.

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Others supply, "thy king hath destroyed thee, O Israel," meaning Jeroboam, who had led the people of Israel into idolatry.

But not to trouble you with a list of the various opinions of expositors, I shall content myself with observing that which I think best founded, that is, the sense given by the ancient Latin version, Thy destruction is of thyself, O Israel, or, Thou art the author of thine own ruin. This translation which supplies less to the original, is also perfectly agreeable to the idiom of the Hebrew language. With this the version of our churches agrees, "thou hast destroyed thyself, or thou art destroyed," which is much the same, because others cannot destroy us unless we contribute by our negligence to our own destruction. This translation too is connected with what precedes, and what follows, and in general with the chief design of our prophet.

This chief design is very observable in most chapters of this prophecy. It is evident, the prophet intended to convince the Israelites, that God had discovered in all his dispensations, a desire to fix them in his service, to lead them to felicity by the path of virtue, and that they ought to blame none but themselves if judgments from heaven should overwhelm them, giving them up to the Assyrians in this life, and to punishment after death. This design seems to me most fully discovered in the latter part of this chapter, a few verses after the text, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." You know, my brethren, St. Paul informs us that this promise will not be accomplished till after the general resurrection; "Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" But, adds our prophet, "Samaria shall become desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God." The text is therefore connected with the foregoing and following words according to this translation, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself."

I class the text then among those passages of Scripture in which God condescends to exonerate his conduct in regard to sinners by declaring, that they ought to take the whole blame of their own destruction on themselves: and in this point of view I am going to consider it. The difficulties of this subject chiefly proceed from three causes, either from our notion of the nature of God-or the nature of religion -or the nature of man. We will examine these difficulties, and endeavour to remove them in the remaining part of this discourse.

I. "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." The first difficulties that seem to belong to this truth, are taken from the nature of God, who, having created nothing of which he had not an idea before, and having realized no idea, all the consequences of which he had not foreseen, is the author not only of every being that exists, but also of every thing that results from their existence, and seems for this very reason the only cause of the miseries of his creatures.

It is much to be wished, my brethren, that mankind were so apprised of the narrow limits of their own understanding, as not to plunge themselves into some deep subjects which they are incapable of fathoming, and so as to attribute to their natural incapacity, their incompetency to answer some objections against the perfections of God. Some pagans have been more aware of this than many Christians; and the Persians, followers of Mohammed, have endeavoured to make their disciples comprehend it by an ingenious fable.

"There were, say they, three brethren, who all died at the same time; the two first were far advanced in age; the elder had always lived in a habit of obedience to God: the second, on the contrary, in a course of disobedience and sin; and the third was an infant, incapable of distinguishing good from evil. These three bro'thers appeared before the tribunal of God; the first was received into paradise, the second was condemned to hell, the third was sent to a middle place, where there was neither pleasure nor pain, because he had not done either good or evil. When this youngest heard his sentence, and the reasons on which the Supreme Judge grounded it, sorry to be excluded from paradise, he exclaimed, Ah, Lord! hadst thou preserved my life as thou didst that of my good brother, how much better would it have been for me? I should have lived as he did, and then I should have enjoyed as he does the happiness of eternal glory! My child, replied God to him, I knew thee, and I knew hadst thou lived longer thou wouldst have lived like thy wicked brother, and like him wouldst have rendered thyself deserving of the punishment of hell. The condemned brother hearing this discourse of God, exclaimed, Ah Lord! why didst thou not then confer the same favour upon me as upon my younger brother, by depriving me of a life which I have so wickedly misspent as to bring myself under a sentence of condemnation? I preserved thy life, said God, to give thee an opportunity of saving thyself. The younger brother, hearing this reply, exclaimed again, Ah! why then, my God, didst thou not preserve my life also, that I might have had an opportunity of saving myself? God, to put an end

to complaining and disputing, replied, because my decree had determined otherwise."*

Were I to follow my own inclination, I should imitate this cautious reserve; but as silence on this subject is sometimes an occasion of imaginary triumph to the enemies of religion, and as it sometimes causes scruples in weak consciences, I think it absolutely necessary to say something towards removing this objection; and to prove, at least, that though we are incapable of fully satisfying ourselves on this subject, yet there is nothing in this incompetency favourable to the insults of infidels, or the doubts and fears of the scrupulous.

Now, my brethren, it seems to me, we cannot possibly imagine any more than two ways to satisfy ourselves on this subject: the one is to obtain a complete idea of the decrees of God, and to compare them so exactly with the disposition of sinners as to make it evident by this comparison, that sinners are not under a necessity of committing such crimes as cause their eternal destruction. The second is, to refer the subject to the determination of a being of the most unsuspected knowledge and veracity, whose testimony we may persuade ourselves is unexceptionable, and whose declaration is an infallible oracle.

The first of these ways is impracticable. To be able to demonstrate, by an exact comparison of the decrees of God with the nature of man, that sinners are not necessitated to commit such crimes as cause their eternal destruction, is, in my opinion, a work more than human. Many have attempted it, but though we cannot refuse the praise due to their piety, yet, it should seem, we owe this testimony to truth, that they have not removed all the objections to which the subject is liable.

I say more, I venture to predict, without pretending to be a prophet, that all future efforts will be equally unsuccessful. The reason is, because it is an attempt to infer consequences from principles unknown. Who can boast of knowing the whole arrangement, all the extent, and all the combinations of the decrees of God? The depth of these decrees, the obscure manner in which the Scripture expresses them, and if I may be allowed to say so, the darkness in which attempts to elucidate them have involved them, place them infinitely beyond our reach. As this method has been impracticable to this day, probably it will continue so to the end of the world.

Let us try the second. The question is, whether, allowing the decrees of God, God does any violence to sinners, compelling them to commit sin? Has not this question been fully answered by a Being, whose decisions are infallible oracles, and of whose testimony we cannot possibly form any reasonable doubt? Yes, my brethren, we know such a Being; we know a Being infinitely capable of deciding this question, and who has actually decided it. This Being is God himself.

To explain our meaning, and to show the connexion of the answer with the question, I will suppose you to put up this petition to God. -Does the eternal destination, which thou

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