For this ye know, that no…covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): What do you think of the man whose thoughts and affections daily encircle the throne of mammon; whose earth-born soul cannot pass by a particle of shining dust without kneeling and praying; who, to acquire it, rises and grinds the faces of the poor, and transgresses the laws of God; whose highest aim, and whose only business is to amass his thousands?―Why, such a man, to use the words of Job, says to gold, thou art my hope, and to fine gold, thou art my confidence. His wealth, says Solomon, is his strong city, Proverbs 10:15; He trusts, says the apostle, in uncertain riches, I Timothy 617. The covetous man therefore is expressly called an idolater, and stands in this Book excluded from the kingdom of God.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): There are two words in the Greek Testament, which are rendered covetousness in our version. The one literally signifies, “the love of money;” the other, “a desire of more.”
STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): What engenders covetousness, but a mistaken fancy of the excellence of wealth?
THOMAS FULLER (1608-1661): Riches have made more covetous men than covetousness has made rich men.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Covetous men, though they have enough to sink them, yet have they never enough to satisfy them.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Observe, covetousness is spiritual idolatry.
STEPHEN CHARNOCK: All vice arises from imagination―A man has neither strength nor opportunity always to act, but he may always think; and imagination can supply the place of action…A covetous man cannot plunder a whole kingdom; but in one twinkling of a thought, he may wish himself the possessor of all the estates in it.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The sin of covetousness is the most hard to root out.
JOHN NEWTON: It is very difficult to fix a conviction of this sin upon those who are guilty of it. Whether drunkards or profligates regard the warnings of the preacher or not, when he declares that they who persist in those evil practices shall not inherit the kingdom of God, they know at least their own characters, and are sensible that they are the persons intended. But if he adds, Nor the covetous man, who is an idolater—the covetous man usually sits unmoved, and is more ready to apply the threatening to his neighbour than to himself. If he is willing to entertain the ministers or friends of the gospel sometimes at his table, if he now and then gives a few shillings to the poor, and a guinea or two to a charitable subscription, he cannot suspect that he is liable to the charge of covetousness.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): The devil teaches sinners to cover foul practices with fair names―superstition must be styled devotion; covetousness, thrift.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Satan loves to sail with the wind, and to suit men’s temptations to their conditions and inclinations.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Satan worketh upon what he findeth―if he see men covetous, he fits them with a wedge of gold, as he did Achan; if discontented and plotting the destruction of another, he findeth out occasions. When Judas had a mind to sell his Master, he presently sendeth him a buyer―Covetousness sold Christ.
MAGGIE PATON (died 1905): [My husband] John has been translating another Gospel; and we have had such interest for days, hunting for the word tempt. He wanted to give a good rendering of that passage, where our Saviour was answering the Jews, when they asked whether it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar—“Why tempt ye me?” Neither of us knew a word in Aniwan for tempt; and John’s pundit seemed to think there was none, or couldn’t be got to understand what was wanted.
It is so difficult in a foreign tongue to put just such questions as may elicit the word you want. After consulting several of the most intellectual natives, to no purpose, we sent for Litsi Sor, who had been with me once to Australia. I reminded her of all the pretty things she used to gaze at in the shop windows in Melbourne, and how she often wished she could have them. “Now, Litsi,” I continued, “what did those people try to do to us, by exhibiting all those pretty things?” She replied, “They were trying to make us buy them, of course!” We explained that we wanted to know if there was an Aniwan word which would express what the shopkeepers were doing, in making us wish to buy. Her answer was, “Misi, I see what you mean; but there is no one word for it in our language, as in yours. We can only say, they cause us to covet.”
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): “The lust of the eyes”—that is covetousness.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Hence David prays, Incline my heart to thy law, and not to covetousness; and, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, Psalm 119:36,37.
STEPHEN CHARNOCK: Thoughts must be forsaken, as well as our way…Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, Isaiah 55:7; Galatians 5:24. Mortification must extend to these: affections must be crucified, and all the little brats of thoughts which beget them, or are begotten by them.
THOMAS MANTON: Every evil affection gives ill counsel. Covetousness saith, “Preserve thy worldly interest.”
THOMAS WATSON: There is no better antidote against coveting that which is another’s than being content with that which is our own.
MATTHEW HENRY: He is much happier that is always content, though he has ever so little, than he that is always coveting, though he has ever so much.