James 4:4
You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.
Sermons
Dark HeavenwardArchbishop Leighton.James 4:4
Drawn to the WorldNew Cyclopaedia of IllustrationsJames 4:4
Friendship with the WorldR. Watson.James 4:4
The Contrariety Betwixt the World and GodR. Turnbull.James 4:4
The Friendship of the World -- Enmity with GodJohn Adam.James 4:4
The Friendship of the World Enmity with GodWm. Dawes, D. D.James 4:4
The WorldJ. Ryland.James 4:4
The World or GodS. S. Roche.James 4:4
The World's Friends, and the Friends of GodJ. F. Fenn, M. A.James 4:4
WorldlinessT. Manton.James 4:4
Worldly Friendship Enmity to GodR. Treffry.James 4:4
War or Peace?T.F. Lockyer James 4:1-10
Worldliness Enmity with GodC. Jerdan James 4:4-6
Here the apostle follows up the words of rebuke and warning with which the chapter opened. The doctrine which he enunciates is uncompromising; and his language startling, as welt as solemn.

I. THE ANTAGONISM BETWEEN THE LOVE OF THE WORLD AND THE LOVE OF GOD. (Ver. 4.) This painful epithet, "Ye adulteresses," is the key-note of the chord which James strikes in his appeal. God is the rightful spiritual Husband of every professing Christian; and thus, if such a one embraces the world, he or she resembles a woman who turns away from her lawful husband to follow other lovers. The world is an evil world, alien in its principles and pursuits from the will and glory of God; and therefore "the friendship of the world" is incompatible with the love of him. But what precisely is this "friendship"? It does not lie

(1) in habits of friendly intercourse with worldly men; or

(2) in the diligent pursuit of one's daily occupation; or

(3) in an appreciation of creature comforts and innocent pleasures.

Worldliness does not depend upon outward acts or habits. It is a state of the heart. The word denotes the spirit and guiding disposition of the unbeliever's life - the will to "be a friend of the world." Since, accordingly, this friendship represents direct opposition to the Divine will, every man who seeks it first and most declares himself by that very act "an enemy of God."

II. CONFIRMATION OF THIS TRUTH. (Vers. 5, 6.) We accept as accurate the Greek reading of ver. 5 which has been adopted by the Revisers, together with their translation: "Or think ye that the Scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the Spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" The apostle, accordingly, confirms his representation regarding the antagonism between the love of the world and the love of God by:

1. The tenor of Scripture teaching. The sacred writers with one consent take up an attitude of protest against worldliness. They uniformly assume that "the friendship of the world is enmity with God." They urge the duty of moderation in one's desires, and of contentment with the allotments of Providence. The worldly disposition, which shows itself in covetousness and envy and strife, is opposed both to the letter and the spirit of Holy Scripture. And the moral teaching of God's Word on this subject is not "in vain." The Bible means what it says. In all its utterances it is solemnly earnest.

2. The consciousness of the renewed heart. "Doth the Spirit [i.e. the Holy Spirit] which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" If the Holy Ghost, speaking in the written Word, condemns the spirit of envy, he does so also in the law which he writes upon the hearts of Christ's people. Some of those to whom this Epistle was addressed had "bitter jealousy and faction in their hearts" (James 3:14): it was seen in their worldly "wars" and "fightings." But the apostle appeals to their consciences to confess whether such a state of mind was not due to their walking "after the flesh' instead of "after the Spirit." They knew well that the power of the Holy Ghost within their souls, in so tar as they yielded themselves to it, produced always very different fruit from that of envy and strife (Galatians 5:19-23; James 3:14-18).

3. The substance of the Divine promises. (Ver. 6.) "Grace" is the name for the influence which the Holy Spirit exerts upon the heart in order to its regeneration and sanctification. And how does grace operate, but just by killing the love of the world within the soul, and breathing into it the love of God? He, by his Spirit, gives to his believing people "more grace," i.e. supplies of grace greater in force and volume than the strength of their depravity, or the temptations against which they have to contend. Not only so, but those who employ well the grace which they already possess, shall receive more in ever-increasing measure (Matthew 25:29). And "the humble," who realize must deeply that they do not deserve any grace at all, are those upon whom God has always bestowed the most copious supplies. The further we depart from pride, which is the fruitful mother of envy and strife, the more freely and abundantly shall we receive that supernatural energy which will drive the love of the world out of our hearts (Proverbs 3:34).

CONCLUSION. Let us impress upon our minds the intensity with which God abhors pride. All history echoes the truth that "he setteth himself in array against the proud." Take the case of Pharaoh, of Nebuchadnezzar, of Haman, of Wolsey, of Napoleon. For ourselves, therefore, let us "fling away ambition" in every form. Especially let us crucify spiritual pride. "Many laboring men have got good estates in the Valley of Humiliation;" and if we go there "in the summer-time" of prosperity we shall learn the song of the shepherd boy -

"He that is down needs fear no fall;
He that is low no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his Guide."


(Bunyan.) = - C.J.







The friendship of the world is enmity with God.
I. WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD.

1. In what sense the word "world" is to be taken(1) "The world" is often put to signify the wicked men of the world, whether unbelievers or believers, of evil and profligate lives (1 Corinthians 11:32).(2) It is sometimes put to signify the vicious actions and customs of the world (Romans 12:2; James 1:27; Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 2:20).(3) It is likewise used to signify the things of the world and the enjoyment of them, viz., the riches, honours, and pleasures of it, and, in one word, ever)thing belonging to it which men are apt to be pleased with (Matthew 16:26; Galatians 6:14). It is this that is chiefly intended here.

2. What degree of friendship with the things of the world is here condemned.(1) When we love them more than we do God, our Saviour, religion, and our souls, or indeed with any degree of nearness or equality to them.(2) When we love them more (though vastly short of God, our Saviour, our souls, our religion, and the spiritual rewards of it, if such a thing could possibly be supposed) than they in themselves really deserve to be beloved, and for other ends and purposes than God has designed them for; when we love them as our own, as bringing mighty delights with them, as being certain, permanent, durable goods.

II. SOME MARKS OR SIGNS BY WHICH WE MAY CERTAINLY KNOW' WHETHER WE ARE SUCH FRIENDS OF THE WORLD AS ST. JAMES CONDEMNS. If, therefore, we find our thoughts and affections chiefly taken up with the things of this world; if the main bent of all our studies and endeavours tends this way; if for the sake of these things we attempt such difficulties, run such hazards, as we would not for the sake of anything else whatsoever, not even for God's and our own soul's sake, venture upon; if our hearts are rather set upon making ourselves or our children rich and great than wise and good; if we suffer ourselves to give way in the cause of God and religion, and let this man's greatness and the other man's wealth, this secular inconvenience and that consideration of worldly gain, keep us from doing our duty or frighten us from opposing wickedness — if this, or anything like this, be our case, there is no room left to dispute what principle we are governed by, but the world, which so plainly shows its authority over us, must have us.

III. FOR WHAT REASONS SUCH A FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD MUST NEEDS BE ENMITY WITH GOD.

1. You cannot but see how unreasonable, ill-proportioned, and unjust a love this is. It robs God; prefers the creature to the Creator, shadows to substances, &c. It reflects upon God's honour and disparages His wisdom by perverting the designs of it.

2. You cannot but see how vastly it is below the nature and dignity of man, who was made and is fitted for much nobler enjoyments.

3. You cannot but see how directly contrary and repugnant this is to the very nature and design of the Christian religion; to the example of our blessed Saviour, who declared both in word and deed that He was not of the world; to our own constant professions of being subjects of a kingdom that is not of this world; to the great end of our Lord's coming, which was to save us from this evil world, to chase us out of it, and to make us a peculiar people to Himself, that should not mind earthly things; to His most plain and frequent commands, &c.

4. You cannot but see how plainly this tends to wear away and utterly extirpate all sense and regard of God and religion out of our minds.

(Wm. Dawes, D. D.)

1. Worldliness in Christians is spiritual adultery. It dissolves the spiritual marriage between God and the soul. To let the world share with God is an evil, but to prefer the world before God is an impiety.

2. Women have special need to take heed of worldly pleasures and lusts: "You adulterers and adulteresses."

3. To seek the friendship of the world is the ready way to be God's enemy. God and the world are contrary -" tie is all good, and the world lieth in wickedness; and they command contrary things. The world saith, "Slack no opportunity of gain and pleasure; if you will be so peevish as to stand nicely upon conscience, you will do nothing but draw trouble upon yourselves." Now, God saith, "Deny yourself; take up your cross; renounce the world." Well, now, you see the enmity between God and the world.(1) Think of it seriously when you are about to mingle with earthly comforts and delights, and can neglect God for a little carnal conveniency and satisfaction; this is to be an enemy to God, and can I make good my part against Him? He is almighty, and can crush you (Ezekiel 22:14). And He is a terrible enemy "when He whetteth His glittering sword" (Deuteronomy 32:41). Nay, if none of all this were to be feared, the very estrangement from God is punishment enough to itself.(2) Learn how odious worldliness is; it is direct enmity to God, because it is carried on under sly pretences. Of all sins this seemeth most plausible.

(T. Manton.)

Man is a creature perpetually balancing himself between the impulses of hate and love. In the affections of the soul no man liveth to himself. We must go beyond ourselves for information, for inspiration, for enjoyment. Likes occasion dislikes, and between these two poles all mankind dwell. When desire is normal it centres in God, and the soul comes into harmony with the universe,. When we love the Creator supremely, we must receive delight from every part of the creation in the degree its Lord designed. The love of God is inclusive of the love of all that is good. Instead of narrowing, it expands infinitely our capacity of happiness. It awakens the dullest soul to a consciousness of the beautiful and the sublime in nature. It sanctions with the loftiest motives the pursuit of knowledge, it pronounces a blessing even on those lesser gifts which minister to the gratification of bodily appetite. All these contribute to his pleasure whose chief delight is in the Maker of all. Godliness has not only the promise of the world that now is, it has whatever is excellent in that world. Lovely as this earth may appear to the believer, his controlling impulse is not love of the world, but love of God. If, on the other hand, our desires turn away from the great Father, they must rest on something He has made. It may be a person, it may be wealth, art, pleasure, fame; in any case the result is the same. We have wrecked the universal order; we have assailed the symmetry and splendour of the cosmos. We have turned things upside down. We have put the less in the place of the greater. We have deified the material and dethroned the eternal. Such an affection is in its essence exclusive and intolerant. We may love God and enjoy all else, but the converse of the proposition is never true; the friendship of the world is enmity with God. We all must love; the only question is, Shall our affections ennoble, bless, glorify the soul? or shall they isolate, degrade, blast it for ever? Shall this world or shall the Almighty demand our highest regard? In our senses we can make but one response. Our real difficulty is with the perilous fascination that is an attribute of carnality. He who sets his heart on things temporal, who rests his chief happiness here, who feels he would give up everything rather than the pleasures of sense, loves the world and hates God. In particular, we ought not to put an extravagant estimate on things of the earth. The chief danger of living to a moral intelligence lies in unconsciously magnifying the importance of temporalities. We cannot see how we can get along without these imposing advantages. Health lies piled up around us. Success flits like a vision ahead. We easily come to believe that life devoid of these is not worth the living. It is always natural to exaggerate the worth of agencies that we have found efficient. It is too often taken for granted that with each stroke of fortune there is an increase of happiness, with each promotion in office an increment of comfort, with each addition to the income a further escape from care. There are millions who believe in all sincerity that if they can only get along in the world pleasure is assured, reputation will come as a matter of course, popularity will drop like ripe fruit, honour rise like a growing plant; even the service of God will be rendered easier and more effective. Whether such attain their purposes or not, their desires have overflowed the banks and threaten destruction. The world is toned out of all reason and justice. God is forgotten, even despised, in the comparison. We must guard against immoderate exertion to obtain worldly good. It is folly for one to shatter health to gather gold. It is miserable infatuation for one to destroy his mind to retain a place of endless perplexities. Above all, it is appalling unwisdom for one to fill his soul with remorse that he may cram his safe with securities. Whoever takes or would take success on such terms is as one giving dollars in exchange for pennies, as one trading off white, flashing, flawless diamonds for pebbles by the roadside. To what shall we compare his foolishness? Like the toys that amuse children for an hour and are then flung aside spoiled, broken, insipid, joyless, such are most of the ambitions of men. Too often we resemble those who should erect conservatories to raise one flower, or support great stables to speed a horse for a few seconds, or exhibit a prodigal hospitality to secure a single influential friend, or collect costly pictures to afford entertainment for an hour, or circumnavigate the earth to supply matter for a few conversations, or run for Congress to be noticed in the papers, or import extravagant dresses for a three-line description in a fashion journal. In the name of all that is rational, why this mighty labour for so mean a prize? Why this incessant, immense, incredible work that is done under the sun, which, though a man may labour to seek it out, he shall not be able? Beware of overrating the value of temporal good. There are some things money cannot buy. In all the shops of earth you will find no counter over which money may be exchanged for bodily health, or mental capacity, or peace of soul, or lost time, or neglected opportunities. After all the praise of all the ages, what can this dearly-prized gold buy but a bed to sleep in, a suit to wear, a plateful to eat? We are not to deplore unreasonably its loss. The world is rapidly slipping from us, or we are steadily, swiftly fading from it. No matter how much we have here, we cannot retain it long. Think of yourself, shorn of wealth, deprived of friends, failing in health, what would you have left? If we do not stand ever ready to sacrifice money for the relief of suffering, for the purposes of benevolence, we love it more than God. If, when bankruptcy comes, life sinks into sullenness, envy, bitterness, we loved luxury more than the Lord of all. If death alarms, if the only consolation is the throwing back a lingering, despairing look on pleasures for ever past; if the principal torment is the anticipation of a mysterious future, then, too, the friendship of the world has wrought the enmity of God. Never was friendship more injudicious, never was hostility more unjust. No man can exhibit greater folly than he who, to please and enjoy this fading earth, forgets, affronts, defies the Lord of heaven. The world is insufficient, unsubstantial, deceptive, evanescent. God is infinite, omnipotent, eternal, able to bestow on man fulness of knowledge and perfection of happiness, granting us in His light to see light, and bidding us draw with joy out of the wells of salvation. "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Every voice in the universe calls upon us to direct love aright. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," and all the world we should have will be added. Make the contrary choice, and the only issue can be disaster, defeat, and the horror of a great darkness. Who will die for ever for the friendship of this poor world?

(S. S. Roche.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING A FRIEND OF THE WORLD. To be a friend of the world, we should be inclined to think, at first view, would be rather estimable than otherwise. Ought not every Christian to be a friend to his fellow-man? Should we not cultivate dispositions of love, benevolence, and kindness towards all? Yes. But to be a friend of the world, in the sense of the text, is totally different from this. It implies —

1. Love. If you love the world, you are, in the sight of God, the friends of the world. Sinners love those who, like themselves, are destitute of the grace of God in the heart.

2. Association. Friends consort together; they are frequently found in each other's company; not merely because duty leads them these, or business calls them, but because inclination draws them towards one another.

3. Conformity. Friends conform to each other. There is a mutual forbearance with each other's inclinations, rules, and customs.

4. Assimilation. Friends resemble each other in the selection of those things most likely to contribute to their comfort and happiness.

II. CONFIRM THE STATEMENT MADE IN THE TEXT: he is the enemy of God.

1. This is an awful fact; and in illustration of it, we remark, that such a man is —(1) An enemy to the law of God. Nothing can more fully prove an individual to be an enemy, than his systematic attempts to set at nought those precepts and injunctions which he is aware that it is his duty as well as his privilege to obey (Romans 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Exodus 23:2).(2) An enemy to the grace of God. He refuses to yield to the striving of the Holy Spirit, and strengthens the principles of depravity in his nature, and plunges still deeper into the abyss of sin and guilt.(3) An enemy to the will of God. He is continually endeavouring to accomplish his own gratification in those things which the Judge of all the earth has prohibited.(4) An enemy to the cause of God. By this is meant the work which Jehovah is carrying on throughout the world for the salvation of all mankind; the means which He has adopted, and the plans which He has set forth, for the rescue of immortal souls; thus bringing them from the galling yoke of Satan into the liberty and privileges of the gospel.(5) An enemy to the people of God. It is gratifying to the wicked to throw obstacles in their path to the kingdom of heaven; and, if possible, to turn them altogether out of the way of salvation.

2. What is implied in being an enemy of God.(1) The character is at once dishonourable and disgraceful. Such a person is at variance with all goodness, excellence, and truth; all that angels admire, extol, and love; all that excites joy, triumph, and endless gratitude in the breast of redeemed spirits, who "circle His throne rejoicing."(2) The enemy of God is guilty of the foulest ingratitude. Is not the Lord Jehovah our best friend, constantly loading us with benefits?(3) The enemy of God is miserable. The deepest despair of the lost soul arises from being for ever excluded from God; and though the wicked experience not the anguish of the damned, it is because their probationary state is not yet terminated, and they are still in a world where mercy triumphs, and where vengeance is not speedily executed.

(R. Treffry.)

The question sounds harsh on the ears, and wounds the feelings of many who hear it. And yet it comes from that same blessed One who tells us, "God so loved the world," &c. It must be love, the perfect love in its free outflowing, the love which seeks and works out the whole good of its objects, Divine love itself, which appeals to our own conscience: "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" A question of this form must require an affirmative reply; and the next words supply it. But do our heart and conscience give that expected answer? First, what is this "world," which a friend of God may not love? We are sure it cannot be simply the fair creation which Himself pronounced to be very good. And we are equally sure it cannot be simply the social relationships in which we stand. The bonds of family life, the ties of friendship, the claims of human society, springing from His fatherly love, are redeemed in Jesus Christ, are sanctified by His Spirit, and are constantly upheld by His Word and providence. If in any sense these human relationships come under the language of the text, it must be in some faulty and perverse reference in which we have learned to regard them. Now, this false view of things about us is noticed in the expressions used in this chapter. "The lusts that war in your members" "Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." And the strong, and, as we should say, the opprobious name used in this text, points to the same false view and false use of the objects and relationships by which we are surrounded. St. John, in his first Epistle, speaks in very similar language (1 John 2:15, 16).

1. "The lust of the flesh"; when our ruling motive in the use of these things is to gratify the appetites and passions of the body, not to supply its necessities, not to keep it in health, and to fit it for its proper work. And not only bodily passions or desires. When we remember how the flesh is opposed to the spirit in the New Testament, we see that the word includes in it very much at least of the evil which St. Paul ascribes to the soul — the strong active desires of our nature so far as they are corrupt.

2. Again; the world in us is partly "the lust of the eye." It may be asked why this one of the bodily senses is singled out for separate mention. And, if the answer is sought in our own self-questionings, the question is wisely asked, and will find its answer more and more constantly. For who can estimate the power of the eye to receive pure and healthy impressions of truth and love, of gentleness and meekness, of self-denying simplicity, and of heaven-born purity?

3. Once more; the world in us is partly "the pride of life" — the pride of this world's existence, as the heart fastens upon outward show of visible and tangible objects, wealth, respect and homage from without, reputation, or whatever else it may be, as far as these exalt oneself above another, and consequently in some sense distinguish and separate men by these outward distinctions. This world-worship may assume an unselfish character. The process may be pushed forward for others, not for ourselves. But still it is a world which no friend of God may love, whether in himself or in another. So St. John's description is realised not only within us, but without us, in the outward world itself. Are there not many objects around us, and many arrangements of things whose very purpose and almost only effect is to foster those sinful propensities; schemes carefully devised for this very end; some in a more refined manner; some more coarsely; the former only the falser for their apparent refinement; the latter repulsive at first sight or embrace, gradually habituating the body and the soul to the very coarseness of their vice? But view these arrangements and fashions of things in their most refined outward form; shed over them the lustre which the most refined art can supply; give them the outline of beauty, the harmony of colour and of sound, sweetness of melody, gracefulness and life of graceful movement, the charm of sympathy in pleasure, and the responsive enjoyment of friendship or of love. And is it to feed any one of these three, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life? Or, in St. James's words, do you ask for them that you may consume them on your own desires? Then what have you done? You have taken fragments of God's beautiful world, elements of His beautiful order; you have misshaped and miscombined them, though in forms beautifully false; you have expelled Him from the work of your own skill and taste; and you have made a world, the friendship of which is ruin to yourself and enmity with Him. But we must go a step further in testing the true and the forbidden use of human art. Let us take the case where the purpose is an intellectual gratification. When form and colour and sound are results of pure and simple intellectual taste, and occasions of pure and simple intellectual enjoyment, is this a world of which we may be friends? The question almost answers itself! If we make a world of art for ourselves, or a world of intelligent thought and speculation, or accept the creation of some other more accomplished than ourselves, is it really a new world? or is it truly and honestly a part of God's world or God's order? Where is His place in it? Is He acknowledged or expelled? Nay, is He, after all, the centre and life of that world? Do all its parts and all its subordinate order point directly and tend to Him? I do not ask if we are at every moment consciously realising His presence in it. But does it tend to bring us to Him, and to reveal Him to us? This right tendency may be more or less direct or indirect. But it must exist, it must be an essential element, in true intellectual exercise. But what of the more common enjoyment of natural beauty, enjoyment which is open even to uninstructed and uncultivated minds? Here, too, is the same distinction. Men speak of looking up from nature to nature's God. It may be a true expression: it may be only a mask. The passive enjoyment of natural beauty is not looking up to God at all: it is personal gratification, perhaps of the body, perhaps of the soul. This passive enjoyment, when rightly used and controlled and directed, may be the first step of a real ascent from nature to nature's God. But who and what is the God to whom we thus ascend? Is He infinite greatness, and skill immeasurable by us, acting in ways so various and so beautiful that we are lost in the contemplation? Is He untold goodness whose love to His creatures shine through every one of the natural beauties which we admire and love? And is this all? I fear our friendship of this world is enmity with God. The blind sense of immeasurable greatness leads only to idolatry, to worship of visible or invisible creatures, or of the thoughts of our own hearts. The blind sense of untold goodness takes away the thought of sin, the consciousness of warfare against God, and wraps us up in weak and godless sentiment. Our God in such case is at the very best some ancient Father of gods and men, or some Hindoo abstraction of the Supreme; or even, perhaps, the deification of some form of natural beauty, or some image of our own hearts. It may seem that we have dwelt too much on the negative side of this great Christian principle. But, surely, the direct positive principle has not been wanting. Our safety is this. "The Word of God abideth in us." That Word of God is Jesus Christ Himself; Jesus Christ revealing Himself, revealing the Father, working by His Spirit. Enthrone Him in your heart. Present yourself to Him a Jiving sacrifice, body, soul, and spirit, and you are safe. For you will find Him everywhere, in the world without, in the world within. Friendship and love, art and science and nature, all will discover Him when once you have found Him in yourself, and will bind you to Him more and more closely. And He will shed upon them the pure and gentle light of His own love, which will save you from the false friendship of the world, will cheer you under all its disappointments and deceits, and lead you through this world to another world, where all objects of Jove and friendship are pure as tie is pure, and Himself is visibly enthroned above them all.

(J. F. Fenn, M. A.)

I. THE WORLD, THE FRIENDSHIP OF WHICH IS COURTED BY TREACHEROUS AND LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THAT UNSANCTIFIED FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD WHICH IS CONDEMNED IN THE TEXT MANIFESTS ITSELF. And here we must guard, both on the right hand and on the left. To keep ourselves "unspotted from the world" we are not to go out of the world. Let it be also understood that this friendship with the world is not to be avoided by surliness of manners; not by indifference to the good opinion of the world itself. We are to "please all men"; only we are to remember to do it "for their good to edification." The culpable courting of the world's friendship here condemned manifests itself —

1. In being unwilling to encounter reproach and difficulty for Christ's sake.

2. In hiding our opinions, and suffering men to go on in error and spiritual danger, that we may keep up their society.

3. In preferring some interest, some honour, to adherence to conscience.

4. In such obsequiousness to the world's maxims and principles as to lead to at least doubtful compliances,

III. THE AGGRAVATION OF THE CRIME CHARGED. Here these friendships with the world which betray Christ are marked by two opprobrious characters.

1. Spiritual adultery. This implies abnegation of God.

2. Enmity to God. The Bible becomes dull; prayer becomes irksome; and final apostasy is often the sad consequence of worldly compliances.

IV. THAT MOST EXCELLENT WAY WHICH THE APOSTLE'S DENUNCIATION SUGGESTS. He would have us decide. The benefits of decision are numerous and great.

1. It is ordinarily attended with less difficulty than a vacillating and hesitating habit.

2. It is a noble object to aspire to fidelity to God.

3. There is an interesting reciprocation. If we are God's people, He is our God; and we have everything to expect from Him.

4. The real pleasure which decision opens are many and great. The conscience is at rest; we have unbounded confidence towards God; and the unclouded prospect of heaven is opened before us.

5. The comforting sense of acting according to our real circumstances as responsible dying men, men who are to be judged.

(R. Watson.)

1. In the repugnancy of their natures. God is by His nature, pure, holy, undefiled, without contagion of sin, and without permission of any evil; but the world is altogether wicked, defiled with sin, full of all contagion, and deadly poison of iniquity.

2. As their natures are contrary, so are their precepts contrary. God commandeth mercy, liberality, pity, compassion; the world persuadeth cruelty, covetousness, hardness of heart, violence. God commandeth holiness to be fruitful in all good works, to His glory, and to increase therein to ripeness, and a full measure in Jesus Christ. But the world moveth us to filthy conversation, to defile ourselves with carnal lusts and all ungodliness.

3. As their precepts are contrary, so are the qualities of them which love the one and the other contrary. The lovers of God must be led by the Spirit of God, and bring forth the fruits thereof, as love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, but the servants and lovers of the world are possessed with cruelty, mercilessness, wrath. The lovers of God are pure, unrebukable, blameless before Him in love, serving Him in spirit and in truth, but the servants of the world are corrupt, deceitful from the womb, defiled with sin, flattering God with their mouth, and dissembling with Him in their double tongue.

4. Finally, the very love itself is in quality contrary. For the love of God is pure, chaste, holy. spiritual, but the love of the world is impure, unclean, profane, and sensual; wherefore no man can love God and the world.

(R. Turnbull.)

Are we God's people? Let us then realise the closeness and sacredness of our relation to Him. He will not allow any other being or object to share along with Him the throne of the heart, but resents every attempt and suggestion of the kind. And forget not that the world is a foreign and hostile power. Friendship with it is enmity with Him. The two are irreconcilable. Many try to please both, and fancy themselves successful. But they are grievously mistaken, for every step in its direction carries them so far away from Him, and all submission to the one is rebellion against the other. Let Christians beware of its influence, for it is stealthy and deceitful. The best defence and preservative is to have the heart filled to overflowing with the love of God — so shall the evil spirit not find the house empty, but full, and be unable to effect an entrance. Are some of you not God's people? See how you may be admitted into His friendship; yea, how you may have Him, your Maker, as your husband. Surely it were a blessed thing to be thus united to one so great and gracious — one who can supply our every want, and deliver us from every evil — one who can be infinitely more to us than the nearest and dearest of earthly relatives, His grace alone can draw us into and fix us in this state of spiritual wedlock. And how are any made its subjects? It is only in the way of being abased, emptied of our own self-sufficiency, divested of all fancied merit, and laid at the feet of Jesus.

(John Adam.)

New Cyclopaedia of Illustrations.
A weeping-willow stood by the side of a pond, and, in the direction of that pond, it hung out its pensive-looking branches. An attempt was made to give a different direction to these branches. The attempt was useless: where the water lay, thither the boughs would turn. However, an expedient presented itself. A large pond was dug on the other side of the tree; and, as soon as the greater quantity of water was found there, the tree, of its own accord, bent its branches in that direction. What a clear illustration of the laws which govern the human heart! It turns to the water — the poisoned waters of sin perhaps, but the only streams with which it is acquainted.

(New Cyclopaedia of Illustrations.)

When the moon shines brightest towards the earth, it is dark heavenward; and on the contrary, when it appears not, it is nearest the sun and clearest toward heaven.

(Archbishop Leighton.)

The world! the world! 'tis all title page! there's no contents. The world! it all depends on a foolish fancy! The world! it is all deceit and lies. The world! it is all vexation — in getting, in keeping, in losing it; and whether we get or lose, we are still dissatisfied. The world! a very little cross will destroy all its comforts. The world! 'tis only a tedious repetition of the same things. The world! will yield us no support or consolation when we most want it, namely, in the horrors of a guilty mind, and in the approaching terrors of death. The world! is unsuited to the powers, infinite passions, and immortal capacities of a soul. The world! is fickle, variable, and unstable as the wind; 'tis always fickle, always changeable, always unstable; there is no steadfastness in its honours, riches, pleasures; 'tis all a lie, all a lie for ever. The world I it never satisfies; we ever wish for change, whether we are high or low, rich or poor; we are always wishing for some new variety to cheat the imagination; the witchcraft of polluted pleasure decays in a moment, and dies. The world I its pleasures are exceedingly limited, and under most painful restraints, attended with bitter remorse, and followed with a horrible dread of bad consequences; the pleasures of impurity are mixed up with cursed disgusts and self-loathings, and have most dreadful damps and twinges of mind when the momentary witchcraft of pleasure is gone for ever.

(J. Ryland.)

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