Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.—Proverbs 14:30.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another—Titus 3:3.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy—1 Corinthians 13:4.
Having ascertained the nature and occasions of envy, it is necessary we should see its vileness, and guard against it in time.
I. Consider how little those things which most excite the envy of mankind, deserve their esteem or exertions. The chief object of envy is not a superior virtue; no, nor even the prerogatives of mind, genius, knowledge or prudence; but, mere externals: beauty, strength, riches, power, rank, dress, titles, etc. These are often obtained without our efforts and are all transitory and unsatisfying.… Cease, then, to envy what is so frail and deceptive, but regard, above all, your eternal portion.
II. Consider from what sources of delight the envious man exclude himself, and to what torments he opens his heart.… Not content with what he has, he is always disturbed at what others enjoy! How does he thus embitter the whole course of his life! He is his own greatest enemy; an industrious self-tormentor, who turns everything into poison to himself, and is annoyed and afflicted by whatever is excellent!
III. Envious man, you act against God. By your envy, you [find fault with] his wise allotments. He determined each condition. Does it depend on any man where he shall be born, under what circumstances and connections he shall live, or what shall be the issue of his undertakings? No—It is God who fixes the sphere of duty and crowns that duty with blessings. Can you, then, with a brother less successful without charging [God] with injustice?
IV. Envy is opposed to the spirit of Christianity and renders a man unfit for the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is love—God is love— heaven is love—Christ’s whole ministry was love. He enjoined love as a badge of discipleship. Love to man is the second great command. Envy is opposed to love; for where envy is, there is strife and every evil work. There are no mansions in heaven prepared for the envious.