The Sin of Neglecting to be Charitable
Luke 16:19-31
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:…

Here are three great aggravations of the rich man's uncharitableness —

I. That here was an object presented to him.

II. Such an object as would move any one's pity, a man reduced to extreme misery and necessity.

III. A little relief would have contented him.

1. That unmercifulness and uncharitableness to the poor is a very great sin. It contains in its very nature two black crimes.

(1) Inhumanity; it is an argument of a cruel and savage disposition not to pity those that are in want and misery.

(2) Besides the inhumanity of this sin, it is likewise a great impiety toward God. Unmercifulness to the poor hath this fourfold impiety in it — it is a contempt of God; an usurpation upon His right; a slighting of His providence; and a plain demonstration that we do not love God, and that all our pretences to religion are hypocritical and insincere.

2. That it is such a sin, as alone, and without any other guilt, is sufficient to ruin a man for ever. The parable lays the rich man's condemnation upon this, it was the guilt of this sin that tormented him when he was in hell. The Scripture is full of severe threatenings against this sin (Proverbs 21:13). Our eternal happiness does not so much depend upon the exercise of any one single grace or virtue, as this of charity and mercy. Faith and repentance are more general and fundamental graces, and, as it were, the parents of all the rest: but of all single virtues, the Scripture lays the greatest weight upon this of charity; and if we do truly believe the precepts of the gospel, and the promises and threatenings of it, we cannot but have a principal regard to it.I know how averse men generally are to this duty, which make them so full of excuses and objections against it.

1. They have children to provide for. This is not the case of all, and they whose case it is may do well to consider that ii will not be amiss to leave a blessing as well as an inheritance to their children.

2. They tell us they intend to do something when they die. It shows a great backwardness to the work when we defer it as long as we can. It is one of the worst compliments we can put upon God to give a thing to Him when we can keep it no longer.

3. Others say, they may come to want themselves, and it is prudence to provide against that. To this I answer —

(1) I believe that no man ever came the sooner to want for his charity. David hath an express observation to the contrary (Psalm 37:25).

(2) Thou mayest come to want though thou give nothing; in which case thou mayest justly look upon neglect of this duty as one of the causes of thy poverty.

(3) After all our care to provide for ourselves, we must trust the providence of God; and a man can in no case so safely commit himself to God as in well-doing.But, if the truth were known, I doubt covetousness lies at the bottom of this objection: however, it is fit it should be answered.

(1) I say, that no man that is not prejudiced, either by his education or interest, can think that a creature can merit anything at the hand of God, to whom all that we can possibly do is antecedently due; much less that we can merit so great a reward as that of eternal happiness.

(2) Though we deny the merit of good works, yet we firmly believe the necessity of them to eternal life.

(Archbishop Tillotson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

WEB: "Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day.

The Sin and Doom of Selfish Worldliness
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