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might have prevented or retarded his return. Confcious of guilt, and covered with confusion, how shall he appear before his friends and acquaintance? “ I e know (might he have said) the malice of an ill “ judging and injurious world. The fins which are « blotted out from the book of God's remembrance " are not forgotten by them. Let me fly rather to the so uttermost parts of the earth, retire to the wilder“ ness untrodden by the foot of man, and hide mein " the shades which the beams of the sun never pier56 ced, than be exposed to the scorn and contumely " and reproach of all around me.”
But the penitent was determined and immove * * The rest of the MS. was not legible.
SE RM O N. XX.
1 CORINTHIANS ii. 12.
Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but
the Spirit which is of God.
THERE are two characters which, in Sacred Scripture, are set in perpetual opposition, the man of the earth, and the citizen of heaven. The first character pertains to that class of men, who, whatever speculative opinions they entertain, yet, in practice, consider this life as their only state of being. A person of this character centres all his regards in himself; confines his views entirely to this world, and, pursuing avarice, ambition, or sensual pleasure, makes there the sole objects of pursuit. Good dispositions he may possess, but he exercises them only when they are subfervient to his purposes. Virtues also he may cultivate, not for their own sake, but for the terrporal advantages they bring along with them. The citizen of heaven moves in a nobler sphere. He does not indeed affect the character of sanctity, by neglecting his temporal concerns. He looks upon the maxim of David, as inspired wifdom, “ If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself.” But although he has his temporal interest in his eye, he has a higher interest in his heart. What is necessary, what is useful, will often be a subject of attention ; but what is generous, what is lovely, what is honorable, what is praise-worthy, become the chief
objects of pursuit. He cultivates good dispositions from a sense of their beauty, previous to his experi. ence of their utility; he esteems the possession of virtue more than the earthly retvards it procures ; he lives in a constant discharge of the duties of life in this state, and with a well grounded faith, and an animating hope, looks forward to a better world, and a higher state of being.
These two characters, which divide all mankind, are always represented in Scripture as inconsistent and incompatible with each other. It is impoflible, says our Lord, at one and the same time to serve God and to serve Mammon. If any man love the world, says the Apostle John, the love of the Father is not in him. The principles that actuate theie characters are represented in the text as two spirits opposite to one another, the spirit of the world, and the spirit which is of God. The spirit of any thing is that vital principle which sets it agoing; which keeps it in motion; which gives it its form and diftinguishing qualities. The spirit of the world is that principle which gives a determination to the character, and a form to the life, of the man of the earth. The spirit which is of God is that vital principle which gives a determination to the character, and a form to the life, of the citizen of heaven. One of these spirits actuates all mankind. While therefore I represent the striking lineaments in these opposite characters, take this along with you, that I am defcribing a character which is your own: a character which either raises to eminence, or finks down to debasement.
In the first place, then, The spirit of the world is
mean and grovelling ; the fpirit which is of God is noble and elevated. The man of the earth, making himself the object of all his actions, and having his own interest perpetually in view, conducts his. life by maxims of utility alone. This being the point to which he constantly steers, this being the line from which he never deviates, he puts a value on every thing precisely as it is calculated to accom plish his purposes. Accordingly, to gain his end, he descends to the lowest and the vilest means; he gives up the manly, the spirited, and the honorable part of life ; he makes a sacrifice of fame, and character, and dignity, and turns himself into all the forms of meanness, and baseness, and proftration. The Prophet Isaiah, with infinite spirit, derides the idols of the heathen world. “A man,” faith he, “plant66 eth a tree, and the rain doth nourish it; he hew66 eth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and " the oak; and of the tree which he planted he ma“ keth to himself a god. The carpenter stretcheth out
his rule, he marketh it out with a line ; he fath. « ioneth it with planes, and maketh it after the fig. "ure of a man; and then he worshippeth it as a god. “ Part thereof he burneth in the fire, with part there.. “ of he maketh bread, and with the residue he ma. 6 keth a god." Similar to this is the creation of these earthly gods. Read the pages of their history, and behold them rising to divinity by compliance, by servility, by humiliating meanness, and the darkest debasements. How dishonorable often is that path which conducts to earthly grandeur; and how meana creature frequently is he whom the world calls a great man! So low and grovelling is the spirit of the world.
It is a spirit of a different kind that animates the citizen of heaven. He is born from above; he derives his descent from the everlasting Father, and he retains a conscious sense of his divine original. Hence, Christians, in Scripture, are called " noble ;" are called the “ excellent ones of the earth.” It is unworthy of their celestial descent, it is unbecoming their new nature, to stoop to the meanness of vice. The citizen of heaven scorns the vile arts, and the low cunning, employed by the man of the earth. Hc condescends indeed to every gentle office of kindness and humanity. But there is a difference between condescending, and descending from the dignity of character. From that he never descends. He himself ever feels, and he makes others feel too, that he walks in a path which leads to greatness, and fupports a character which is forming for heaven. Suchý is the difference between the spirit of the world, and the spirit which is of God. Suppleness, fervility, abject submission, disgrace the one ; dignity, elevation, independence, exalt the other. The one is a serpent, smooth, insinuating, creeping on the ground, and licking the dust : the other is an eagle, that towers aloft in the higher regions of the air, and moves rejoicing in his path through the heavens.
In the second place, The spirit of the world is a fpirit of falsehood, dissimulation and hypocrisy; the spirit of God is a spirit of truth, sincerity and openness. The life which the man of the earth leads is a scene of imposture and delusion. Show without substance; appearance without reality ; profession of friendship which signify nothing, and promises which are never meant to be performed, fill up a life