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defiance every thing that might distract his attention, or divide his care: "God forbid that I "should glory save in the cross of our Lord Je•' sus Christ; by whom the world is crucisied to "me, and I unto the world."
III. I proceed now, in the last place, to make some practical improvement of what hath been said And as, upon this interesting subject, it is necessary that I should speak with all seriousness and fidelity, as well as at some length, so I must earnestly beseech you, as you regard your piesent peace, your comfort in the hour of death, and the everlasting happiness of your souls, to hear i: with attention and application.
1. I must take the opportunity to reprove the sin, and shew the danger of those who are wedded to the world. I would willingly interrupt that comfort, and break that peace, which will end in perdition. For this purpose, and in order to make the reproof more distinct and effectual, I shall direct it separately to. the three following characters.
(1) To those whose love of the world is sogreat, that they scruple not to use, occasionally at least, if not habitually,. sinful means of getting or keeping possession of it. This indeed opens to us a very extensive sield: it leads us to consider all the particular sins which an inordinate love of the world may produce, or increase. It is melancholy, my brethren, to think what contention and variance, nay what hatred uid violence, even amongst the nearest relations,
the the division of worldly property occasions. What envy and grudging, what slander and evil-speaking, between person and person, between family and family! And even in the ordinary way of traffick, what art and dissimulation, what falsehood and equivocation, are to be found between man and man 1 But what I have chiefly in view is, to speak a few words to thole who, in order to promote their worldly ends, have been guiky of direct dissionesty, and known injustice. How many are there whose consciences, if they would be faithful, must tell them, that they are Bow in possession of the fruits of unlawful gain! Oh! the blindness of those deluded unhappy souls! if an inordinate love of the world, however honestly acquired, is not only sinful, but destructive 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 t If an excessive love of the most lawful enjoyments, father and mother, wife and children, is inconsistent with salvation; 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 guiky of breach of trust, or breach of promise, of open oppression, or secret fraud i If every poor worldling must stand trembling upon the biink of eternity, when he sees all his painted shadows ready to sink into everlasting darkness; what horror must seize upon the dying sinner,
vha who is just about to surrender all his dear possessions to another, while his conscience is loaded with the guilt of fraud or perjury I and this he cannot leave behind him. Oh! my dear brethren, tremble at the thoughts of dishonest 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 sire in your consciences on earth, and a hell to your fouls after the earth itself, and all that is therein,. isburnt up.
(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 grosser crimes, or whom perhaps natural conscience persuades 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 expectations are only there. Bear with me, my brethren, in pressing tnis a little; and do not turn away, and refuse the charge. Worldliness is the reigning sin, and will be the eternal ruin of many persons of better rank, to whose conversation, 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 said; not from any disrespect to their state and situation in civil Use, God knoweth! but from sidelity to their souls. Consider, I pray you, the extreme danger ger of worldliness of mind. It is itself a great and aggravated sin, and is the parent of many others. It is a sin, where it hath dominion, inconsistent with salvation. Hear the words of the Lord Jesus: "He that loveth sather or mother, "son or daughter, more than me,- is not worthy ." of me." There are some sorts of sinners on whom you would look with contempt or abhorrence; but you may possibly deceive yourselves. The strict and regular, but covetous Pharisees, little thought that the publicans and sinners 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 justisication. The unalterable rule, taken both from the law and the gospel, is this: Which of the two has the supreme commanding interest in your asfections, God or the world? As an eminent author expresses it, ' He is the most wicked maw
• that hath in his heart the strongest interest that
• is opposite to God; and all that is not subor
• 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 mote so, in you, than in some
. * of them. Alas! Sirs, the abstaining from some
* of these sins, and living like civil and orderly 'persons, though it is so far commendable, is 1 not enough. If the world be not crucisied to 'you, and you to it, such abstinence will but
* hide your sin and misery, and hinder your
* shame and repentance, bat not prevent your 'eternal damnation. Your lands and your houses, 'and hopeful posterity, and other provision you
* have made for the flesh, may have more of
* your hearts, than the world hath of the heart of
* a poor wretch who never had so much to ido'lize.' 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 af
'fluent state: Lukeviii. 14. "And that which "fell among thorns, are they, which when they "have heard, go forth, and are choked with "cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life, w and bring no fruit to perfection." Matth. xix. 23. 24. "Then said JesuS unto his disciples, u Verily I fay unto you, that a rich man shall *' hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a "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, f 26. "With men this is impos"sible, but with God all things are possible."
(3) I would address this exhortation to the children of God, in whom I know the world is