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world is decidedly repugnant to the spirit of the Gospel.
In order to walk amicably together, that is, to enjoy each other's company in any tolerable degree, one party must give way to the other, at least to a certain extent.
The religious man, whose soul is supremely occupied with heavenly things, cannot help making occasional reflections on those topics which so deeply interest his heart.
The carnal man, who cannot bear such conversation, must either hear him patiently, and even with seeming complacency; or a disagreement must ensue, which would in a moment destroy all pleasing in
But as the men of the world are, in general, the most true to their master, they seldom fail to insinuate, that such reflections are unpleasant, and little better than preaching. They think it bearable, because customary, to hear them once a week from the pulpit; but quite intolerable to have such sermons forced upon them in common conversation. Consequently they endeavour to turn the discourse to subjects more congenial with their taste and inclination.
Here the Christian must either give way, or go away as soon as decorum will permit; since he finds that either he must be in continual dispute, or else be continually making compliances to the injury of his soul..
If then it be evident, that two cannot walk comfortably and profitably together, except they be agreed on the most important of all subjects the salvation of the soul, through faith in a crucified Redeemer-what must we think of those professors of the Gospel, who are constantly mixing with the world, not so much from duty as from choice; not so much through necessity, as for pleasure? Are
they never tempted to make sinful compliances, that they and their party may be agreed ?
Do they never sit for hours to listen to the vainest and most trifling discourse, whilst the dread of putting the salutary check to such idle words, seals up their lips in silence?
Have they never encouraged by a smile some witty jest upon religious characters; or felt the blush of sinful shame glowing on their cheeks when sarcastically called a methodist or a saint?
Let conscience give the right answer.
The end of too many such unguarded professors lamentably proves, that they have fallen into these snares of the devil. Rushing into temptation, without a call of duty arising from filial or conjugal relationship, they grieve the Holy Spirit, wound their own consciences, imbibe by degrees the spirit of the world, get more and more assimilated to its taste and manners, till at last they lose all relish for spiritual enjoyments, and like the apostate Julian, sit down in the seat of the scornful.
"Remember Lot's wife," is the warning voice of
"Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present evil world," is the lamentation of St. Paul.
Some may condemn these cautionary remarks as uncharitable; but those who take Scripture for their guide, and experience for their teacher, well know the truth of these assertions. Surely then we may say with David: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he doth meditate day and night." There are many awful passages in the word of God to guard Christians against the love, the dcceits, and the allurements of the world.
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 give 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
viour gave 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."
Hence 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."
O! 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 a 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,
Whilst journeying homeward. sweetly sing
To you the sceptre he extends,
With joy his work of love survey,
Though angry storms should seem to lower,
Yet Jesus by one gracious smile
Can e'en the darkest hour beguile.
Soon shall your painful conflicts cease,
Where storms and tempests are unknown.