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fings, which may be improved to the most important purposes.
But our love of the world becomes exceffive and finful, when we give it that room in our hearts which is only due to God; when 'it is defired, for its own fake, as a fufficient portion, independent of his favour and friendship. If the world will keep its due place, it may be valued and efteemed in that place; but if it ufurp an higher station, and promise more than it is able to give, it must be rejected, as a deceiver, with abhorrence and contempt. When we feek after earthly things, merely that our inordinate defires may be gratified, that the pride of our hearts may be cherished, or our ambition attain its object; when we are not contented with our daily bread, and that portion of the good things of life which is fufficient to fuftain us during our pilgrimage to a better country-then is our love of the world undue and exceffive; and the more we defire it under fuch views, the worse, the more corrupted and estranged from the love of God will our hearts become. This leads me,
II. To inquire wherein the malignity of this fin confifts. This will be most effectually illuftrated, by confidering how deeply it taints the whole character and principles of action.
There are fins which only engage particular faculties of our nature in their `fervice. Thus the love of pleasure is chiefly feated in the fenfes and the imagination. While these are ftrongly agitated by a particular enticement, confcience may indeed be totally overpowered for a feason, and the person be carried along by an headstrong irresistible impulfe: But the moral faculties have afterwards leifure to refume their influence; reafon is again at liberty to reprefent the pernicious confequences of tranfgreffion; and experience is always at hand to convince the finner how inconvenient and dangerous his forbidden pleafures are.
But no fuch checks are ready to occur to the man in whom the love of the world predominates. His fin is of deliberate choice, and engages the whole man in purfuit of its own ends. It is not an error about the means, it is not feeking a right end in a mif
taken way; but it is pursuing a falfe and pernicious end, with care, anxiety, and felf-approbation. Hence it is called in Scripture IDOLATRY, not from any refemblance it has to the outward act of falling down before stocks or ftones, but because it entirely difplaces our affections from their proper object, and leads them to the preference of an unjust and delufive rival. Hence it is afferted, by the Apostle James, that "the friendship of "the world is enmity to God." It is not merely a want of affection to our Maker, which more or lefs characterises every fin; but it is an abfolute oppofition and hatred to him, fo that, in the language of the text, "if any man love the world, the love of the "Father is not in him."
From these confiderations, it is evident that this fin flands as it were at the most remote distance from repentance. It overspreads the mind fo entirely as to leave in it no found principle to withstand the progress of complete alienation from God. It resembles those diseases which do not attack one part of the body only, but which invade the whole conftitution. And it resembles fuch diseases in
another refpect alfo, that the perfon is feldom convinced of their reality, until the approach of a fatal termination renders it impoffible for him longer to deceive himself.
This reasoning is confirmed by experience. No fault of the mind is in fact fo rarely cured as a wordly difpofition. Age and experience, which often bring a remedy with them for other follies, only confirm and increase the habits of an earthly mind. Even on the brink of the grave, when every other paffion and defire has been extinguished, it has been known to occupy the departing spirit, with an anxiety little, if at all inferior, to that which animated its most active pursuits.
Such is the peculiar malignity, and dangerous nature of this fin. But as few will defend this criminal difpofition directly, and as many who are enflaved by it are ready enough to join in generally condemning it, I proceed,
III. To lay before you a few symptoms of a worldly mind, and to examine fome of the apologies upon which men flatter themselves with being free of it.
t, Then, we love the world plainly to excefs, when we use any unlawful means to obtain its advantages. This is a mark which cannot well be controverted; and yet how many will it involve in the charge of a worldly mind! Prove yourselves, then, by this characteristic. Would any prospect of gain tempt you to cheat or diffemble? Will your confciences allow you to go beyond or defraud your neighbour, providing you can do it in a way fo fecret as to defy human difcovery? Does it feem a light matter to you to take advantage of the fimplicity or ignorance of others in the course of business? If so, your minds are indeed deeply corrupted; and it is not regard to God, or his law, but to your own credit and fafety, which restrains you from the most flagrant acs of injuftice. Such perfons may affure themselves, without farther examination, that the love of the Father is not in them, and that their hearts are wholly alienated from God: For, as the Apostle to the Romans argues, "Know ye not that to "whom ye yield yourselves fervants to obey, "his fervants ye are to whom ye obey, whe"ther of fin unto death, or of obedience un24