« السابقةمتابعة »
man be represents as summoned in the midst of all his golden hopes, to appear a most guilty criminal at the bar of his despised Maker. Lo! this is the man whom our Lord exposes, as a miserable wretch; for all others to take warning by, and resist covetouisness.
6 Paul, in perfect harmony with his Lord, forbids the desire of wealth, as a criminal effect of avarice. Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5. And where, instead of this self denied temper, a desire of increasing in wealth, is cherished, there snares, defilement and ruin are declared to be the cer. tain consequences. For they that will (the original signifies the simple desire) be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the Love of money is the root of all evil ; which while some have coveted after they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows, 1st Tim. vi. 9 and 10.
“Let none suppose, from what has been said, that I mean to encourage idleness or extravagance. No; far be it ! such, who, through indolence, pride, or prodigality, waste their substance, and fail in the world, can hardly be too severely censured. They not only impoverish themselves, but injure their neighbours; and are no other than the pests of society, and public robbers. It is the desire of riches, the scriptures so much condemns, and if while a man's whole heart is given up to God, he is pleased to prosper what he takes in hand, and give him an abundant increase, his wealth is evidently as much the gift of God, as if it came to him by legacy or inheritance, and he stands accountable to God, for the use he makes of it, and if he hoards it up, and refuses to assist his fellow creatures in their necessity, how awful will be the account he must give."
“ We are assured in Scripture, that Satan is transformed into an angel of light, thereby to deceive the children of men; and that it is no marvel that his ministers should be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, We are not to look upon all that goes under the name of religion, as the religion of Jesus Christ ; nor all that prophesy in his name as his ministers. Satan has both his religion and his ministers in the world. Those who view every thing as
réal religion which has that appearance, will be greatly deceived; and will be likely to lose their own souls thereby. 66 Satan has his religion, as well as irreligion. And his religion is no less fatal to those who embrace it, than his irreligion and open wick. edness. Indeed it is often more dangerous, because these subjects of his flatter themselves, that they belong to another prince, who is able to give unto all his subjects eternal life. If we see a man wise in his own conceit, we are taught to entertain more hope of a fool than of him.
Let all who credit the truth of God's word, enter on the investigation of this subject with a full belief, that there is such a thing as false religion; and that care is needed to distinguish it from the true. Let us not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God. It would be pleasing to the prince of darkness, to bave no such investigation made. He would wish us to buy of him gold which is not tried in the fire, without entertaining any suspicion of its genuineness; or making an essay to prove it. If he can make those whom he has deceived, view it as the height of wickedness, to doubt of their interest in the favour of God, he feels very sure of their destruction.
Our danger of being deceived and ruined, is very great, not only because Satan is very crafty, and is able to appear like an angel of light; but because our hearts are very wicked and deceitful. The word of God speaks of depraved men as being the children of the devil.” If so, we are doubtless prepared, in our natural state, to relish the religion of our father, and prefer it to the religion of the Son of God. There is no reason to doubt, but that every unregenerate man in the world, would be best pleased with Satan's religion. But we know that Satan's religion will land us in hell; therefore we are afraid of it. This makes it necessary, that he should transform himself into an angel of light, and make us think, that his religion is the very religion of Christ himself. As soon as this is believed, we greedily embrace it. To make this idea more familiar, let us suppose that nothing is so sweet to our taste as a poisonous potion. The draught is pleasant, but the consequence of drinking, which will be death, is frightful. We love the poison ; but we hate to be poisoned. Now, if any body can deceive us, and make us believe, that it is not poison, but a salutary draught, the way is prepared for us greedily to drink our death. And this is the great object of him, who
like a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. That by all means he may destroy, not only some, but many, he turns into every shape; he practises every wile; he becomes an angel of light.
It is a deep-laid wile of Satan, to have his ministers on earth, and in the very church of Christ; who shall call themselves the ministers of Christ, and shall be set apart to the work by the same solemnities, by which Christ's ministers are set apart to their holy work; and who shall pretend to favour the cause of righteousness, as if to build
up this cause was their main object. That Satan has his ministers, yea, very many of them in the world, is clear from the word of God. There is, no doubt, a great many shades of difference in their character. Some of them, we are taught to expect, shall be so wonderfully transformed as ministers of righteousness, that they shall deceive if it were possible, the very elect. There may be this difference between Satan and his ministers; Satan, when transformed into an angel of light, has not deceived himself; for he knows that he is not an angei of light: but his ministers may be, and often are, self deceived. Paul tells Timothy, that cvil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being de: