“A Growing Sense of Cowstraphobia”
Photo courtesy of Erin Perry
What a vain in fictitious happiness with that be a poor man who had only a small piece of money should, by the looking outfit through a multiplying glass [something like a kaleidoscope] , please himself and believing that he is now secure from the fears of pressing wants, hey single piece being suddenly minted into many pounds, with which she can readily furnish himself with fuel to warm him, clothes to cover him, and food to satisfy him.
But alas, when he puts forth his hand to take a supply from what he beholds, you can feel nothing of what he sees; when the glass is gone that presented him such treasure, he can then see nothing but his first pittance which also becomes the less desirable because of the disappointment of his hopes.
Upon what better foundation does the felicity of the greater part of men stand, which is not fixed upon any true and spiritual good as its proper base, but up on the specious semblances of a corrupt and mutable fancy? What is it that rich men do promised themselves, who conceive riches to be a strong tower? They think they can laugh at famine, and when others like the poor Egyptians, whose substance is exhausted, sell themselves and their children for food, they can buy bread at a better rate. If enemies rise up against them, they question not but they can purchase at peace or victory. If sickness comes, oh how they can please themselves and thinking that their purse can command the physician’s skill and the drugster’s shops. Elixirs, cordials, magisterial powders, they concede before hand will be prescribed both as their diet and physic. And every Avenue of the body at which disease or death may threaten to enter chubby so fortified exit both of them shall receive an easy and quick repulse.
Now what are all these representations but the impostures of the glass of fancy, which like the colors and the rainbow have more of show than of entity.
Does not Solomon counsel men not to labor to be rich? And expostulate with them, Will you set your eyes up on that which is not? Does not our Savior call them deceitful riches? And Paul, uncertain riches? What then can they contribute to the real happiness of any man? Surely the transient sparks that with much difficulty are forced from the Flint, me as soon add light to the sun as riches can yield any solid comfort to the soul, or keep it away from lying down in the bed of darkness and sorrow.
Away from me then you flattering vanities and gilded nothings of the world, get you to the bats and the moles and try what beauteous rays you can dart into their eyes. I will hence no more the hold you in the glass of fancy, but in the glass of the Word which discovers that you were always vanity and vexation, no objects of trust in times of strait, or the price of deliverance in the day of wrath. It is me thinks observable that four times in Scripture the saying is repeated, that riches and treasures profit nothing in the day of wrath (twice in the book of Proverbs, and then again by the two prophets, Ezekiel and Zephaniah). Doubtless these holy men knew
What are universal proneness there is in the minds of most to exalt riches above righteousness, And to think that by them Heaven might be purchased and the flames of hell bribed. How else could such words ever drop from the mouth of any, That they made a covenant with Death and were add an agreement with Hell to pass from them?
Keep me from imagining
To save my soul by merchandize
Or of entitling myself any other way of inheritance of Heaven
Than by the blood of Christ
Who is my Life,
My true confidenc