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melancholy in our look, or any thing in our dress which is unbecoming and very particular. "Anoint thine head, and wash thy face."* In respect to dress and appearance, be much like other people; make not your religion to consist in any disagreeable particularities of this sort. Much finery and extravagance of dress are undoubtedly forbidden in Scripture, by that passage which says, Let your adorning "not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel."† But a moderate conformity to the world, in things indifferent, seems, to be authorized by the spirit of this passage; anoint thine head.
How amiable in all these respects is Christianity! It requires of us nothing which ought to make us in any respect disagreeable to any one; and it consists in practice, much more than in profession. While the man of the world pretends, in every respect, to much more than he practises, the Christian practises much more than he professes. In secret, he exercises himself in much self-denial; while in all his outward garb he conforms himself to the innocent customs of the world; yet without being carried into any fashionable extravagance. He is neat and decent, and in nowise particular in his apparel. He is pure in heart; but not solemn and sanctimonious in look. He is very strict with himself in secret, having many a private law of selfdenial and mortification, which he prescribes to himself; but these escape the observation of the public.
May this be our character! May we please that God who seeth in secret; and may He, who seeth us in secret, reward us openly!
* St. Matt. vi. 17.
† 1 Peter iii. 3.
ST. MATTHEW, VI. 19–21.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
THERE are, perhaps, few errors more common or more mischievous, than that of supposing that Christianity was intended only to be a cure for the greater vices and immoralities of men; and that a decent, orderly, and, at the same time, worldly way of life is consistent with it. Our LORD JESUS CHRIST came down from heaven, in order to set before men the hope of everlasting life; and to call away their thoughts, affections, and desires from earthly things, to those things which are heavenly. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,”* is one chief precept of the gospel. The bulk of mankind are pursuing eagerly the things of this life; and the acquisition of money, in particular, is the object which is nearest the hearts of most men. It has been thus from the beginning: -in the days of the prophets, men are spoken of, as adding "house to house," and "field to field." In the days of our SAVIOUR, they are warned against " pulling down their barns, in order to build larger;" and against saying to themselves, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." And in these days, how does the same spirit prevail :—most men both act and talk as if the only end, for which they were sent into the world, were that of increasing their worldly possessions; how they may best improve the property which they have in land; how they may make an advantageous St. Luke xii. 19.
* Colossians iii. 2. + Isa. v. 8.
purchase in the stocks; or how they may turn to their benefit a speculation in trade. These are the points on which men discourse with the most anxiety; and on which they most of all set their hearts. For the love of wealth they are willing to toil and labour; "to rise early, and late take rest, and to eat the bread of carefulness."* They are worn with anxiety respecting these their worldly affairs. They seem to long but for one thing in life; and that is, to get a good fortune for themselves; and, then, they hope to leave a good sum to each of their children, when they die. But "lay not up for yourselves," says CHRIST, "treasures upon earth: where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Oh, if men were but as eager with respect to the next world, as they are in respect to this, what a rich inheritance might they obtain! But they labour merely for the perishing riches:-they lay up that "wealth which moth and rust can corrupt, and which thieves can break through and steal." They please themselves, indeed, with the good security for their money, which they obtain; they embark their property, as they think, in none but safe and prudent speculations; they invest it in solid land, or in the safest sort of stocks; and little reflect, to how many accidents all earthly possessions are exposed.
These are the times which have remarkably shown to us the great uncertainty of riches: for how many have been lately wandering over the earth, every where begging their bread, or earning it by the hardest labour, who once lived in affluence in their own land, and thought that they had safe, as well as large, possessions; but their riches have made to themselves wings and flown away; the moth and rust have corrupted them, and the thieves have broken through, and stolen them.
*Ps. cxxvii. 2.
St. Matt. vi. 19, 20.
Written during the French Revolution; after the emigration of thousands, nobles and priests, from their own country to England.
How many, indeed, of every country fall into sudder and unexpected poverty :--some one breaks, who was in their debt; some article, in which their chief property had consisted, sinks remarkably in value; some trading speculation proves unfortunate; some crop from their land fails, through the badness of the season; or some one either robs, or cheats them; and, thus, their hoard is taken from them. If the heart be fixed on money, how is a man pained and grieved in all cases of this sort.
But if, on the contrary, we have only laboured to get a competency for ourselves, and our families, according to the will of GOD; not so much caring about the wealth itself, as about the fulfilment of our own duty by the performance of what belongs to our stations; and if, in the midst of our labour we have calmly left it to Providence to send poverty, or riches, as He pleases;-if, amidst all our worldly business, our hearts have habitually been in Heaven; if we have often thought of Heaven, talked of Heaven, and prayed to have our chief inheritance in Heaven; if it have been the end of all our actions in this life to provide ourselves "bags which wax not old, a treasure in the Heavens that faileth not ;"* if to grow in grace, to be rich in faith, and to abound in every good work, have been accounted by us the great ends of living; and if we have thus learnt to feel a holy disdain of all merely temporal riches; then, and then only, may we consider ourselves as having fulfilled the precept given us in this passage :-then may we be said to have laid up our happiness in a place where it shall not be liable to earthly accidents; "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal :" and where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.
The heart of every man accompanies his treasure; for that is a man's treasure which his heart runs after the most. Would we therefore know where our chief treasure lies?we have only to inquire where our chief affections are *St. Luke xii. 33. + St. Mark vi. 20.
placed. Are they set on Heaven, or on earth ?-on things above, or on something here below? This consideration is indeed a very awful one: for it implies, that they, whose affections and desires do not point towards Heaven, have certainly no treasure there. They, who take no thought about Heaven, have no inheritance in that better world. Their whole treasure is on earth, where their heart so plainly is. May we try ourselves continually by this test: for CHRIST hath given it to us for this purpose. May we consider seriously how much this saying of CHRIST imports: it is, as if we had heard Him saying,-Tell me where your heart is, and there you shall find your treasure-tell me where your treasure is, and there assuredly will be your heart.
ST. MATTHEW, V. 22, 23.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light:
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness; if therefore the light, that is in thee, be darkness, how great is that darkness!
OUR SAVIOUR here instructs us, by means of one of our bodily senses, in a very great and fundamental religious truth. He says "I -“The light of the body is the eye; and, if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light:" that is, the body is directed by the light which is in the eye: and, if the eye be perfectly sound, and see right, then the whole body will have the benefit of its light. But "if the eye be evil," if the member which directs the body be disordered; then, "the whole body shall be full of darkness; and if the light, that is in thee, be darkness, how great is that darkness."