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defiance every thing that might distract his attention, or divide his care: « God forbid that I “ Tould glory save in the cross of our Lord Je“ fus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to “ me, and I unto the world."
JIL. I proceed now, in the last place, to make fome practical improvement of what hath been faid And as, upon this interesting subject, it is necessary that I should speak with all seriouf. ness and fidelity, as well as at some length, so I must earnestly beseech you, as you regard your present peace, your comfort in the hour of death, and the everlasting happiness of your souls, to hear it with attention and application.
1. I must take the opportunity to reprove the fin, and thew the danger of those who are wed. ded to the world. I would willingly interrupt that comfort, and break that peace, which will end in perdition. For this purpose, and in or.
der to make the reproof more diftinct and ef. - fectual, i Mall direct it separately to the three following characters.
(1) To those whose love of the world is so great, that they scruple not to use, occasionally at least, if not habitually, sinful means of get. ting or keeping poffeffion of it. This indeed opens to us a very extensive field : it leads us to consider all the particular fins which an inordinate love of the world may produce, or increafe. - It is melancholy, my brethren, to think what contention and variance, nay what hatred and violence, even amongst the neare& relations,
the division of worldly property occasions. What envy and grudging, what Nander and evil-Speaking, between person and person, between family and family! And even in the ordinary way of traf. fick, what art and diffimulation, what falsehood and equivocation, are to be found between man and man! But what I have chiefly in view is, to speak a few words to those who, in order to promote their worldly ends, have been guilty of direct dishonesty, and known injustice. How many are there whose consciences, if they would be faithful, must tell them, that they are now in possession of the fruits of uplawful gain! Oh! the blindness of those deluded unhappy fouls ! if an inordinate love of the world, however honestly acquired, is not only Gnful, but deftructive of your eternal interest ; what shall become of those who have trodden under foot the laws both of God and man, in order to obtain it? If an excessive love of the most lawful enjoy. ments, father and mother, wife and children, is inconsistent with falvation; what must become of those who have loved and followed the gain of unrighteousness? what must become of those who, to clothe their backs, or feed their bellies, or gratify their pride, have not scrupled to be guilty of breach of trust, or breach of promise, of open oppression, or fecret fraud ? If every poor worldling must stand trembling upon the brink of eternity, when he sees all his painted fhadows ready to link into everlasting darkness ; what horror mult feize upon the dying linner,
who is just about to surrender all his dear pofsessions to another, while bis conscience is loaded with the guilt of fraud or perjury ? and this he cannot leave behind him. Oh! my dear brethren, tremble at the thoughts of dishoneft gain ; loathe it; return it ; shake your hands clear of it. It will imbitter your enjoyments : it will be a moth in your substance, a fire in your consciences on earth, and a hell to your souls after the earth itself, and all that is therein, . is
(2) I would address this reproof to those who are apparently more decent and regular, whom a sense of honour, or a desire of the approbation of their fellow-creatures, preserves from groffer erimes, or whom perhaps natural conscience perfuades to take up the outward and ordinary part of religion as a form. Many such persons are wedded to the world. Their thoughts are there, their delights are there, their hopes and expecta. tions are only there. Bear with me, my bre. thren, in pressing this a little ; and do not turn away, and refuse the charge. Worldliness is the reigning fin, and will be the eternal ruin of many persons of better rank, to whose converfation, a more liberal way of thinking, and a sense of decency, may give even an amiable appearance. I would beseech the attention of such persons to what shall now be faid; not from any disrespect to their state and situation in civil life, God knoweth! but from fidelity to their souls. Consider, I pray you, the extreme dan
ger of worldliness of mind. It is itself a great and aggravated fin, and is the parent of many others. It is a fin, where it hath dominion, inconsistent with salvation. Hear the words of the Lord Jesus: “He that loveth father or mother, “ son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy " of me." There are some sorts of finners on whom you would look with contempt or abhor. rence; but you may possibly deceive yourselves. The strict and regular, but covetous Pharisees, little thought that the publicans and finners were nearer the kingdom of heaven than themselves. I do not say this to extenuate sin of any kind, but to guard you against the power of delusion and self deceit. I know that none but the searcher of hearts can make a certain judgement of the degree of depravity in different characters; and therefore I do not so much urge the comparison for your condemnation, as caution you against relying upon it for your justification. The unalterable rule, taken both from the law and the gospel, is this : Which of the two has the supreme commanding interest in your affections, God or the world ? As an eminent author expresses it, “He is the most wicked man
that hath in his heart the strongest interest that is opposite to God; and all that is not fubor. • dinate to him is opposite to him : I say again, *the greater creature-interest, the more sinful the • state. Though you be neither thieves, nor ex.
tortioners, nor adulterers, your sin may be as deep rooted, and the interest of the world as predominant, or more fo, in you, than in some
• of them. Alas! Sirs, the abstaining from fome • of these fins, and living like civil and orderly
persons, though it is so far commendable, is • pot enough. If the world be not crucified to * you, and you to it, such abstinence will but hide your sin and mifery, and hinder your • Thame and repentance, but not prevent your • eternal damnation. Your lands and your houses, 6 and hopeful pofterity, and other provision you have made for the Aesh, may have more of
your hearts, than the world hath of the heart of "a poor wretch who never had so much to ido. • Jize. Upon the whole, my brethren, let me only put you in mind, this exhortation is not less necessary to you than the like cautions were to the hearers of Christ in the days of his flesh, whom he warns against the dangers of an affluent ftate : Luke viii. 14. « And that which “ fell among thorns, are they, which when they « have heard, go forth, and are choked with “ cares, and riches, and pleafures of this life,
and bring no fruit to perfection.” Matth. xix. 23. 24. “ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “ Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall “ hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven, " And again I fay unto you, It is easier for a u camel to go through the eye of a needle, than “ for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of “ God." It ought to give you great consolation, that he adds, x 26. “ With men this is impor“ fible, but with God all things are poslible.”
(3) I would address this exhortation to the children of God, in whom I know the world is