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the danger of loving outward things, or that they are plainly guilty of loving the world.
The same may be said with regard to amusements. Those who seek relief from the serious engagements prescribed by duty, or habitually pursue what is suggested merely by inclination, can scarcely be acquitted of “ loving the world.” A taste for those meetings for the sake of mere amusement, which we call “ society,” is manifestly love of the world. The employments which form the chief attractions of such meetings with the gay and thoughtless, if not in themselves absolutely sinful, very often become so from the circumstances under which they are pursued, and always induce a dissipation of mind which is most destructive of Christian holiness. Who is there who would not shudder at the thought of being summoned from such amusements into eternity? At all events, they cannot be enjoyed without being loved -and the command is, “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
The care of our own is so plain a duty, and an active attention to our lawful busi. ness is so clearly permitted to the Christian, that many seem to think that while they are honestly exercising their callings, they are in no danger of loving the world. Business is a toil to them; they say they pursue it only that they may provide for those whom God has given them, and to supply their own necessities. They would willingly be disengaged from it altogether, but they can in no other way discharge their duty. This is plausible; it is so far true, that it is able even to impose upon persons who are in the main honest in bringing it forward. For persons generally do not seriously examine it. If they did, they would see that even when worldly business is pursued, from such motives, it may serve to entangle us in the love of the world. It is the love of the world which, after all, is the original cause of their being involved so deeply in its concerns. If they were content with such moderate means and such moderate prospects, for themselves and those who are dependent upon them,
as Christian principles allow, they would never enter so deeply into its concerns. It is generally " the pride of life,” either ambition or vanity, which leads them to engagements which in themselves are toilsome: and they have their reward in their gains or their reputation. Whatever their pursuits may be, whether they are those of wealth, or honour, or literature, if they are conducted with a view to the gratification of any wish which refers in the first instance to the present, “they love the world.” If that love engrosses their hearts, “ the love of the Father is not in them.”
III. And this leads us to the last point which the text brings before us: the fact by which the Apostle enforces the duty which he inculcates; namely, that we cannot at the same time love the world and God. Our Lord assures us, that we 6 cannot serve two masters—that we cannot serve God and mammon.” St. James tells us, that “ the friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” And the text says, that “if any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We are sure, therefore, that it must
We are sure that it is so. The heart is not capable of two contradictory affections; and the love of the world and the love of God are strictly contradictory: in the nature of things they cannot co-exist. The heart which is disposed to love the one cannot love the other: there must always be a certain harmony between the heart and the object of its affection. It cannot love what it does not admire and value. The heart which loves God, must be filled with a sense of his perfections--it must realize his presence, and feel its relation to Him. It must admire his holiness, and desire to be made like Him. It will thirst for the knowledge of his will, and desire above all things to be made conformable to it. Intercourse with God by prayer, by the Sacraments, and all the appointed means of grace, will be its chief delight. And it will feel no satisfaction so great as the consciousness of being sincerely engaged in preparing for eternity. The heart which is occupied by the love of the world, on
the contrary, has such a taste for present pleasure, that it is uneasy except when it enjoys some outward good. It sees nothing but misery in self-renunciation and selfdenial. The things of earth have so much value in its estimation, that they deserve to be desired and sought after. When it enjoys them, though it is still unsatisfied, it is not because it feels that they are incapable of affording it complete satisfaction, but because it would still enjoy them in greater abundance or to a greater degree. It is quite content to make the world its state of rest. The cares and desires with which it is filled, keep it in a state of constant distraction; for the objects on which it is fixed are in a state of continual change. The passions and anxieties by which it is agitated, leave it no leisure for the calm and serious employments which are required in the service of God. The thoughts are engrossed by the favourite object. As the world is loved, it strikes its roots deeper in the heart which loves it; and such is the vigour of its growth, that it leaves no space for any other vegetation.