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views, the worse, the more corrupted and estranged from the love of God, will our hearts become. This leads me,

II. To inquire wherein the malignity of this sin consists. This will be most effectually illustrated by consi. dering how deeply it taints the whole character and principles of action.

There are sins which only engage particular faculties of our nature in their service. Thus the love of pleasure is chiefly seated in the senses and the imagination. While these are strongly agitated by a particular enticement, conscience may indeed be totally overpowered for a season, and the person be carried along by an headstrong irresistible impulse: But the moral faculties have afterwards leisure to resume their influence; reason is again at liberty to represent the pernicious consequences of transgression; and experience is always at hand, to convince the sinner how inconvenient and dangerous his forbidden pleasures are.

But no such checks are ready to occur to the man in whom the love of the world predominates. His sin is of deliberate choice, and engages the wbole man in pursuit of its own ends. It is not an error about the means, it is not seeking a right end in a mistaken way; but it is pursuing a false and pernicious end, with care, anxiety, and self-approbation. Hence it is called in Scripture IDOLATry, not from any resemblance it has to the outward act of falling down before stocks or stones, but because it entirely displaces our affections from their proper object, and leads them to the preference of an unjust and delusive rival. Hence it is asserted, by the apostle James, that “the friendship of the world is enmity to God.” It is not merely a want of affection to our Maker, which more or less characterizes every sin; but it is an absolute opposition and hatred to him, so that, in the lau

guage of the text, “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

From these considerations it is evident, that this sin stands as it were at the most remote distance from repentance. It overspreads the mind so entirely, as to leave in it no sound principle to withstand the progress of complete alienation from God. It resembles those diseases which do not attack one part of the body only, but which invade the whole constitution; and resembles such diseases in another respect also, that the person is seldom convinced of their reality, until the approach of a fatal termination renders it impossible for him longer to deceive himself.

This reasoning is confirmed by experience. No fault in the mind is in fact so rarely cured as a worldly disposition. Age and experience, which often bring a remedy with them for other follies, only confirm and increase the habits of an earthly mind. Even on the brink of the grave, when every other passion and desire has been extinguished, it has been known to occupy the departing spirit with an anxiety little, if it all inferior, to that which animated its most active pursuits.

Such is the peculiar malignity and dangerous nature of this sin. But as few will defend this criminal disposition directly, and as many wbo are enslaved by it are ready enough to join in generally condemning it, I proceed,

III. To lay before you a few symptoms of a worldly mind, and to examine some of the apologies upon which men flatter themselves with being free of it.

1st, then, We love the world plainly to excess, when we use any unlawful means to obtain its advantages. This is a mark which cannot well be controverted; and yet how many will it involve in the charge of a worldly mind! Prove yourselves, then, by this characteristic. Would any prospect of gain tempt you to cheat or dissem. ble? Will your consciences allow you to go beyond or defraud your neighbour, providing you can do it in a way so secret as to defy human discovery? Does it seem a light matter to you, to take advantage of the simplicity or ignorance of others in the course of business ? If so, your minds are indeed deeply corrupted; and it is not regard to God or his law, but to your own credit and safety, which restrains you from the most flagrant acts of injustice. Such persons may assure themselves, without further examination, that the love of the Father is not in them, and that their hearts are wholly alienated from God: For, as the Apostle to the Romans argues, “ Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." And “no man can serve two masters; for ei. ther he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other; ye cannot serve God and Mammon."

2dly. We love the world to excess, when in the enjoyment of its good things we are ready to say, with the rich man represented in our Lord's parable, “ Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years, eat, drink, and be merry.” Too much complacency, in wbat we possess, is no less an evidence of a worldly mind than an excessive desire of more. Examine yourselves, then, with regard to the source whence you de. rive your pleasures-from heaven or from earth-from the abundance of corn and wine, and oil, or from the light of God's reconciled countenance. Can you surrender yourselves to the relish of earthly enjoyments without any acknowledgment of him who bestows themi

When riches increase, do you yield yourselves to the satisfactions arising from them, without considering the true state of your souls, whether they be growing in the favour of God, and in meetness for the heavenly inheri. tance? If so, the world has deceived you, and God has little room in your affections.

3dly. The world predominates in your hearts, when it engrosses the principal train of our thoughts; when it is the last idea that possesseth us when we lie down, and the first when we arise; when it distracts us in our attendance on the duties of religion, interrupts our devotion in prayer, diverts our attention in hearing, and fetters our minds in meditation. I mean not to assert, that every degree of influence which it has in these respects betrays its absolute ascendency over the mind; for who then could free himself of this charge ? But when these worldly thoughts engross the mind by its own consent, when they make us grudge the time bestowed on reli. gion, and eager to resume our earthly occupations, as soon as we have lulled our consciences with an unmeaning attendance on its ordinances--wben, like the Jews of old, we say of the Sabbath, " what weariness! when will it be over, that we may sell corn?”—This is not only a preferring of the world to God, but in reality a solemn mockery of him, not less provoking than open profanity itself. The

4th and last mark of a worldly mind which I shall mention, is unmercifulness to the poor. Those who have a large measure of temporal goods bestowed on them, ought certainly, in proportion to their abundance, contribute to the necessities of their fellow creatures.

This is evidently the design of Providence in permitting, or rather appointing, such extreme diversities of condition in the world. But too many of the opulent


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seem to think no such duty required of them. They flatter themselves that they do all that is incumbent on them in this respect, if, by the plenty of their tables, the splendour of their dwellings, the sumptuousness of their equi. page, and other articles of their luxury, they find employment for the poor by providing for their consumption. This, indeed, is an eventual benefit to society, but is far from absolving them from the obligation they owe to it, much less does it acquit them of their duty to him who favoured them with such distinguished blessings : For what mark of gratitude to God is it, that we consume his bounty upon our own pleasures, although, in so doing, we cannot avoid distributing a part of it to our fellow creatures ?

Such persons, whatever they may think of themselves, how remote soever they may think a worldly character from being applicable to them, are in fact deeply chargeable with it. Perhaps they even do give a part of their superfluity for the relief of their brethren, and estimating that by its proportion to what others give, and not to the extent of their own means, think themselves un. commonly bountiful. But this is a gross deception, and will be found so in the day when every false pretence shall be detected before the judgment-seat of Christ. Then shall they be found among those who loved the world, and in whose hearts the love of the Father had no place.

These symptoms, if properly attended to, may be of considerable use towards discovering the true state of your characters in this respect. But as the heart is de. ceitful, and as we are extremely prone to flatter ourselves that we are free of this criminal disposition, it may be proper to endeavour, before closing this head of discourse, to detect some of those false apologies upon

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