Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
I. THE MEANING AND IMPORT OF THIS PETITION. A middle state of life cannot be a proper subject for all men's petitions to heaven, for human life requires a distinction of station. In society there must be subordination. This petition cannot propose one fixed standard or measure of fortune as the proper object of every man's desires. It means a competency suited to our respective stations. Riches, poverty, or competence are relative terms, and cannot be accurately fixed, without reference to our condition or situation in the world.
II. THE MORAL DISADVANTAGES WHICH ATTEND THE TWO EXTREMES OF AFFLUENCE AND INDIGENCE.
1. Such as attend affluence. Various vices flourish. Many lose their integrity. Many abandon themselves to the indulgence of irregular passions, merely because they had the means of indulgence in their power. Riches specially tempts to forgetfulness of our Maker. A sense and feeling of want is a constant monitor, ever reminding us of our dependence. This dependence creates in us an unwillingness to offend, and an inclination to serve and please God. Opulence tempts us to be as forgetful of our neighbour as of our God. Of course all do not yield to the temptations of riches. There are many exceptions.
2. Poverty has many disadvantages and dangers. The temptations in a state of indigence are urgent, and too often prevail. It requires a peculiarly right frame and happy disposition of mind to submit with patient fortitude to humiliation, and to reject every gainful temptation that offers to corrupt. If any convenient though fraudful expedient should offer to relieve his necessities, human weakness will be strongly urged to provide a dishonest subsistence at the expense of his integrity. The text reminds us that as we are the creatures of God, we are the dependents also on His providence. He is never inattentive to the wants of His faithful servants. These sentiments will lead us to an uncomplaining submission to His appointments, and an equal resignation in all conditions. Whatever may be our allotment in the world, let us be piously grateful to Heaven for the blessings we enjoy; let us endeavour to deserve those we want; and let it be the chief object of our attention by a wise and virtuous use of the temporary treasures or possessions entrusted to us in this life to secure the eternal possessions of the next.
(G. Carr, B.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: