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honour and obey your parents and superiors in all things, not absolutely and clearly sinful. Thus will your victory over the world be real and permanent.
Lastly, : DEVOTE YOURSELVES UNRESERVEDLY TO THE SERVICE OF CHRIST.
You can only escape the tyranny of the world, by entering the service of a better Lord. In proportion as you transfer your thoughts and affections to your Saviour, will your distaste for a merely earthly life be strengthened. You will have no time nor inclination for vanity and folly. The cross of Christ seen by faith, will enable you to crucify the world. It will bring you pardon and victory. It will engage you in another cause, occupy you with other objects, and introduce you into other society. It will detect all the glare and imposition of earthly things. The mysterious death of the incarnate Saviour vill fix your heart, produce hatred of sin, reconcile you to reproach, deliver you from the fear of man, and make obedience delightful.
But lastly, allow me,
II. TO CAUTION THE TRUE CHRISTIAN AGAINST THE INFLUENCE OF THE WORLD. Though delivered from it as to its open vices and follies, though separated from its public scenes and temptation, and professedly engaged in warfare with it, yet.you are still in constant danger. This
you may learn from the examples of a worldly temper' which I before adduced from Scripture in the case of persons who were the true servants of God, as Lot, and Eli, and Jehoshaphat, and Martha. Especially is the danger great in a day of extended religious profession like the present. There is now a world even in the Church of God. A man may lose his religion, and become altogether carnal in the midst of religious concerns and occupations. . There are borderers, as it were, living on the confines of the two kingdoms. These form a world of their own, where measured degrees of vanity, dress, company, trifling, ostentation, ambition, are tacitly countenanced; where plain honest spirituality of heart and life is in disgrace; and where the abstinence from public places of amusement and a few other grosser practices of irreligion, serves to quicken the appetite for every possible indulgence which is still within reach. From the spirit and practice and maxims and standard of these persons, the zealous Christian will stand aloof, that he may commune with his Saviour, that he may devote his time to the duties and charities of his station, that he may study bis Bible, that he may walk with God, and adorn 'his Gospel in all things. It will be his inquiry, not how near he may approach to the world, but how far he ought to recede from it. Far from living in
trembling anxiety as to the judgment of the world, or asking the half-hearted and timid professor, to what point he will allow him to proceed without affixing on him some name of contempt; he will pant after a complete resemblance to Christ his Lord, and will pray that, in the full sense of the expression, he may not be of the world, even as his Master was not of the world.
A FORM OF GODLINESS.
2 TIMOTHY, 111. 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof. There are two parts of religion, the internal. and the external. Each of these is important; but in very different degrees. The inward grace of religion is the life of the whole, and gives all the value to its outward appearances. The ordinances of it are excellent, if they are regarded as a means rather than an end; but if they are substituted for inward piety, they become injurious and dangerous. Thus the Apostle instructs us, that in the perilous times of the last dispensation of the church, men shall learn to unite every possible vice, with an outward adherence to the rituals of Christianity; shall retain the form whilst they deny the power of godliness. And though the ordinary cases which occur in the present day are far from being so aggravated as those described by the Apostle, yet the tendency of
human nature is ever the same. A large class of mankind are always prone to neglect the real spirit and influence of religion, and to overvalue its outward observances.
Let us then consider,
I. The power of godliness.
We are to notice,
The term CODLINESS is, strictly considered, a due love and obedience to the blessed God; but it is ordinarily employed in the Scriptures, in a larger sense, for the whole of true religion. This begins in the conversion of the heart by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It leads to sincere repentance. It brings a man to believe cordially in the name of Jesus Christ for pardon and justification through his vicarious sacrifice and atonement. It produces a love to God and holiness, a delight in prayer, a value for the Bible, a mortification of remaining sinful passions, charity to our neighbour, separation from the sins and corruptions of the world, meekness, humility, circumspection, tenderness of conscience, and a desire to discharge every personal and relative duty. Thus the sinner, who was formerly ungodly and careless about his salvation, becomes a new creature in Christ