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happiness in the gratification of the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Worldliness is the spirit which the devil is fostering in the world, and by which he is preventing men from beholding or receiving Christ. We deceive ourselves, my brethren, if we imagine that the devil is so weak, in a land where a certain portion of Gospel light shines, and where the consciences of even unrenewed men are partially enlightened, as to seek to drive all men into scandalous sin, that he tempts the Christians of Britain, or the Presbyterians of Scotland, as he does the heathens of India or the savages of Africa. If he can occupy their time, and their thoughts, and their hearts, with the world, he will be contented to allow them to make a profession of faith. He will persuade them that they are Christians. He will allow them to engage in the work, ay, even in the ministry of Christ. His sole object is to keep them from that faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, by which alone they overcome the world; to prevent them from having the faith of him who said, (Gal. vi. 14,) " God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world." Worldliness, therefore, as the spirit the opposite of Gospel faith, is the spirit which the god of the world is cherishing. He is putting the things that are seen into the place of the things that are not seen, and substituting the things of the present world for the things that are hoped for in the world to come. . But it is against those who have come out from the world and are separate, that the devil aims his fieriest darts. He knows that the Church, which is fighting the good fight of faith, is the antagonist power to his kingdom in the world. To pervert the character of that Church is therefore his principal aim; and it is by producing conformity to the world that he principally seeks to accomplish his aim. It is by destroying the distinction between the Church and the world, and removing the Church from the position which she should ever occupy, as the witness for God against the world, that he is successful. A worldly Church is the devil's most effective agent for the destruction of immortal souls; a Church of which the members are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; a Church in which those who have the form of godliness are denying its power; a Church, the members of which, instead of being living epistles of him who was meek and lowly in heart, of him who said, " Love one another as I have loved you," instead of being distinguished by "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," are distinguished by all that is most characteristic of the world, pride, covetousness, supreme love of money, and that wrath of man that worketh not the righteousness of God but division and confusion, aversion to spiritual duties, such as prayer and communion with God, and dread of death, from want of heavenly hope.
We thus learn five great truths respecting those who are lost,—
1st, That they have not, as they suppose, the knowledge of God. The opinion is a delusion which is so prevalent, that men know the truth, but do not walk according to the truth; that they see the light, but do not walk in the light; that they know the love of God but do not love God. The lost are " blinded."
2d, You see that unbelief is that which is preventing men from enjoying the peace, and possessing the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, inexcusable unbelief.
3d, That the devil is at work in producing unbelief, and that he is the enemy by whom the lost are overcome.
4th, That the world is the devil's great instrument in blinding the eyes of the lost, and ought to be viewed with suspicion, as the grand enemy of souls, by those who are on the side of God.
5th, That nothing can overcome the world but the faith and immediate hope of the kingdom of heaven, which the lost do not see, and do not believe to be "at hand."
THE HEADSHIP OF THE SON OP MAN.
MINISTER OF THE FIRST CHARGE, BRECHIS.
John V. 27.
"And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man."
We are informed at the beginning of the chapter, that there was at this time "a feast of the Jews,"—one of the three great annual festivals at which the adult males of the nation were expected to present themselves; and Jesus, that he might fulfil all righteousness, had come up to Jerusalem to keep the feast. But combining, as his manner ever was, ~ mercy" widi "sacrifice"— acts of beneficence with works of piety—he went about the city - doing good.*" Wherever the wretched were likely to be found, thither the compassionate Redeemer always directed his steps; and repairing accordingly to the pool of Bethesda, he found its five porches crowded as a lazar-house, with a great multitude of impotent folk—" of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water." Selecting the most wretched and helpless of the crowd—a man who had had an infirmity for the long period of thirty-eight years, and who had long frequented Bethesda's pool, but daily coming friendless, was daily doomed to return unhealed, Jesus said to him, and said with immediate effect, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." But the day of this miraculous cure happened to be the sabbath-day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed—'• This is the Sabbath-day; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy couch." The poor man, though a stranger as yet to Him who had been his great physician, answered them with all the native simplicity and force of truth,—"He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed and walk." He at once felt the conclusiveness of the demonstration, that the person who had performed on him so notable and gracious a miracle could not possibly be an irreligious or a wicked man — that the supernatural skill which had healed his body could not but be a sure and safe guide for the direction of his soul—yea, that He who had shown himself invested with such power over nature and nature's works, must be Lord "even of the sabbath day."