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resented as a society that is distinct from the world. We know that we are of God, saith the apostle, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. Between the people of God, and the men of the world, there is an essential difference of character. The views, the desires, and the designs of the children of God, are diametrically opposite to the views, the desires, and the designs of the men of the world. The one loves what the other hates. The one pursues what the other shuns. Saints are passing the narrow way which Icads to life; sinners the broad way which leads to death. Hence there is no common bond between them. The dissimilarity of character, the diversity in the great objects of pursuit, naturally draw them asunder. If there were no other ground for the expectation, therefore, than the common principles of human nature, we might look for dissention rather than unity, between the disci. ples of Christ and the men of the world. “How can two walk together, except they be agreed? What fellowship hath light with darkness? Or what communion hath Christ with Belial?” The same principles which prompt the men of the world not to select the people of God for their familiar companions, also induce the people of God to choose other companions than the men of the world. There is an irreconcileable spirit between them. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God.” Many as may be the mutual tokens of respect, civility, and kindness,
(and many there should be,) between Chris tians and the men of the world, they are, potwithstanding, two distinct classes of men. Much as Christians esteem the men of the world as good members of civil society; much as they regard their happiness, and endeavor to advance it; much as they compassionate their depravity, and deplore their prospects; inuch as they are conversant with them in the ordinary calls of duty-still, they are not their chosen companions. They cannot court their friendship; because they are afraid of it. Evil communications core rupt good manners. He that walheth with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Those who have mortified the spirit, and who stand at a distance from the men of the world, are also in some guod degree above its corrupting influence. The claim which, from their numbers and strength, the world are apt to consider themselves as warrant: ed to make upon the opinions and practices of God's people, is habitually resisted. Though good men may be often seduced by: the smiles, and awed by the frowns of the world, it is no part of their general character to conform either to its pleasure or displeasure. They act from higher motives, and maintain a more consistent character, than to give way to indulgencies merely for the sake of pleasing the world; or to avoid duty, merely through the fear of offending it. White they regard the fear of God more
that the fear of man, they will not dishonor God to please the world. And while they regard the favor of God more than the favor ef man, they will not purchase the favor of man at the expense of the favor of God. An habitual regard to the will and favor of God is an effectual security against the smiles of the world. The great object of the Christian is duty; his predominant desire, to obey God. When he can please the world consistently with these, he will do so; otherwise, it is enough for him that God commands; and enough for them that he cannot disobey.
The same spirit is also an effectual security against the frowns of the world. Real Christians cannot be more afraid of the displeasure of the world, than of the displeasure of God. While they dread to offendi God, they cannot tamely bow to the frowns of men.
“Whether it be right to hearken unto men, rather than unto God, judge ye!? This was the spirit of the early disciples; and this will be the spirit of every disciple down to the latest period of time. So far as he manifests the spirit of Christ, whereva er he is, wbatever he does, the fear of God uniforinly predominates over the fear of man, and the love of God, rather than the love of the world, bears uncontrolled sway over his affections and conduct.
There would be no difficulty in pointing out the path of duty upon this general subject; but there is some in saying, how far men may swerve from this path, and yet be.
Christians. One thing is plain: Christians cannot be worldlings. They cannot be lov. "ers of pleasures more than lovers of God. He who fixes his highest affections On
wealth, honor, business, sensual pleasures, gay amusements, and the various pursuits of the present scene, cannot fix them supremely on God. "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."
Nor is the character of the vast multitude who attempt to make a compromise between God and the world, better than that of the mere worldling. “They are of their father the Devil, and the lusts of their father they will do." The mere fact that they are for ever balancing between a life of devotion and a life of pleasure; that they design now to yield the empire to God, and then to the world, decides the question against them.
We must not deny that the children af God are sometimes guilty of awful defection from the standard of Christian character in their intercourse with the world. But after all, their prevailing feelings and conduct are not those of conformity to the world, but of habitual non-conformity. The principles of the new man are at war with the principles of the world. True believers have put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the do
ceitful lusts, and have put on the new man, which after God is crented in righteousnessand true holiness. This I say then, saith the . Apostle, walk in the Spirit, and ye sHALL NOT fulfil the lusts of the flesh. We cannot walk after the flesb while we walk after the Spirit. While the love of God is the reigning affection of the heart, it will turn away with disgust from the allurements of the world. The spirit of Christians is a heav-i only spirit.. «They look not on things that are seen, but: on those that are unseen, for the things that are seen-are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal. They set: their affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.”
This subject presents a number of sol. emn-questions, to every one who is anxious to ascertain whether his heart is right in the sight of God. It is a great point with all of us to know, Whether we are spiritually. minded, or worldly-minded? Whether we; are conformed to this world, or transformed: by the renewing of our minds? Whether the objects of faith or of sense, things presenti or to come, have the predominating influence over our hearts?
What shall we say of those, and of those professing Christians too, who exhibit to themselves and to others, all the traits of character which belong to worldly men? What of those, who pursue worldly things with all that ardor, all that intemperate zeal, which enters into the pursuits: of worldly