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nation of the word of God on this subject, in connexion with the baptismal vows which the church lays upon every one of us, must surely lead to a conviction that. THE WORLD which the true servants of God are called upon to renounce, comprehends those scenes of pleasure and dissipation in which so many who profess and call themselves Christians are too often found. Thus in our blessed Lord's parting injunctions to his disciples, he said to them, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Of that same world he had previously testified that “it could not receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him;"| and of that unbelieving, sinful, and vain portion of the world he declared that he would not even pray for them: “I pray for these my disciples, I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me out of the world.”+ The same world which the writer of this Gospel so plainly condemns in his Epistle ; “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. For all that is in the world, the lust of
* John xv. 18, 19.
+ John xiv. 17. John xvii. 9.
the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”*
Now if these things are not to be found in modern ball-rooms, theatres, and places of public amusement, we are at a loss where to search for them; nor can we comprehend what is intended in the baptismal vow, if it be not these vain indulgences. For “the vain pomp and glory of the world,” renounced in our baptism, is further explained in the church catechism to mean, “the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” as distinguished from the “sinful lusts of the flesh” and the works of the devil, that is, from more gross sins and impiety. The import of such expressions cannot be doubted; they point at those very practices to which the gay world is devoted, and which will never want advocates as long as there are preachers who seek to please man more than God. But the preaching which is pleasing to him will ever denounce such customs, however fashionable and prevalent. The veil which conceals their deformities will be removed, and the pride, and vanity, and selfishness, and love of things present, which rule and reign in such scenes of dissipation, will be exhibited; and whether the mask which is worn be that of nominal Judaism, or that of Heathenism, or of nominal Christianity, THE WORLD, with its pomps,
1 John ïi. 15, 16.
its pleasures and its gains will be discovered, and denounced as contrary to the spirit and genius of the gospel, which is a religion of self-denial, selfmortification, and separation from the pleasures no less than from the vices of the world.
“The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Such is a brief and rapid sketch of some of the great distinguishing truths, whose prominency will ever mark that preaching which approves itself to God.
It only remains for us to consider THE UTTER IMPOSSIBILITY OF PLEASING BOTH GOD AND MAN IN THIS MATTER. And here we have the solemn affirmation of the apostle; and this alone is enough, “ FOR IF I YET PLEASED MEN I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST." An assertion which all scripture history illustrates and confirms : in all ages those preachers and teachers who have pleased God have uniformly displeased man, and have ever received the testimony of persecution as further proof of their faithfulness. Thus it was with Enoch, Noah, Joseph, Moses, and with all the prophets of God in succeeding generations. “I hate him," saith one, " for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”
6 Doth he not speak parables ?" said another race of men of another prophet.
66 Who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ?” exclaimed Isaiah. The great
bulk of mankind have ever rejected with indignation the truth, by whomsoever it might be declared; and ridicule, scorn, and very commonly grievous persecution, has been the lot of those who delivered it. And when He appeared, who was himself emphatically “THE TRUTH,” and “ who spake as never man spake,” the reception he met with was the same in kind, though infinitely worse in degree, than that of those who preceded or followed him. The men of that age were “ offended in him;” and he compares himself and his disciples to children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced : we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.” The attempt to deliver the truth in such a manner as to make it palatable to men is in itself sinful; and could we succeed, we should only prove ourselves faithless stewards of the mysteries of God.
“ Woe be unto you,” saith the Saviour to such teachers-“woe be unto you when all men shall speak well of you; for so did their fathers to the FALSE PROPHETS.”f The approbation of man is the condemnation of the Most High; what pleases Him must be displeasing to His sinful creatures. How can it be otherwise ? God is holy, and man is unholy-God is pure, and man is corrupt-their natures are essentially opposed to each other ---" the carnal mind is * Matt. xi. 16, 17.
+ Luke vi. 26.
enmity against God;"* and there is that irreconcileable hostility between an unconverted man and his Maker, that it is a moral impossibility that the same doctrines can be pleasing to both. “That which is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God;t and His holiness, spirituality, and justice, are foolishness in the eyes of man.
In this great work of the ministry it is impossible to serve two masters, God and man; it is vain to attempt to please them both; and the only safe determination is that of the apostle, “As we are allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth the hearts.” I
A moment's reference to the immutable nature of truth itself would illustrate this part of the subject. A doctrine must be right or wrong, true or false; it is in accordance with holy Scripture, the only standard of reference, or it is in opposition to it. Whether we exaggerate or diminish any scriptural truth, we are equally in error: for truth is everywhere and always the same, and is governed by immutable laws, which cannot be modified without being violated. Take any of the leading topics which have now been brought under consideration.
The conflicting statements respecting them cannot both be right; man is wholly lost, or he is not. If he be, and * Rom. viii. 7. + Luke svi. 15. * 1 Thess. ii. 4.