Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and, in particular, will serve to distinguish real religion from some of its most deceitful and plausible counterfeits. At the same time, it will furnish the fincere Christian with very important directions for his preservation and improvement, by pointing out the most fatal and dangerous rocks of temptation, which it is his interest to avoid. Having explained the words in oy discourse upon the former part of the verse, I now only observe, that the proposition contained in them is, “ That the world is crucified to the be. “ liever, and he to the world, by the cross of “ Christ.” This naturally resolves itself into two parts, which I propose to consider distinctly, viz.

1. What is the import of a believer's being crucified to the world, and the world to him.

2. What influence the cross of Christ hath in producing this effect. Having done this, I will,

3. Make a practical improvement of the subje?.

1. First, then, we are to consider the im. port of a believer's being crucified to the world, and the world to him. This seems to deserve the greater attention, that through the whole New Testament, there is a direct opposition stated between the world and the disciples of Christ: an oppoftion of character, an opposition of in• terest, and a continual conflict in consequence of both : John xv, 18. 19. “ If the world hate « you, ye know that it hated me before it ha. “ted you. If ye were of the world, the world

“ would

“ would love his own: but because ye are not “ of the world, but I have chosen you of the “ world, therefore the world hateth you.” In this passage the world seems to be taken chiefly for the men of the world, or its inhabitants. It is, however, taken in a more extensive sense in the two following: 1 John ii. 15. “ Love “ not the world, neither the things that are in “ the world. If any man love the vorld, the « love of the Father is not in him." 1 John v. 4. “ For whatsoever is bora of God, overcometh the “ world : and this is the victory that overco. " meth the world, even our faith.” Here, po doubt, it signifies not only men, and our hopes or fears from them, but every thing in the prefent life that may be the object of carnal affec. tion, of finful or undutiful attachment.

The expression in the text, « The world is "crucified to me," is figurative; but abundantly plain, and exceedingly strong. It might be con. sidered very extensively, and several things upon it may probably afterwards occur. Let it suffice at present to make two observations. 1. This intimates the sincerity and heartiness of the believer's opposition to the world. It must be rea membered, that crucifixion was a death the most painful and disgraceful that could possibly be in. dicted. When this image, therefore, is borrow. ed, and applied to the believer's separation from the world, it implies not only an indifference to it, but the molt sovereign contempt of it, froin the deepest and strongest conviction of its abrolute vanity. Nay, as no persons were crucified,

but

but who were hated as well as despised by their judges, to be crucified to the world, implies an unfeigned abhorrence of its pollution, and a dread of being insaved by it.

2. The same thing intimates the perpetuity and fixedness of the Christian's opposition to the world. Those who were crucified were devo. ted to destruction, when they were nailed to the tree: they were not only tormented for a sea. fon, but fixed there till death concluded the scene : so I apprehend the apostle intended to signify, by this expression, his final separation from the world, without the leas. hope or desire of ever returning to it.

After taking this short and general view of the import of the expression, it will be necessary more distinctly and fully to consider what is implied in being crucified to the world. This ought to be done with the greater care, that it is at once an important and difficult duty. To be truly crucified to the world, I am afraid is exceeding rare; and even those who are so in sincerity, upon the whole, are far from being so in the degree that they ought to be. The punishment of crucifixion is a strong image, in one particular, of the believer's character. Though it was certain death, it was slow and lingering : so worldliness, in many perfons, continues long vigorous, and dies very Nowly.

There is another reason for treating this fubject with care, that men are very apt to consi. der such expressions as extravagant, and carrying matters an unreasonable length. Mistaking

the

the nature of the duty, they are neither con. cerned themselves to practise it, nor will they allow that any body else does so in reality. I will therefore endeavour to fhew you, 1. What is not implied in crucifying the world; 2. Wherein it immediately and properly consists.

On the first of these, I beg your attention to the following particulars.

1. The world's being crucified to us, does not imply that there is any evil in the natural world, considered in itself, and as the work of > God. The whole frame of nature, as it was produced and is preserved by God, and the whole course of providence, as conducted by him, are perfectly faultless. We may even say more, the creation carries on it such an image of its maker, as the materials are able to bear. In this view, it is our duty to look upon the world with reverence, and adore the glory of God in all its parts, from the highest to the lowest. The evil arises wholly from ourselves, and our disposition to fin. When we say a corrupt enticing deceitful world, it is but another way of speaking for the corruption of the human heart.

2. It does not imply that we should undervalue or be insensible of present mercies. Every gift of God is good, if it be received with thankfulness, and used with sobriety. The more the world is crucified as it ought to be, the more we will discern the goodness of God, even in common mercies. It is matter of daily ex. perience, and well worthy of observation, that

those

those who idolize the world most, as an object of finful desire, do usually despise the world most, as the subject or ground of thankfulness to Cod. A voluptuous, anbitious, or envious person, who pursues the world with eagerness, and never thinks he has enough, is commonly discontented and unthankful. His eyes are so wistfully fixed on what he wants, that he neither remembers nor values what he already has. On the con. trary, the self-denied and mortified Christian, though despising the world as an object of pursuit, is yet deeply sensible of the kindness of providence, in his daily preservation, or liberal provision. A mind formed upon the principles of the gospel, may look down with contempt upon the luftre- of a throne, and yet know the value, and feel a sense of gratitude in the possesfion of a crumb.

3. It doth not imply that the world is useless to a believer, even with regard to his fpiritual benefit. It is not only certain that he may have, but that he will have, the sanctified improvement of every stare :-Rom. viii. 28. " And we know " that all things work together for good, to them " that love God, to thein who are the called ac. “ cording to his purpose.” The same mercies which make a wicked man insolent, make a good man thankful. They also extend his power of doing good to others. You may see, by our Saviour's advice, how the world may be profit. ably employed : Luke xvi. 9. “And I say un“ to you, Make to yourselves friends of the “ mainmon of unrighteousness; that when yo

VOL. I.

o fail,

« AnteriorContinuar »