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The Danger of Riches.

The Danger of Riches.

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Published by glennpease
BY JOSEPH PARKER

LUKE 18:24

''How hardly shall they that have riches eater into the kingdom of God."
BY JOSEPH PARKER

LUKE 18:24

''How hardly shall they that have riches eater into the kingdom of God."

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Published by: glennpease on May 20, 2013
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THE DAGER OF RICHES.BY JOSEPH PARKER LUKE 18:24''How hardly shall they that have riches eater into the kingdom of God."IS it easy then for poor people to enter into the kingdom of God ? Jesus Christ does not say so. It is always difficult toenter into the kingdom of heaven. It is not entered by wealth,nor is it entered by poverty ; for wealth and poverty are incidentaland external circumstances. Let us fix our attention upon thefact that this was probably the first rich applicant at the door of the kingdom of Christ There have been many since ; familiaritymay have made some processes in their external relations easyenough : but this young man was in all probability the first richapplicant Did he think he would add something to what healready had? Was the kingdom of God, or, as he termed it,eternal life, a kind of annexe to the property which he alreadyhad? and did he suppose that he might on the whole as wellhave eternal life as not ? it would cost nothing, it would entail noheavy responsibility ; it might invest the young man himself withthe dignity of novel thought and speculative enterprise, and givea kind of sparkling accent to his general situation. We cannotenter into the reasoning of the young man's mind ; we should befoolish to condemn the young man : Jesus Christ loved him, wasstruck either by his personal beauty, or by his modesty, or bysomething bewitching in his geniality; he looked upon him asthe young man had never been looked upon before, and lovedhim. If he could have saved him he would ; if he could havemade the gate of the kingdom a little wider he would : but thekingdom has its laws. Jesus Christ represented those laws,obeyed them, and insisted upon them, and therefore the comeliestyoung man of to-day would not be allowed to take in with himall his burden.363364 THE PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Luke xviii. 24,
 
It was a critical moment for Jesus Christ himself. He had toset precedents in his own Church, he had to create examples bywhich all succeeding Christian ages and Christian institutionsshould regulate their policy. Was it no temptation to the Lord ?Was it no temptation to attach a millionaire to the cause thatelicited social contempt? Might not one rich man act as a decoyand bring a thousand other rich men, and so might not a fashionbe created ? There can be no fashion in crucifixion. Calvarycan never be popular. The Cross can never be a custom of theday. That is the spirit of Christianity, these are the conditionsupon which alone eternal life can be realised ; we do not enterby money, by wit, by genius, learning, pedigree, or aught that isincidental and external : only by way of the Cross do men passinto the kingdom. The disciples were troubled; they thoughtthat an opportunity had been lost ; they started the propositionthat if this were to be the policy of the Master, salvation wassimply impossible. How could the kingdom get on without suchpeople as this young man ? " Who, then, can be saved ?"But Jesus Christ explained the whole occasion by saying," them that trust in riches." There is no harm in riches them-selves, they may be instruments of the greatest possible good,in right hands they are well administered, and the world is betterfor a Christian administration of wealth. The Lord is notabusing riches or condemning riches ; he is pointing out that menmay trust in riches, men may idolise their own wealth, their ownpossessions, and may be unwilling to take the step between thematerial and the spiritual. He did not say it was impossible, hesaid it was '' hard." There was a touch of agony in the process ;there was a conscious wrench in making the change — ^Ye must beborn again — and admission into the greater kingdoms, all morningand all summer as they are, must be an admission through thegate of pain. Jesus Christ oflen calls us to do the impossiblethat he may stimulate us to do the difficult. Christianity is thegreat impossibility of the world. In all its higher ranges it isnot within our reach; but its loftiness is an encouragementto those who otherwise would succumb to difficulty, and yieldthe field to the enemy. Jesus Christ calls us to climb the cloudsin the air that he may tempt us a little way up the solid hillLuke xviii 24.] THE DAGER OF RICHES. 365Christianity will never be easy ; it can never be thrown in withsomething else ; it is not a supplement, it is the integral anddominating quantity. There are those who wear their Chris-
 
tianity as they wear their garments newly bought and muchvalued for the moment : but Christianity is not to be worn, it isa robe of the hearty it is the clothing of the soul. Hence JesusChrist calls us to do things that mortal man cannot do, in orderthat we may be stirred to nobler aspiration and purpose. oman, being smitten on the one cheek, can turn the other also ;yet we could not do without that impossibility in the divinevocation. It makes our best endeavours look poor ; it humblesour virtue into prayer The spirit, not the letter, reaches thediscipline of Christ in the soul.or must we think of riches as referring to mere money.There are riches of many kinds — centres of pride, centres of vanity, centres of self-trust and idolatry, and the whole fabricmust be shaken to its base, and torn up by its foundations beforeChrist can begin to build. There are those who are proud of things they have no concern in. You remember the titled lady,whose name we have ungratefully forgotten, who called upon adistinguished artist, and on being shown into a drawing-room wasperfectly wonderstruck. When the painter appeared the ladysaid, "I am seeking Thrift, the painter." "Well," said thegentleman, " that is my name." And looking round at the beautyof the place, she said, " Is this your house ? " " Yes," he said.She thought a painter lived in a garret, and had a portmanteau fora wardrobe and a three-cornered cupboard for a larder. Apainter with all these nick-nacks and curios and little touches of refinement about him — what right had a painter to such environ-ment ? — as if a painter were not a greater man than a kingthat sits upon a throne he never worked for and never deserved !People are very fond of talking about the aristocracy of the body :they never know that there is a spiritual aristocracy, that manya man who has no money and no title and no pedigree that canbe written down in plain ink, is related to Aristotle, and traceshis progeny beyond the Plantagenets even to the great thinkersthat have ruled the world by the energy and splendour of theirgenius. All this rubbish must be cleared out of the way366 THE PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Lukexviii. u-before spirit can rule, and genius be invested with its divinestinfluence.otice the deceitfulness of all kinds of riches. Riches maycorrupt the very simplest of you — take care ! How many menhave we seen go to the gallows and hang themselves just through

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