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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Riches: Ruined by
Do not be over-anxious about riches. Get as much of true wisdom and goodness as you can; but be satisfied with a very moderate portion of this world's good. Riches may prove a curse as well as a blessing.
I was walking through an orchard, looking about me, when I saw a low tree laden more heavily with fruit than the rest. On a nearer examination, it appeared that the tree had been dragged to the very earth, and broken by the weight of its treasures. 'Oh!' said I, gazing on the tree, 'here lies one who has been ruined by his riches.'
In another part of my walk, I came up with a shepherd, who was lamenting the loss of a sheep that lay mangled and dead at his feet. On enquiry about the matter, he told me that a strange dog had attacked the flock, that the rest of the sheep had got away through a hole in the hedge, but that the ram now dead had more wool on his back than the rest, and the thorns of the hedge held him fast till the dog had worried him. 'Here is another,' said I, 'ruined by his riches.'
At the close of my ramble, I met a man hobbling along on two wooden legs, leaning on two sticks. 'Tell me,' said I, 'my poor fellow, how you came to lose your legs?' 'Why, sir,' said he, 'in my younger days I was a soldier. With a few comrades I attacked a party of the enemy, and overcame them, and we began to load ourselves with spoil. My comrades were satisfied with little, but I burdened myself with as much as I could carry. We were pursued; my companions escaped, but I was overtaken and so cruelly wounded, that I only saved my life afterwards by losing my legs. It was a bad affair, sir; but it is too late to repent of it now.' 'Ah, friend,' thought I, 'like the fruit tree, and the mangled sheep, you may date your downfall to your possessions. It was your riches that ruined you.'
When I see so many rich people, as I do, caring so much for their bodies, and so little for their souls, I pity them from the bottom of my heart, and sometimes think there are as 'many ruined by riches as by poverty. 'They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.' 1 Timothy 6:9. The prayer will suit you, perhaps, as well as it does me, 'Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say; Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.' Proverbs 30:8-9.: Old Humphrey.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Riches: Ruined by'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/r/riches-ruined-by.html. 1870.
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34