Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

3. You may hence learn the difficulty of the duty; to be crucified to the world, and yet to live in the world; to be crucified to the world, and yet to possess the world; to be crucified to the world, and yet to have a great part of our thoughts and love necessarily employed about the world. The temptation is ever present, and, through the corruption and treachery of our own hearts, fatally strong. Ought we not hence to infer the absolute necessity of continual vigilance, and continual prayer? continual vigilance in our duty, and jealousy of every temp. tation that may be in danger of diverting us from it! continual prayer to the Father of lights, in the name of Christ, for fupernatural strength ? Every exercised Christian knows from cxperience the danger of the world as an enemy, and how hard it is to keep such clear views of the things of eternity, as, to be preserved from an undue and linful attachment to the things of time. The world is dangerous even to those who maintain an habitual jealousy of it, and bold it as an enemy : 'how much more muft it be ruinous and fatal to those who love and profecute it as the object of their chief de. fire !

4. I shall now conclude, by improving this fubject for the purpose of self-examination. And surely no ferious hearer will be backward to bring himself to the trial. My beloved hearers, I speak to all of every rank, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, who profefs to bear the name of Christians : Are you,

or are you not, crucified to the world, and the world to you? All real believers are fo. If you are not, your riches or your poverty, your honour or your shame, your regular behaviour, or even your zeal for public duties, will avail you nothing in the day of Christ's appearance. I am sensible, that the decision of the question, Whether you are, or are not, crucified to the world? may often be attended with no little difficulty. I will therefore, as far as I am able, endeavour to assist you in the trial. For which purpofe, I beg your attention to the following observations.

1. You are crucified to the world, if you do not habitually allow your thoughts to dwell upon it, and your defires to run out after it. The cross was an abhorred object, which no body could look upon with delight. Worldlinefs is often as much discovered by our desires after what we have not, as by thc ufe or employment of what we have. There are many whose great delight feems to arise from the fond expectations they entertain of worldly happiness to come : nay, there are many who are so sloth. ful as not to purfue the world, and yet feed themselves with the very imagination of it. Their thoughts, and even their language, conftantly runs upon idke fancies, and romantic fuppositions of the happiness they mould enjoy, were they in ' fuch or fuch a state. Now, my brethren, he that is crucified to the world will make conscience of reftraining these irregular defires; and, from a deep conviction of the vanity

of

of the world, will find little pleasure in the con. templation of it.

2. Your being crucified to the world will appear in the moderation of your delight and complacency in what you possess of it. You will not, if I may speak' fo, give yourselves up to it, but will always qualify the enjoyment of it by a reflection upon its vanity in itself, and its short duration as to any connection we shall have with it. We are ready to pity the weakness of children, when we see them apply themfelves with fo much eagernefs to trifles, and so greatly delighted with their amufements and enjoyments. A parent, looking on them when hotly engaged at play, will be at once pleased to see them happy, and at the same time filled with a tender commiferation of their want of reflection. Something of the fame view one crucified to the world has of all earthly enjoyments. Many a grown perfon will smile at the play of children, while he himfelf is perhaps as eagerly engaged in the sehemes of ambition, in political struggles, and contests for power ; which are often as great trifies as the play-things of children, only that they are the play-things of

men.

3. You are crucified to the world if

you have low hopes and expectations from it. It is hope that ftirs us up chiefly to action in all our pursuits. And so long as we entertain high thoughts of what the world will afford us in fome after-seafon, we are not crucified to it.

There We are

There is a common proverbial saying, 'If it were
• not for hope, the heart would break :' just so,
when our hopes from the world are destroyed,
the heart of the old man is broken.
exceeding ready to think, that were fuch or such
a difficulty or uneasiness removed, could we ob-
tain such or such an advantage in view, we would
be happy. But there is always a deception at
bottom. We vainly think, that happiness arises
from the creature; but he that is crucified to
the world judges, by past experience, that it hath
little comfort to give ; and therefore he will
place but little dependence upon it.

4. He is crucified to the world who hath truly subdued all invidious difpofitions towards the possession of it. There are many who seem to have little comfort from their own enjoyments; but there is reason to fear, that it arises not so much from felf-denial, as from discontent. The world may be faid to be crucified to them, but they are not crucified to the world. It is by this that worldliness expresies itself chiefly in the lower ranks of life. Those who are obliged to live moderately and hardly, from mere penury, often thew, by their carriage and language, that they have as much sensuality in their hearts, as those who indulge their irregular desires to the greatest excess. But he that is crucified to the world, not only fees all its pomp and splendour in others without repining, but will often beftow a thought of compassion upon the great, for the infaaring circumstances in which they

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

are placed with regard to their souls. And furely they are of all others most to be pitied. May the Lord, in mercy, convince them of their danger; and, in the mean time, preserve his own people from being led aftray by their influence and example.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »