“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the
love of the Father is not in him.” - 1 John ii. 15.

THERE are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human

heart its love of the world - either by a demonstration of the world's vanity, so as that the

heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not

worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment,

so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have

nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one.

My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is

altogether incompetent and ineffectual and that the latter method will alone suffice for the

rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it. After

having accomplished this purpose, I shall attempt a few practical observations.

Love may be regarded in two different conditions.

The first is, when its object is at a distance, and then it becomes love in a state of desire.

The second is, when its object is in possession, and then it becomes love in a state of

indulgence. Under the impulse of desire, man feels himself urged onward in some path or

pursuit of activity for its gratification. The faculties of his mind are put into busy exercise.

In the steady direction of one great and engrossing interest, his attention is recalled from

the many reveries into which it might otherwise have wandered; and the powers of his

body are forced away from an indolence in which it else might have languished; and that

time is crowded with occupation, which but for some object of keen and devoted ambition,

might have drivelled along in successive hours of weariness and distaste - and though hope

does not always enliven, and success does not always crown this career of exertion, yet in

the midst of this very variety, and with the alternations of occasional disappointment, is the

machinery of the whole man kept in a sort of congenial play, and upholden in that tone and

temper which are most agreeable to it.

Insomuch, that if, through the extirpation of that desire which forms the originating

principle of all this movement, the machinery were to stop, and to receive no impulse from

another desire substituted in its place, the man would be left with all his propensities to

action in a state of most painful and unnatural abandonment. A sensitive being suffers, and

is in violence, if, after having thoroughly rested from his fatigue, or been relieved from his

pain, he continue in possession of powers without any excitement to these powers; if he

possess a capacity of desire without having an object of desire; or if he have a spare energy

upon his person, without a counterpart, and without a stimulus to call it into operation.

The misery of such a condition is often realized by him who is retired from business, or

who is retired from law, or who is even retired from the occupations of the chase, and of

the gaming table. Such is the demand of our nature for an object in pursuit, that no

accumulation of previous success can extinguish it - and thus it is, that the most prosperous

merchant, and the most victorious general, and the most fortunate gamester, when the

labour of their respective vocations has come to a close, are often found to languish in the

midst of all their acquisitions, as if out of their kindred and rejoicing element. It is quite in

vain with such a constitutional appetite for employment in man, to attempt cutting away

from him the spring or the principle of one employment, without providing him with

another. Thu whole heart and habit will rise in resistance against such an undertaking. The

else unoccupied female who spends the hours of every evening at some play of hazard,

knows as well as you, that the pecuniary gain, or the honourable triumph of a successful

contest, are altogether paltry. It is not such a demonstration of vanity as this that will force

her away from her dear and delightful occupation. The habit cannot so be displaced, as to

leave nothing but a negative and cheerless vacancy behind it - though it may so be

supplanted as to be followed up by another habit of employment, to which the power of

some new affection has constrained her. It is willingly suspended, for example, on any

single evening, should the time that wont to be allotted to gaining, require to be spent on

the preparations of an approaching assembly. The ascendant power of a second affection

will do, what no exposition however forcible, of the folly and worthlessness of the first,

ever could effectuate.

And it is the same in the great world. We shall never be able to arrest any of its leading

pursuits, by a naked demonstration of their vanity. It is quite in vain to think of stopping

one of these pursuits in any way else, but by stimulating to another. In attempting to bring

a worldly man intent and busied with the prosecution of his objects to a dead stand, we

have not merely to encounter the charm which he annexes to these objects - but we have to

encounter the pleasure which he feels in the very prosecution of them. It is not enough,

then, that we dissipate the charm, by a moral, and eloquent, and affecting exposure of its

illusiveness. We must address to the eye of his mind another object, with a charm powerful

enough to dispossess the first of its influences, and to engage him in some other

prosecution as full of interest, and hope, and congenial activity, as the former.

It is this which stamps an impotency on all moral and pathetic declamation about the

insignificance of the world. A man will no more consent to the misery of being without an

object, because that object is a trifle, or of being without a pursuit, because that pursuit

terminates in some frivolous or fugitive acquirement, than he will voluntarily submit

himself to the torture, because that torture is to be of short duration. If to be without desire

and without exertion altogether, is a state of violence and discomfort, then the present

desire, with its correspondent train of exertion, is not to be got rid of simply by destroying

it. It must be by substituting another desire, and another line or habit of exertion in its

place - and the most effectual way of withdrawing the mind from one object, is not by

turning it away upon desolate and unpeopled vacancy - but by presenting to its regards

another object still more alluring.

These remarks apply not merely to love considered in its state of desire for an object not

yet obtained. They apply also to love considered in its state of indulgence, or placid

gratification, with an object already in possession. It is seldom that any of our tastes are

made to disappear by a mere process of natural extinction. At least, it is very seldom, that

this is done through the instrumentality of reasoning. It may be done by excessive

pampering - but it is almost never done by the mere force of mental determination. But

what cannot be destroyed, may be dispossessed and one taste may be made to give way to

another, and to lose its, power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind.

It is thus, that the boy ceases, at length, to be the slave of his appetite, but it is because a

manlier taste has now brought it into subordination - and that the youth ceases to idolize

pleasure, but it is because the idol of wealth has become the stronger and gotten the

ascendancy and that even the love of money ceases to have the mastery over the heart of

many a thriving citizen, but it is because drawn into, the whirl of city polities, another

affection has been wrought into his moral system, and he is now lorded over by the love of

power. There is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an

object. Its desire for one particular object may be conquered; but as to its desire for having

some one object or other, this is unconquerable. Its adhesion to that on which it has

fastened the preference of its regards, cannot willingly be overcome by the rending away of

a simple separation. It can be done only by the application of something else, to which it

may feel the adhesion of a still stronger and more powerful preference. Such is the grasping

tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of - and which, if

wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a

void and a vacancy as painful to the mind, as hunger is to the natural system. It may be

dispossessed of one object, or of any, but it cannot be desolated of all. Let there be a

breathing and a sensitive heart, but without a liking and without affinity to any of the

things that are around it; and, in a state of cheerless abandonment, it would be alive to

nothing but the burden of its own consciousness, and feel it to be intolerable. It would

make no difference to its owner, whether he dwelt in the midst of a gay and goodly world;

or, placed afar beyond the outskirts of creation, he dwelt a solitary unit in dark and

unpeopled nothingness. The heart must have something to cling to - and never, by its own

voluntary consent, will it so denude itself of its attachments, that there shall not be one

remaining object that can draw or solicit it.

The misery of a heart thus bereft of all relish for that which wont to minister enjoyment, is

strikingly exemplified in those, who, satiated with indulgence, have been so belaboured, as

it were, with the variety and the poignancy of the pleasurable sensations they have

experienced, that they are at length fatigued out of all capacity for sensation whatever. The

disease of ennui is more frequent in the French metropolis, where amusement is more

exclusively the occupation of the higher classes, than it is in the British metropolis, where

the longings of the heart are more diversified by the resources of business and politics.

There are the votaries of fashion, who, in this way, have at length become the victims of

fashionable excess - in whom the very multitude of their enjoyments, has at last

extinguished their power of enjoyment - who, with the gratifications of art and nature at

command, now look upon all that is around them with an eye of tastelessness - who, plied

with the delights of sense and of splendour even to weariness, and incapable of higher

delights, have come to the end of all their perfection, and like Solomon of old, found it to be

vanity and vexation. The man whose heart has thus been turned into a desert, can vouch for

the insupportable languor which must ensue, when one affection is thus plucked away

from the bosom, without another to replace it. It is not necessary that a man receive pain

from anything, in order to become miserable. It is barely enough that he looks with distaste

to every thing - and in that asylum which is the repository of minds out of joint, and where

the organ of feeling as well as the organ of intellect, has been impaired, it is not in the cell of

loud and frantic outcries, where we shall meet with the acme of mental suffering. But that is

the individual who outpeers in wretchedness all his fellows, who, throughout the whole

expanse of nature and society, meets not an object that has at all the power to detain or to

interest him; who, neither in earth beneath nor in heaven above, knows of a single charm to

which his heart can send forth one desirous or responding movement; to whom the world,

in his eye a vast and empty desolation, has left him nothing but his own consciousness to

feed upon dead to all that is without him, and alive to nothing but to the load of his own

torpid and useless existence.

It will now be seen, perhaps, why it is that the heart keeps by its present affections with so

much tenacity - when the attempt is, to do them away by a mere process of extirpation. It

will not consent tobe so desolated. The strong man, whose dwelling-place is there, may be

compelled to give way to another occupier - but unless another stronger than he, has

power to dispossess and to succeed him, he will keep his present lodgment unviolable. The

heart would revolt against its own emptiness. It could not bear to be so left in a state of

waste and cheerless insipidity. The moralist who tries such a process of dispossession as

this upon the heart, is thwarted at every step by the recoil of its own mechanism. You have

all heard that Nature abhors a vacuum. Such at least is the nature of the heart, that though

the room which is in it may change one inmate for another, it cannot be left void without

the pain of most intolerable suffering. It is not enough then to argue the folly of an existing

affection. It is not enough, in the terms of a forcible or an affecting demonstration, to make

good the evanescence of its object. It may not even be enough to associate the threats and

the terrors of some coming vengeance, with the indulgence of it. The heart may still resist

the every application, by obedience to which, it would finally be conducted to a state so

much at war with all its appetites as that of downright inanition. So to tear away an

affection from the heart, as to leave it bare of all its regards and of all its preferences, were

a hard and hopeless undertaking - and it would appear, as if the alone powerful engine of

dispossession were to bring the mastery of another affection to bear upon it.

We know not a more sweeping interdict upon the affections of Nature, than that which is

delivered by the Apostle in the verse before us. To bid a man into whom there has not yet

entered the great and ascendant influence of the principle of regeneration, to bid him

withdraw his love from all the things that are in the world, is to bid him give up all the

affections that are in his heart. The world is the all of a natural man. He has not a taste nor a

desire, that points not to a something placed within the confines of its visible horizon. He

loves nothing above it, and he cares for nothing beyond it; and to bid him love not the

world, is to pass a sentence of expulsion on all the inmates of his bosom. To estimate the

magnitude and the difficulty of such a surrender, let us only think that it were just as

arduous to prevail on him not to love wealth, which is but one of the things in the world, as

to prevail on him to set wilful fire to his own property. This he might do with sore and

painful reluctance, if he saw that the salvation of his life hung upon it. But this he would do

willingly, if he saw that a new property of tenfold value was instantly to emerge from the

wreck of the old one.

In this case there is something more than the mere displacement of an affection. There is

the overbearing of one affection by another. But to desolate his heart of all love for the

things of the world, without the substitution of any love in its place, were to him a process

of as unnatural violence, as to destroy all the things that he has in the world, and give him

nothing in their room. So that, if to love not the world be indispensable to one's

Christianity, then the crucifixion of the old man is not too strong a term to mark that

transition in his history, when all old things are done away and all things become new. We

hope that by this time, you understand the impotency of a mere demonstration of this

world's insignificance. Its sole practical effect, if it had any, would be. to leave the heart in a

state which to even heart is insupportable, and that is a mere state of nakedness and

negation. You may remember the fond and unbroken tenacity with which your heart has

often recurred to pursuits, over the utter frivolity of which it sighed and wept but

yesterday. The arithmetic of your short-lived days, may on Sabbath make the clearest

impression upon your understanding - and from his fancied bed of death, may the preacher

cause a voice to descend in rebuke and mockery on all the pursuits of earthliness - and as

he pictures before you the fleeting generations of men, with the absorbing grave, whither

all the joys and interests of the world hasten to their sure and speedy oblivion, may you,

touched and solemnized by his argument, feel for a moment as if on the eve of a practical

and permanent emancipation from a scene of so much vanity.

But the morrow comes, and the business of the world, and the objects of the world, and the

moving forces of the world come along with it - and the machinery of the heart, in virtue of

which it must have something to grasp, or something to adhere to, brings it under a kind of

moral necessity to be actuated just as before - and in utter repulsion to wards a state so

unkindly as that of being frozen out both of delight and of desire, does it feel all the warmth

and the urgency of its wonted solicitations - nor in the habit and history of the whole man,

can we detect so much as one symptom of the new creature - so that the church, instead of

being to him a school of obedience, has been a mere sauntering place for the luxury of a

passing and theatrical emotion; and the preaching which is mighty to compel the

attendance of multitudes, which is mighty to still and to solemnize the hearers into a kind

of tragic sensibility, which is mighty in the play of variety and vigour that it can keep up

around the imagination, is not mighty to the pulling down of strong holds.

The love of the world cannot be expunged by a mere demonstration of the world's
worthlessness. But may it not be supplanted by the love of that which is more worthy than

The love of the world cannot be expunged by a mere demonstration of the world's

worthlessness. But may it not be supplanted by the love of that which is more worthy than

itself? The heart cannot be prevailed upon to part with the world, by a simple act of

resignation. But may not the heart be prevailed upon to admit into its preference another,

who shall subordinate the world, and bring it down from its wonted ascendancy? If the

throne which is placed there must have an occupier, and the tyrant that now reigns has

occupied it wrongfully, he may not leave a bosom which would rather detain him than be

left in desolation. But may he not give way to the lawful sovereign, appearing with every

charm that can secure His willing admittance, and taking unto himself His great power to

subdue the moral nature of man, and to reign over it? In a word, if the way to disengage the

heart from the positive love of one great and ascendant object, is to fasten it in positive love

to another, then it is not by exposing the worthlessness of the former, but by addressing to

the mental eye the worth and excellence of the latter, that all old things are to be done away

and all things are to become new. To obliterate all our present affections by simply

expunging them, and so as to leave the seat of them unoccupied, would be to destroy the

old character, and to substitute no new character in its place. But when they take their

departure upon the ingress of other visitors; when they resign their sway to the power and

the predominance of new affections; when, abandoning the heart to solitude, they merely

give place to a successor who turns it into as busy a residence of desire and interest and

expectation as before - there is nothing in all this to thwart or to overbear any of the laws of

our sentient nature - and we see how, in fullest accordance with the mechanism of the

heart, a great moral revolution may be made to take place upon it.

This, we trust, will explain the operation of that charm which accompanies the effectual

preaching of the gospel. The love of God and the love of the world, are two affections, not

merely in a state of rivalship, but in a state of enmity - and that so irreconcilable, that they

cannot dwell together in the same bosom. We have already affirmed how impossible it

were for the heart, by any innate elasticity of its own, to cast the world away from it; and

thus reduce itself to a wilderness. The heart is not so constituted; and the only way to

dispossess it of an old affection, is by the expulsive power of a new one. Nothing can exceed

the magnitude of the required change in a man's character - when bidden as he is in the

New Testament, to love not the world; no, nor any of the things that are in the world for

this so comprehends all that is dear to him in existence, as to be equivalent to a command

of self-annihilation.

But the same revelation which dictates so mighty an obedience, places within our reach as

mighty an instrument of obedience. It brings for admittance to the very door of our heart,

an affection which once seated upon its throne, will either subordinate every previous

inmate, or bid it away. Beside the world, it places before the eye of the mind Him who made

the world and with this peculiarity, which is all its own - that in the Gospel do we so behold

God, as that we may love God. It is there, and there only, where God stands revealed as an

object of confidence to sinners and where our desire after Him is not chilled into apathy, by

that barrier of human guilt which intercepts every approach that is not made to Him

through the appointed Mediator. It is the bringing in of this better hope, whereby we draw

nigh unto God - and to live without hope, is to live without God; and if the heart be without

God, then world will then have all the ascendancy. It is God apprehended by the believer as

God in Christ, who alone can dispost it from this ascendancy. It is when He stands

dismantled of the terrors which belong to Him as an offended lawgiver and when we are

enabled by faith, which is His own gift, to see His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and to

hear His beseeching voice, as it protests good will to men, and entreats the return of all

who will to a full pardon and a gracious acceptance_it is then, that a love paramount to the

love of the world, and at length expulsive of it, first arises in the regenerated bosom. It is

when released from the spirit of bondage with which love cannot dwell, and when admitted

into the number of God's children through the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the spirit of

adoption is poured upon us - it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one

great and predominant affection, is delivered from the tyranny of its former desires, in the

only way in which deliverance is possible. And that faith which is revealed to us from

heaven, as indispensable to a sinner's justification in the sight of God, is also the instrument

of the greatest of all moral and spiritual achievements on a nature dead to the influence,

and beyond the reach of every other application.

Thus may we come to perceive what it is that makes the most effective kind of preaching.

Itis not enough to hold out to the world's eye the mirror of its own imperfections. It is not

enough to come forth with a demonstration, however pathetic, of the evanescent character

of all its enjoyments. It is not enough to travel the walk of experience along with you, and

speak to your own conscience and your own recollection, of the deceitfulness of the heart,

and the deceitfulness of all that the heart is set upon. There is many a bearer of the Gospel

message, who has not shrewdness of natural discernment enough, and who has not power

of characteristic description enough, and who has not the talent of moral delineation

enough, to present you with a vivid and faithful sketch of the existing follies of society. But

that very corruption which he has not the faculty of representing in its visible details, he

may practically be the instrument of eradicating in its principle. Let him be but a faithful

expounder of the gospel testimony unable as he may be to apply a descriptive hand to the

character of the present world, let him but report with accuracy the matter which

revelation has brought to him from a distant world - unskilled as he is in the work of so

anatomizing the heart, as with the power of a novelist to create a graphical or impressive

exhibition of the worthlessness of its many affections - let him only deal in those mysteries

of peculiar doctrine, on which the best of novelists have thrown the wantonness of their

derision. He may not be able, with the eye of shrewd and satirical observation, to expose to

the ready recognition of his hearers, the desires of worldliness but with the tidings of the

gospel in commission, he may wield the only engine that can extirpate them. He cannot do

what some have done, when, as if by the hand of a magician, they have brought out to view,

from the hidden recesses of our nature, the foibles and lurking appetites which belong to it.

But he has a truth in his possession, which into whatever heart it enters, will, like the rod

of Aaron, swallow up them all - and unqualified as he may be, to describe the old man in all

the nicer shading of his natural and constitutional varieties, with him is deposited that

ascendant influence under which the leading tastes and tendencies of the old man are

destroyed, and he becomes a new creature in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us not cease then to ply the only instrument of powerful and positive operation, to do

away from you the love of the world. Let us try every legitimate method of finding access to

your hearts for the love of Him who is greater than the world. For this purpose, let us, if

possible, clear away that shroud of unbelief which so hides and darkens the face of the

Deity. Let us insist on His claims to your affection - and whether in the shape of gratitude,

or in the shape of esteem, let us never cease to affirm, that in the whole of that wondrous

economy, the purpose of which is to reclaim a sinful world unto Himself - he, the God of

love, so sets Himself forth in characters of endearment, that nought but faith, and nought

but understanding, are wanting, on your part, to call forth the love of your hearts back


And here let us advert to the incredulity of a worldly man; when he brings his own sound

and secular experience to bear upon the high doctrines of Christianity - when he looks on

regeneration as a thing impossible - when feeling as he does, the obstinacies of his own

heart on the side of things present, and casting an intelligent eye, much exercised perhaps

in the observation of human life, on the equal obstinacies of all who are around him, he

pronounces this whole matter about the crucifixion of the old man, and the resurrection of

a new man in his place, to be in downright opposition to all that is known and witnessed of

the real nature of humanity. We think that we have seen such men, who, firmly trenched in

their own vigorous and homebred sagacity, and shrewdly regardful of all that passes before

them through the week, and upon the scenes of ordinary business, look on that transition

of the heart by which it gradually dies unto time, and awakens in all the life of a new-felt

and ever-growing desire towards God, as a mere Sabbath speculation; and who thus, with

all their attention engrossed upon the concerns of earthliness, continue unmoved, to the

end of their days, amongst the feelings, and the appetites, and the pursuits of earthliness. If

the thought of death, and another state of being after it, comes across them at all, it is not

with a change so radical as that of being born again, that they ever connect the idea of

preparation. They have some vague conception of its being quite enough that they acquit

themselves in some decent and tolerable way of their relative obligations; and that, upon

the strength of some such social and domestic moralities as are often realized by him into

whose heart the love of God has never entered, they will be transplanted in safety from this

world, where God is the Being with whom it may almost be said that they have had nothing

to do, to that world where God is the Being with whom they will have mainly and

immediately to do throughout all eternity. They admit all that is said of the utter vanity of

time, when taken up with as a resting place. But they resist every application made upon

the heart of man, with the view of so shifting its tendencies, that it shall not henceforth find

in the interests of time, all its rest and all its refreshment. They, in fact, regard such an

attempt as an enterprise that is altogether aerial - and with a tone of secular wisdom,

caught from the familiarities of every-day experience, do they see a visionary character in

all that is said of setting our affections on the things that are above; and of walking by faith;

and of keeping our hearts - in such a love of God as shall shut out from them the love of the

world; and of having no confidence in the flesh; and of so renouncing earthly things as to

have our conversation in heaven.

Now, it is altogether worthy of being remarked of those men who thus disrelish spiritual

Christianity, and, in fact, deem it an impracticable acquirement, how much of a piece their

incredulity about the demands of Christianity, and their incredulity about the doctrines of

Christianity, are with one another. No wonder that they feel the work of the New

Testament to be beyond their strength, so long as they hold the words of the New

Testament to be beneath their attention. Neither they nor any one else can dispossess the

heart of an old affection, but by the expulsive power of a new one - and, if that new

affection be the love of God, neither they nor any one else can be made to entertain it, but

on such a representation of the Deity, as shall draw the heart of the sinner towards Him.

Now it is just their unbelief which screens from the discernment of their minds this

representation. They do not see the love of God in sending His Son unto the world. They do

not see the expression of His tenderness to men, in sparing Him not, but giving Him up unto

the death for us all. They do not see the sufficiency of the atonement, or the sufferings that

were endured by Him who bore the burden that sinners should have borne. They do not

see the blended holiness and compassion of the Godhead, in that He passed by the

transgressions of His creatures, yet could not pass them by without an expiation. It is a

mystery to them, how a man should pass to the state of godliness from a state of nature -

but had they only a believing view of God manifest in the flesh, this would resolve for them

the whole mystery of godliness. As it is, they cannot get quit of their old affections, because

they are out of sight from all those truths which have influence to raise a new one. They are

like the children of Israel in the land of Egypt, when required to make bricks without straw

- they cannot love God, while they want the only food which can ailment this affection in a

sinner's bosom - and however great their errors may be both in resisting the demands of

the Gospel as impracticable, and in rejecting the doctrines of the Gospel as inadmissible, yet

there is not a spiritual man (and it is the prerogative of him who is spiritual to judge all

men) who will not perceive that there is a, consistency in these errors.

But if there be a consistency in the errors, in like manner is there a consistency in the truths

which are opposite to them. The man who believes in the peculiar doctrines, will readily

bow to the peculiar demands of Christianity. When he is told to love God supremely, this

may startle another; but it will not startle him to whom God has been revealed in peace,

and in pardon, and in all the freeness of an offered reconciliation. When told to shut out the

world from his heart, this may be impossible with him who has nothing to replace it - but

not impossible with him, who has found in God a sure and a satisfying portion. When told

to withdraw his affections from the things that are beneath, this were laying an order of self

extinetic* upon the man, who knows not another quarter in the whole sphere of his

contemplation, to which he could transfer them - but it were not grievous to him whose

view has been opened up to the loveliness and glory of the things that are above, and can

there find for every feeling of his soul, a most ample and delighted occupation. When told to

look not to the things that are seen and temporal, this were blotting out the light of all that

is visible from the prospect of him in whose eye there is a wall of partition between guilty

nature and the joys of eternity - but he who believes that Christ hath broken down this wall,

finds a gathering radiance upon his soul, as he looks onwards in faith to the things that are

unseen and eternal. Tell a man to be holy and how can he compass such a performance,

when his alone fellowship with holiness is a fellowship of despair? It is the atonement of

the cross reconciling the holiness of the lawgiver with- the safety of the offender, that hath

opened the way for a sanctifying influence into the sinner's heart; and he can take a

kindred impression from the character of God now brought nigh, and now at peace with

him. - Separate the demand from the doctrine; and you have either a system of

righteousness that is impracticable, or a barren orthodoxy. Bring the demand and the

doctrine together - and the true disciple of Christ is able to do the one, through the other

strengthening him. The motive is adequate to the movement; and the bidden obedience of

the Gospel is not beyond the measure of his strength, just because the doctrine of the

Gospel is not beyond the measure of his ac ceptance. The shield of faith; and the hope of

salvation, and the Word of God, and the girdle of truth - these are the armour that he has

put on; and with these the battle is won, and the eminence is reached, and the man stands

on the vantage ground of a new field, and a new prospect. The effect is great, but the cause

is equal to it - and stupendous as this moral resurrection to the precepts of Christianity

undoubtedly is, there is an element of strength enough to give it being and continuance in

the principles of Christianity. The object of the Gospel is both to pacify the sinner's

conscience, and to purify his heart; and it is of importance to observe, that what mars the

one of these objects, mars the other also. The best way of casting out an impure affection is

to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good, to expel the love of what is evil.

Thus it is, that the freer the Gospel, the more sanctifying is the Gospel; and the more it is

received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness.

This is one of the secrets of the Christian life, that the more a man holds of God as a

pensioner, the greater is the payment of service that he renders back again. On the tenure

of "Do this and live,” a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; and the jealousies of a legal

bargain chase away all confidence from the intercourse between God and man; and the

creature striving to be square and even with his Creator, is, in fact, pursuing all the while

his own selfishness, instead of God's glory; and with all the conformities which he labours

to accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God,

nor indeed under such an economy ever can be. It is only when, as in the Gospel,

acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security

which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance - or, that he can repose in

Him, as one friend reposes in another - or, that any liberal and generous understanding can

be established betwixt them - the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good - the

other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude, by

which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence.

Salvation by grace - salvation by free grace - salvation not of works, but according to the

mercy of God - salvation on such a footing is not more indispensable to the deliverance of

our persons from the hand of justice, than it is to the deliverance of our hearts from the

chill and the weight of ungodliness. Retain a single shred or fragment of legality with the

Gospel, and we raise a topic of distrust between man and God. We take away from the

power of the Gospel to melt and to conciliate. For this purpose, the freer it is, the better it is.

That very peculiarity which so many dread as the germ of antinomianism, is, in fact, the

germ of a new spirit, and a new inclination against it. Along with the light of a free Gospel,

does there enter the love of the Gospel, which, in proportion as we impair the freeness, we

are sure to chase away. And never does the sinner find within himself so mighty a moral

transformation, as when under the belief that he is saved by grace, he feels constrained

thereby to offer his heart a devoted thing, and to deny ungodliness. To do any work in the

best manner, we should make use of the fittest tools for it.

And we trust, that what has been said may serve in some degree, for the practical guidance

of those who would like to reach the great moral achievement of our text - but feel that the

tendencies and desires of Nature are too strong for them. We know of no other way by

which to keep the love of the world out of our heart, than to keep in our hearts the love of

God - and no other way by which to keep our hearts in the love of God, than building

ourselves up on our most holy faith. That denial of the world which is not possible to him

that dissents from the Gospel testimony, is possible even as all things are possible, to him

that believeth. To try this without faith, is to work without the right tool of the right

instrument. But faith worketh by love; and the way of expelling from the heart the love

which transgresseth the law, is to admit into its receptacles the love which fulfilleth the


Conceive a man to be standing on the margin of this green world; and that, when he looked

towards it, he saw abundance smiling upon every field, and all the blessings which earth

can afford scattered in profusion throughout every family, and the light of the sun sweetly

resting upon all the pleasant habitations, and the joys of human companionship

brightening many a happy circle of society - conceive this to be the general character of the

scene upon one side of his contemplation; and that on the other, beyond the verge of the

godly planet on which he was situated, he could descry nothing but a dark and fathomless

unknown. Think you that he would bid a voluntary adieu to all the brightness and all the

beauty that were before him upon earth, and commit himself to the frightful solitude away

from it? Would he leave its peopled dwelling places, and become a solitary wanderer

through the fields of nonentity? If space offered him nothing but a wilderness, would he for

it abandon the homebred scenes of life and of cheerfulness that lay so near, and exerted

such a power of urgency to detain him? Would not he cling to the regions of sense, and of

life, and of society ? - and shrinking away from the desolation that was beyond it, would not

he be glad to keep his firm footing on the territory of this world, and to take shelter under

the silver canopy that was stretched over it? But if, during the time of his contemplation,

some happy island of the blest had floated by; and there had burst upon his senses the light

of its surpassing glories, and its sounds of sweeter melody; - and he clearly saw, that there,

a purer beauty rested upon every field, and a more heartfelt joy spread itself among all the

families; and he could discern there, a peace, and a piety, and a benevolence, which put a

moral gladness into every bosom, and united the whole society in one rejoicing sympathy

with each other, and with the beneficent Father of them all. - Could he further see, that pain

and mortality were there unknown; and above all, that signals of welcome were hung out,

and an avenue of communication was made for him - perceive you not, that what was

before the wilderness, would become the land of invitation; and that now the world would

be the wilderness?

What unpeopled space could not do, can be done by space teeming with beatific scenes, and

beatific society. And let the existing tendencies of the heart be what they may to the scene

that is near and visibly around us, still if another stood revealed to the prospect of man,

either through the channel of faith, or through the channel of his senses - then, without

violence done to the constitution of his moral nature, may he die unto the present world,

and live to the lovelier world that stands in the distance away from it

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