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of one who will mark what you do amiss, but also under the care and protection of one who will encourage and help you in all that is good and that you may say with David, "He truly is my strength and my salvation : he is my defence, so that I shall not fall." This reflection will give you courage in danger, support in difficulties, and comfort in affliction; a support and a comfort which none can know who do not set God before their eyes. For how can they presume to call upon God in time of trouble, who have not made him their friend while things went well with them; but who have, on the contrary, made to themselves gods of this world, and have neglected him who alone is mighty to save?
May the Almighty grant that none of you who now hear these words may be like these worshippers of the world's idols; may all of you early learn to make God your friend; may you never transgress either the letter or the spirit of this first and great commandment of God, "Thou shalt have none other gods but me!"
Envyings and such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."-Gal. v. 21.
ENVY is, of all evil passions, the one that is the soonest ready to show itself. Even before children can speak, they will often betray the existence of this baleful feeling in their young hearts, by expressing resentment if other children are preferred to them. I have seen inconsiderate persons smile at these exhibitions of infant wrath; but to me they have always appeared to be more a cause for tears than for smiles. They indicate but too clearly that the seeds of envy are already sown in the uncultivated soil; and these seeds, if not eradicated, will certainly bring forth the bitter fruits both of misery and of wickedFor who can be happy who is consumed by envy? And who can be good,
whose soul is burning with anger because another possesses more than himself of any of the gifts of nature or fortune?
Envy, moreover, not only makes every one who indulges it miserable, but is also the frequent parent of crime. You may feel surprised, my dear children, to hear me speak on this subject so very strongly. You may some of you think it only natural, or you may think it unavoidable, that you should be unwilling to see any other person possess more than yourselves of any of those things which you would like to have. But you will not think this a small fault if you reflect, both how selfish it is in its very beginning, and also that from this beginning proceed many of those bad and violent passions which often lead to the most dreadful crimes. St. Paul says that "from envy cometh strife, railing, evil surmising." You will not think envy a slight fault if you look into your Bibles, and see that it was the origin of the first murder which stained the newly-created earth with human blood. You will there read that it was the envy of Cain, because
"the Lord had respect unto his brother and to his offering," which first caused him to hate his brother and afterwards to destroy him. The history of later ages presents many like examples. You cannot therefore think it a small thing to harbour in your hearts a passion, that can lead, and that has often led, to such horrible consequences.
I will now proceed to point out to you the best methods by which you may hope to save yourselves from contracting this shocking vice of envy, or by which you may hope to cure it, if contracted.
As it is pride and self-love then that nourish envy, so it is contentedness and humility which afford the remedy for this passion of the mind, and the preservation from it. It is a vile self-love which makes us think that we never can have as much as we deserve. But humility shows us how little we can ever really deserve even of those good things which our bountiful Creator has already given to us. And contentedness will teach us to be thankful for our own condition, and not covetous either of the luxuries or of the distinctions
enjoyed by others. To be contented is the way both to be happy in this life, and also to obtain the favour of God hereafter. Infuse these truths into your minds, and you will not then be either so foolish or so wicked as to allow the feeling of envy to grow up in your hearts, to make you irritable, malicious, and discontented, instead of being happy and cheerful, and enjoying the blessings of your own condition, be it what it may.
But another reason against the sin of envy is also to be found in our ignorance. If we had the knowledge to see all things, and to understand all things that are in the world, and wisdom to discern for ourselves clearly our best way in it, we should then know what things are worth desiring, and who are the persons whom, if envy could ever be allowable, we might have reason to envy. But we should then see that most of the things which we now desire most ardently would prove of no real benefit to us, and that could we change conditions with any whose condition we now most prefer to our own, we should find that instead of increasing our