Imatges de pÓgina

are hostile to his holy nature, and he must punish them. Now, an immoderate attachment to the world corrupts the soul, and strengthens the sinful propensities of our nature. The inordinate desire of riches contracts the benevolent affections, and renders the heart covetous and sordid. The soul, elated by honour, forgets its dependent and sinful state, and renounces its trust in God. A devotion to pleasure enervates the mind, destroys its sensibility to virtue, and sometimes leads to the commission of crimes. Can a supreme attachment for these objects exist with the love of a holy God? My brethren, the dominion of worldly passions must be destroyed, and the soul must be conformed to the image of God, before it can bear his holy inspection.

An inordinate attachment to the world is contrary to the justice of God.

In the exercise of infinite justice, he will reward every man according to his works; and he will therefore punish those unfaithful servants who have employed their talents in the service of the world, instead of devoting them to his glory. Those who have rendered him the homage of their lips, while their hearts were far from him; and who have obeyed him from the slavish principle of fear, and not from the love of his perfections, and a grateful sense of his goodness; cannot expect to inherit the rewards of his faithful servants. At the awful day of account, "let him that is unholy, be unholy still," will be the sentence of eternal justice.

An inordinate attachment to the world is contrary also to the goodness of God.

His goodness, displayed in all his works, and especially exercised upon us in our creation, pre

servation, and redemption, in the countless blessings which he bestows upon us, claims our supreme affection and gratitude. The love of this greatest and best of Beings should animate all the powers of our souls. The obedience with which we should glorify our beneficent Maker should be sincere, cheerful, unreserved. What folly and what guilt, to prefer the vain pleasures of the world to the contemplation and love of his perfections! How ungrateful and impious, to offer him a service corrupted by sensual pursuits! How presumptuous, to set up the world as a rival in our affections with the supreme and ever-blessed Jehovah! "Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

2. An inordinate attachment to the world is incompatible with the love of God, because it is opposed to the principles and precepts of Christian duty.

Faith is prescribed as the principle which is to regulate the Christian life; and this principle, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, exalts the desires of the Christian to heaven, and directs him to aspire there after those joys which will constitute the perfection and felicity of his nature. How then is it possible for the Christian, under the elevating influence of faith, to confine his thoughts and desires to the earth, or to permit any of the objects which it presents to engross his affections, or to diminish the supreme love and pursuit of those good things which God hath prepared as his portion for ever?

The great business of the Christian, to which his baptismal covenant devoted him, is "continu

ally to mortify his corrupt affections, and daily to proceed in all virtue and godliness of living." But the world nourishes those passions and presents those temptations that corrupt the soul. A devotion to the pursuits and joys of the world dissipates serious reflection, destroys a taste for virtuous enjoyments, and establishes the dominion of those sinful passions which it should be the great object of the Christian to subdue. Therefore was the declaration of the apostle-" The friendship of the world is enmity with God;" for its spirit is opposed to those holy precepts which his divine Master inculcated.

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Blessed," says this divine Lord, " are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." But can the worldly man, who aspires after honour and fame, who considers all pursuits as unworthy of a moment's regard, but the pursuits of ambition, be the disciple of him who was meek and lowly in heart? or can he, who riots in the joys of wealth and luxury, take up his cross and follow, in the path of holy self-denial, a suffering Saviour?

"Love your enemies," says the blessed Jesus, "bless them which curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." But, by the world, the forgiveness of injuries is ridiculed as mean and pusillanimous: every insult must be resented, even unto blood, or you are doomed to irretrievable disgrace, at the imperious tribunal which the world has erected.

"Take no thought for the morrow," was the exhortation of Christ," for the morrow will take thought for the things of itself;" that is, the providence of God, which is over all, will provide in that measure and way which to his infinite wisdom

and goodness seem best, for our spiritual wants; and therefore we should not indulge in distressful anxiety, nor be engrossed with providing for our temporal necessities, and with an attention to our worldly advancement. But when the love of the world reigns supreme in the heart, we think only of securing its wealth or its honours, or enjoying its pleasures. Our anxious desires and our unwearied exertions are fixed upon the present life; like the brutes that perish, we are eager only to gratify our sensual appetites; our souls, exalted in their powers and immortal in their destiny, are neglected, or worse than neglected-they are made tributary to the low and brutal passions of our


"Be ye perfect," says our Lord, "even as your Father in heaven is perfect." We are constantly to contemplate, to admire, and to seek to imitate the glorious perfections of God; to a resemblance of which our souls should most devoutly and ardently aspire. But the world binds us by a system of principles and rules directly opposed to the perfections and will of God-a system regulated by the varying standard of capricious and corrupt fashion, and whose only object is the gratification of the passions, and the advancement of our temporal prosperity and happiness. A lively love to God, an ardent zeal for his honour and glory, an earnest desire to be conformed to his image of purity, goodness, and love, would be branded as enthusiasm, or hypocritical sanctity, by the disciples of the world. When the Christian carefully governs his passions-when, not sullenly and austerely abstracting himself from all social pleasures, he yet strives to be moderate and tem

perate in his enjoyment of them, lest they assume too great influence over his heart, and weaken his pious affections-when he scrupulously abstains from every indulgence or pursuit, however sanctioned by the world, which the pure spirit of the Gospel condemns-he is in danger of being considered as "righteous overmuch."

Since the world is thus opposed, in its principles and practice, to the principles and precepts enjoined by Christ as the characteristics of his disciples, is it possible that we can fix our affections supremely upon it, and regulate our conduct by its principles and at the same time make the will of God the rule of our conduct, his infinite perfections and goodness the object of our fervent love, and his almighty power and providence our steadfast reliance? Ah! my brethren, "no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or cleave to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." "The friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

3. The love of God and the friendship of the world prepare the soul for opposite states of being hereafter, and cannot therefore exist together.

The man whose soul is renewed after the divine image, and in whom the love of God reigns as the supreme principle of action, is redeemed from the dominion of unholy passions. His delight is in obeying the law of God, in meditating on his perfections, in adoring his goodness, and in offering to him the tribute of lively gratitude for his manifold mercies; and, thus established in all holy affections

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