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felicity. Thus resolved, thus decidedly engaging in the service of our God, yet mindful of our weakness and guilt, and imploring, through Jesus Christ, his mercy and grace-this mercy will refresh us, this grace will ever be present with us. He, our Lord and Redeemer, will enable us to overcome the temptations which assail us-amidst all the changes and trials to which we are exposed, will preserve us from falling-amidst all the allurements of the world, will keep our hearts surely there fixed where true joys are to be found-and when, before the breath of his displeasure, coming in majesty to judge the world, the heavens and the earth pass away, he will exalt us to that new heavens and new earth wherein dwell for ever righteousness and joy.

SERMON XXXI.

THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD ENMITY WITH GOD.

JAMES iv. 4.

The friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

THIS is a hard saying, my brethren, if literally understood-who can bear it?

But surely it was not the design of the apostle to recommend, as necessary to the friendship of God, entire seclusion from the world, and a life of austerity and constant self-denial. Our connexion with our fellow-men is a foundation of the most important duties, and a source of the highest pleasures. Acts of love, of charity, and of mercy, are imitations of the paternal goodness of God, "whose tender mercies are over all his works." They are sanctioned by the example and the precepts of Christ, whose life was a constant course of beneficence, and who indulged in the enjoyments of social life. His religion speaks good will to men, and his service is perfect freedom and a reasonable service. Our divine Master surely, who supremely seeks our happiness, cannot forbid those pleasures which unbend the mind without making it effeminate, which gratify the heart without corrupting it. The gentleness and meekness which his Gospel inculcates, will dispose us to enjoy with VOL. II.

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superior relish all the innocent relaxations of life, and eminently fit us for the pure and virtuous pleasures of social and domestic intercourse. The commandments of God are not grievous, and in keeping of them there is great reward: the yoke of Christ is easy, and his burden is light.

It is an inordinate attachment to the world which the apostle condemns, an attachment which lowers the demands of duty, which nourishes corrupt passions, which dispenses with an entire and holy obedience to the law of God, which enfeebles or extinguishes the supreme and ardent love which we owe to him. If it is our chief business and aim to obtain and enjoy the emoluments, the honours, and the pleasures of the world-if we place our chief happiness on the gratification of our sensual appetites-if we make religion subordinate to our worldly concerns, and, while strangers to its renovating power, perform its external duties from a principle of interest or fear-we are among the insincere Christians, the self-deceiving formalists, whom the text reproves. It teaches us that the love of God and a regard to his authority should be supreme in our hearts, should be the rule of our conduct, and should direct and moderate all our enjoyments.

Many persons, who have no just ideas of the purity and spirituality of the divine laws, are often excited, from the remonstrances of conscience, and from the apprehensions of death and judgment, to make some sacrifices to avert the displeasure of their Almighty Judge. They will endeavour, therefore, to preserve a deportment in general inoffensive; they will never grossly transgress the law of God; they will, perhaps, with punctuality and ap

parent devotion, attend to the duty of public worship; but they continue to pursue all the objects of the world with supreme ardour, and to enjoy all its pleasures, as the source of their highest felicity. It is not their desire and endeavour to mortify their inordinate and corrupt affections, and to render the pursuit and enjoyment of the world subordinate and subservient to the higher objects of their Christian calling; they are strangers to the life of God in the soul, to the power of his grace in renewing the heart, and yet it is their hope and expectation to secure his favour. To persons of this character the text is addressed, and it demolishes their hopes and expectations; for it declares-"The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

That an inordinate attachment to the world is incompatible with the love of God, will appear from various considerations.

1. An inordinate attachment to the world is contrary to the perfections of God.

2. It is inconsistent with the principles and rules of Christian duty.

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

1. An inordinate attachment to the world is contrary to the perfections of God.

God is infinitely holy, and the soul that is impure cannot therefore be acceptable in his sight. His infinite compassion will, indeed, pardon our infirmities; but corrupt passions and the love of sin

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, pres

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