shall a man use this means?

I am working ahead of our people on Pilgrim’s Progress and just ran across a passage concerning Mr. By-Ends, a man who uses religion for his own advantage.

Mr. By-Ends proposes a question to his friends:

Suppose a man, a minister, or a tradesman, etc., should have an advantage [have a chance, an opportunity] lie before him to get the good blessings of this life, yet so as that he can by no means come by them, except, in appearance at least, he becomes extraordinary zealous in some points of religion that he meddled not with before; may he not use this means [religion] to attain his end, and yet be a right honest man?

Mr. By-Ends friends are Mr. Hold-the-world, Mr. Money-love, and Mr. Save-all. Mr. Money-love assays to answer this question:

I see the bottom of your question; and with these gentlemen’s good leave, I will endeavor to shape you an answer. And first, to speak to your question as it concerneth a minister himself: suppose a minister, a worthy man, possessed but of a very small benefice, and has in his eye a greater, more fat and plump by far; he has also now an opportunity of getting it, yet so as by being more studious, by preaching more frequently and zealously, and, because the temper of the people requires it, by altering of some of his principles; for my part, I see no reason why a man may not do this, provided he has a call, aye, and more a great deal besides, and yet be an honest man. For why?

  1. His desire of a greater benefice is lawful, (this cannot be contradicted,) since it is set before him by Providence; so then he may get it if he can, making no question for conscience’ sake.
  2. Besides, his desire after that benefice makes him more studious, a more zealous preacher, etc., and so makes him a better man, yea, makes him better improve his parts, which is according to the mind of God.
  3. Now, as for his complying with the temper of his people, by deserting, to serve them, some of his principles, this argueth, 1. That he is of a self-denying temper. 2. Of a sweet and winning deportment. And, 3. So more fit for the ministerial function.
  4. I conclude, then, that a minister that changes a small for a great, should not, for so doing, be judged as covetous; but rather, since he is improved in his parts and industry thereby, be counted as one that pursues his call, and the opportunity put into his hand to do good.

It’s all OK, says Money-love, provided he has a call

That about justifies everything, eh?

It seems that Bunyan is still relevant today.

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