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any body else does so in reality. I will therefore endeavor to shew you, 1. What is not implied in crucifying the world; 2. Wherein it immediately and properly consists.
On the first of these, I beg your attention to the following particulars.
1. The world's being crucified to us, does not imply that there is any evil in the natural world, considered in itself, and as the work of God. The whole frame of nature, as it was produced and is preserved by God, and the whole course of Providence, as conducted by him, are perfectly faultless. We may even fay more, the creation carries on it such an image of its Maker, as the materials are able to bear. In this view, it is our duty to look upon the world with reverence, and adore the glory of God in all its parts, from the highest to the lowest. The evil arises wholly from ourselves, and our disposition to fin. When we say a corrupt enticing deceitful world, it is but another way of speaking for the corruption of the human heart.
-2. It does not imply that we should undervalue or be insensible of prefent mercies. Every gift of God is good, if it be received with thankfulness, and used with fobriety. The more the world is crucified as it ought to be, the more we will discern the goodness of God, even in common mercies. It is matter of daily experience, and well worthy of observation, that those who idolize the world moft, as an object of finful desire, do usually despise the world molt, as the subject or ground of thankfulness to God. A voluptuous, ambitious, or envious person, who pursues the world with eagerness, and never thinks he has enough, is commonly discontented and unthankful. His eyes are so wistfully fixed on what he wants, that he neither remembers nor values what he already has. On the con. trary, the self-denied and mortified Christian, though despising the world as an object of pursuit, is yet deeply fenfible of the kindness of Providence, in his daily preservation, or liberal provision, A mind formed upon the principles of the golpel, may look down with contempt upon the lustre of a throne, and yet know the value, and feel a sense of gratitude in the possession of a crumb.
3. It doth not imply that the world is useless to a believer, even with regard to his spiritual benefit. It is not only certain that he may have, but that he will have, the sanctified improvement of every state : Rom. viii. 28. " And we know that all things work together for good, “ to them that love God, to them who are the called ac“ cording to his purpose.” The fame mercies which make a wicked man infolent, make a good man thankful. They also extend his power of doing good to others. You may fue, by our Saviour's advice, how the world be
profitably employed : Luke xvi. 9.
" And I say unto you, “ Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrigh. “ teousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you inแ
to everlasting habitations." See also the account of his procedure at the great day, Matth. xxv. 34.–36. “ Then “ shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared “ for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an
hungred, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsly, and ye “ gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: “naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited
me : I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
4. It does not imply that we ought to retire from the employment or business of the world altogether. Though there is a manifest danger in being too much involved in business, as well as too much devoted to pleasure; it is an error, on the other hand, to place religion in voluntary poverty, in monkish austerity, or uncommanded maceration of the body. This is not doing, but deserting our duty: it is not crucifying the world, but going out of it; it is not overcoming the world, but flying from it.
But let us now consider, directly and positively, what is implied in the world's being crucified to us, and we to the world. And that the after illustrations may be at once more intelligible and more convincing, it will not be inrproper to begin by saying, in general, that we must be crucified to the world in those respects in which man, at his first apoftasy, fell away to the world from God. While man continued in innocence, the world, which in itself is without stain, was never put to any but a facred use.
It was then a theatre of divine glory, as indeed it is still ; but not a scene of human guilt, as it is now. It was in. tended for a place of trial, however, in which man was left to the freedom of his own will; and therefore it was capable of being abused. Thence came that sacrilegious attachment to the world, from which it is fo much our interest to be effectually delivered. But to explain this mat. ter a little more at large, the world must be crucified to the believer in the following respects ; which, though I confess they all come at last to the fame thing, yet I thirk it is proper and necessary to mention distinctly.
1. As it is the subject and occasion of, or a temptation to sin. It is very plain, that however faultless and excellent the whole works of nature and providence are in themfelves, from the corruption of our nature they become the food of carnal affection, the fuel of concupifcence. The very liberality of Providence, and rich provision made for the supply of our wants and the gratification of our appetites, becomes a temptation to gross sensuality, and criminal indulgence. This is well described by the apostle John, 1 Ep. ii. 16, “For all that is in the world, " the luft of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” In this view, we ought to hold it in the utmost abhorrence. But how is this to be done? By seriously considering the unhappy and powerful influence it hath in foliciting us to evil. Instead of being taken with its charms, we ought to dread their force, we ought to be sensible how unequal we are to the conflict, and how unable, without superior strength, to keep ourselves from its pollution.
When we fee persons in honor and power, and are tempted to envy their distinguished rank in life, we ought to consider how naturally exaltation tends to intoxicate the mind, how few are able to bear honor or reputation with humility, and how little reason we have to confide in our own steadiness and resolution. When we fee the splendor of a rich and affluent state, we ought to consider the strong temptation which commonly arises from riches, to contempt of God, oppression of others, sensuality of temper, and forgetfulness of eternity. Suffer me, on this fubject, to inake every man his own reprover. How few are there in a rich and affluent state, whose conduct in the application of riches you can wholly approve! Are you not con. stantly blaming them for covelousness and oppreflion on the one hand, or prodigality on the other ? How is it, then, that you entertain no suspicion that you yourselves would be led astray by the sanie means? Is not this a strange infatuation, and blindness to divine truth, even where every word of the Spirit of God is ratified by daily experience ?
When we fee and are tempted to envy the votaries of pleasure, those who live delicately and fare suniptuously every day, we ought to consider what a dangerous en. snaring thing appetite is, how it steals upon men infenfibly, and at last enslaves them absolutely; how hard it is for the most cautious to set proper bounds to it, as well as how dreadful and fatal the excessive indulgence of it. To crucify the world then, as a temptation to fin, is not to consider its charmış by themselves, but always in connexion with their probable effects. This seems to have suggested the wife and well-conceived prayer of the prophet Agur, Prov. xxx. 7, 8, 9.“ Two things have I required of thee, “ deny me them not before I die. Remove far from me “ vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches, “ feed me with food convenient for me : lest I be full, and “ deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, " and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” On the same thing is founded the advice of Solomon, with regard to the fin of sensuality : Prov. xxiii. 31. “ Look “ not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth “ his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
2. The world must be crucified to the believer, as it would be his supreme felicity and chief good. This is no otherwise to be distinguished from the former confideration, than as the general course and stream of our affections differs from particular acts of transgression. It is very necessary, however, to attend to it; for there are many unes der the habitual government of a worldly mind, who do not think themselves, and who perhaps are ni chargeable with gross acts of irregularity an.
bleed inwardly to think, how many of the ordinary profef. sors of religion are here included. How many are there, who, if conscience would be faithful, must confefs, that the favor of God, his worship, his sabbaths, his people, are not their fupreme delight! Yet that this is essential to real religion, or rather is the substance of all true religion, I think we have repeated assurances in the holy scriptures. It is plain from the language of the Pfalmist, Psal. lxxiii. 25. 1. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none “ upon earth that I desire besides thee.” It is plain from the sum of the moral law, Luke x. 27. “ Thou shalt love " the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy " soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; “ and thy neighbor as thyself;" as also from that trying passage, Matth. x. 37. “ He that loveth father or mother
more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth “ fon or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.”
Take heed then, my brethren, to this important truth. If the world would keep its distance, fo to speak, it might be esteemed, and used, in its proper place, and to its proper end ; but if it will needs pretend to be what it is not, and to promise what it cannot give, we must take it for a deceiver, and hold it in detestation. Your Maker form. ed you for his own glory : He must be the rest and conso. lation of your souls, or they never shall have rest; he must be their happiness, or they shall be miserable for ever. But if the world would seem to be your home, if it promiseth you content and fatisfaction, if the possession of it is the ultimate end at which you aspire, so that you do not heartily, and with affection, look any further, it is usurping its Creator's throne; and therefore down with the idol, and tread it in the duft.
Is not this the great question with regard to us all, Whether the objects of faith, or of sense, things present or things to come, God or the world, has the possession of our hearts? A believer who will thankfully receive and use the blessings of a present world for their proper end, will notwithstanding hold it, and all its possessions, in the higheft degree of contempt, when compared with the one thing needful. He will say, from the bottom of his heart, in the