1 Timothy 6:9-11
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts…
The passion exists under various modifications. In some few of its subjects, it appears to be pure, unmixed, exclusive; terminates and is concentrated upon just the money itself — (that is, the property) the delight of being the owner of so much. "It is mine! so much I" But, in much the greater number of instances, the passion involves a regard to some relative objects. In some it is combined with vanity; a stimulating desire of the reputation of being rich; to be talked of, admired, envied. In some it has very much a reference to that authority, weight, prevailing influence, in society, which property confers; here it is ambition rather than avarice. In some the passion has its incitement in an exorbitant calculation for competence. So much, and so much, they shall want; so much more they may want, for themselves or their descendants. So much more they should like to secure as a provision against contingencies. Some are avaricious from a direct dread of poverty. Amidst their thousands, they are haunted by the idea of coming to want. And this idea of danger, from being undefined, can always hover about a man, and force its way into his thoughts. So described, this spirit, possessing and actuating such a number of our fellow mortals, bears an ill and a very foolish aspect. Let us now specify a few of its evil effects, with a note of admonition on each of them. One obvious effect is — that it tends to arrogate, and narrow, and impel the whole action and passion of the soul toward one exclusive object, and that an ignoble one. Almost every thought that starts is to go that way. Silver and gold have a magnetic power over his whole being. The natural magnet selects its subject of attraction, and will draw only that; but this magnetism draws all that is in the little world of the man's being. Or it is an effect like that of a strong, steady wind; every thing that is stirred and moveable, that rolls on the ground, or floats on water or air, is driven in that one direction. If it were a noble principle — if it Were religion, that exerted over him this monopolizing and all-impelling power, what a glorious condition! The brief admonition upon this is, that if a man feel this to be mainly the state of his mind, it is a proof and warning to him that he is wrong. Observe, again, that this passion, when thus predominant, throws a mean character into the estimate of all things, as they are all estimated according to the standard of money-value, and in reference to gain. Thus another value which they may have, and, perhaps, the chief one, is overlooked, unseen, and lost. Again, this passion places a man in a very selfish relation to other men around him. He looks at them very much with the eyes of a slave-merchant. He cannot sell them, but the constant question is, "What, and how, can I gain by them? When this principle has the full ascendency, it creates a settled hardness of character. The man lives, as to the kinder affections, in the region of perpetual ice. He is little accessible to the touches and emotions of sympathy; cannot give himself out in any generous expansion of the affections. And here observe, again, that the disposition in question operates, with a slow but continual effect, to pervert the judgment and conscience. It is constantly pressing the line that divides right from wrong; it removes it, bends it away, by slight degrees. The distinction becomes less positive to the judgment. Self-interested casuistry is put in operation. But it comes nearer to the object of Christian admonition to observe the operation of this evil principle in ways not incompatible with what may be called integrity. It withholds from all the generous and beneficent exertions and co-operations, in which pecuniary liberality is indispensable; and excites against them a spirit of criticism, exception, cavil, and detraction. "They are sanguine, extravagant." "This is not the time." "They are unnecessary, impracticable." "There are many evil consequences." It causes to forego opportunities for gaining a beneficial influence over men's minds. It puts an equivocal and inconsistent character on Providence. "As to my own interests, Providence is not at all to be trusted — I must take the whole care on myself." We only add, it fatally counteracts and blasts internal piety, in all its vital sentiments.
Parallel VersesKJV: But 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.