Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
This is, generally at least, more safe and eligible than either want or superfluity.
I. EXPLAIN THE TWOFOLD DANGER INTIMATED.
1. To deny sometimes signifies to act as if there was no righteous Governor and Judge of mankind. In the height of prosperity men are apt to be careless and inconsiderate. The vices implied are pride, presumption, arrogance, luxury, and immoderate pursuits of pleasure. Plenty too naturally begets excess. It heightens and inflames sensual passions; and inclines a man towards atheism. Riches minister to ambition, and rich men readily become imperious and tyrannical.
2. The vices to which strait and penurious circumstances expose men are theft and perjury. The causes why the poor so easily give way to temptations of this kind are the want of a good education, lack of training for specific employments. Such persons are often destitute of due regard to their reputations, and so lose one of the surest guards of virtue and integrity. Often the poor are badly influenced by their associates.
II. SUGGEST REFLECTIONS TO PREVENT MISTAKES.
1. Both riches and poverty are capable of being improved to the most useful purposes.
2. As poverty has such disadvantages, we may well commiserate the case of the poor.
3. Take care to moderate the passion for riches and greatness.
Parallel VersesKJV: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: