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We are alas ! too apt, even after we know better things, to be carried away by sensible objects.
Any little trifle can divert the attention, even when the mind is engaged about heavenly things, without great watchfulness and self-government ; and these holy habits are only to be attained by frequent and fervent prayer.
The world, and the things of the world, press upon us at all points. Our daily avocations, yea our most lawful enjoyments, have need to be narrowly watched, lest they insensibly steal upon our affections, and draw away our hearts from God.
A true Christian living in the world is like a ship sailing on the ocean. It is not the ship being in the water which will sink it, but the water getting into the ship.
So in like manner, the Christian is not ruined by living in the world, which he must needs do whilst he remains in the body; but by the world living in him.
The world in the heart has ruined millions of immortal souls. How careful are mariners in guarding against leakage, lest the water entering into the vessel should by imperceptible degrees cause it to sink.
And ought not the Christian to watch and pray, lest Satan and the world should find some unguarded inlet to his heart; and thus by entering in, bring him to destruction both of body and soul ?
Let no one dare to be negligent, because salvation is all of grace; since this very salvation consists in no small degree in a deliverance from pride, carelessness, and presumption : and in the implantation of holy fear, circumspection, and humility.
The voice of wisdom says: “He that despiseth small things, shall fall by little and little.” “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” But why șive such exhortations, if no danger is to be dreaded?
Every caution, every warning of Scripture, inculcates the necessity of godly fear.
Thus I learn from the word of truth and from daily experience, that “no man can serve God and mammon;” that there can be no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness; no agreement between the temple of God and idols; that a believer hath no part with an infidel; and consequently that the children of God must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers : how then can two walk together except they be agreed ? The blessed Sa
himself for us to deliver us from this present evil world. He declared to his disciples; “ If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
ence it follows; "that they who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution;" for, said our Lord,“if they have hated me, they will also hate you." And so we find it; for as he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. There must therefore of necessity be drawn a broad line of separation between the true church of Christ and the world: this distinction must be plain and visible ; not by needless singularity of dress or manner; not by sanctimonious looks or drawling tones : but by humility of mind; by kindness of spirit; by purity of conversation; by unwearied efforts to do good, even to the evil and unthankful : in a word, by a faithful exhibition of the Spirit of Christ in all the holy fruits of righteousness, goodness, and truth.
Thus true Christians must come out and be separate from the world, in its principles, spirit, and practice ; for the word of God unequivocally declares : that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
0! blessed Saviour! preserve my heart from the pollutions of the world; from the influence and example of worldly men. Defend and shield me by thy grace from sinful compliances; stop all the avenues to ill. May holy affections and heavenly desires fill my soul, that meaner desires may have no room to enter in.
Whilst I am in the world, O! grant that I may not be of the world. Whilst my hands are employed about the necessary affairs of this life, may my heart be fully fixed on the next. Whilst I use the world, preserve me from abusing it; and through the riches of thy grace enable me to live in such weanedness from it, and non-conformity to it, that when death shall bear me hence, I may walk with thee in white in thy kingdom of light and glory.
Sing, O! ye saints, in sweet accord,
To you the sceptre he extends,
you he died—for you he bled, And dwelt in mansions of the dead.
With joy his work of love survey,
Soon shall your painful conflicts cease,
XLI. ON SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD.
How little is the genuine nature of Christianity considered by the generality of professing Christians.
The declaration of our Saviour, “ My kingdom is not of this world;" and the character of his followers, “ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,” seem to be words of no import with thousands who call themselves Christians. Immersed in all the businesses and pleasures of life, they act as though no such declaration had been made, or any such character been drawn by the Saviour of mankind.
The commands of Scripture are most striking and clear on the duty of separation from the world. “ Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted; it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.”
“ Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and
shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." “ Be not conformed to this world, but be formed by the renewing of your mind."
.6 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the
lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever.” “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, he is the enemy of God.”
To a soul happily delivered from this present evil world, through faith in Jesus, the exhortations of Scripture are most encouraging. They breathe that
holy resignation to the divine will; and that cheerful contentment with the divine disposals, which, when obeyed, must cause the believer to rejoice at all times, and in every thing to give thanks. He is assured by the voice of infallible wisdom, that “ A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Hence he is warned, to “ take heed and beware of covetousness."
Whilst carnal minds are panting after worldly riches, he is thus admonished by the lowly Saviour: “ Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat; neither for the body what ye shall put on.” sider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them : how much are ye better than the fowls !" “ Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not, and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
6 If then God so clothe the grass which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe
ye of little faith." 66 Take therefore no thought for the morrow ; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself: sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."
St. Paul, who once possessed what the world admires, knowledge and influence, counted them but loss for Christ. His knowledge, imbibed at the feet of Gamaliel; and his influence, derived from the authority of the Holy Priest, were renounced without reserve when Jesus revealed himself to his soul. Separated from a world which lieth in wickedness,
6 I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where
he could say,