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spirit, pursuits, pleasures, and general practice of the ungodly world, which a good man cannot approve of. Added to this consideration, the danger to be apprehended from an imitation of its manners is so fearfully great, that he is obliged to treat it with the same cautious suspicion as we are accustomed to observe towards an avowed enemy.
5. The most urgent necessity exists for our separation from the world, for the following reasons: first, because its spirit and fashions and maxims are inimical to God, whose government is dishonoured by them. To apprise us of the hazard we run by courting its smile, the apostle James thus addresses us :-“ Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God“.
Can any reason be stronger than that which this fact suggests, for withdrawing from the temptations and pleasurable vanities of the world; which, in proportion as we are led by them, will defile, and not profit, our minds ; will inflame our passions, and not keep them in Christian subjection?
Can we entertain that in our bosoms, as a friend, which is the declared enemy of God? Can we deliberately join his adversaries, and espouse their cause against him? This would be an act of the blackest ingratitude, in return for his unspeakable mercies ; a species of the foulest treason and rebellion against his Divine Majesty.
Withdraw, then, if you value the favour of Almighty God, from this accursed thing ; lest it should destroy both soul and body in hello.
Secondly: another argument for separation from the world, and for the exercise of jealousy in all our • James iv. 4.
Mat. v. 29, 30.
approaches to it, is the profession of religion which we make.
This binds us, by the most solemn obligations, to a holy life.
As the Nazarites, under the Levitical economy, were devoted to God by a sacred vow, which obliged them to conform to the prescribed rules of abstinence', and to refrain from the use of every thing that could in the least degree contaminate their hearts and render them unfit for communion with God in his ordinances ; so Christians, by their baptismal covenant, by the rite of Confirmation, and more especially by the dedication of themselves to the service of God at the time of their conversion, give themselves up to the Lord as his unalienable property, to honour, love, and obey Him, so long as they continue on earth ; that after the dissolution of their bodies, they may enjoy his glorious and beatifying presence for ever in heaven.
Fearing lest we should forget the dignity of our sacred calling, and the obligations which it lays us under to righteousness of life, the Apostle thus addresses us :“What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in
.have of God, and ye are not your own! For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's d.”
How, then, can we be Christians, if we desecrate our souls by unholy lusts and pleasures ?
To those who profess to follow Christ, and yet incautiously mix with worldly and profạne persons, and allow themselves to join in schemes of carnal merriment, St. Paul proposes these questions, which they should duly and calmly reflect on .-"What c Numb. vi, 1-22
• 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20,
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the Living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, 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 God Almighty."
The Jews were compelled, by the law of Moses, to use the utmost care, lest they should contract any ceremonial defilement.
If they unwittingly held intercourse with an unclean person, or touched a dead body or any other prohibited object, they were considered as polluted, and were deemed unfit to join in the service of the Lord, until they had submitted to the appointed rites of purification'.
If God required such external marks of purity under a dispensation which was so soon to be abolished, can we feel any surprise, if, under the Gospel, which more clearly reveals His will, he should exact from his spiritual worshippers a separation from the world and its unhallowed spirit, and the cultivation of those devout affections which alone can qualify them for the fruition of his eternal glory? • 2 Cor. vi, 14-18.
'Lev. xi. 1-47.
UNRESERVED SURRENDER OF THE HEART TO GOD.
Proverbs xxiii. 26. My son, give me thine heart. CREATION, redemption, and the mercies which his providence hourly showers upon us, give unto God the strongest claims imaginable to our especial regard. The paternal care which he exercised 'over us through the helpless years of infancy, his unremitted kindness in supplying our various necessities, the manifold deliverances vouchsafed to us from disease and death, call upon us, in the loudest manner, to glorify God, who dias done so much to promote our happiness.
The heart is the seat of religion. When its several powers are engaged in the cause of righteousness, then we delight in God as our portion; and the Gospel of Christ assumes in the mind a reality and importance unknown before, and everything is valued in proportion as it tends to promote the interests of true piety in the soul.
6 With the heart man believeth unto righteousness ^ ;” and the effects of faith upon it are, that love and obedience to God which constitute acceptable religion.
We cannot, therefore, feel astonished that God should account every thing but the devotion of the inmost soul as comparatively worthless, and of no avail in our religious services. To shew that nothing less will satisfy him, he prefers the request to every one who wishes to secure his Fatherly regard: “My Son, give me thine heart." With this gift he is more pleased than with the most expensive offering. * Romans x. 10.
Prov. xxiü. 26.
“ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.'
1. The surrender of the heart consists in yielding up its faculties to the service of God. With the will and affections, we should choose God as our portion, seek delight and satisfaction in his service, and determine in favour of " the things which are excellent.” With the understanding, we should endeavour to discover his will, and “to worship him in spirit and in truth.” The conscience should be placed as a sentinel at the door of the soul, to warn it against the danger of temptation, and to stimulate it to a faithful discharge of its duty ;-in a word, with the various energies of the mind we should honour God to the full extent of our ability.
2. When the heart is thus given up and consecrated to the Lord, it most cheerfully renders a positive obedience to his will.
God's positive will must be consulted by those who wish to glorify him. He has strictly charged us to observe his ways, and to reverence his Word, Sabbaths, and Ordinances. Accordingly, to pray to him, to praise him for his mercy to us, and to enthrone him in our affections, to mortify every sinful desire, to live above the world, and to be daily preparing for heaven by the acquisition of spiritual graces and tempers, such as faith, hope, humility, love, joy, patience, temperance, long-suffering, gentleness, and goodness®, is the necessary and important work of God's servants on earth. Nor will he give this honourable name to any one who does not heartily endeavour to comply with every injunction of his revealed will. No reservation of the heart for worldly vanities-no compromise betwixt its
Psalm li. 17. a John iv. 24. € Gal. v. 22.