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other considerations, from its main point, applies and directs its whole undivided force and ingenuity to the attainment of its end ; and when tbus applied and directed, how probable is it, that such efforts will succeed! But far different is the case with Religious persons. They shew not this decision and singleness of mind in their spiritual concerns. Though it be their main ob. ject to please God, and to save their souls, yet they do not make every thing else give way to this as they ought to do. It is true indeed, that they do not actually attenipt to serve God and Mammon; but yet it is also true, that the love of the world is not so utterly brought into subjection, but that they too often suffer themselves to be diverted from their chief purpose, by worldly cares or pleasures. It is true indeed, that they do not wilfully obey sin, in any of the lusts thereof : but it is also true, that sin is not so entirely subdued in their hearts, but that they are too often drawn aside, and hindered in their spiritual course by its remaining power in their souls. Thus, though they do not follow religion with a divided inind, yet they too often pursue it with a distracted one. They too often suffer lower objects immoderately to engage their attention, and to take it off from their grand concern. Hence it comes to pass, that they do not make so decided a progress in the ways of God as they might; and thus it appears, that they do not consult for their spiritual concerns, so well as the Children of this world do for their temporal interests.
Having thus explained the meaning the Remark in the text, and also shewn in some particular instances VOL II.
its Truth and Propriety, I would now shortly apply the subject, by addressing myself,
1. To those among us who are really seeking God, and are intending and endeavouring to lead a holy and religious life. To'such among us, the subject is both bumbling and instructive. It is humbling, by shewing us how far we fall short of doing what we ought to do. It is instructive, by shewing us how we may do better for the time to come. We have seen in what respects the Children of this world are wiser than the Children of light. But surely, this ought not to be. Consider the difference of the objects, which worldly and religious persons are following. Worldly persons are following an object in itself fleeting, perishing, and comparatively worthless; an object, which may never be attained ; and which if attained will certainly disappoint their expectation, and must soon be taken from them for ever. But religious persons are following an object in itself substantial, lasting, and of infinite value ; an object, which they are sure of attaining; and which, when attained, will far exceed all their hopes, and will never be taken away. With such disproportion in the objects pursued, ought the Children of this world to be wiser in their way of conducting the pursuit than the Children of light ? Ought they, who are seeking merely a worldly treasure, lo shew more diligence and activity, more foresight and circumspection, more decision and singleness of mind in attaining their end, than they who are seeking a heavenly treasure ? Are we not ashamed to think, that we who profess to be striving for an incorruptible crown, a crown of righteous
ness and glory, should be less active, less earnest, less anxious in our endeavours to obtain it, than worldly men are to obtain the corruptible things of this life? Let us awake from this disgraceful sleep. Let us act in a manner more becoming our pretensious. Let us do more credit to the religion which we profess. Let us be instructed even by worldly inen. Though we cannot applaud their judgment, or account thein wise in respect to the object wbich they pursue ; nay, though in this respect, we must decidedly condemn their choice, and loudly proclaim their folly ; yet let us so far benefit by their example, as to copy their diligence, circumspection, and zeal; and thus learn to exercise in a better cause, and to nobler purposes, that wisdom which they display in their inferior concerns. remember, that it is not enough to seek; we must strive ; we must labour to grow in grace, and improve our talents ; for according to our spiritual growth and improvement, will be our degree of happiness and glory bereafter.-I must say a few words,
2. To those Worldy Persons of whom we have been Apeaking. My Brethren, I have been shewing you what is that Wisdom, for which our Lord commends you in the text.
Think not, however, that because He commends your wisdom, he therefore approves your conduct. Far otherwise. The Master commended the unjust Steward for bis wisdom, but he did not, and could not, commend him for his dishonesty. And in what respect do you differ from this Steward ? So long as you are setting your affections on earthly things, and seeking your bappiness in the world instead of in: God, you are defrauding Him. You are robbing bing of that honour, and glory, and service, wbich are due to Him alone. And can He approve what you are doing? Be assured, however He may so far commend your foresight, ingenuity, and diligence, as to bold them up to his own people for their imitation and benefit, He yet entirely disapproves and severely condemns your conduct. Glory not then in your worldly wisdom ; for it is a wisdom which will not only profit you nothing, but which, in the end, will ruin your souls. Renounce this wisdom, and become really wise-wise unto salvation. Seek the wisdom which is from above. “ Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” The prudence, activity, and watchfulness, wbich your are consuming on the unprofitable pursuits of this world, if rightly directed and employed, will procure for you an incorruptible inheritance. God give you grace thus to direct and employ them for his mercy's sake in Jesus Christ!
TENDENCY OF CHRISTIAN, PRINCIPLES TO PRO:
DUCE TRUE CONTENTMENT.
PHILIPPIANS, iv. 11, 12...
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
eontent. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound ; every where, and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry; both to abound and to suffer need.
THERE bave been few persons, who have been put to heavier trials of patience and temper than St.. Paul. He had endured. many and great hardships ;“in-journeyings osten ;. in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by bis own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings . often ; in bunger and thirst, in fastings often; in cold and nakedness.”'a At the very time of his writing this epistle to the Philippians, he was a prisoner at Rome for Christ's sake. Yet this is the man whom we find declaring in the text, “ I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how,
a 2 Cor. xi. 26, 27, VOL. II.