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avaricious man.

If this be attained ; such a man always regards himself as being really honest. But in this he is wonderfully deceived. His favourite principle conducts him, regularly, to unceasing fraud; and regularly issues in a course of lying. As it is his aim always to sell for more, and buy for less, than justice will permit; he of course represents the value of his own commodities to be greater, and that of his neighbour's to be less, than the truth. As he spends most of his life in buying and selling, or in forining schemes to buy and sell, in this manner; he employs no small part of it either in actual, or intentional, lying. To compass the same object also, he is equally tempted to misrepresent his own circumstances; the state of the markets; the quality and quantity, the soundness, weight, and measure, of the commodities, which he sells; and, so far as may be, of those which he buys. Thus the horse, the house, or the land, which he is about to buy, is, according to his own account, poor, defective, and of little value. But as soon he chooses to sell it, it has, according to his own account, also, wonderfully changed its nature; and become excellent, free from every defect, and of very superior value. Yet, with this chain of falsehoods always hanging about his neck, the miserable wretch is frequently so blind, as not to mistrust that he is a liar.

5. All these, and all other, sins of the avaricious man, speedily become gross

and rank Habits. I know of no disposition, which sooner or more effectually makes a man blind to his own character, than Avarice. The Miser rarely, if ever, mistrusts that he is a sinner. He thinks himself only a rich man.

He does not dream, that he is an oppressor, a liar, and a cheat; but merely supposes himself to be prosperous, sagacious, and skilled in business. With these views he will naturally entertain no thoughts of repentance; and no suspicion, that it is necessary for him. His conscience, it is to be remembered, has, in the mean time, lost its power to remonstrate, and to alarm. His heart, also, is so entirely engrossed by schemes of accumulating wealth, or is rather so absolutely possessed by the demon of avaricè, as to have neither time, nor room, for the admission of a thought concerning reformation. He is left, therefore, to the domination of this wretched appetite; and becomes fixed, and hardened, in all his sins, without a check, and without resistance. There is, probably, no more obdurate heart, than that of avarice; and no more hopeless character. Every passage to it appears to be closed up, except one; and that is opened only to gain.

III. The Mischiefs of Avarice are innumerable. A few of them only can be even mentioned at the present time. These I shall consider as Personal, Private, and Public.

Among the Personal Mischiefs of Avarice, are to be reckoned all the Follies, and all the Sins which have been already specified; so far as their influence terminates in the avaricious man himself.

They are not șins and follies only; they are mischiefs also; as indeed is every other sin and folly. As mischiefs, their combined efficacy is very great, malignant, and dreadful; such as would be deliberately encountered by no man, but a profligate; such as would make a considerate man tremble.

To these let me add the guilt, and misery, of Discontentment and Envy. However fast the wealth of the avaricious man may increase; to whatever size the heaps may swell ; his accumulations always' lag behind his wishes. Indeed, they never keep pace with what he feels to be his due. In his own view he has a right to be rịch: and he regards the Providence of God as under a species of obligation to make him rich. To these claims, his wishes furnish the only limit: and, whenever they are not satisfied; as is always the case, unless in the moment of some distinguished success; he becomes fretful, impatient, and angry, at the dispensations of Providence. He may not, indeed, accuse God of injustice, face to face. But he murmurs at His Providence under the names of fortune, chance, luck, the state of things, and the course of events. Against these, and through these, against God, his complaints are loud, vehement, bitter, full of resentment, and full of impiety:

Amid the troubles derived from this source, he cannot fail, whenever he looks around him, to find some men happier, as well as more prosperous, at least in some respects, than himself. This man may be richer. That, though inferior in wealth, may possess a piece of land, a house, a servant, which, although a darling object of his covetous desires, he may be unable to obtain. A third may have more reputation. A fourth may have more influence. A fifth may be better beloved. Towards any, or all, of these, his envy may be directed with as malignant a spirit

, as his murmuring against God. It is not easy to conceive of a mind more wretched, or more odious, than that, which makes itself miserable at the sight of happiness, enjoyed by others; and pines at the thought of enjoyments

, which are not its own. This spirit is the vulture of Prometheus, preying unceasingly upon his liver; which was for ever renewed, that it might be for ever devoured.

With Envy, Discontentment, its twin-sister, perpetually dwells. The wretch, whose heart is the habitation of both, is taught, and influenced, by them to believe, that God is his enemy, because He does not administer to his covetousness; and that men are his enemies, because they enjoy the good, which God has given them. Even happiness itself, so delightful wherever it is seen, to a benevolent eye, is a source of anguish only to him, unless when locked up in his own coffers.

The grovelling and gross taste of the miser, is in my view also eminently pernicious. To be under the government of such a taste, iş plainly to be cut off from all rich and refined enjoyment. The miser endeavours to satiate himself upon the dross of happi


ness. But he neither discerns, nor seeks for the fine gold. The delicious viands proffered to intelligent and immortal minds by the beneficence of God, are lost upon a palate which can satiate itself upon garbage. The delightful emotions of contentment, gratitude, and complacency towards his Maker; the sweets of a self-approving mind; the charming fruition of tenderness and sympathy; the refined participation of social good; and the elevated satisfaction, which springs, instinctively, from the beneficent promotion of that good; can never find an entrance into the heart, all the avenues to which are barred up by the hand of Avarice. But to lose these blessings is to lose infinitely,

At the same time, the miser wastes of course his day of Probation. His life is wholly occupied by the pursuit of wealth. Of sin and ruin, of holiness and Heaven, he has not time even to think. His life is too short for the accomplishment of his main object. Suns, for him, rise too late ; and sei too soon. Too rapidly do his days succeed each other; and too early do they terminate their career. His last sickness arrests him while he is counting his gold : and death knocks at his door, while he is in the midst of a gainful bargain. Thus he is hurried, and goaded, through the journey of life, by his covetousness; and finds no opportunity to pause, and think

upon the concerns of his soul; no moment, in which he can withdraw his eye from gain, and cast a look toward Heaven. It is easier, saith our Saviour, for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Thus it is evident, that they, that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition; that the love of money is the root of all evil ; and that such as covet after it, pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

The Private Mischiefs of Avarice are those, which affect unhappily the interests of families, and neighbourhoods.

To these little circles, formed to be happy, and actually the scenes of the principal happiness, furnished by this world, the miser is a common nuisance. To his family he presents the miserable example of covetousness, fraud, oppression, falsehood, and impiety; and the most humiliating and distressing living picture of an abandoned worldling, forgetting his God, and forgotten by Him; worshipping, gold; ever craving and devouring, but never satisfied; denying himself, and his household, the comforts of life; and imparting to them the necessaries only in crumbs and shreds living a life of perpetual meanness and debasement; wasting the day of probation; treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath; advancing onward to his final account without an effort, or a thought, of preparation for this tremendous event: and all this, while irresistibly endeared to them by the strong power of natural affection.

On the neighbourhood the miser inflicts the complicated, harassing, and intense evils, of continually repeated fraud and oppression. Wherever such a man plants himself, sufferings spring up all around him. To the young, the ignorant, the thoughtless, and the necessitous, he lends money at exorbitant interest, and with tenfold security. The payment he discourages, until the amount has become sufficient to enable him, with a suit, to enclose their whole possessions in his net. To the poor and suffering also, he sells, at unconscionable prices, the necessaries of life. Notes, bonds, and mortgages, given by persons of the same description, he buys at an enormous discount. Of estates, left intestate, he watchfully seeks, and with art and perseverance obtains, the Administration. When others are obliged to buy, he sells : and when others are obliged to sell, he buys. In this manner his loans are almost instantaneously doubled ; and property mortgaged to him for a tenth part of its value, is swallowed up. The estates of widows and orphans melt away before his breath, as the snow beneath the April sun. The possessions of all around him move only towards his den. The farm and the house, the garden and the cottage, the herd on the one hand, and the widow's cow and ten sheep on the other, go down together into this open sepulchre. Over the miserable beings, who cannot escape his fangs, he reigns with a despotic and woltish dominion. All around him tremble at his nod: and, 'should any one retain sufficient energy to question his pleasure, or dispute his control, he points his eyes to the jail, and hushes every murmur to silence, and every thought to despair.

Nor does he less injure Society, although the injury is ordinarily less observed, as being less felt, by corrupting both his family and his neighbourhood. His example emboldens, his skill instructs, and his success allures, those, who are witnesses of his life, to pursue the same course of villany and oppression. All the sagacious, sharpen their cunning by his practical lessons. The intrepid, become daring by his example. The greedy become ravenous by his success. Íhus the spirit of Avarice is caught; its villanies are multiplied; and a poisonous coin engrafted upon every stock in the neighbourhood. His own sons, if not broken down by his hard-handed parsimony, or induced by their sufferings to detest it, and rush into the opposite extreme of profusion, become proficients in all the mysteries of fraud and oppression : not instructed, and led, only, but drilled, into the eager, shrewd, and gainful pursuit of wealth. From him they learn to undervalue all rules of morality, except the law of the land : to violate the dictates of compassion; to burst the bonds of conscience; and to regard with indifference, and contempt, the Will of God. In his house, as in a second Newgate, young men soon become old in villany; and with a heart prematurely hardened into stone, and

hands trained to mischief by transferred experience, are turned loose to prey upon the vitals of Society.

The Public Mischiefs of Avarice are not less numerous; and are of incomprehensible magnitude. It was one of the glorious characteristics of the men, recommended by Jethro to Moses to fill the stations of Rulers, that they hated cevetousness : a characteristic indispensable to him, who would rule justly, and be a minister of God for good to his people. When Avarice ascends the chair of state, mingles with the councils of princes, seats herself on the bench of justice, or takes her place in the chamber of legislation ; nay, when she takes possession of subordinate departments, particularly of those, which are financial, in the administration of government; her views become extended, and her ravages terrible. The man, over whom she has established her dominion, sees, even in the humblest of these stations, prospects of acquiring wealth opening suddenly upon him, of which he before never formed a conception. In the mysterious collection of revenues, the mazy management of taxes, the undefined claims for perquisites, the opportunities of soliciting and receiving customary bribes, and in the boundless gulf of naval and military contracts, he beholds new means, and new motives, for the exercise of all his talents, fraud and rapacity, and for the speedy acquisition of opulence, crowding upon him at once. The alluring scene he surveys with the same spirit with which a vulture eyes the field of blood. Every thing, on which he can fasten his talons, here becomes his prey. The public he cheats without compunction : individuals he oppresses without pity. There is sufficient wealth in the world to supply all its inhabitants with comfort. But when some become suddenly, and enormously, rich, multitudes must sink into the lowest depths of poverty. To enable a single farmer of revenues, or a single contractor, to lodge in a palace, to riot at the table of luxury, and to roll on wheels of splendour, thousands have sweat blood, and wrung their hands in agony. But what is all this to him? He is rich; whoever else may be poor. He

. is fed; whoever else may starve. The frauds and ravages of public agents, which find palliation, countenance, and excuse, from the fact, that they have become customary, constitute no small part of that oppression, which has awakened the groans and cries of the human race, from the days of Nimrod to the present hour.

But Avarice is not confined to subordinate agents. Often it ascends the throne, and grasps the sceptre. The evils, of which it is the parent in this situation, are fully proportioned to its power ; and outrun the most excursive wanderings of imagination. A large part of the miseries, entailed on mankind by oppressive taxes at home, and ruinous wars abroad, are created by the lust for plunder. This fiend hurried the Spaniards to America ; and stung

; them into the perpetration of all those cruelties, which laid waste the Empires of Mexico and Peru. The same foul spirit steered


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