Our earthly house must fall to ruin; our heavenly house is eternal. Let us move our goods beforehand, whither we are ourselves getting ready to come. We have just heard a certain rich man seeking counsel from the "Good Master" as to the means of obtaining eternal life. Great was the thing he loved, and of little value was that he was unwilling to renounce. And so in perverseness of heart, on hearing Him whom he had but now called "Good Master," through the overpowering love of what was valueless, he lost the possession of what was of great price.
If he had not wished to obtain eternal life, he would not have asked counsel how to obtain eternal life. How is it then, Brethren, that he rejected the words of Him whom he had called "Good Master," drawn out for him as they were from the doctrine of the faith?
Before He taught, He was called "Good. What if He had told him, "Lose what thou hast "? See what follows; "And thou shall have treasure in heaven. He who gave them on earth, will Himself keep them in heaven. Perhaps he would not have hesitated to commit what he had to Christ, and was only sad because it was told him, "Give to the poor;" as though he would say in his heart, "Hadst Thou said, Give it to Me, I will keep it in heaven for thee; I would not hesitate to give it to my Lord, the 'Good Master;' but now thou hast said, 'Give to the poor.
Let no one fear to lay out upon the poor, let no one think that he is the receiver whose hand he sees. He receives it Who bade thee give it.
And this I say not out of mine own l heart, or by any human conjecture; hear Him Himself, who at once exhorteth thee, and giveth thee a title of security. Thou givest to one who will make away with it, He receiveth it Who will restore it.
Nor will He restore only what He receiveth; He is pleased to borrow upon interest, He promiseth more than thou hast given. Give the rein now to thy avarice, imagine thyself an usurer. If thou wert an usurer indeed, thou wouldest be rebuked by the Church, confuted by the word of God, all thy brethren would execrate thee, as a cruel usurer, desiring to wring gain from other's tears.
But now be an usurer, no one will hinder thee. Thou art willing to lend to a poor man, who whenever he may repay thee will do it with grief; but lend now to a debtor who is well able to pay, and who even exhorteth thee to receive what he promiseth. Give to God, and press God for payment. On earth indeed thou hadst to seek thy debtor; and he sought too, but only to find where he might hide himself from thy face. Thou hadst gone to the judge, and said, "Bid that my debtor be summoned;" and he on hearing this gets away, and cares not even to wish thee well, 4 though to him perhaps in his need thou hadst given wealth by thy loan.
Thou hast one then on whom thou mayest well lay out thy money. Give to Christ; He will of His own accord press thee to receive, whilst thou wilt even wonder that He hath received ought of thee.
William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Act IV, Scene II
The debtor presses to pay, 6 and the creditors make excuses. But the trusty debtor will not let them suffer loss thereby. I have received, and are ye ignorant of it? What was given to them came to Me; be secure, ye have not lost it. Ye looked to those who were little able to pay on earth; ye have One who is well able to pay in heaven. I," He saith, "have received, I will repay.
And what have I received, and what do I repay? I received earth, I will give heaven; I received temporal things, I will restore eternal; I received bread, I will give life. The bread which ye gave to My poor is consumed; the Bread which I will give both recruiteth 1 the failing and doth not fail. When He shall give Bread, He will give Himself. For what didst thou intend when thou didst lend on usury? To give money, and to receive money; but to give a smaller sum, and to receive a larger. For if thou weft to give a pound of silver, and to receive a pound of gold, with how great joy wouldest thou be possessed?
Examine and question avarice. Much more then, what proportion is there between earth and heaven! And thy silver and gold thou wert to leave here below; whereas thou wilt not abide thyself for ever here. Evil altogether is her counsel, who hinders you from doing good. Ye are willing to serve an evil mistress, not owning a Good Lord.
And sometimes two mistresses occupy the heart, and tear the slave asunder who deserves to be in slavery to such a double yoke. Yes, sometimes two opposing mistresses have possession of a man, avarice and luxuriousness. Avarice says, "Keep;" luxuriousness, says, "Spend. They have both their mode of address. And when thou dost begin to be unwilling to obey them, and to take a step towards thy liberty; because they have no power to command, they use caresses. And their caresses are more to be n guarded against than their commands. What t, says avarice? If thou shouldest be in want, no one will give to thee.
Live not for the time present only; consult for the future. Live whilst thou mayest. Do good to thine own soul. Die thou must, and thou knowest not when; thou knowest not to whom thou shalt leave what thou hast, or who shall possess it. Thou art taking the bread out of thine own mouth, and perhaps after thy death thine heir will not so ranch as place a cup of wine upon thy tomb; or if so be he place a cup, he will drink himself drunk with it, not a drop 2 will come down to thee. Do well therefore to thine own soul, when and whilst thou canst.
But O free man, called unto liberty, be weary, be weary of thy servitude to such mistresses as these. Acknowledge thy Redeemer.
Subscribe to RSS
Serve Him, He enjoineth easier things, He enjoineth not things contrary one to another. I am bold further to say; avarice and luxuriousness did enjoin upon thee contrary things, so that thou couldest not obey them both; and one said, "Keep for thyself, and consult for the future;" the other said, "Spend freely, do well to thine own soul.
If thou wilt not, His house hath no need of an unwilling servant.
Consider thy Redeemer, consider thy Ransom. He came to redeem thee, He shed His Blood. Dear He held thee whom He purchased at so dear a price. Thou dost acknowledge Him who bought thee, consider from what He redeemeth thee. I say nothing of the other sins which lord it proudly over thee; for thou wast serving innumerable masters. I speak only of these two, luxuriousness and avarice, giving thee contrary injunctions, hurrying thee into different things.
Deliver thyself from them, come to thy God. If thou wast the servant of iniquity, be now the servant of righteousness. The words which they spake to thee, and the contrary injunctions they gave thee, the very same thou hearest now from thy Lord, yet are His injunctions not contrary.
He doth not take away their words, but he taketh away their power. What did avarice say to thee? Now, if thou wilt, compare the counsellors. The one is avarice, the other righteousness. Examine these contrary injunctions. Suppose thou art willing to obey her, ask her where thou art to keep? Some well-defended place she will show thee, walled chamber, or iron chest. Well, use all precautions; yet peradventure some thief in the house will burst open the secret places; and whilst thou art taking precautions for thy money, thou wilt be in fear of thy life.
It may be whilst thou art keeping up thy store, he whose mind is set to plunder them, has it even in his thoughts to kill thee.
Lastly, even though by various precautions thou shouldest defend thy treasure and thy clothes against thieves; defend them still against the rust and moth. What canst thou do then? Here is no enemy without to take away thy goods, but one within consuming them. No good counsel then has avarice given. See she has enjoined thee to keep, yet has not found a place where thou mayest keep. Let her give also her next advice, "Consult for the future.