RPM, Volume 18, Number 23, May 29 to June 4, 2016

Sermons on John 17

Sermon XXIII

By Thomas Manton

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, be­cause they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. �"John 17:14.

Thirdly, Having given the instances and discovery of the world's hatred to the people of God, I now come to the reasons thereof.

1. Difference and estrangement in course of life is a provok­ing thing. Therefore men that live in any sinful course are loath that any should part company with them: 1 Peter iv. 4, 'Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to all excess, speaking evil of you.' Therefore they hate them, because of the difference in the course of life. Now this suitableness and oneness of course can never be between the serious worshippers of God and others. There is a contrariety in their dispositions: the one have the spirit of the world, the other have a heavenly spirit, 1 Cor. ii. 12. They are employed in the service of contrary masters, Christ and mammon, Mat. vi. 24, Christ and Belial, 2 Cor. vi. 15. They are guided by contrary rules, the law of sin and the law of righteousness, the customs of the world, and the will of God; and they are carried in all their ways and actions to contrary ends, the one living for earthly, the other for heavenly things; whence it must necessarily follow that they must continually cross one another in the course of their conversation.

2. This is not all: it is not only a difference, but a difference about religion; and usually hatreds that arise from difference in religion are very deadly; that which is for the restraint of passion is made the fuel of it, and instead of a judge a party. The Samaritans and Jews could not endure one another. The nearer they agree the strife is the greater, when they are outstripped in that form. Proximonm odia eunt accrrima, A Turk hateth a Jew more than a Christian, a Jew hateth a Christian more than others. So in the other subdivision, the nearer and more conjoined in a common profession, the greater the particular breach, and the hatred more fierce.

3. It is not only a difference about religion, but between the true religion and false. False worships, though never so different, may better agree together than the false with the true; as darkness and darkness will better suit than light and darkness, and one error will give better quarter to another than either will to the right worship of God. The heathens tolerated the Epicureans, that denied provi­dence, and took away all respect and care about divine matters; and yet persecuted Christians. The strict profession of the name of the true God enrageth more than to say, 'There is no God.' The [Pg. 377] Romans, when they had captivated any nation, worshipped the gods of it, except it were Jehovah, the God of the Jews; yea, afterward, though the Jews were equally against the idolatries of the Gentiles as the Christians, yet they were not so generally hated and persecuted. So that hatred and persecution is the church's lot, and the evil genius that followeth the gospel wherever it goeth. Other religions, though much different among themselves, can agree well enough and live together in peace, when the malignity of the world is turned upon that which is true. Under Rome antichristian the Jews were tolerated, but not Protestants.

But why is there such a spite and enmity at the sincere and serious profession of the true religion? It is needful to speak to this, that we may search this sore to the bottom. Holiness is lovely, and there is a natural veneration of what is strict, and godliness in the power of it tendeth to love and meekness, and teacheth men patience in wrongs, and readiness to give and to forgive, to do good to all, to pass by in­juries, and to render good for evil. Why should such an amiable thing be hated? I answer

1. The devil's instigation is one great cause; he hath great wrath against the saints; their increase presageth his ruin: Rev. xii. 12, 'The devil is come down unto yon, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a little time.' And he hath great power over wicked men: Eph. ii. 2, 'The prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.' As he worketh other sins in them, so this sin of hatred and trouble to the saints: John viii. 44, 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lasts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning.' And Cain is said to be 'of that wicked one,' 1 John iii. 12. They are his seed, and there is an old enmity between the seeds. The original cause is malignity against God: Rom. i. 30, 'Haters of God.' It is a part of original sin; they hate God, and hate his saints. God should speed no better than his saints, if he were in their power. But the actual cause is

2. On man's part; and there seemeth to be a double reason�"pride and envy. Pride is impatient of reproof, and envy looketh with an evil eye upon their privileges and advantages in Christ.

[1.] Pride, which is impatient of reproof. Strictness is an object reviving guilt: Heb. xi. 7, 'Noah, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his family, whereby he condemned the world.' Your life is a reproof, that maketh them ashamed: John vii. 7, 'The world hateth me, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.' Every wicked man loveth another, vdut fautorem, adfvtatorem, et excuaatorcm ei criminis. One wicked man doth not put another to the blush. It is no shame to be black in a country of negroes, where all are black. Their conversation is a living reproof. Thy guilt is upbraided by their righteous works; their conversation upbraideth thy conscience; the sense of thy guilt and negligence is revived by their righteous works, and serious diligence in heaven's way. We are impatient of a verbal reproof, much more of a real. Their holy lives beget a fear and awe: Mark vi. 20,' Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and observed him.' Christ saith here not only, 'I have given them thy word,' but, 'They are not of the [Pg. 378] world.' They do not only teach things contrary to the world, but live contrary to the world. Many a strict preacher may be a carnal man, and the world and he may agree well enough. They look upon sermons as words spoken of course; it is the holy conversation that ennigeth most, as elephants are enraged with gorgeous apparel. They have no veil and cloak for their sins. Thieves rob in the night; they would fain extinguish the light. The world cannot endure to be condemned by that light that shineth from the godly, as the sun is burdensome to the owl and other night-birds: John iii. 19, 20, 'This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh he to the light lest his deeds should be reproved.' [2.] Envy at God's favours bestowed on them: John xv. 19, 'If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen yon out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.' Cam was not only upbraided by Abel'· better sacrifice, but envied God's acceptance of him, Gen. iv. 4,6. Joseph's parti-coloured coat and his father's favour stirred up envy in his brethren. This is the difference between envy and emulation: envy is accompanied with laziness, as emulation with industry. There is between the good, \~agayh\~ \~eriv\~, a good contention, Heb. x. 24, who shall be most forward. Emulation is good, if separated from carnal aims; but envy, which is accompanied with sloth, maketh a man malign that good which is in others. Envy hath an evil eye, it cannot look upon goodness without grief. When others are at tin top of the hill, and they lie lazily at the bottom, they fret at those which are at the top; they will not put in for the privileges of Christianity, and therefore are troubled with those that do so. Divine grace hath made a distinction, and those whom God blesseth to be objects of his love, the world chooseth to be objects of hatred.

Use 1. If the children of God hath the world's respect at any time, they have need to look to their consciences. Do not you symbolise with them in carnal practices? Luke vi. 26, 'Cursed are you when all men speak well of you, for so they did to the false prophets.' Phocion, upon a general applause, went home, and said, Quid malt fecit�"Do not you at least let fall the majesty of your conversation? A child of God may find external favour, as the three children did in Babylon, by God's overruling power on men's spirits: Prov. xvi. 7, 'When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh his enemies to be at peace with him.' The world may do it in design; as Hannibal abstained from Fabius his fields, to render him suspected; or else to oblige by courtesies, and gain them to their faction and party. However you have cause to look to yourselves; it is ill to be solicited, as a chaste matron is troubled to be solicited to lust. Have not you given them some advantage? Do not you share with them in their wickedness? When the world's respects run out so fairly and smoothly towards you, you have cause to suspect yourselves. At least, take the more need that you do not seek to make your conversation more pleasing, by suiting yourself to the customs and sinful courses of carnal men. Use 2. To press all to avoid this sin and snare of death, especially [Pg. 379] in these times of dissension. Oh I take heed, whatever you do, what­ever differences you cherish, or whatever party you stick to, that you be not guilty of hatred against the power of godliness. Let not the saints act the wicked's part The spirit of enmity seeketh other pre­tences. Hold not communion with the wicked world in their malignity and spite against God's children.

1. It is a mark of a child of the devil, the express image of Satan. Thereby our Saviour convinced the Jews to be of their father the devil, because they hated him that came from God: John viii. 40, 41, 'But now ye seek to kill me, a man that have told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father;' and ver. 44, 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the troth, because there is no truth in him;' and 1 John iii. 10, 'In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.' This manifests men to be the chil­dren of Satan, because they love not their brethren, as Gain loved not Abel. Yon express the image of Satan to the life, when this is the ground of your hatred.

2. It is a very provoking sin; and it is the more provoking, because we enjoy so any benefits by them. It is sad to hate men for their godliness, for Christ's name's sake. Look, as it is a commendation of kindness on the one side, so it is an aggravation of injury on the other: Mat. x. 42, 'Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in nowise lose his reward.' The height of this sin is the sin against the Holy Ghost, the wilful persecuting of the known truth; therefore take heed that you be not guilty of any spice and degree of it.

3. It is possible for them that profess religion to hate one another for their strictness in that religion. Pseudo-christians may be hot and violent; the beast pusheth with the Lamb's horns, Rev. xiii.; lea. lxvi. 5, 'Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified.' Men that are brethren, that have great pretences of zeal, hate you for my name's sake. Nay, the people of God may have a spice of carnal envy, and be guilty of some unkindness, if not hatred to their godly brethren. Job was deeply censured by his godly friends, and Paul by his own hearers: 1 Cor. iv. 10, 'We are fools for Christ's sake;' that is, in their account Though there be not in them that desperate hatred against the power of godliness, yet there is offence too often taken, and carried on with too great heat and animosity: some godly men are too favourable to their own interests.

4. When there is a secret rising of heart against the purity and strictness of others, natural malignity beginneth to work, you had need suppress it betimes; exulcerated lusts will grow more tumultuous. One godly man may reprove another that is less godly, reprove his conscience by his life, they cannot look upon them without shame. Let it be a holy emulation, not a carnal envy.

5. In opposing those that are godly, we had need be tender: 'Take [Pg. 380] care what thou doest, for this man is a Roman.' Acts xxii. 26. A man that meddleth with any that profess religion in strictness had need go upon sure grounds: Mat xviii. 6,' Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.' Men that know the danger will not easily kick against the pricks. At least, do not join with the opposite, eat and drink with the drunken, and smite your fellow-servants; for' the lord of that servant shall come and cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.' Mat xxiv. 49-61. When you cry up a confederacy with wicked men, to prosecute your private differences with more advantage, there is much of the hatred of godliness in it.

6. If you be glad when yon find any blemish whereby to eclipse the lustre and glory of their innocency, there is a secret hatred. You should be affected with the scandal brought upon the common cause: Phil. iii. 18, 'For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ;' not real Christians, but professors only. The Hams of the world laugh to see a Noah drunk. It is a sign you hate them because they are holy, when you are glad of any blemish wherewith to stain them, espe­cially when the miscarriages of a few are cast upon all.

7. To be at a great distance from this, take heed of the hatred of any man. We should love all men with the love of good-will, though 'our delight should be in the excellent ones of the earth,' the saints of God. There is \~filadelfia\~ and \~agaph\~: 2 Peter i. 7, 'Add to-brotherly kindness charity.' Live in enmity and malice with none, though you take just offence at their sins, as Lot's righteous soul was vexed from day to day: 2 Peter ii. 8, 'For that righteous man dwell­ing among them, in seeing and hearing vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds. It troubled him to see them. They are an abomination, by way of caution for ourselves, and just abhorrence of their impurities, but we must not hate them with a mis­chievous hatred, odio inimicitice.

Use 3. Advice to the people of God.

1. Be not amazed at it if yon meet with trouble and opposition from wicked men, even for goodness' sake: 1 John iii. 13, 'Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.' So it hath ever been, and so it will be. We are surprised and perplexed at it, as men use to be at some­thing that is strange. The wonder is on the other side; if there be any remission of this enmity, it were a shrewd suspicion that we were of their stamp, or complied too much with their humours, and did symbolise with them in carnal practices: Luke vi. 26, 'Cursed are you when all men speak well of you; for so they did to the false prophets.'

2. To walk holily and watchfully, so to live that their religion may be their only crime, and to keep up the repute of godliness, that they may not be hated as evil-doers, but as saints: 1 Peter iv. 15, 'Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.' It is a sad thing to be a martyr to passion, interest, vainglory, and private conceits and opinions, to suffer for your own shame. The world doth but watch for such an advantage: their conscience telleth them you do not deserve their [Pg. 381] hatred, and therefore they seek other pretences. Do not suffer for pride, indiscreet zeal, and unnecessary intermeddling. It in the glory of the Christian religion always to have holy martyrs and infamous persecutors; that they should have nothing against them but in the matter of their God.

3. Let not this discourage you; the power of godliness, as it is a provoking, so it is a daunting thing. The wicked hate you and fear you: Mark vi. 20, 'Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man, and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.' He feared him, not only as a zealous preacher, but as a strict man. A man would think that John had more cause to fear Herod. And God will respect it; it is his quarrel, though you have the management of it; yon have good com­pany; Christ suffereth with you: 1 Peter iv. 13, 'Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings.' You do not only suffer for him, but with him; in such a case ye are not only looked upon as his, but him. They cannot hate yon as much as they do Christ; yon are the world's eyesore, but God's delight; you have glorious assistance, glorious hopes, 'The Spirit of God and of glory resteth upon you.' 1 Peter iv. 14.

4. 'Walk wisely towards them that are without,' Col. iv. 5. How is that? Not to swerve from the course of a godly life, or neglect our service to God, or to cool and slack in our zeal for his glory, or to con­form ourselves to any of their wicked practices; but to forbear to provoke them without cause,' To live peaceably with all men as much as is possible,' Rom. xii. 18; 'To overcome evil with good,' ver. 21. This was that which Christ hath prescribed: Mat v. 44,' Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.'

Third point. A Christian should live in the world as one that is not of the world. There is not a total separation from the men of the-world. Live in the world he doth; here is his corporal presence and conversation, but not his heart. And live in the world he must; here is his station and place of service: 1 Cor. v. 10, 'Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must we needs go out of the world.' As the soul is in the body, but not of the body. \~Oikei\~ \~men\~ \~en\~ \~tw\~ \~swmati\~ \~h\~ \~quch\~ \~esti\~ \~de\~ \~tou\~ \~swmatov\~�"Just. Mart. So a Christian is in the world, but not of the world. Use the world we may without offence; when a Christian is sanctified he is not glorified, and doth not divest himself of the innocent interests and concernments of flesh and blood; they have bodies as others have, and must eat, drink, sleep, and put on apparel as others do: 1 Cor. vii. 31, 'And those that use the world as not abusing it.' The use is allowed, the abuse only is forbidden. We may use the world as a means to sweeten our pilgri­mage, but not to weaken our hopes. A man may use the comforts of this life to draw good out of them, to employ them for God, as encouragements to piety, and instruments of mercy and bounty.

But how then positively are they not to be of this world? Not of the world's gang and faction, nor acted by the same principles, to the same ends.

1. There is a difference in the inward principles�"the spirit of the [Pg. 382] world and the Spirit of God. Christians are acted by the Spirit of God, not by the spirit of the world: 1 Cor. ii. 12, 'Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God.' There is a particular genius that suiteth with worldly affairs, and fits men to torn and wind in outward employments, as the ostrich's wings serve her only to ran, not to fly; their hearts and affections wholly run out this way. It is the character of some: John iii. 31, 'He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth.' They mind nothing, affect nothing, speak of nothing, but the earth,

2. They are under different mien. Christ is head of the church, and he professeth 'that his kingdom is not of this world.' John xviii. 36. But now the devil is called' the god of this world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4, the head of the worldly state.

3. There is a difference in their course and conversation. The children of God, \~tw\~ \~kanoni\~ \~stoichsousin\~, Gal. vi. 16, 'Walk according to the rule of the word.' The men of the world, \~kat\~ \~aiwva\~ \~tou\~ \~kosmou\~ \~toutou\~, Eph. ii. 2, 'According to the coarse of the world,' as fishes swim with the stream. A Christian is the world's nonconformist: Rom. xii. 2, 'Be ye not conformed to the world;' he is estranged from the pursuits and aspiring projects of worldly men, and can deny the interests and concernments of the flesh for God's sake.

4. There is a difference in their aims. A Christian liveth to glorify God: 1 Cor. x. 31,' Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.' And a child of the world is all for aspiring pro­jects, how to compass the conveniences of the present life, and advance his secular interests: Phil ii. 19,' They mind earthly things.'

5. Their ends are different. A Christian is hastening to his country, his way is upward; first he gets his heart in heaven, and then his soul, and then his body. But a carnal man is grovelling and tending down­ward, first to the earth, and then to hell. So that yon see there is a perfect difference and counter-motion; they are not of the world, nor of that faction, communion, or fellowship.

But if you ask me why?

[1.] Because of Christ's example. We do not worship the god of this world, nor mammon, but Christ Worldly men had need seek another god, Jesus Christ is not for their torn, 'I am not of this world;' he is not a worldly Christ We are to imitate our neat master, to be unlike the world, and like Christ; to be led, not by the course of the world, but by Christ's example. Christ, by his own example, hath put a disgrace upon worldly greatness: he chose a mean estate, to teach us to be contented with a little, and his eye was' to the glory set before him,' Heb. xii. 2. Christ's poverty was not out of necessity, but choice; his were the cattle upon a thousand hills. At his birth, he was born in an inn; to show that he came into the world as a stranger and passenger. In the course of his life we find that he had a bag that was filled with alms, but no annual rent or constant possession: Mat viii. 20, 'Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head' Christ was no landed man, he had no tenement of his own. Christ speaketh it when a young man came to him and professed to follow him; he had no certain place of residence, neither house, nor furniture, nor [Pg. 383] household stuff; certainly he was little beholden to the world, it would hardly afford him house-room and lodging: 'The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof,' yet Christ, his own Son, had but little of it He begged a draught of water of a stranger when he was weary, John iv., and every way lived as a poor man, not out of necessity but choice. He refused a crown when proffered him: John vi. 15, 'When Jesus perceived that they would come and take him by force, and make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.' He had no heart to these things, no relish in crowns and worldly glory. When he died, he was not master of a cup of cold water to quench his thirst; his coat was all his legacy, and he lodged in a borrowed grave. This was the captain of our salvation, whose steps we are to follow. You see what a disgrace he put upon crowns, and honours, and pleasures, and the glory which we do at upon. Christ came from heaven on purpose to cast contempt upon the world by his own choice and course of life.

[2.] Because of their new birth. Man's heart naturally is addicted to the world, and runneth thither, whither the world carrieth it, even to forsaking God; but by grace it is turned the quite contrary way: 'We have forsaken all, and followed thee,' Mat xix. 27; and Ps. xlv. 10, 'Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.' It is the proper work of grace to alter the course of nature, to take us off from the world, and bring us to God by degrees, first in heart, and then in soul, and then in body. It is everywhere made an effect of the new birth: 1 John v. 4,' He that is born of God overcometh the world.' The children of God have somewhat of the Father in them. Grace of all things cometh nearest the nature of God. Now God is our heavenly Father, therefore the children that are born of him cannot be worldly. See another place: 2 Peter i. 4, 'That by these ye might be made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.' There is something divine in a Christian, therefore he cannot live as other men. When we press men to strict­ness, they will say, We are saints, and not angels. Yea, but saints have a new nature, over and above that nature which they received from Adam, and therefore should live a heavenly life. They have a higher life which overruleth the other, the Spirit that governeth the motions of the soul. Look, as the planets have a motion of their own, by which they walk in their own path and course; and besides, there is a rapid motion, by which they are carried about in twenty-four hours: so Christians have an old nature, and an overruling nature, that carrieth them on contrary to their own motion and tendency. The soul we received from Adam looketh after the conveniency of the outward life, the decent state of the body: naturally men use their souls only as a purveyor for the body, for outward comforts and outward supports; but when there is a new nature from Christ, the regenerate part must have its operation. In the new birth, principles of more raised and elevated nature are brought into the soul.

[3.] Because of their great and glorious hopes. They are chosen out of this world: 2 Peter i. 4,' Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be made partakers of a divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world [Pg. 384] through lust.' There is an estate that dependeth upon the new birth. God's children cannot complain for want of a child's portion; they have promises as so many leases, a right to the inheritance in light. Now a Christian, that hopeth for another world, should not live accord­ing to the fashions of this world: Rom. xii. 2,' And he not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed in the renewing of your mind.' This is an unworthy base world; you are acquainted with a better. If a man were in a strange country, where he saw none but rude savages, that had not shame enough to cover their nakedness, would he conform himself to the guise of this country? We, that have other hopes, should have other lives: 1 Thee. ii. 12, 'That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.' There is description of a Christian's life. It beseemeth worldly men to look after worldly things. Leave things that perish to men that perish. Incola cali estis, non hujus seculi. If you must not die as they die, do not live as they live, lest you are in their case at the point of death, 'who have their portion in this life,' Ps. xvii. 14 Wicked men have their whole portion in this life, because they look for no more; no wrong is done to them, it is but their own choice. But a believer will not give God an acquittance nor discharge, having such great promises. Use 1. To show us what to judge of persons that live so as if they were of the world. You may know it by these three notes�"when they do nothing worthy of their new nature, their glorious hopes, and the example of Jesus Christ.

1. Nothing worthy of the new nature. What difference is there between you and others? The Christian should be like Saul, so much higher by the head than other men. Wherein do yon differ? 1 Cor. iii. 3, 'Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?' \~kat\~ anyrwpon\~. Men of an ordinary nature, destitute of the Spirit, would do the same. Christ maketh it to be the ground of hatred,' because they are not of the world.' The world will soon scent out him that is regenerate, he walketh so as to convince the world; they 'declare plainly that they seek a country,' Heb. xi. 14; their hopes are discovered in their con­versation. They reprove the world: Heb. xi. 7, 'By faith Noah, be­ing warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world.' A carnal man justifieth the world, as Israel justified Sodom. Carnal men are called the children of this world; the spirit of the mother is in them, the spirit of the world inclineth them, they are all for lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and pride of life, to go fine, to feed high, to shine in worldly pomp, affect honour and great places. Too many Christians are baptized into this kind of spirit; they live as if they were borN and bred here, and then they justify the carnal practices of men. Therefore what difference should there be between a Christian and the world! 1 Peter iv. 4, 'They think it strange that you run not with them to all excess of riot, speaking evil of you.' Mortifying pleasures, denying interests upon religious reasons, this maketh the world wonder what kind of nature have these men. This showeth that there is something divine in you.

2. Nothing worthy of their hopes, and of that eternity which they expect When men waste their strength and tune in worldly projects [Pg. 385] and pursuits, they live as if their portion were only in this world. A traveller, that is to stay but half an hour in a room, or for a night in an inn, would he adorn it with hangings? They that are so much in this world, they show they do not look for a better: Prov. xv. 24, 'The way of the wise is above;' their heart is fixed on heaven, and the face of their conversation is turned that way. Your lives do not bear proportion with your hopes. Well, then, what do you make the scope of your lives? A Christian is satisfied with nothing but eternity: 2 Cor. iv. 18, \~mh\~ \~skwpountwn\~ \~hmwn\~, 'While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.' A Christian useth the world, and followeth his business, but he doth not make it his scope; his heart is within the veil. There is an eternal principle in the heart of every godly man, and therefore they cannot be satisfied with the things of the world; he mindeth other things in a subordination to eternity, mercies and duties of his calling, with respect to his usefulness and service; and therefore spendeth his time and estate so that his main work is to provide for eternity: 1 Tim. vi. 19, 'Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.' But now men think they can never have enough in the world, and make but slight provision for the life to come; they make all things sure in the world, and any slight assurance serveth the turn for eternity; they live as if their hopes were altogether in the world, they do not make eternity their scope.

3. Nothing worthy of Christ's example. In Christ's example we may take notice of two things�"the heavenliness of it, and the courage of it.

[1.] The heavenliness, Christ despised the world; the great encouragement of his human soul was 'the glory set before him,' Heb.xii. 3. He came from heaven on purpose to set us this example Butnow, when a Christian followeth the world, when he is of this temper that he could wish to live always that he might enjoy the world always, 'they have their reward,' \~apecousi\~, Mat vi. 2. They discharge God of all his promises, and look for no more. A thousand worlds will not satisfy a craving heart; but a child of God is content with the least mercies, but not satisfied. Contentment respects God's allowance; but this is not their portion: they do not murmur, but yet they desire more; a reprobate's portion will not serve the turn. Nothing is more acceptable to a carnal heart in conceit, than to live here for ever, and to delight themselves in meat and drink, and the sports and glory of the world. Now this is quite contrary to the example of Christ, a disposition that seeketh to make the life and death of Christ of none effect. Christ came from heaven to earth to fetch us to heaven; if thou cleavest to the world, Christ's coming is vain; he lived in a poor estate, to teach us to despise the world; his life was a sermon of mortification; he died to deliver us from the present world; he ascended that we might follow him with our hearts while we live here.

[2.] The courage of Christ's example. He was not for the humour of that age: John viii. 23, 'Ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world.' He speaketh to the [Pg. 386] carnal Jews, that looked for a pompous Messiah, that should maintain their worship and state, and deliver them from the Roman yoke and servitude. Christ was not a Messiah for their turn; if Christ had complied with their humours, he had been more generally received. So a Christian's courage is a counter-motion to the fashions and humours of the age. We must not be afraid to be singular in holiness. So was Christ: Acts ii. 40,' Save yourselves from this untoward generation;' not only in purpose and thought of heart, but externally in course of life. When men are afraid to estrange themselves from the corrupt and carnal courses of the world that are in fashion, they do not write after Christ's copy. What father would endure his son should be intimate with his enemies, and symbolise with them in practice and conversation? Therefore you must look to this; you are in danger. Christ's example is only left upon record, and the world's example is before your eyes; living examples work much, and taint insensibly. The prophet complained, Isa. vi. 5, 'Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.' An estrangement in the course of life will draw trouble upon you; but persecution is not as bad as hell, nor is man's wrath to be feared as much as God's judgments. Carnal men may make great profession of the name of Christ, but they humour the world: 1 John iv. 5,' They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them;' they comply to humour the carnal world in their inveterate customs and superstitions.

Use 2. To press Christians not to conform to the world. It is Paul's exhortation, Rom. xii. 2, \~mh\~ suschmatizesye\~, 'Be not conformed to the world.' It is a sad thing when Christians are cast into the world's stamp and mould, to symbolise with them in practices and affections.

Two things you should take heed of�"the world's spirit, and the world's courses and practices.

First, The world's spirit. A man is good or evil according to the disposition of his heart: Phil. iii. 19, 'They mind earthly things,' The apostle doth not describe carnal men there by any notorious scan­dalous sin, but by the inward frame of the spirit. This is most odious in the eyes of God; the carnal conversation is an effect of a carnal frame of spirit First men mind earthly things, and then in time they come to hate the gospel, and to symbolise with the world in practices: 2 Tim. iv. 10,' Demas hath forsaken us, having loved this present world;' James iv. 4, 'Ye adulterers, and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever there­fore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.'

Now the frame of the heart may be known

1. By the working of the thoughts, counsels, and deliberations. Therefore we should observe what we think of and meditate most upon. Inventions serve affection. As the heart is, so are the thoughts and counsels. A worldly man is always thinking of the world, and framing endless projects how to grow great and high. Therefore it is said. 2 Peter ii. 14, 'They have an heart exercised with covetous practices;' that is, always plotting how to bring the world into their net As the apostle would have Timothy to 'exercise himself unto godliness,' 1 Tim, iv. 7, that is, to be much in consulting and contriving how to carry on [Pg. 387]the holy life with most advantage; so 'their hearts are exercised with covetous practices,' that is, with worldly purposes and thoughts. All sins do more or lees discover themselves by the thoughts; for a man will deliberate to accomplish that which he airaeth at; and chiefly worldliness occupieth the thoughts, for it is a serious madness, full of carking and caring and vain projects. When our Saviour would repre­sent a worldling, he bringeth him in musing, Luke xii. 17, 18, 'And he thought with himself, saying, I will do thus and thus,' \~kai\~ \~dielogizeto\~. Verbum mire oppositum, saith Beza; for a worldly man is always framing dialogues within himself, between his reason and his carnal desires. Distractions in worship are chiefly ascribed to covetousness: Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 'With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.' The prophet instances in that sin, though other lusts withdraw the heart and distract in hear­ing, as unclean glances, vainglory, &c. Words are but thoughts expressed; there is a quick intercourse between the mind and the tongue Now it is said, John iii. 31, 'He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth.' There is nothing of heaven in their thoughts, nothing in their language and communication, a heavy clod cannot move upward of itself. Observe the drift of your thoughts, your first and last thoughts morning and evening, what guest haunteth you in duties. When the heart is deeply engaged, the mind cannot be taken off from thinking.

2. By your esteem. When a man prizeth worldly things, when you overrate them, have too greatening thoughts of the world, the devil is at your elbow, and the spirit of the world is set a-work: 'Happy is the people that is in such a case,' Ps. cxliv. 15. What is the treasure of the soul? Carnal men have no savour of Christ God's people sometimes may be taken with a glittering show of worldly things, but their solid esteem is in Christ, he is their treasure; the soul feasts itself with the riches of grace. To a carnal heart, heavenly things are but a notion, it worketn no more than a dream; to a gracious heart, the substance of the world is but a fancy: John xiv. 17,' Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.' The world cannot see things that are not of great profit and benefit

3. By the bent and resolution of the will: 1 Tim. vi. 9, 'They that will be rich,' &c.; not is, but will be; James iv. 4, 'Whosoever will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.' Grace is known by the full purpose of the heart: Acts xi. 23, 'He exhorted them all that, with full purpose of heart, they would cleave unto the Lord;' what he fixeth upon as his end and scope.

4. By a special sagacity and dexterity in the matters of the world, and a dulness in the things of God: Luke xvi. 8, 'The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.' They have ostrich's wings, not to fly, but to run. It is strange to hear how sottishly worldly-wise men will speak of religion and the ways of God; they are dull and blockish in religion, though otherwise of great ability: Rom. xvi. 19. 'I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.'

5. By the stream of your desires. Desires are the pulses of the soul. You may know the temper of your souls by the beating of the pulses, [Pg. 388] by the current and drift of your desires, as physicians judge by appetite. The saints plead their affections: Isa. xxvi. 8, 'The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.' They cannot justify their innocency, yet they plead their integrity, the vigorous bent of their souls. So the spirit of the world is known by an unsatisfied thirst, and the ravenousness of the desires, which rise with enjoyment, for still men crave more. Such a dropsy argneth a distempered soul; the soul is transported beyond all bounds of modesty and contentment: Isa. v. 8,' Woe unto them that join house to house, and field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth.' The inordinate inclination still increaseth, and men never have enough.

6. By your grief at worldly losses and disappointments. Men lose with grief what they possess with love; the affliction riseth according to the degree of the affection. They that' rejoice as though they rejoiced not, weep as if they wept not, 1 Cor. vii. 30. Earnest affec­tion will not brook disappointment: 1 Tim. vi. 10, 'For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.' The sorrow will be answerable to the desire. You grieve more for the loss of wealth than for the loss of God's countenance. The bridegroom is gone, and yon never mourn; but upon every worldly loss the heart is dejected. What slight thoughts have men of God I Thou art sad if thou hast lost but a ring of value, the offals of thy estate; but God's accesses and recesses are never noted. Grief followeth love. When Jesus wept for Lazarus, the Jews said, 'Behold how he loved him 1 John xi. 35.

7. Fear of want, or an extraordinary solicitotuness about outward provisions, that in a sure note of a worldly heart. Christ was disput­ing against worldliness, and among other precepts, he saith, Luke xii. 29,' Seek not ye what ye shall eat, nor what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind;' \~mh\~ \~metewpizesye\~; be not hovering between doubts and fears. This is to take God's work out of his hand. Sus­picious fears argue too much of the spirit of the world. God would have us look no further than the present day: 'Sufficient for each day is the evil thereof,' Mat vi. 34. God is very careful of our good. He hath made carking a sin; he might have left it as a punishment

8. By excessive delight in worldly comforts. A man may be worldly that is not carking and ravenous. Esau saith,' I have enough, my brother,' Gen. xxxiii. 9. Your too much complacency is a great sin. When men are satisfied with the present portion, it is as great, if not a greater sin than to desire more: Luke xii. 19,' Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.' He took too great delight in his portion; they bless them­selves in their worldly enjoyments, as if they had happiness enough: Ps. lxii. 10,' Trust not in oppression, become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them;' not in point of delight and trust; your delight should not be terminated on the creature.

9. By envying the worldly happiness that others enjoy. This is a great fault in the children of God; you are not of this world. Though yon have not such costly furniture, rare accommodations as others [Pg. 389] have, though you are not the world's fondlings, dandled on the world's knees, you have a better portion in Christ: Ps. iv. 7, 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than the time when their corn and their wine increased.' It is a disparagement to your privileges and hopes: Ps. xvii. 14, 'From men which are thy hand, ? Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with hid treasures: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.' It is your time to be princes in disguise. The less splendour in the world, the more lustre in grace. Grace would not be so eminent, if worldly glory were greater. Who that is owner of a palace would envy another a dunghill? Secondly, A worldly conversation; which is seen in two things�"

1. Immoderate endeavours for the world, to the neglect of God: Luke xii. 24, 'So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.' All things must be looked after in subordination to God. When Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing at Isaac, she thrust him out of doors. When Mammon upbraideth God, and worldly things encroach, and allow God no room but in the conscience, then we are immoderate.

2. Carnal compliance. The worldling serveth the times, cozeneth, lieth, cheateth, hateth Christ; so must not you: 1 John v. 19, 'And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,' as a carrion in a sink.

[1.] Consider your condition; yon are strangers. The fathers of old dwelt in tents; we never read that Abraham made any purchase but of a grave. Gain built cities. David was a king, yet a stranger: Ps. xxxix. 12, 'For I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.' The world is not our country. The fathers of the Old Testament, for the most part, lived a wandering life: Heb. xi. 14, 'For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.' Jacob passed over Jordan with a staff, Gen. xxxii. 10. It is a most unbeseeming thing as can be for one that professeth himself a Christian to take up with the things of this world.

[2.] Consider it is a dishonour to God, and a scandal to religion, to be of a worldly conversation, to profess an interest in Christs and yet run after such low things.

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.