Wealth attracts many friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
I. GOD'S RIGHTEOUS WAY. The way in which God intended man to walk was that way of wisdom, all of whose paths are peace. This divinely appointed way is that of holy service. Man, like every other being above him, and every other creature below him in the universe, was created to serve. We were created to serve our God and out kind; and in this double service we should find our rest and our heritage. This, which is God's way, should have been our way also.
II. MAN'S PERVERTED WAY. Man, in his sin and his folly, has "perverted his way;" he has attempted another path, a short cut to happiness and success. He has turned out of the high road of holy service into the by-path of selfishness; he has sought his satisfaction and his portion in following his own will, in giving himself up to worldly ambitions, in indulging in unholy pleasure, in living for mere enjoyment, in making himself the master, and his own good the end and aim of his life.
III. HIS CONSEQUENT DISQUIETUDE. When anything is in its wrong place, there is certain to be unrest. If in the mechanism of the human body, or in the machinery of an engine, or in the working of some organization, anything (or anyone) is misplaced, disorder and disquietude invariably ensue. And when man puts his will above or against that of his Divine Creator, that of his heavenly Father, there is a displacement and reversal such as may well bring about disturbance. And it does. It is hardly saying too much to say that all the violence, disease, strife, misery, poverty, death, we see around us arise from this disastrous perversion - from man trying to turn God's way of blessedness into his own way. Man's method has been utterly wrong and mistaken, and the penalty of his folly is heartache, wretchedness, ruin.
IV. HIS VAIN AND GUILTY COMPLAINT. He "fretteth against the Lord." Instead of smiting himself, he complains of God. He falls to see that the source of his unrest is in his own heart; he ascribes it to his circumstances, and he imputes these to his Creator. So, either secretly or openly, he complains of God; he thinks, and perhaps says, that God has dealt hardly with him, has denied to him what he has given to others; in the dark depths of his soul is a guilty rebelliousness.
V. THE ONE WAY OF REST. This is to return unto the Lord in free and full submission.
1. To recognize God's righteous claim upon us, as our Creator, Preserver, Redeemer.
2. To acknowledge to ourselves and to confess to him that we have guiltily withheld ourselves from him, and sinfully complained of his holy will.
3. To ask his mercy in Jesus Christ our Saviour, and offer our hearts to himself and our lives to his service. This is the one way of rest and joy; it is "the path of life." - C.
Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
(G. R. Van de Water.)
Homilist.I. THE TRIALS OF POVERTY.
1. Degradation. "The poor useth entreaties." To beg of a fellow-man is a degradation; it is that from which our manhood revolts. "The poor useth entreaties." They have to mortify the natural independence of their spirit. They are subjected to —
2. Insolent treatment. "The rich answereth roughly."
3. Social desertion. "The poor is separated from his neighbour." Who in this selfish world will make friends with the poor, however superior in intellect or excellent in character? When the wealthy man with his large circle of friends becomes poor the poles of his magnet are reversed, and his old friends feel the repulsion.
II. THE TEMPTATIONS OF WEALTH.
1. Upon the mind of its possessor. It tends to promote haughtiness and insolence. "The rich answereth roughly." The temptation of wealth is revealed —
2. Upon the mind of the wealthy man's circle. "Wealth maketh many friends."
III. THE SELFISHNESS OF SOCIETY. "Every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts."
(H. G. Salter.)
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