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The Words contain in them thefe two general Parts.

I. A Dehortation or Diffuafive from Covetoufnels. Take heed, and beware of Covetousness.


II. A Reason enforcing it, and coupling the latter Part of the Text with the former, by the cafual Particle [ For] for a Man's Life confifteth not in the Abundance of the Things which he poffeffeth...!

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If we take the whole Complex of the Dehortation and the Reafon of it together, as they are joined in the Text, we fhall find that they are intended as an Answer to a tacit Argumentation apt to be formed by the Minds of Men, in the behalf of Covetousness, and founded upon these three Principles.

1. That it is natural, (and, I may add alfo, allowable) for every Man to endeavour to make his Condition in this Life, as happy, as lawfully he can.

2. That to abound with the good Things of this World, feems the direct and ready Way to procure this Happiness, And

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3. That

3. That Covetousness is the proper and effectual Means to acquire to a Man this Abundance.

Upon these three Principles, I fay, is built that Plea or Difcourfe, with which the Heart of every Worldling, upon the Face of the Earth, endeavours to fatisfy itself of the Reafonableness of Covetoufnefs. It being impoffible, without fome Pretence of Reason, for a Rational Agent to maintain a quiet Mind in any ill Course of Practice whatsoever: No Man ever doing any Thing, which, at the Time of his doing it, he does not actually judge, that he has Reafon to do the fame, whether that Judgment be right or wrong, true or falfe. And therefore, fince our Saviour, in the Text we are upon, first supposes, and then fets himself to confute this Pica, by overthrowing fome of those sophistiçal, or fophiftically applyed Principles, upon which it leaned, the particular Knowledge of them was regularly to be premised by us, as the Bafis and Ground-work of the whole Profecution of the Subject now before us. In which, we fhall begin with the first General Part of the Text; to wit, the Debortation itself, and fo confining our Discourse.




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wholly to this at present, we will confider in it these three following Particulars.

1. The Author of this Debortation, who was Chrift himself; the great Inftructor, as well as Saviour of the World.

2. The Thing he dehorts us from; to wit, the meaneft and most fordid of all Vices, Covetousness. And


3. And Laftly. The Way prescribed by him, as the most fovereign and effectual Prefervative from it; to wit, a conftant Guard, and a watchful Eye over it. Take heed, fays he, and beware of it; the prefent Danger, and the confequent Mifchief making the utmost Caution against it, no more than fufficient.

All which Particulars put together, viz, The Quality of the Perfon dehorting us, the Nature of the Thing he dehorts us from, and the Certainty of the Remedy he advises us to, make it disputable, whether we are to take the Words of the Text, as the abfolute Command of a Legiflator, or the endearing Counfel of a Friend: I think we have great Reason to account them both, and that the Text will fufficiently justify the affigning a double Ground of the Precept, where the Doubling


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of that, must needs alfo double our Obligation to the Practice; while as a Counfel, we ought to follow it; and as a Command, we are bound to obey it.

To proceed therefore upon the forementioned Particulars; we shall treat of each of them in their Order. And

1. For the great Author of the Dehortation or Diffuafion here fet down, who was Chrift himself. He faid unto them, beware of Covetousness. That is, [He] emphatically [He] with a peculiar Significance. For in all Perfuafions to, or Diffuafions from any Thing the Arguments enforcing both, must be either founded upon the Authority of the Perfon propofing them, or the Reafon and Evidence of the Thing propofed. As to the first of which, can any Thing in Nature be imagined more convincing, than the Assertion or Word of one, whofe infinite Knowledge makes it impoffible for him to be deceived, and whofe infinite Goodness makes it equally impoffible for him to deceive? The firft of which must be abundantly fufficient to oblige our Belief, and the other to claim our Obedience. But both of them infeparably accompanied the Words of our Saviour; who (as the Evangelift tells us) Speaking as one having Authority,

Authority, and (by the very Testimony of his Enemies,) as none ever spoke before him, could not fink below this high Character, in his Discourses upon any Occafion or Subject whatsoever; but upon none more eminently did he, or could he fhew it, than upon this of Covetousness; where nothing but the fuperlative Abilities of the Speaker could reach the Compass of the Subject spoken to; nor any Thing, but the unblemished Virtue of the Reprover, put the Thing reproved out of Countenance, or all Defence of itself imaginable. For it is Innocence which enables Eloquence to reprove with Power; and Guilt attacked flies before the Face of him who has none. And therefore, as every Rebuke of Vice comes, or fhould come from the Preacher's Mouth, like a Dart or Arrow thrown by fome mighty Hand, which does Execution proportionably to the Force or Impulse it received from that which threw it; fo our Saviour's matchlefs Virtue free from the least Tincture of any Thing immoral, armed every one of his Reproofs with a piercing Edge, and an irresistible Force: So that Truth, in that respect, never came naked out of his Mouth, but either cloathed with Thunder, or wrapped up in all the Powers of Perfuafion; ftill his Perfon

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