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on things above," while the peace of your mind is disturbed by the absence of such "things on earth," as are not merely unproductive of happiness, but frequently detrimental to it? Here it is not a craving after happiness, the natural and allowable instinct of every human heart, that is disappointed and unsatisfied. Your desires are of the most worldly nature; and if God has purposes of love and mercy towards you, the "daily cross" of their not being satisfied will never be removed, never, until the vain wish for things forbidden has been eradicated from the spiritualized heart,
never, until "the world is crucified unto you, and you unto the world."*
Worldliness is a term often misused, not seldom misapplied: a very common mode of misapplication is that of attributing the sin of worldliness to outward actions of an entirely indifferent nature, *Galatians, vi. 14.
-even, for instance, to certain modes of dress, even to peculiar colours. If you are a member of the so-called "religious world," it may be a part of your your "daily cross" to hear the accusation of worldliness insinuated or directly brought against you on some pretence of this nature, or some other equally groundless. You may be innocent of the external accusation, but examine into the pain you feel, are you entirely innocent then? As there is "a religious world," it follows, as a matter of course, on this unfortunate distinction, that there must be a religious worldliness too. And may it not be this that makes the accusations unjustly brought against you a part of your daily cross? "The fear of man bringeth a snare,' due anxiety to secure "the answer of a good conscience towards God"† will run great danger of abatement, if inordinate value is attached to the favourable testi* Proverbs, xxix. 25. t1 Peter, iii. 21.
"* and the
mony of even religious companions. The pain excited by their censures ought, however, to be profitable in two ways; first, by helping to detect the germ of worldliness in the heart, and, secondly, by suggesting the necessity of still more strict watchfulness over those emotions, whose outward, and perhaps imaginary, symbols have been the subject of animadversion. The censure on this particular point may be altogether misplaced, and yet it may tend to the discovery of some real error, of a similar nature to that which was falsely supposed to exist.
The next subject recommended for self-examination, is one which, if it form part of your "daily cross," will at once furnish you with a too probable evidence of worldliness. We are told in the Word of God of those "that feared the Lord speaking often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him
for them that feared the Lord, and that Is the ap
thought upon his name." *
probation here expressed, always fresh in your recollection, when, in your presence, those who fear the Lord speak often one to another? Is such conversation acceptable to you, or does it, on the contrary, give you pain, by counteracting the habitual current of your thoughts, and bringing before your mind a subject on which you do not delight to dwell? In some of the religious conversations you hear, there may be much to offend refined taste, much to be disapproved by sound judgment; but when the pervading spirit is decidedly pious, simple, and humble, must not your dislike to it arise from something amiss in your own heart? "Loving the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" † should be a bond of union not to be disturbed by minor differences in degrees of intellect, or refinement. When † Ephesians, vi. 24.
* Malachi, iii. 16.
it does not serve as such, there is sad reason to suppose some hidden, if not open, taint of worldliness. Perhaps your lukewarm piety shrinks from the expression of fervent devotion, your love for the things of this world, from the assertion of their utter insignificance, your preference of ease and self-indulgence, from histories of self-denial, mortifications, and hardships.
If it should be a part of the discipline of your life to associate much with very religious people of inferior intellect and inferior refinement to your own, examine yourself carefully. When their want of taste offends, or their want of judgment provokes you, search prayerfully into the depths of your own heart, and try to ascertain whether it may not be, in fact, their superiority in piety, and not their inferiority in taste, that irritates you. Remember, the time is coming fast, even to-day it may be here, when all minor