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up by them; or as if no harm could ensue from an unrestrained indulgence of its vanities. Now what does this fearless and unwarranted communion with the world argue, but a wish to drink of that cup which has poisoned countless thousands of our fellow-sinners, who, when it is too late, regret their attachment to a world of iniquity, which has led them to revolt from God.

Their destruction does not, however, operate as a salutary admonition to deter others from the same infatuation : for numbers can sleep securely on the enchanted ground, though the voice of God often proclaims in their ears, “ Arise ye, and depart! for this is not your rest. Because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction".?

But if we thus cleave in our heart to the world, we must share its destiny, and finally perish with it".

2. The Word of God, after allowing us such a necessary intercourse with the world as we have glanced at, demands that we separate from it, both in heart and conduct.

We must not sanction, much less act according to the principles of the world, when they oppose Revelation ; for this would be to treat the will of God with contempt, and to prefer the maxims of weak misguided creatures to the wise dictates of Him whose prerogative it is to be infallible.

Nor will it be sufficient to plead, in defence of any wrong sentiment or practice, that it has had the reverence of our ancestors, or is countenanced by many who stand high in the estimation of men. if the maxim be condemned by God, no human authority, however great, can make that good which He pronounces evil. Micah ü. 10.

* 2 Pet. ii. 10.

Every principle, in morals and religion, should be referred for examination to the Word of God, and be approved or rejected as it accords with, or differs from it. “ To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Now, if many of those sentiments which are so fashionable amongst us were judged of by this perfect rule, they would be deservedly branded with reproach, as being confessedly repugnant to the will of the Lord. Tried by this standard, many sins, to which specious names are given, would appear truly execrable : covetousness would not be disguised under the imposing terms of parsimony, economy, or prudence; revenge would not lose its criminality by being called a proper retaliation, but be justly exposed, as a murderous, diabolical feeling, which is hateful to God P; pride would not be mistermed the shewing of a becoming spirit, but would be regarded as an abomination to the Lord?; and many of those popular sentiments, to which usage has affixed the epithets of honourable and manly, would be seen, when viewed through this just medium, to be as vicious and disgraceful, as they are injurious to the welfare of our souls.

Surely, then, all who have any solicitude about pleasing God will feel no hesitation in appealing from the judgment of the world, whenever it dares to applaud what He forbids, and to condemn what He admires. Let us take care to derive our principles of action, not from the uncertain and often polluted stream of public opinion, but from the unerring Word of God; because our practice cannot

· Isa. viii. 20. 2 Pet. iii. 10. John ü. 17.
p Mat. v. 21-23.

. Prov. vi. 16,17.

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be virtuous and holy, so long as our principles are loose or unsettled.

The maxim of Christ, no less than the admonition of the Apostle Paul, shews that it is a matter of the first importance to have such principles fixed in our minds as may excite us to a consistently religious

“ Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt ; for the tree is known by his fruit'.” “ Hold fast the form of sound words s.'

" It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.”

3. It is incumbent on us to separate ourselves, also, from the pursuits of worldly men; because a marked difference of spirit and taste should be manifested by us, if we would prove ourselves to be the servants of the Almighty. Worldly people pursue, with an insatiate appetite, the things of time and sense-objects “which perish in the using." Christians cannot act in this manner: their affections must be fixed, “not on things which are on the earth, but on those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right-hand of God.” Dedicated to His honour, they must desire better pleasures, more noble enjoyments, than those which are merely secular. To grow in conformity to the will of their Heavenly Father, to abandon every pernicious way, to increase in gracious dispositions, and to know more of God and his Son Jesus Christ, and the matchless wonders of his redemption, should be the leading desires of their minds. Their treasure should be in heaven; and to gain its transporting joys, must be the nearest wish of their heart.

Mat. xii. 33. Heb. xiii. 9.

s 2 Tim. i. 13. Rom. xii.19-21.

Col. iii, 1–3.


4. A Christian is required to evidence his séparation from the world by differing most materially from it in practice. Many of those sins which carnal men ignorantly deem harmless offences wear quite another aspect in Scripture. Drunkenness, fornication, adultery, avarice, fraud, and extortion—crimes which, through the frequency with which they are committed, have almost lost, amongst some people, their native turpitude-still retain all their characteristic odiousness before God; and are stigmatized by Him as deadly sins, which he will visit at the Last Day with the heaviest indignation". But these are transgressions of the Divine Law, which are not to be named, much less perpetrated by Believers in Christ Jesus'.

Christians, in order to evince the superiority of their principles, and the dignity of their heavenly calling, will retire from the sinful amusements of the world. They will not resort to the Theatre ; because the scenes which are acted there have a most powerful tendency to efface every serious impression from the mind, and to induce those habits of levity and inconsideration which are incompatible with that constant preparation for death, judgment, and eternity, in which it is proper for us to live.

Plays, from the loose materials of which they are often constructed, and the manner in which they are exhibited to the public eye, are productive of far greater mischief to the moral and religious interests of men than can easily be conceived.

The love of frequenting the Theatre has destroyed thousands, whose minds have been debauched and vitiated by its polluting representations. Hence it is obvious, that the profanation of Sacred things, the Eph. v. 5.

1 ib. 3, 4.


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blasphemous appeals to Heaven to attest the most palpable falsehoods, the obscenity in the dress, language, actions, and gestures of the actors; the attempts which are sometimes made to make the most flagitious conduct appear heroic, amiable, and virtuous, and, at times, to degrade true excellence ; prove the Play-house to be a place to which a good man cannot conscientiously resort. He will, therefore, studiously shun every temptation “to filthiness, and foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient; but rather addict himself to giving of thanks”.

The Christian will be equally careful to avoid every place of public dissipation. He will not venture within the fashionable, though destructive, precincts of the assembly and the midnight revel. The false and dangerous pleasures which these afford will have no power to allure them that are bent on the pursuit of Divine objects. Indeed, the insipid amusements and foolish recreations in which worldlings delight have nothing to recommend them to reflecting minds; and when we see multitudes eagerly running after every vanity which their sickly imaginations can present before them, how can we have a more convincing proof of their estrangement from God? Would wise and good beings forsake the fountain of true enjoyment, to drink at the foulest streams of sin, if they knew in what their real welfare consisted ? Certainly not. As soon would they swallow the deadliest poison, as engage in the pleasures of sin,” did they but know their fatal tendency to alienate their souls from God, to give them a total distaste for religion, and to rob them of the everlasting happiness of heaven. Indeed, there is something peculiarly wrong in the

2 Eph. v. 4.

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