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By-ends proposes a Question : Money-love's Answer: 135
By. My brethren, we are, you see, going all on pilgrimage, and for our better diversion from things that are bad, give me leave to propound unto you this question:
Suppose a man, a minister or tradesman, &c. should have an advantage lie before him to get the good blessings of this life, yet so as that he can by no means come by them except, in appearance at least, he becomes extraordinary zealous in some points of religion that he meddled not with before, may he not use this means to attain his end, and yet be a right honest man?
Joney. I see the bottom of your question ; and, with these gentlemen's good leave, I will endeavour to shape you an answer. And first, to speak to your question, as it concerns a minister himself. Suppose a minister, a worthy inan, possessed but of a very small benefice, and has in his eye a greater, more fat and plump by far: he has also now an opportunity of getting of it; yet so as by being more studious, by preaching more frequently and zealously, and because the temper of the people requires it, by altering of some of his principles : for my part, I see no reason but a man may do this, provided he has a call, ay, and more a great deal besides, and yet be an honest man. For why?
1. His desire of a greater benefice is lawful; this cannot be contradicted, since it is set before him by Providence; so then he may get it if he can, making no question for conscience sake.
2. Besides, his desire after that benefice makes him more studious, a more zealous preacher, &c.; and so makes him a better man, yea, makes him better improve his parts; which is according to the mind of God.
3. Now, as for the complying with the temper of his people by deserting, to serve them, some of his principles, this argueth that he is of a self-denying temper, of a sweet and winning deportment, and so more fit for the ministerial function.
4. I conclude, then, that a minister that changes a small for a great, should not, for so doing, be judged as covetous; and to please those among whom they live: they determine to keep what they have at any rate, and to get more, if it can be done without open scandal ; never seriously recollecting that they are mere stewards of providential advantages, of which a strict account must at last be given; and, instead of willingly renouncing or expending them, for the Lorl's sake, when his providence or commandment requires it, they determine to hoard them up for themselves and families, or to spend them in worldly indulgence; and uhin quo:e and pervert scripture to varnish over this base idolatry.
They propose the Question to Christian. but rather, since he is improved in his parts and industry thereby, be counted as one that pursues his call, and the opportunity put into his hand to do good. (x)
And now to the second part of the question, which concerns the tradesman you mentioned: sụppose such an one to have but a poor employ in the world; but by becoming religious he may mend his market, perhaps get a rich wife, or more and far better customers to his shop. For my part, I see no reason but this may be lawfully done. For why?
1. To become religious is a virtue, by what means soever a man becomes so.
2. Nor is it unlawful to get a rich wife, or more custom to my shop.
3. Besides, the man that gets these by becoming religious, gets that which is good, of them that are good, by becoming good himself; so then here is a good wife, and good customers, and good gain, and all these by becoming religious, which is good : therefore, to become religious to get all these is a good and profitable design.
This answer, thus made by this Mr. Money.love to Mr. By-ends' question, was highly applauded by them all ; wherefore they concluded upon the whole that it was most wholesome and advantageous. And because, as they thought, no inan was able to contradict it, and because Christian and Ilopeful were yet within call, they jointly agreed to assault them with this question as soon as they overtook them; and the rather because they had opposed Mr. By-ends before. So they called after them, and they stopped and stood still till they came up to thein : but they concluded, as they went, that not Mr. By-ends, but old Mr. Hold-the-world, should propound the question to them; because, as they supposed, their answer to him would be without the remainder of that heat, that was kindled between Mr. By-ends and them at their parting a little before.
(x) There is a fund of satirical humour in the supposed case here very gravely stated ; and if the author, in his accurate observations on mankind, selected his example from among the mercenaries that are the įscandal of the established church, her most faithful friends will not greatly resent this conduct of a dissenter:- The wortly clergyman seeks first, (not ""the kingdom of God and his righteousness," or the glory of God in the salvation of souls, but) a rich benefice : to attain this primary object means must be used ; and hypocritical pretensions to diligence, zeal, piety, with some change of doctrine, merely to please men, seem most likely to succeed ; and so this most base, prevaricating, selfish and ungodly plan is adopted ! In how many thousands of instances has this been an awful reality ? How often has it been pleaded for, as prudent and laudable, by men, not only pretending to coinmon honesty and sincerity, but calling themselves the disciples of Jesus Christ !
Christian's Scriptural Answer.
157 So they came åp to each other, and, after a short salutation, Mr. Hold-the-world propounded the question to Christian and his fellow, and bid them to answer it if they could.
Then said Christian, Even a babe in religion may answer ten thousand such questions. For if it be unlawful to follow Christ for loaves, as it is ;* how much more is it abominable to make of him and religion a stalking-horse to get and enjoy the world ? Nor do we find any other than heathens, hypocrites, devils, and witches, that are of this opinion.
Heathens : for when Hamor and Shechem had a mind to the daughters and cattle of Jacob, and saw that there were no ways for them to come at them, but by becoming circuncised; they say to their companions, "If every male of us be circumcised, as they are circumcised, shall not their cattle, and their substance, and every beast of their's be ours ?” Their daughters and their cattle were that which they sought to obtain, and their religion the stalking-horse they made use of to come at them. Read the whole story, Genesis xxxiv. 20–24.
The hypocritical Pharisees were also of this religion : long prayers were the pretence : but to get widows' houses was their intent, and greater damnation was from God their judgment.t
Judas the devil was also of this religion : he was religious for the bag, that he might be possessed of what was therein ; but he was lost, a castaway, and the very son of perdition.
Simon the witch was of this religion too; for he would have had the Holy Ghost, that he might have got money therewith ; and his sentence from Peter's mouth was accordingls.
Neither will it out of my mind, but that that man, that takes up religion for the world, will throw away religion for the world; for so surely as Judas designed the world in be coming religious, so surely did he also sell religion and his Master, for the same.-- Po answer the question therefore affirmatively, as I perceive you have done, and to accept of, as authentic, such answer, is both heathenishi, hypocritical, and devilish; and your reward will be according to your works. Then they stood staring one upon another, but had not wherewith to auswer Christian. Hopesul also approved of the sounduess of Christian's answer; so there was a great silence among them. Mr. By-ends and his company alse Jahn vi. 26, 27.
Acis viii. 18--23.
* Like xy. 46, 47.
138 The Pluin Ease, and the Hill Lucre. staggered and kept behind, that Christian and Hopeful might out-go them. Then said Christian to his fellow, If these men cannot stand before the sentence of men, what will they do with the sentence of God ? And, if they are mute when dealt with by vessels of clay, what will they do when they shall be rebuked by the flames of a devouring fire ? (y)
l'hen Christian and Hopeful outwent them again, and went till they came at a delicate plain, called Ease; where they went with much content: but that plain was but narrow, so they were quickly got over it. Now at the further side of that Plain was a little Hill, called Lucre, and in that HIill a silver mine, which some of them that had formerly gone that
way, because of the rarity of it, had turned aside to see; but going too near the brink of the pit, the ground, being deceitful under them, broke, and they were slain : some also had been maimed there, and could not to their dying day be their own men again. (2),
Then I saw in my dream, that a little off the road, over
(y) God permits Satan :o bait his hook with some worldly advantage, in order to induce men to renounce their profession, expose their hypocrisy, or disgrace the gospel : and they, (poor deluded mortals !) call it ‘an opening of Providence.' The Lord indeed puts the ob ject in their way, if they will break his commandments in order to seize upon it: but he does this in order to prove them, and to shew whether they most love him or their worldly interests ; and it is the devil that tempts them to sieze the advantage by sinful compliances or hypocritical pretences that he may “take them captive at his will.” The arguments here adduced, by an admirable imitation of the pleas often used on such occasions, are only valid on the supposition that religion is a mere external appearance, and has nothing to do with the state of the heart and affections; and in short, that hypocrisy and piety are words precisely of the same meaning.- Upon the whole, the answer of Christian, though some what rough, is so apposite and conclusive, that it is sufficient to fortify every honest and attentive mind against all the arguments, which the whole tribe of time-serving professors of Christianity ever did, or ever can adduce, in support of their ingenious schemes and assiduous efforts to reconcile religion with covetousness and the love of the world, or to render it subservient to their secular interests.
(z) When the church enjoys outward peace and prosperity, (which has hitherto been generally but for a transient season,) they, who profess the gospel, are peculiarly exposed to the temptation of seeking worldly riches and distinctions; and many in such circumstances are more disconcerted and disposed to murmur, if excluded from sharing these idolized prizes, tian Christians in general appear to have been, under the most cruel persecu tions; when these objects were placed at such a distance as to lose most of their attractive influencer-But the Hill Lucre, with the silver mine, is a little out of the Pilgrim's path, even in times of the greatest outward rest and security: and while those, “who will be rich, fall into tein paration and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition ;" others, forgetting that “the love of money is the root of all evil, having coveted after it, have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
The Silver Mine, and Demas.
against the silver mine, stood Demas, gentleman-like, to call to passengers to come and see; who said to Christian and his fellow, Ho! turn aside hither, and I will show you a thing. (a)
(a) We know not in what way the love of this present world influenced Demas to forsake St. Paul : and it is not agreed whether he afterwards repented, or whether he was finally an apostate : yet our author is warranted by the general opinion in thus using his name, and afterwards joining it with those of Gehazi, Judas, and others, who perished by that idolatry. The love of money does not always spring from a desire of covetously hoarding it : but often from a vain affectation of gentility which is emphatically implied by the epithet gentleman-like, bestowed on Demas. The connexions that professors form in a day of ease and prosperity, and the example of the world around them, and even that of numbers who would be thought to love the gospel, seduce them insensibly into a style of living that they cannot afford, in order to avoid the imputation of being sordid and singular. An increasing family insures additional expense ; and children genteelly educated naturally expect to be provided for accordingly. Thus debts are contracted and gradually accumu. late : it is neither so easy nor so reputable to retrench, as it was to launch out : and numerous tempters induce men thus circumstanced to turn aside to the Hill Lucre ; that is, to leave the direct path of probity and piety, that they may obtain supplies to their urgent and clamorous necessities.-Young persons, when they first set out in life, often lay the foundation for innumerable evils, by vainly emulating the expensive style of those in the same line of business, or the same rank in the community, who are enabled to support such expenses, either by extensive dealings or unjustifiable means. Many are the bankruptcies, which originate from this mistaken conduct: and besides this, it is often found, that fair profits are inadequate to uphold the appearance which was at first needlessly assumed ; so that necessity is pleaded for engaging in those branches of trade, or seizing on those emoluments, which the conduct of worldly people screen from total scandal, but which are evidently contrary to the word of God, and the plain rule of exact truth and rectitude; and which render their consciences very uneasy. But who can bear the mortification of owning himself poorer than he was thought to be? Who dare risk the consequences of being suspected to be insolvent ?–In these ensnaring circumstances, professed Christians, if not powerfully influenced by religious principles, will be almost sure to embrace Demas' invitation, along with By-ends, Money-love, and Save-all; and if they be “not drowned in destruction and perdition,” will “fall into temptation and a snare, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows.” It therefore is incumbent on every one, well to consider, that it is as un just to contract debts for superfluous indulgencies, or to obtain credit by false appearance s of affluence, as it is to defraud by any other imposition ; and that this kind of dishonesty makes way for innumerable temptations to more disgraceful species of the same crime : not to speak of its absolute inconsistency with piety and charity.
But none are in this respect so much exposed as ministers and their families, when, hav. ing no private fortune, they are situated among the affluent and genteel : and by yielding to the temptation, they are often incapacitated from paying their debts with punctuality: they are induced to degrade their office by stooping to unsuitable methods of exuricating themselves out of difficulties, from which strict frugality would have prest rved them, and loy laying themselves under obligations to such men as are capable of abusing their purchased superiority: and, above all, they are generally led to place their children in situations and connexions, highly unfavourable to the interests of their souls, in order to procure them a genteel provision. If we form our judgment on this subject from the Holy Seripture, we shall not think of finding the true ministers of Christ among the higher classes in the community, in matters of external appearance or indulgence. That information and learning