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period, in order to promote the health and salvation of our souls
Let us, then, bring out the lusts and evil habits and corrupt passions and desires of our hearts, and slay them at the foot of the cross. A contemplation of the sufferings of Jesus on the accursed tree, by a lively faith, will give a mortal blow to the reigning power of sin : for how can we think lightly of it, when we see what accumulated sorrow, what intense agony,
it occasioned the mind of the holy Jesus'! If, then, we go to Calvary every day, and reflect on the scene which it presents of a dying Saviour, we cannot fail to derive the strongest motives for mortifying sin, and for treating it as an enemy who must be subdued, before we can enjoy complete repose. A sight of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ produced these salutary effects upon St. Paul; " by whom,” says he, “the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world";" so that I view the world, as little impressed by all its charms, as a spectator would be by any thing which had been graceful in the countenance of a person, when he beholds it blackened in the agonies of death; and am no more affected by the objects around me, than one that is expiring would be struck with any of those prospects which his dying eyes might view from the cross on which he was suspended“.
Let it at all times be recollected, that to render our resistance of sin effectual, we must be supported by strength from on high ; for it is hazardous, in the extreme, for us singly, and unaided by Divine
power, to combat with our spiritual foes; any one of whom would be able to destroy us, unprotected by the arm
* Luke xxii. 42-45. Mat. xxvi. 38. xxvii. 46.
Doddridge's Family Expositor.
of Omnipotence. And, further; such an unequal contest is quite superfluous, because God is ready to grant all needful succour to those who invoke it. Indeed, knowing the number and potency of our adversaries, he cautions us not to venture on the conflict without being furnished with spiritual weapons from the magazine of Grace :-“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day*.
Supported by the mighty God of Jacob, we shall be able to resist and overcome the most formidable powers of sin and hell.
Look at the immense multitude who, covered with the shield of faith and prayer, conquered in the day of battle, and are now enjoying in mansions of glory the fruits of their happy conquesto!
You will most certainly obtain a victory over sin and depraved affections, not less decisive and important in its results, if you “work out your salvation with fear and trembling;” depending for success on the Lord," who giveth strength and power unto His people. Eph. vi. 12, 13.
y Rev. vii. 9-17. * Psalm lxviii. 35. Phil. ii. 12, 13.
ON SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD. 2 Corinthians vi. 17, 18. Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you ; and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith
the Lord Almighty. Religion is a holy concern, which glory of God and the happiness of man.-Now, in order to maintain communion with the Deity, reason teaches us to seek those dispositions of soul which are pleasing to him.
God expects us to abstract ourselves, as much as we can, from all unnecessary commerce with the world ; whose character needs only to be known to justify such a separation. As the world came out of the hands of its Divine Former, it was pronounced “very good," and it was a beautiful specimen both of His power
and wisdom. But sin has converted it into a theatre of misery, in which every description of vice is exhibited, in utter opposition to the will of God. Its plans, purposes, and pleasures, are sinful; and its spirit is in open rebellion against his authorityo: yea, “ the whole world, except the people of God, is said to lie in wickedness",” or to acquiesce in the government of Satan, who is styled the “ Prince of it," "and worketh in the hearts of the Children of disobedienced."
To manifest, then, a decided regard for the world, which is as hostile to God as it is inimical to our own felicity, is the way to offend him, and ruin ourselves. In truth, any degree of friendship with it, in things forbidden, is impossible; unless we will assoa James iv. 4.
bi John v. 19. John xiv. 30.
Eph. ii. 2.
ciate with it at the peril of our souls. Thousands, in all ages, have lost heaven through an idolatrous love of this wicked world: ensnared by its maxims and spirit, they“ have drowned themselves in perdition?.” Demas and Hermogenes and Phygellus among professors, and a multitude of others who knew not God, have thus sacrificed ineffable bliss, for the vain and polluting and miserable pleasures of the world! Their awful fate should be a lasting admonition to us, not to estrange ourselves from God for the transitory gratifications which this life affords! God, desirous of the welfare of his rational creatures, not only reprobates the folly and madness of a worldly, vicious life; but complains of it, as a mark of the basest ingratitude shewn towards himself :-“ My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters; and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water h.'
1. That separation from the world, which it is our business to inculcate, does not call for a monastic seclusion from life and its various affairs. We were sent into the world not to waste our time in idleness, but to attend to the duties of our respective stations. A proper attention to our several callings is fully compatible with the most exalted piety.
St. Paul exhorts us to combine industry with religion, when he says, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord'." Nay, he proceeds further, and condemns those who neglect to make suitable provision for their families :-" If any man provide not for his own, especially for those of s his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidelk.”
el John. ii. 15.
I Tim.vi. 9.
52 Tim. iv. 10. & i. 15.
Besides, we are members of society, and have duties to perform towards it which cannot be dispensed with. Hence men must have some con
nection with the world, otherwise its ordinary afÀ fairs could not be transacted.
God does not, therefore, require his servants to retire from the world, and to imprison themselves in dens and caves of the earth; or to immure themselves in convents and cloistered retreats, as if it were sinful or unlawful to hold any intercourse with their fellow-creatures, or impossible to serve him faithfully in such a probationary state. All he enjoins us is, to take particular care, when we come in contact with carnal men, to evince that we are not of the world, either as to its spirit or guilty practices ; but that we maintain intercourse with it only for the management of our necessary business, or to benefit it by our instruction and example.
Yet it is incumbent on Christians to remember, that, as the world is a scene of temptation which endangers the salvation of their souls, the seldomer they mix with it the better. Their commerce with it should be regulated by the demands of duty; and every thing they have to manage in it, should be done in a spiritual frame, and with a view to the glory of God; that so “ they may escape its corruption through lust',” and render it better, and not worse, for their communicating with it.
Nominal Christians, however, instead of exercising such caution in their approaches to the world, plunge themselves heedlessly into its fascinating vortices ; just as if none had been already swallowed i Tim. v.8.
"1 Pet. ii. 1-4.