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I have coveted no man's silver or gold. Acts xx. 33.
with such an one no not to eat. ' 1 Cor. v. 11. Neither thieves nor covetous shall inherit the kingdom of God.
I Cor. vi. 10. Al uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named
among you, as becometh saints. Eph. v. 3. No covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in
the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph. v. 5. Mortify your members, &c., inordinate affection, evil concupis
cence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col. iii. 5. In the last times men shall be covetous, proud, having a form
of godliness, but denying the power thereof. 2 Tim. iii. 2. 5. Let your conversation be without covetousness. Heb. xiii. 5. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust,
and enticed: Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
James i. 14, 15. If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not.
James iii. 14. 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. 1 John ii. 16. What instances have we, in Scripture, of the evil consequences
of indulging covetousness? Eve coveted the fruit of the tree, and then took it. Gen. üi. 6. Achan's sin began by coveting. Josh. vii. 20, 21. Saul's covetousness led him to fly on the spoil of the Amalek
ites, which was forbidden. 1 Sam. xv. 9. David's coveting Uriah's wife led him to adultery and murder.
2 Sam. xi. 24. Ahab's covetousness led him to the murder of Naboth. 1 Kings
xxi. 4–16. Gehazi coveted the present Naaman brought for his master, and
then obtained it by a lie. 2 Kings v. 20. The young man who could not part with his possessions to fol.
low Christ. Matt. xix. 21. Judas's covetousness led him to betray his Master. Matt. xxvi. 15. Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness, which caused him
to go to curse the Lord's people. 2 Pet. ii. 15. Lot is the only child of God on record in the Scripture who was
guilty of this sin. It led him to choose his residence in wicked Sodom. Gen. xii. 10.
We ought to be content with such things as God gives us, who provides for us with fatherly care, and will withhold nothing but what would, in some way or other, he injurious to us. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were
destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Cor. x. 10. I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be con
tent. Phil. iv. 11. Godliness with contentment, is great gain. For we brought
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out; and having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Tim. vi. 6—10. Be content with such things as ye have. Heb. xiii. 5.
We are forbidden to envy the advantages of others, so as to make us dissatisfied with the mercies bestowed on ourselves, and lead us to sinful methods of procuring what may appear a more agreeable situation.
Discontent implies, that God has not chosen so well for us, as we could have done for ourselves : and, that we have not all we deserve to have: a discontented man would be so, whatever situation he was in. Do not all sins proceed from the corrupt principles of man's
heart? Yes, so our Lord teaches. From within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts,
-covetousness, &c. Mark vii. 21, 22. They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. Isa. lix. 4.
Most men deceive themselves, by fancying, that, if they refrain from gross violations of the law, they are in a safe state : therefore, to strike at the root of disobedience, we have this commandment.
The poorest person, who is contented with his station, is far more happy than a rich man, who covets what he does not yet possess.
Thank God for what you already enjoy, and think how much less comfortable your situation would have been, if he had dealt with you after your deservings. Let not your desires wander after forbidden objects. Keep your heart with all diligence, Prov. iv. 23; and pray Create in me a clean heart, Ps. li. 10; and Incline not my heart to covetousness. Ps. cxix. 36. Collect for St. Matthew's day:—Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ.
ON DISCONTENT. THOUGH our selfish desires were to raise in us no malignity against our fellow creatures; yet if they tempt us to murmur against our Creator ; and either to speak or think ill of that distribution of things, which his Providence hath made; this is great impiety, and rebellion of the heart against God: who hath an absolute right to dispose of the works of his hands as he pleases; and uses it always both with justice and with goodness to us. Were we innocent, we could none of us demand more advantages of any sort, than he thought fit to give us: but as we are guilty wretches, far from having a claim to this or that degree of happiness, we are every one liable to severe punishment. And therefore, with the many comforts and blessings which we have now, and the eternal felicity, which, through the mercy of our heavenly Father, the merits of our blessed Redeemer, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we may, if we will, have hereafter, surely we have no ground to complain of our condition.
But further yet: though we may not be conscious of what we shall study to hide from ourselves, that our desires carry us either to behave or wish ill to our neighbours; or to repine against God; still, if they disturb and agitate our minds, if we are eager and vehement about the ob. jects of them, we are not arrived at the state in which we should be found. Some feeling of this inward tumult, especially on trying occasions, may be unavoidable by fallen man; and more of it natural to one person than another: but, after all, it is voluntary indulgence that gives our appetites, and passions, and fancies, the far greatest share of their dominion. We inname them, when else they would be moderate: we affect things, for wbich we have really no liking, merely because they are fashionable: we create imaginary wants to ourselves; and then grow as earnest for what we might do perfectly well without, as if the whole of our felicity consisted in it. This is a very immoral state of mind; and hurries per. sons, almost irresistibly, into as immoral a course of life. In proportion as worldly inclinations of any kind engage the heart, they exclude from it social affection, compassion, generosity, integrity ; and, yet more effec. tually, love to God and attention to the concerns of our future state. Nor do they almost ever fail to make us at present miserable, as well as wicked. They prey upon our spirits, torinent us with perpetual self-dis. like, waste our health, sink our character, drive us into a thousand foolish actions to gratify them; and when all is done, can never be gratified, so
to give us any lasting sat ctio First, we shall be full of anxieties and fears; when we have got over these, and obtained our wish, we shall quickly find it comes very short of our expectation: then we shall be Cloyed, and tired, and wretchedly languid, till some new craving sets us on work to as little purpose as the former did; or till we are wise enough to see that such pursuits are not the way to happiness.
But supposing persons are not violent in pursuing the imagined good things of this world; yet if they be dejected and grieved, that no more of them have fallen to their lot; if they mourn over the inferiority of their condition, and live in a perpetual feeling of affliction (be it ever so calm.) on that account; or indeed on account of any cross or disadvan. tage whatever, belonging to the present life: this also is a degree, though the lowest and least, yet still a degree, of inordinate desire. For we are not grateful, if, instead of taking our portion of happiness here with cheerfulness, and due acknowldgements for it, we only lament, that it is not, in this or that respect, more considerable; and we are not wise if we imbitter it, be it ever so small, by a fruitless sorrow, instead of making the best of it.-Seeker's Lectures, p. 246.
We have now explained all the commandments contained in
the two tables of the law; Do not you feel that you have broken them, and are exposed to the curse pronounced upon all transgressors? Yes; we, as well as all the rest of mankind, have broken them in thought, word, and deed, and are justly condemned.
There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sin
neth not. Eccl. vii, 20. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom.
iii. 23. By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Gal. ii. 16. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are
written in the book of the law, to do them. Gal. iii. 10. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of all. James ii. 10. In many things we offend all. James iii. 2. What ought we then to do?
We ought to pray that God would make us deeply sensible of the greatness and number of our sins, and cause us to flee to Christ for pardon and salvation. For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is
great. Ps. xxv. 11. By him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which
ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts xiii. 39. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that
believeth. Rom. X. 4. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made
a curse for us. Gal. iii. 13. We see, then, that the Bible is a rule of life. It is of little use to be able to read it, unless our lives be regulated by it, and unless we bring its holy precepts into our daily practice.
Remember, (2 Pet. ii. 21,) it had been better not to have known the way of righteousness, than after you have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered
Apply the Scriptures, and bring them home to yourselves. Knowledge puffeth up. You may have read a great deal, and you may recollect a great deal, but this will do you no good, unless you order your life by its precepts. Try yourselves by your obedience. You must obęy one of two masters, (Matt. vi. 24. 1 Kings xviii. 21.) Are you serving God? You perhaps shrink from the question. You feel you are bad. But do you wish to be better? Did you ever try to be so ? Did you ever pray for a new heart-a heart to love and serve him? No man ever kept God's commandments while in a state of nature. Our hearts are by nature so wicked, that we are not able to do any good thing, nor even to wish to do right, in order to please God. Rom. vi. 23. Phil. ii. 13.
Pray earnestly to God that he would overcome your eyil beart, and give you power to resist sin. The promise recorded in his word, (Luke xi. 11–13,) is intended to encourage you. Communion Service.-Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all
these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee. 1st Sunday after Epiphany.-Grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.
ON THE LORD'S PRAYER.
§ 1. ON PRAYER. You have now been instructed in the three branches of your
baptismal vow. But, my good child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve him ; how then may you be enabled to perform them? Through God's “special grace,” without which I can neither repent, believe, nor obey. Without me ye can do nothing. John xv. 5. In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. Rom.
vii. 18. By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 Cor. xv. 10. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of
ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. 2 Cor. ii. 5. My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor. xii. 9. Strengthened with might, by his Spirit, in the inner man. Eph.
iii. 16. It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
good pleasure. Phil. ij. 13. I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Phil. iv. 13. Art. 10. •The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such,
that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God, by Christ, preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.'
If, then, our hearts are wicked, and we are unable to change them, and if we must perish everlastingly if we should die in our sins ; we see that unless God help us, no other power can save us from perishing. What do you mean by God's special grace?
The influences of his Holy Spirit, (which God will give