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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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An Exhortation to the Rich

George Whitefield, in this excerpt, speaks to the socially prominent and wealthy:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

Permit me only to add a word or two to the rich, and to persons that are freed from the business of this life.

But here I must pause a while, for I am sensible that it is but an ungrateful, and as some may imagine, an assuming thing, for such a novice in religion to take upon him to instruct men in high stations, and who perhaps would disdain to set me with the dogs of their flock.

But however, since St. Paul, who knew what best became a young preacher, commanded Timothy, young as he was, to exhort and charge the rich with all authority; I hope none here that are so, will be offended, if with humility I beg leave to remind them, though they once knew this, that if persons in the most busy employs are indispensably obliged to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” much more ought they to do so, who are free from the toils and encumbrance of a lower way of life, and consequently have greater opportunities to leisure to prepare themselves for a future state.

But is this really the case? Or do we not find, by fatal experience, that too many of those whom God has exalted above their brethren, who are “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day,” by a sad abuse of God’s great bounty towards them, think that their stations set them above religion, and so let the poor, who live by the sweat of their brows, attend more constantly on the means of grace than do they?

But woe unto such rich men! For they have received their consolation. Happy had it been if they had never been born: for if the careless irreligious tradesman cannot be saved, where will luxurious and wicked gentlemen appear?

Let me therefore, by way of conclusion, exhort all persons, high and low, rich and poor, one with another, to make the renewal of their fallen nature, the one business of their lives; and to let no worldly profit, no worldly pleasure, divert them from the thoughts of it. Let this cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh,” be ever sounding in our ears; and let us live as creatures that are every moment liable to be hurried away by death to judgment: let us remember, that this life is a state of infinite importance, a point between two eternities, and that after these few days are ended, there will remain no more sacrifice for sin; let us be often asking ourselves, how we shall wish we had lived when we leave the world? And then we shall always live in such a state, as we shall never fear to die in. Whether we live, we shall live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we shall die unto the Lord; so that living or dying we may be the Lord’s. (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

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