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Must necessary zeal then for the truth of God, sober singularity, with the great privileges of the Christian church, be disowned or neglected for fear of losing our character, or doing less good? If so, usefulness depends no longer on real excellency, or the energy of grace, but on the good opinion which the world and satan are pleased to entertain of us.
O shameful deceit, to impose, as it notoriously does, upon so many grave people! How is it, that the nature of things, scripture, and matter of fact do not convince men, that they cannot serve the immortal interests of their fellow-creatures, till they are disgusting to the world? For who are the world, but a vast multitude, encouraging each other to despise Christian self-denial and communion with God, for the sake of pleasure, wealth, and power? Now what less than avowed abhorrence of so base a conduct towards our Maker, can ever bring such persons to feel? Habitual intercourse with them in idleness and dissipation, to preserve a character; or polite silence in their company, whilst they deride the power of godliness, or the doctrines of scripture, or talk every one vanity with his neighbour, must keep them in countenance, and in ignorance too. But an open defence of the great things revealed to us: an intimacy
with persons eminent for their godly zeal, adorned by a holy conversation, reproves the careless conformists to the fashion of the times. This is to act like a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and prove in the highest degree a friend to man.
And if such irreconcileable opposition subsists between God and the world, that the latter is the enemy of the former, nothing less than total opposition to their ways, can make this manifest, and prove the means of rescuing some from perdition. In other words, to do good to the souls of men, we must live so conformably to the Christian rule, as to give offence to the world, and provoke them to abuse us in some measure.
Hence the church of Christ is addressed in the following tender terms:
" I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service," Rom. xii.
Yet most reasonable as this oblation is, the Holy Ghost well knew, how opposite it must be to the custom of every age. The apostle therefore immediately adds, “ And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds," Rom. xii.
With these strong evidences, matter of fact concurs to prove the gross mistake of making compliances with the world, in order to do good in it. For who shine brightest for their extensive usefulness in enlarging the kingdom of God, and adding to it many souls? Were they prudent men, afraid of offending the rich, the grave, or learned ? No, they drew the sword, and threw away the scabbard. They came forth to shew men their transgressions, without respect to per. sons, or regard to consequences. From the death of the abhorred Nazarene, their everblessed Lord, to this hour, the most diligent copiers of his example, have been most offensive; so scandalous, that many who believed them to be in the right, and wished to be personally acquainted with them, dared not. Though guilty of no evil practice, nor tinc. tured with real enthusiasm, their heaven-born love for Christ, troubled the world, and galled them to revenge, in cruelly, disdainfully, and despitefully speaking against the righte:
i Instead of studying then to gain the world's esteem, we are commanded to take for an example of suffering affliction, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord :" who though accounted by some knaves, by
others fools, by more madmen, have brought thousands to glory, the eternal proofs of their inestimable usefulness.
When will the prudent conformists to the fashion of the times, let us see such success from their compliances? When shall we be. hold them honoured with the highest honour man can conceive, a company of immortal souls, by them converted from the error of their ways ? No, to be useful either as Chris, tians, or as Christian ministers, we must copy the labour and zeal of those, whom the world could never endure. Give over then fearing any thing, but hypocrisy before God, and cowardice in his cause before men. Desire nothing, but to live the life of a Christian. Halt no more between God and the world. If the spirit of the world, pride, carelessness respecting the soul, and neglect of Christ, be not hateful to God, and destructive to men, the gospel (with reverence I speak it) is an imposition. Do you abhor that thought as blasphemy? Abhor as much a fawning upon Christ from year to year in your closet, calling him there your Lord and God, and then coming out to consult the world, how far they will allow you to obey his plain commands, without saying you are a Methodist. Cease rather to profess any allegiance to Christ, than
treat him, under professions of duty, with such contempt.
“I would,” saith he to the church of Laodicea, “thou wert hot or cold ; but because thou art lukewarm, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
CIIRIST THE DELIVERER OF HIS PEOPLE FROM
THE LOVE OF THE WORLD.
BY the world, the inspired writers under. stand, not only the ungodly part of its inhabitants, but sensual pleasures, honour, riches and power: These, the beloved disciple calls “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” To gain a large proportion of what can gratify us in each, is naturally our strongest desire, and the source of endless contests amongst men. Indeed, till we are created anew in Christ Jesus, these things carry away our thoughts, and captivate our affections, as if they were our chief good; and in order to possess them, we throw ourselves headlong into destruction. But when objects infinitely better are brought before our view, money, state, and sensual indulgencies, lose their bewitching charms, as toys which rayish children, become our