Riches and honor are with me; yes, durable riches and righteousness.
Whatever is true and substantial happiness even in this life has a necessary dependence upon morality and religion. Wealth and riches are but heavy encumbrances and unprofitable lumber if they are not made use of to reward the good, to excite the diligent, and to relieve the oppressed. But that religion should be the path that leads to wealth and substance, and that to be good is the way to become rich, seems to be a paradox contrary to the sentiments of mankind. Piety may indeed comfort us in our wants, and support us in our affictions; but that it should be the best factor to gain them and store them up is an assertion so opposite to the persuasion of men that it seems like the wild affirmation of one who would defend a novelty.
I. PIETY IS THE MOST EFFECTUAL MEANS TO OBTAIN RICHES.
1. Riches are the gift of God, not the goods of fortune. If there is a wise and provident Governor of the world, the success of all human enterprises depends upon His disposition of things. If the men of virtue and piety are the favourites of the Almighty, they may expect bounties as the signs of His love; if they be His faithful servants, as rewards of their fidelity.
2. See what piety is, examine it in itself and in its consequences, and we shall find it to be naturally productive of riches and plenty. Piety is the habitual practice of moral and Divine virtues, each one of which has a tendency to enrich its followers, e.g., industry, temperance, humility, brotherly love, liberality, and charity.
3. Credit and reputation in the world have a very great dependence upon honesty and an upright life, and they are things absolutely necessary for the promotion of our health and worldly interest. The only solid foundation of a good name is piety and virtue.
4. Piety and virtue direct to the use of those methods which are honest and lawful. The most honest means are always the sweetest.
II. THE SECURING OF RICHES OR MAKING THEM DURABLE. This may be considered in a double respect —
1. In relation to ourselves.
2. In relation to posterity. Whatever is got by means that are repugnant to piety is not to be kept, but must be parted with. All vices have a natural tendency to impoverish mankind. It is well to note that the efficacy of piety is not bounded here; it reaches beyond the grave, and entails its blessings on future generations. The generation of the faithful shall be blessed.
(William Hayley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
WEB: With me are riches, honor, enduring wealth, and prosperity.