Page images

the world, that they may rise upward to fpiritual things.

Consider then,

1. That this undue attachment to the world is absolutely inconsistent with the love of God. . This is the Apostle's argument in the text. If

any man love the world, the love “ of the Father is not in him.”—No man, faid our blessed Lord, “ can serve two maf

ters; 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.” Hence covetous men are ftiled idolaters. They reject the true God, and substitute an idol in his room ; they put the creature in place of the Creator; and make the gifts of his bounty, which should knit their hearts to him, the occasions of alienating their affections from him.

I am aware that worldly men are very unwilling to acknowledge this charge, and would be highly offended should any accuse them directly of hating the God that made them. There is something so monstrous and shocking in the idea of hatred and enmity against God, that it is scarcely to be supposed

[merged small][ocr errors]

any thinking man can reconcile himself to it: But be assured this charge, however odious it may appear, will be made good against every worldly man at last; and therefore, as you would avoid the shame of standing before the judgment seat in such a character, labour to get your affections divorced from earthly things, and henceforth let God be supreme in your hearts. Consider,

II. That an immoderate love of the world is not less foolish than sinful. “ All that is in

the world," saith the Apostle, in the verse following the text, “ the lust of the flesh, the “ lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not “ of the Father, but of the world. And the

world passeth away and the lust thereof.". Many of its enjoyments are imaginary as well as transient. The pleasure and happiness we expect from them have no foundation in the nature of things, but depend entirely on a diseased corrupt fancy. If we look back to the history of mankind in all ages, the discontented and miserable will be as of ten found among the prosperous and affluent, as among the poor and depressed conditions A a 2


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of life. Those situations which appear so de sirable as objects of expectation, are often in experience found marvellously barren of real happiness. Whence doth this arise ? Is it not from the wise appointment of God, that nothing here below should satisfy the desires of an immortal creature ? Vanity is, for this reafon, engraved in deep and legible characters on all things below the fun; and he that pursues the good things of this world as his only portion, will inevitably find that the most fortunate experience of life will never amount to a solid happiness, in which the heart of man can find rest and satisfaction. “ He that “ loveth silver shall not be satisfied with fil

ver, nor he that loveth abundance with in* crease.". Therefore faid our Lord to the multitude, " take heed and beware of cove

tousness, for a man's life consisteth not in " the abundance of the things which he posa 66 sefseth.”

Nature is easily satisfied, but when men create for themselves imaginary wants, they only provide an inexhaustible stock of folicitude and disappointment. The craving appetite will still be crying, give, give, and in


[ocr errors]


the fulness of their sufficiency they will be in

What has the world ever done for its most devoted servants, that should make you desire it so greedily ? Solomon went as far as any man ever did, both in the acquisition and enjoyment of earthly things, and in the conclusion passed this sentence on the review of all his experience, “ Vanity of vanities, faith “ the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is va“ nity and vexation of spirit.”-And have you discovered an art of extracting comfort from the creatures, beyond what the wiselt of men was able to do?-What do you seriously expect from the world? Will it prevent or remove sickness ?-Will it ward off the stroke of death ; or will it even administer any confolation to you at that trying feafon? Should one come to you on your death-bed, when your spirits are languishing, your hearts failing, and your bodies pofieiled with racking pain, and begin to console you by representing your valt acquisitions of wealth, would his words be reviving? Will it afford you any joy to contemplate those posleslions from which you are presently to be divorced for ever! You cannot think so. You must be


A a 3

sensible, that all things below the sun will prove miserable comforters in dying moments, and that the favour of God will then appear infinitely more desirable than ten thousand worlds. What infatuation, then, is it to set your hearts supremely on that which you know will appear molt contemptible at last. Consider,

III. That as the love of the world to excess is finful and foolish, so it is also pernicious and fatal.

“ They that will be rich," faith the Apostle to Timothy, “ fall into temptation, and a snare, and into


foolish and hurtful lufts, which drown men in de“ struction and perdition ; for the love of

money is the root of all evil.”

It were an endless talk to enumerate all the dismal effects of this sordid disposition." From “ whence come wars and fightings,” saith the Apostle James, “come they not hence, even “ of your lufts which war in your

members. “ Ye lust and have not ; ye kill and desire to s have, and cannot obtain." It is this which engenders ftrife and contention, and almost every evil work. It destroys the tranquillity


« PreviousContinue »