The shrine of Mammon

(J. A. James, "The Young Man's Friend
and Guide Through Life to Immortality")

"You lack only one thing. Go and sell all you have and
 give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure
 in heaven. Then come, follow Me." At this, the man's
 face fell, and he went sadly away because he had
 many possessions.  Mark 10:21-22

You see what was the defect in this young man. He did not
possess the faith which overcomes the world. He wished
to unite two things utterly irreconcilable--the love of God
and the love of the world. He wanted to serve two masters,
God and Mammon. It was not open vice and profligacy that
kept him from true religion here, and from heaven hereafter.

It was the more decent and reputable sin of supreme
attachment to worldly things. He could give up many
sins, but he could not give up his besetting sin--supreme
regard to wealth. He could do many things, but he could
not give up all to follow Christ. He could give up open
vice, but he could not deny himself and take up his cross.
He had many good qualities, but he lacked one thing.

If open vice has slain its thousands, worldliness has
slain its tens of thousands!

Of all the false gods, the shrine of Mammon is most
resorted to--it is from that idolatrous temple, the broadest
and most beaten path to the bottomless pit will be found.
In the crowd which press along that path, are included, not
only the knaves, the cheats, and men of dishonorable
character; but men who follow things which are just, and
honest, and true, and reputable; who yet rise to no higher
than to be the worshipers of this sordid deity. Yes, even
Mammon can boast of devotees who scorn all that is vile,
dishonorable and unjust.

In the broad road which leads to destruction, there is a path
for the lovers of the world--as well as for the lovers of vice!