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that he defires. But if your hearts are more fet on these fuppofed moderate matters than on the heavenly inheritance, you are ftill flaves to the world; and the more mean and inexcufable you are, that your object is fo trifling and inconfiderable.
Besides, this is a very indecifive mode of reafoning. He that engages to feek only a competence, takes on himself a very eafy engagement, because he binds himself only to a condition which is to be afcertained by his own opinion. The most covetous man on earth may make the fame profeffion, providyou leave him to be the judge of what that competency amounts to. Look above you to the fuperior ranks of society, and see whether their extensive poffeffions extinguish their defires for more. Is not the reverfe the fact? The richest are often in as great neceffity as the most indigent-as often, at leaft, (and it is not feldom), as the imaginary wants, created by luxury, exceed their means of gratifying them. The decifive inquiry is not how much you defire, but for what ends you defire it.
A third conceives a favourable opinion of himself, because he ufes no unlawful means
to rife in the world. Now this is in fo far good -and would to God we could all fay as much for ourselves. But even this is not decifive in the point; for a man may love the world inordinately, who would neither steal, nor rob, nor diffemble, in order to enrich himfelf. The fact is, thofe who have a just and fteady fenfe of their intereft, find that these are by no means the best ways of advancing it.
A good character is fo neceffary to carrying on worldly business of any kind with fuccess, that a wife man in his generation will be fair and honest in his dealings, from mere regard to his own advantage. But with all this prudential regard, coinciding with feeming virtue, his affections may be entirely placed on the world, to the exclufion of things fpiritual and everlasting, which is the very character described and condemned in the text.
But, fays a fourth, it is impoffible that I fhould love the world to excess, for it is the very vice which I principally hate and condemn in others.-But alas, fo do many thou
fands who are themselves abject flaves to the world, to the conviction of every person but themselves. It would indeed be utterly aftonishing to obferve, how keenly worldly men inveigh against the fame difpofitions in others, if this account of the appearance did not offer itself, viz. that the more they are rivals in this love, the more mutual jealousy and refentment must arife in their minds; or, to speak without any figure, the more covetous their neighbours are, the more they stand in the way to prevent their obtaining the emoluments they desire for themselves.
I will mention but one more pretence by which men deceive themselves in the respect we are confidering, and that is the resolution of leaving their fubftance to charitable purposes when they die.-But ah! what an abfurd delufion is this-to offer their worldly poffeffions to God, after they have abused them while they could, and can now retain them no longer. But upon this point I need not dwell longer; for although an abuse very common in former times, it is one with which the present age is not peculiarly charge
able. "Be not deceived then, God is not "mocked. Whatsoever a man foweth, that "fhall he also reap. He that foweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but "he that foweth to the Spirit, fhall of the Spirit reap life everlafting." Amen.
I. JOHN, ii. 15.
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.
HAVE already defcribed that exceffive
postle here diffuades us; and represented to you the greatnefs and malignity of the fin. I also laid before you fome fymptoms of an earthly mind, and endeavoured to detect the falfehood of thofe pretences, by which too many impofe on their confciences, and flatter themselves that their love of the world is no greater than it ought to be. I now proceed to enforce the exhortation, and to offer a few directions for the help of those who are defirous of having their affections weaned from VOL. IV.