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Mammon. The parable of Dives and of rank and condition, which are such Lazarus then followed, the tendency prominent features in the teaching of of which is sufficiently manifest
. When our Saviour, might well be expected one wanted to refer a dispute about an to produce a strong effect upon the inheritance to Christ, he refused to minds of his disciples. Accordingly, hare any thing to do with the matter; we find that after his ascension, as soon -desires the man to take heed and as a considerable number were conheware of coretousness; as a inan's verted, they at once commenced the life consisted not in the abundance plan of a Community of Goods. This of the things which he possessed; and shews what was the first impression then relates the parable of the rich on their minds: and the miraculous man who would have pulled down his punishment of Ananias and Sapphira barns and built greater, and whose may lead us to conclude that it was golden dreams of much goods laid sanctioned by Heaven. If it should be up for many years,”+ were awfully objected that this plan of life, not interrupted by the approach of death. having continued in the church, must He also bore his testimony against the have been found on trial to be impracpursuits of traffic in a remarkable ticable, it may be replied, that this manner when "he cast out all them departure affords no better argument that sold and bought in the temple, against the primitive practice, than and overthrew the tables of the money is presented by any other corruption changers," I as having made the house of Christianity against its genuine docof prayer into a den of thieves. And trines; and we shall find on further by the story of the widow's mite, he inquiry, that in fact it has uninterrupteaches that the possession of wealth tedly continued to the present time as is not necessary for the exercise of an apostolic institution in the Christian charity.
Church, and, though much disfigured The concomitants of wealth—pride, and corrupted, yet perhaps not more domination, and the claims of rank, so than the ordinances of Baptism and were equally the subjects of our Lord's the Lord's Supper. reprobation. When there was a strife The general tenor of the apostolic for pre-eminence among his disciples, writings is quite as remarkable upon he says, “ Ye know that they which this subject as that of the gospels. are accounted to rule over the Gentiles There are several passages which seem exercise lordship over them, and their to relate to the community of property great ones exercise authority upon in the church. Paul writes to the Cothem; but ye shall not be so : he that rinthians, “ For I mean not that other is greatest among you, let hiin be as
men be eased and ye burdened: but by the younger, and he that is chief as he an equality,
an equality, that your abundance may that doth serve.” Il-“ He that is least be a supply for their want; that their among you all, the same shall be abundance may also be a supply for
Be ye not called rabbi; your want : that there may be an for one is your Master, even Christ, equality: as it is written, He that had and all ye are brethren." ** To which gathered much had nothing over; and may be added the sentiment conveyed he that had gathered little had no by his washing the feet of his disciples, lack.". With respect to the acquiring and many precepts of similar ten- of property, t he thus writes to Timodeocy. The reprobation of the pursuit of
* 2 Cor. viii. 13-16. riches, and the frequent animadversions + Richard Baxter says, “ There are on the evil consequences of inequality few texts of Scripture more abused than
that of the apostle, “ He that provideth
not for his own, and specially those of his • Dives is exactly what is called in the family, hath denied the faith, and is worse phrase of the mammonarchical faction, than an infidel. This is made a pretence a respectable person."
for gathering up portions, and providing + Lake xii. 19. Matt. xxi. 12. a full estate for posterity, when the apos
$ Every one that is proud in heart is tle speaketh only against them that did an abomination unto the Lord. Prov. cast their poor kindred and family on the xvi. 5.
church, to be maintained out of the com|| Mark x. 42–44. Luke ix, 48. mon stock, when they were able to do it * Matt. xxiii. 8.
themselves.” “His following words shew VOL. XVI.
thy: “They thurt will be rich fall into your garments are moth-eaten. Your temptation and a snare, and into inany gold and silver is cankered, and the foolish and hurtful lusts which drown rust of them shall be a witness against men in destruction and perdition. For you, and shall eat your filesh as it were the love of money is the root of all fire. Ye have heaped treasure togeEVIL; which, while some coveted after, ther for the last days. Behold, the they have erred froin the faith, and hire of the labourers who have reaped pierced themselves throngh with many down your fields, which is of you kept sorrows.”* And the Epistle of James, back by fraud, crieth : ye have lived in the brother of our Lori, contains some pleasure on the earth, and been wanstrong declarations of his sentiments ton; ye have nourished your hearts as respei'ting wealth and rank: “Let the in a day of slaughter; ye have conbrother of low degree rejoice in that demned and killed the just, and he doth he is exalted ; but the rich in that he not resist you." is made low.” + Again, “ My bre Such were the notions with respect thren, have not the faith of our Lord to riches in the Christian Church at its with respect of persons ; for if there first commencement. The acquisition come into your assembly a man with and possession of property, which it is a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there now the practice to speak of as alone come in also a poor man in vile rai- entitling a man to consideration or to ment, and ye have respect to him that the enjoyment of political rights, was weareth the gay clothing, and say unto then considered as almost a disqualifihim, Sit thon here in a good place, cation for the kingdom of righteousness and say to the poor, Stand thou there, and peace. or sit here under my footstool ; are ye The apostolic institution of a Comnot then partial in yourselves, and are munity of Goods appears to be related become judges of evil thoughts ? Hath in a manner so distinct and marked not God chosen the poor of this world that it seems almost impossible to rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom avoid the conclusion, that it was either which he hath promised ?-But ye have itself a divine suggestion, or at least despised the poor. Do not rich men considered by the apostles and the first oppress you, and draw you before the converts as a necessary consequence of judgment seats ? ' Do not they blas- the doctrines that had been revealed to pheme that worthy name by the which them. Immediately after the account ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon law according to the scripture, Thou the apostles, and the conversion of the shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye 3000 on the day of Pentecost, we read do well; but if ye have respect to per- that “they continued stedfastly in the sons, ye commit sin.” | And in ano- apostles' doctrine and fellowship :-and ther chapter he utters these severe many wonders and signs were done by denunciations against the rich : " Go the apostles. And all that believed to now, ye rich men, weep and howl were together, and had all things for your miseries that shall come upon common, and sold their possessions and you. Your riches are corrupted, and goods, and parted them to all men as
every man had need." + Again, in the
4th chapter, an allusion to this rejecthat it is present provision, and not tion of the system of private property future portions, that the apostle speake in the infant church, forms a part of eth of," &c. : “ You are bound to do the one of the most important passages of best you can to educate your children, its history: “And when they had &c., but not to leave them rich.”—Gildas prayed, the place was shaken where Salvianus, p. 238.
they were assembled together : and + 1 Tin. vi. 9, 10. + James i, 9, 10. Ibid, ii. 1-9.
they were all filled with the Holy ၌ root of all disquietnesse ;
Ghost, and they spake the word of First got with guile, and then pre
serv'd with dread, And after spent with pride and Strise and debate, bloodshed and bit
lavishnesse, Learing behind then griefe and hea Outrageous wrong and hellish coretize. vivesse :
Faerie Queene, B. ii. Ch. 7. Infinite mischiefcs of them do arize; & James v. 1-6. + Acts ii. 42-45.
God with boldness. And the multi- the passage, “minister to the tables tude of them that believed were of one of the poor,” but the words in italic heart and of one soul, neither said any are also interpolated without authority, of them that ought of the things which and, like the others, are inconsistent he possessed was his own, bue they with the narrative, and calculated to had all things common. And with mislead, by preventing the reader from great power gave the apostles witness perceiving in this passage an important of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus ; incident in the history of the apostolic and great grace was upon them all. community of goods, of which the Neither was there any among them office of deacon,* however it is now that lacked; for as many as were pos- changed from its original design, stands sessors of lands or houses sold them, as a memorial. and brought the prices of the things In contending that the subsequent that were sold, and laid them down at relapse of the professors of Christianity the apostles' feet; and distribution was into the system of Private Property made unto every man according as he ought not to afford any presumption had need.". Though, therefore, it be of mistake with regard to this subject now the practice altogether to pass on the part of its first teachers, I do orer in silence this part of the Chris- not at all mean to admit that this tian institute, without condescending apostolic institution of a community eren to comment upon it, or to attempt of goods and the renunciation of riches, explaining it away, or only to make it were early or suddenly lost sight of in the subject of a jest, the authority for the church; the history of its continuit seems to be as clear as that of any ance and gradual perversion and decay, of those institutions, or supposed insti- is probably to be traced in the history tations, of Christianity which are the of those Religious Orders and commusubject of so much discussion.
nities whose members alone were conThe account given in the 6th chapter sidered as living in complete conformity of the Acts of the first appointment of with Christian principles, and which Deacons, plainly shews us that the plan were established upon the plan of of a Community of Goods had been having all things in common. + continued in the Church of Jerusalem for seven years, according to the chronology of some interpreters,) and
St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Rowas then matured and confirmed by the mans, (xii. 7,) probably refers to the election of Stephen and six others, by duties of deacons in the management of the general body, at the instance of the the coinmon property of churches : eite twelve apostles, for the express purpose daxovlav, ev trñ a kovia: also ver. 8, of having the care of the cominon και μεταδιδους εν απλότητι.-See Taylor stock. This was recommended be- and Schleusner. canse some complained, (ver. 1,) that + In the middle of the fourth century they “ were overlooked in the daily St. Anthony permitted a numerous body ministration;" “ of alms," adds the of men to live in a community with him, Improved Version, but surely without and lead under his direction a life of any sanction of the original or of the piety and manual labour.-Butler's Mecontext. The ministration was not of Anthony had given up a large estate on
moirs respecting the English Catholics. alms, but of the common goods, as
his conversion, in obedience to the precept Tyndall justly remarks in his note on
of Christ, “ Go, sell that thou hast, and the passage, that is, not indifferently give to the poor.” loked upon in the dayly distrybutyng St. Jerome (On the Christian Ecclesiof the commune goodes." "Then the astical Writers, verb. Philo) says of Philo, twelve called the multitude of the dis “ He hath praised the Christians, reportciples together and said, It is not meeting them to be not only there (in Alexthat we should leave the word of God andria) but in many countries, and and serve at the tables : wherefore,
ling their dwelling-places monasteries, brethren, look ye out among you seven Whereby it is apparent that the church men which we may appoint to this of believers in Christ at the first was Deedful business.” Newcoine renders such as monks endeavour to be now,
that nothing in property is any man's oun, none is rich among them, pone poor,
their patrimony is distributed to the Acts iv. 31-35.
One error into which some of the being highly commended by Philo, early Christians fell, was the supposing whom he considers as a Jew, and as that, in order to comply with the all that could be learnt respecting renunciation of riches, which their them savoured of Judaism, and was religion required, it was necessary to opposed to Christianity (meaning, no renounce the enjoyments and conveni- doubt, Catholic or orthodox Christiences of social life, which it was no anity); but at the same time maindoubt the design of the apostolic ordi- tained, that if they were Christians, nance not to withhold, but to diffuse they must be allowed to have been among all. Instead of “being toge monks, living according to a rule of ther and having all things common," their own, much more ancient than these ascetics lived alone and hud no- any now known. The truth, however, thing.. The prevalence of persecu- probably escaped both these disputants, tion may, however, have concurred who, in the unadulterated doctrine and with this misapprehension in causing practice of these early believers, could the adoption of the eremitical life. not recognize either primitive CænoBut it is in the history of conren- bitism or genuine Christianity. tual or conobitie life that we must
A question much connected with seek for the relics of the Christian this inquiry, viz. whether Philo was system with regard to possessions. not himself a Christian, has lately, The author of the Histoire des Ordres upon other grounds, occupied the Monastiques, inforing us, that many learned pen of Dr. John Jones, who of the fathers and popes, two of the quotes from the works of that writer councils and a great number of writers the following accounts of the Essenes : have agreed in referring monastic insti “ These are called Esseans, a name tutions + to the apostles, and to the though not in my opinion formed by above-mentioned primitive practice of strict analogy) corresponding in Greek the Church of Jerusalem.
to the term holy. For they have attained The history of the Essenes may throw the highest holiness in the worship of considerable light upon our subject. God; and that not by sacrificing animals, In the learned work just mentioned but by, cultivating purity of heart: they some account of an interesting
live principally in villages, and avoid the controversy which took place at the towns; being sensible that as disease is beginning of the last century relative impression is produced in the soul by the
generated by corruption, so an indelible to this sect, in which the illustrious contagion of society. Some of these men Benedictine Dom Bernard de Mont- cultivate the ground; others pursne the faucon, in some observations appended arts of peace, and such employments as to his translation of Philo De Vita are beneficial to themselves without inContemplativâ, maintained, in accord- jury to their neighbours : they seek neiance with Eusebius and Jerome and ther to hoard silver nor gold, nor to the greater number of Catholic writers, inherit ample estates in order to gratify that the Essenes were Christians, but prodigality and avarice, but are content dissented from the opinion that to
with the mere necessaries of life: they them the origin of monastic institu- of money and possessions, and that
are the only people who, though destitute tions was to be attributed, as they had wives, and did not observe the rules of of fortune,-felicitate themselves as rich;
more from choice than the untowardness any order. His anonymous opponent deeming riches to consist not in amplidenied that they were Christians, as tude of possession, but, as is really the
case, in frugality and contentment.
manufactures darts, arrows, swords, * Jesus Christ was no ascetic, and was corselets, shields, or any other weapon reproached on that account by the Phari. used in war; nor even such instruments
as are easily perverted to evil purposes t“ Cassien aiant prétendu que les Cæ- in times of peace. They decline trade, nobites sont plus ancien que les Anacho- commerce, and navigation altogether, as rètes, qu'ils ont commencé avant St. Paul incentives to coretousness and usury; Ermite et St. Antoine ; et mesme qu'ils nor have they any slaves among them, ont toujours esté dans l'Eglise depuis les but all are free, and all in their turn Apostres, M. de Tillemont veut qu'il administer to others. They condemn justifie cette prétention." Tom. I. Diss. the owners of slaves as tyrants, who vioPrélim. p. 19.
late the principles of justice and equality,
and impiously transgress the dictates of Does not this account lead us to nature, which like a common parent has suppose that the Essenes preserved in begotten and educated all men alike, and its purity the mode of life instituted made them brethren not in name only by the apostles? Many learned Probut in sincerity and truth: but avarice testant writers, with the illustrious conspiring against nature burst her
bonds, exception, however, of Vossius and having produced alienation for affinity, and hatred in the room of friendship.
some others, have denied the Essenes They evince their attachment to vir- to be Christians, being loth to ascribe the, by their freedom from avarice, from so high an antiquity to monastic instiambition, from sensual pleasure ; by tutions. Perhaps the truth is, that their temperance and patience, by their these institutions are but relics of the frugality, simplicity, and contentment; by Cænobitic institute, which was indeed their humility, their regard to the laws, founded by the apostles, but grossly and other similar virtues. Their love to perverted by the prevalence of ascetiman is evinced by their benignity, their cism, celibacy, * and superstition, but equity, and their liberality; of which it especially by its restriction to a priviis not improper to give a short account, leged order, instead of being adopted though no language can adequately describe it.
by all Christians, and by the ample “ In the first place, there exists endowments which the religious orders among them no house, however private, received after the church began its which is not open to the reception of alí adulterous connexion with the state, the rest; and not only the members of in consequence of which they becamet the same society assemble under the same the greatest monopolizers of landed domestic roof, but even strangers of the property, living an indolent life upon same persuasion have free admission to the fruits of other men's labour. I join them. There is but one treasure, That this, however, was never conschence all derive subsistence; and not templated by the founders of what only their provision but their clothes are common property. Such mode of living
are called the religious orders, but under the same roof, and of dieting at that it was intended the monks should the same table, cannot, in fact, be proved live upon a plan of joint labour and to have been adopted by any other de- common property, we may learn from scription of men. And no wonder; since many of their Rules. $ The Rule of even the daily labourer keeps not for his own use the produce of his toil, but imparts it to the common stock, and thus • Forbidding marriage is one of the furuishes each member with a right to corruptions of the apostate church exuse for himself the profits earned by pressly predicted by Paul. others.
+ Ridley, Civil Law, 261. « The sick are not despised or nego
This deviation from the original delected because they are no longer capac sign of their foundation drew upon them ble of useful labour ; but they live in the severe reprehension of the Friars, who, case and affiluence, receiving from the however, in the mode which they adopted treasury whatever their disorder or their of complying with the requirement of exigencies require. The aged, too, among voluntary poverty, fell into an error of a them are loved, revered, and attended different kind, by confounding it with as parents by affectionate children; and a mendicant Hfe. Parker, Holden, &c. a thousand heads and hearts prop their Carmelite and Black Friars, and Milvertottering years with comforts of every ton, provincial of the Carmelites, were kind. Such are the champions of virtue imprisoned in the 15th century for preachwhich philosophy, without the parade of ing against the pride of prelates and the Grecian oratory, produces, proposing, as riches of the clergy. To the last, the the end of their institutions, the perform- friars had no other real estates in Enance of those laudable actions which gland than the sites of their convents. destroy slavery and render freedom in f Passages extracted from the Rule of vincible."
neque aliquid habere proprium.
-Omniaque omnibus sint communia, ut A Series of Important Facts demon- scriptum est, nec quisquam suum esse strating the Truth of the Christian Reli- aliquid dicat, aut præsumat. Quod si gion, by J. Jones, LL.D. 1820, pp. 40_ quisquam hoc nequissimo vitio depre 43.
hensus fuerit,” &c. -Regula Sancti Bene