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Verse 5

5.And Lot also, which went with Abram. Next follows the inconvenience which Abram suffered through his riches: namely, that he was torn from his nephew, whom he tenderly loved, as if it had been from his own bowels. Certainly had the option been given him he would rather have chosen to cast away his riches, than to be parted from him whom he had held in the place of an only son: yet he found no other method of avoiding contentions. Shall we impute this evil to his own excessive moroseness or to the forwardness of his nephew? I suppose, however, that we must rather consider the design of God. There was a danger lest Abram should be too much gratified with his own success inasmuch as prosperity blinds many. Therefore God allays the sweetness of wealth with bitterness; and does not permit the mind of his servant to be too much enchanted with it. And whenever a fallacious estimate of riches impels us to desire them inordinately, because we do not perceive the great disadvantages which they bring along with them; let the recollection of this history avail to restrain such immoderate attachment to them. Further, as often as the rich find any trouble arising from their wealth; let them learn to purify their minds by this medicine, that they may not become excessively addicted to the good things of the present life. And truly, unless the Lord were occasionally to put the bridle on men, to what depths would they not fall, when they overflow with prosperity? On the other hand, if we are straitened with poverty, let us know, that, by this method also, God corrects the hidden evils of our flesh. Finally, let those who abound remember, that they are surrounded with thorns and must take care lest they be pricked; and let those whose affairs are contracted and embarrassed know, that God is caring for them, in order that they may not be involved in evil and noxious snares. This separation was sad to Abram’s mind; but it was suitable for the correction of much latent evil, that wealth might not stifle the armor of his zeal. But if Abram had need of such an antidote, let us not wonder, if God, by inflicting some stroke, should repress our excesses. For he does not always wait till the faithful shall have fallen; but looks forward for them into the future. So he does not actually correct the avarice or the pride of his servant Abram: but, by an anticipated remedy, he causes that Satan shall not infect his mind with any of his allurements.

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