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he be only a traveller towards a better country, is he to be told, that because he is at an inn which he is soon to leave, it should not excite any emotion in him, whether it be invaded by robbers, or consumed by flames before the morning ? “ In the peace thereof ye “ shall have peace.” And are not christians to“ pro
vide things honeft in the fight of all men ?" Are they to detach themselves while here from the interests of their fellow-creatures; or, to : “ rejoice with them « that do rejoice,” or “ weep with them that weep?” Is not religion variously affected by public transactions ? Can a christian for instance be indiffernt to the cause of freedom, even on a pious principle ? Does not civil liberty necessarily inculde religious, and is it not necefsary to the exertions of ministers, and the spreading
And, christians, as the world is a station in which you are to reside for a season, religion does not require
you to withdraw from society, to relinquish secular : busmess, to live in solitude. It more than justifies your being visible, social, active. “Neither do men “ light a candle, and put it under a bushel : but on a " candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in “ the house. Let your light so shine before men, “ that they may see your good works, and glorify your “ Father which is in heaven.” It becomes you, howa ever, to remember,
III. THAT THERE IS EVIL IN THE WORLD, TO WHICH YOU ÀRE EXPOSED, AND BY WHICH YOU MAY BE INJURED. And what is this “ evil ? There is the evil of sin, and the evil of suffering. It is not the
latter that our Saviour deprecates" If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his “ cross.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” “ Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteous“ nefs fake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Indigence and affliction are generally a foil favourable to the prosperity of religion; and “ by the sadness of “ the countenance, the heart is made better.” Secu: rity from fin is preferable to immunity from forrow. It is therefore MORAL evil, from which we should be most anxious to be preserved. And by this you are perpetually endangered while in the world.
The people of the world are enemies to religion. How pernicious are their maxims, their errors, their number, their example, their influence ! How ensnaring are their smiles, and how intimidating their frowns! How powerful are the fear of censure, and the love of praise ! The things of the world are prejudicial to a life of godliness. Every station, every condition, hides innumerable temptations. It has been questioned, whether prosperity or adversity be the most hazar-, dous. Affluence flatters our pride, and nourishes the, paflions; it has a tendency to draw off our dependence. from divine Providence; it furnishes us with substitutes for the consolations of the gospel ; and as to its duties, it multiplies diversions, excuses, and hindrances. Many a man has dropped his religion in walking from a cottage to a mansion. « They that will be rich, fall “ into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish, “ and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction “and perdition. For the love of money is the root of “ALL EVIL: which while some coveted after, they
« have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves " through with many forrows." But indigence has its perils ; hence the prayer of wisdom has always been, “ Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with « food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, « and say, who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and “ steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Senfible things press upon the body, and the body affects the mind. The world has the advantage of neighbourhood and constant intercourse. It presents itself to the eye, the ear, the touch. It corresponds with a party within, which excites us to welcome every pro. posal it brings. The world does not ask us to deny, but to please ourselves; not to row against the current, but to fit down in the boat, and leave it to the stream. When the world knocks, “ the spirit of the world” is ready to open ; and when temptations to vanity meet with vain hearts, and temptations to folly meet with foolish hearts, the success is more than probable. In the seduction of mankind, the world has a marvellous diversity of means; every disposition is suited with an object. If a man be not grovelling enough to be fond of money, here is honour to allure him; if he spurn sensual gratifications, he may pursue the knowledge 6 which puffeth up.” And as it is said of Joab, “ that " he had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not 6 after Absalom;" fo a man who has vanquished one temptation, may be overcome by another, more suitable to his propensity, and more aided by circumstances. O what spoils of truth, of conscience, and of devotion can the world display! In how many has it had the unhappy influence to counteract conviction,
and to destroy the most promising beginnings of feriousness! Hence the apostacy of Demas; “ he loved “ this present world.” « Felix trembled ;” but “wil. “ ling to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.”. “ Herod heard John gladly, and did many wonderful “ things;" but the charms of a beloved Herodias obtained an order for his execution. The young inan inquired after eternal life, and our Saviour “ loved “ him ;” but “he went away sorrowful, for he was “ very rich.” « He also that received feed among " thorns, is he that heareth the word ; and the cares 6 of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke “ the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” And where the world does not acquire such a predominancy in the foul as to be entirely subversive of religion, it may prevail to such a degree, as to be very injurious to it. A real christian may have too keen a relish for the allowed indulgences of life. He may be too much alive to the opinion of his fellow-worms. He may be too eager to “add house to house, and to join field to field.” He may “load himself with thick clay," and go on heavily. He may “ touch the unclean thing," and soil “ the fine linen which is the righteousness of the “ faints," and wear a “ garment spotted by the flesh.” He may spread earth over his affections, and damp their ardour. As the consequence of all this wordly influence, there will be little spirituality in his converfation; little life in ordinances; little pleasure in drawing near to God; a loss of inward peace; corroding care; a dread of affliction; a thorny dying pillow. He will be a stumbling-block to the weak, and a dif. tress to the strong; nor will his religion stand forth
prominently enough to be visible and striking " to ý them that are without,"
Christians, there are two things which we wish you to remember. The one is, that your greatest danger lies in things lawful ; for the proposition of any thing apparently sinful would awaken your fears, and your fears would secure you. “Every creature of God is good;?! but if it be not “fanctified by the word of God and ç prayer," the blessing may be turned into a curse, and our very “table may become a fnare and a trap." We are even bound to love our connections ; but love may grow up into idolatry. Extremes are contiguous. The line of separation between lawful and unlawful is a single hair. On this the enemy takes his station, in order, when he finds us advancing to the verge of permission, to draw us over, and induce us to tranfgress. The other is, that this evil frequently advances by flow degrees; approaches the heart by im. perceptible access; and by specious pretensions, justifies its continuance there." It assumes a thousand flexible shapes; wears various names; passes under the notion of good-breeding, sociability, opportunities of usefulness, “ laying up for the children.” « With “ her much fair speech she causes him to yield, with “the flattery of her lips she forces him ; he goeth af.“ ter her straightway, as an ox goeth to the Naughter, « or as a fool to the correction of the stocks : till a “ dart strike through his liver, as a bird hafteth to the “ snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.” What is the conclusion of all this? O professors of religion,
love not the world, nor the things of the world.” “ Be not conformed to this world.” Consider it as