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gression on the prerogative of human nature to live without God in the world.
He who is bold in profaning his name, and in violating his laws, is on that account excluded from no society of the world; but he who dares to commend God and his Son Jesus Christ, with becoming seriousness, in almost any company of the world, is deemed unfit for its best society. And when one of their own sort quits their fellowship, and seeks after God, is he not reckoned to be beside himself, and regarded as a traitor to their cause? This is the world's judgment of things; and so to judge, proves more than a latent enmity to God.
But instead of inducing instances to make up the full charge which we bring against the world of being the enemy of God, let us speak at once in the uncompromising tone of Scripture statement: “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.” Here the case is plainly stated betwixt the world and God. Here are two parties so opposed, that inclination to the one is desertion of the other. Amity with one is reckoned enmity to the other. The world's
friend is God's enemy; which could not be but for the world's direct hostility to God.
It is in vain that Demas remonstrates, and reclaims. “I do wish,” says he,“ to stand well with the world--have a taste for its more refined pleasures- I love its riches, not for themselves, but because they give me a passport to comfort and respectability-I prefer its society, for there I find social happiness, without restraint I would have the world's good opinion, rather than its censures ; and confess myself the friend of its innocent joys, and its reasonable indulgences : But judge me not for this to be the enemy of God - it were most uncharitable and narrow-minded.” We neither judge nor condemn—we simply produce the recorded judgments of a higher Power : “ Whosoever will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.”
And surely if we love God, his enemies, who are so opposite in character, we cannot esteem. If we are born of God, where is our filial obedience, and where is the honour that is due to our Father in heaven, if we associate with, and court the connexion of those that bear an aspect of hate and hostility to his glory? The regenerate heart revolts from fighting under the banner of a
Father's foes. It “comes out from among them, and is separate ;” saying,—How shall I join in a confederacy with the enemies of heaven? Have I any freedom or warrant to go and seek enjoyment among the lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Do they love or desire to please Him who is my
all in all ? or esteem others the more for their devotion to Him? The very reverse is the fact. Therefore, instead of becoming an auxiliary element in the mass of a world that is at variance and enmity with God, I will take up arms of resistance, and make a stand for God. I must overcome it, for it is his declared enemy, and hath a Christ-crucifying spirit pervading all its generations. Its inward sentiment is—“ Away with him! away with him!”
Why must the world be overcome? We answer again,-Because it is an enemy to our peace, and would beguile us to destruction; and what would it profit us to gain the whole world, and lose our own souls ? What is the world ? Let one inspired describe it. All that is in the world, says he, amounts to this__"the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” These lusts, with their corresponding external objects, comprise the whole world, which is
here presented to our view, drawn up in triple line, warring against the soul, and seeking to destroy it. “The lust of the flesh” stands foremost in evil array, assailing the soul's peace and purity with incessant warfare; and when it overcomes, the captive is spoiled of his native dignity, reduced to lowest servitude, and, through sensuality, levelled with the beasts that perish ; and if he is not quickly recovered from the power of lust, the miserable victim is drowned in perdition. Men, indeed, for the most part, surrender themselves willingly to “ the lust of the flesh,” for it promises to exalt them to heaven in the height of its enjoyments ; but the higher they rise in this way, the more fearfully are they cast down, even to the lowest hell.
“ The lust of the flesh” is the world's strong-hold, from which issue the most formidable assaults on virtue; and if not steadfastly resisted and overcome, the soul is undone for ever. If “the lust of the flesh” is not subdued, defilement, degradation, and wretchedness ensue. The capacity of rational enjoyment is lost, and lost is the hope of heaven. Ask the sensualist on a deathbed, what lust has done for him? An
awakened conscience will cry out-It has killed the body-it has undone the soul beyond recovery!
Then, as for “the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,”--the love of distinction, the vanity of ostentation, the ambition to be great, the thirst for fame, glory, and plause,—what do they profit a man beyond the grave? What rare felicity accrues from them to their votaries in this sublunary life? The world, indeed, promises to man great things ;} but who has not experienced the fallacy of its promises ? who has not in the end lamented the credulity that believed them ? Is the eye ever satisfied with seeing, the heart with emotion, or pride with pre-eminence ? No; “ the lust of the eye and the pride of life” are insatiable; exciting desires which things present cannot appease, and incapacitating the soul for the sober and the solid satisfactions which lie within the reach of humility and moderation.
Cease, then, O world! to vaunt your exquisite indulgences and delights; tell us not of sights and sounds that awaken incredible rapture; nor boast of what you can produce of gay apparel, stately dwellings, honours, eminence, and gains! Look not down from your heights of glory with such an air