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still charged to “ beseech you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
And now let me ask, what impression these plain and obvious remonstrances have made on your minds ? What may be their effect, I cannot foretel. This I know, that could I hope to succeed better, I would with pleasure come down, and address each of you, even on my bended knees, obtesting you by every solemn, every tender argument, to fly from the wrath to come. I easily foresee the time when the remembrance of this offered grace shall either fill you with joy unutterable, or with fruitless and everlasting anguish. For whatever thoughtless sinners may imagine, no word of God shall ever return to him void, but shall accomplish the purpose for which he sends it. We are a sweet savour to God," saith the apostle Paul, “ in you that believe, and in you that perish ; to the one we are the savour of life unto life, and to the other of death unto death." I am aware that pleadings of this kind are sometimes treated with ridicule; but the time is at hand when the scoffer shall be made sober. The view of death may do it--the day of judgement certainly will.
Now then is the accepted time. Now you may obtain an interest in this Saviour; and if you apply to him, as sure as God liveth, you shall
Thus far I can go, but one step farther I cannot proceed upon sure ground. I can
not promise you on any future time. If you reject the counsel of God now, I cannot assure even the youngest of you of another opportunity. Before to-morrow your doom may be fixed unalterably. May God enable you to profit by these instructions, and to his name be praise. Amen.
1 John ii. 15.
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.
FROM these words I propose, by divine assistance,
1. To describe that excessive or sinful love of the world, from which the Apostle here dissuades us.
II. To enquire wherein the malignity of this sin consists.
III. To lay before you a few symptoms of a worldly mind, and examine some of the apologies upon which men flatter themselves with being free of it. And,
IV. To enforce the exhortation, and give some directions how to get this undue affection towards earthly things mortified and subdued.
I. It will readily occur to you, that the exhorfation is to be understood under certain restric
tions. The place of his works, which God has appointed us to inhabit, cannot in itself be supposed an object deserving our aversion or dislike. This would be to impeach the goodness of our Creator, and to tax his handy-work with imperfection. We may lawfully love the world, as it is the workmanship of God, and the mirror in which we behold the perfections of the invisible Creator. Creation is a large instructive volume, and the sense of every line is God. The proper use of all the creatures is to lead us upwards to him that made them, and to kindle in our souls the warmest gratitude to that unwearied Benefactor, who has provided so liberally for our comfort and happiness. They are naturally the means of supporting our bodies while we are employed in those duties which we owe to God, and they also enable us to supply the wants of others, to lessen the miseries, and to heighten the lawful joys of our fellow creatures. On all these ac. counts we may and ought to value them as real blessings, which may be improved to the most important purposes.
But our love of the world becomes excessive and sinful, when we give it that room in our hearts which is only due to God; when it is desired for its own sake, as a sufficient portion independent of his favour and friendship. If the world will keep its due place, it may be valued and esteemed in that place; but if it usurp an higher
station, and promise more than it is able to give, it must be rejected, as a deceiver, with abhorrence ' and contempt.
When we seek after earthly things, merely that our inordinate desires may be gratified, that the pride of our hearts may be cherished, or our ambition attain its object; when we are not contented with our daily bread, and that portion of the good things of life which is sufficient to sustain us during our pilgrimage to a better country-then is our love of the world undue and excessive; and the more we desire it under such views, the worse, the more corrupted and estranged from the love of God, will our hearts become. This leads me,
II. To inquire wherein the malignity of this sin consists. This will be most effectually illustrated by considering how deeply it taints the whole character and principles of action,
There are sins which only engage particular faculties of our nature in their service. Thus the love of pleasure is chiefly seated in the senses and the imagination. While these are strongly agitated by a particular enticement, conscience may indeed be totally overpowered for a season, and the person be carried along by an headstrong iresistible impulse : But the moral faculties have afterwards leisure to resume their influence; reason is again at liberty to represent the pernicious consequences of transgression; and experience is