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For the Christian Spectator. sand things, which are lawsul, which On using the world as not abusing it. are proper, which are necessary ;
Man sustains a most important re- that there are duties pertaining to this lation to this world, and the use which world, that the constitution of the he makes of it, decides his present world evidently demands a high deand future well-being. The influence gree of solicitude and toil in its conof the world is felt not merely in our coins, in order to fulfil the duties of sufferings and enjoyments as sensitive life, and that we are not so to underbeings, but in the formation of our value the things of this world, nor to character, as beings who are destined be so absorbed with those of another soon to leave our present state,and en- as to disqualify us for the enjoyments ter one of eternal retribution. It be- to be found in our present state of comes then a point of enquiry, well existence. worthy of examination, what is the Which of these two classes is in the true and proper use to be made of this right, it might be difficult to decide world; how are the duties of religion were we to concede to them their own and the business of the world to be premises. For if the duties of man united and to be made alike subservi- which result from his relation to this ent to our spiritual, our highest inter- world, are incompatible with those ests.
which arise from his character as anacThe subject becomes still more im- countable and an immortal being,each portant if we reflect, that the opinion opinion, it would seem has a warrant, is not uncommon, and the practical and between the different courses estimate still more frequent, that the proposed, we are fairly at liberty to duties which arise out of man's con- take our own choice. But it is not dition in this world, are incompatible difficult to shew, that the opinion with that spiritual frame of mind, which assumes, that religion is inwhich the Scriptures constantly in- compatible with the duties and busiculcate. There are those who plead ness of the present state, is founded for a species of indifference to this on an utter misapprehension of the world, and a kind of sublimated de- nature either of true religion or of the votion, which are not only inconsis- proper business of the world. tent with the active business of life, True religion may be said to conand with a lawful measure of world- sist in habitual obedience to the comly enjoyment, but with usefulness to prehensive precept " whether, theretheir fellow creatures. The propen- fore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever sity, however, of most men, is not to ye do, do all to the glory of God.” go to excess, in obeying those pre- His own glory, is the end of all the cepts of the gospel, which require works of God and the only end worabstraction from the world. To en- thy of himself. That end which is seeble the obligation of Christian self- worthy of God, surely becomes every denial, and to extend the limits of other being, who is capable of maksell-indulgence, we are told of a thou. ing it the end of his actions. This
end, man, as an accountable creature, laws and precepts which God has givis qualified to propose to himself and en us in his word. Had man been to accomplish. There is nothing in competent to decide on each specific his faculties, nothing in the nature of act or course of action by which God the world that surrounds him, noth- would be most honoured, he had been ing in the structure of his physical safely left to pursue this end in conconstit tion, which necessarily inter- formity with his own judgment. But feres with rendering the world in the it must be obvious, on a little reflecuse he makes of it, subservient to this tion, how much embarrassment, and exalted end of his creation. The end perplexity, and errour, would have therefore, for which man is to live, is attended the decisiou of the endless the glory of God. This law is of diversity of questions, which in universal obligation throughout the that case would have arisen.intelligent kingdom of Jehovah. From these evils, God has gra
The way or manner in which the ciously exempted us, by giving to end is to be accomplished by the vol- us his laws and precopiis, as the guide untary subjects of that kingdom, va- of our conduci. Omniscience has ries according to the different circum- decided for us. Under such guidance stances in which they are placed. - we may walk in a sure and safe path In heaven, this end is pre-eminently to the great end for which God has accomplished by direct acts of wor- given us an accountable and immorship, and by the affections and the de- tal existence. lights which are inseparable from such Such being the nature of real reliemployments in the unveiled presence gion, we are led to enquire, whether of God. On earth too, the method of its habitual power, and its practical honouring God by direct acts of wor- ascendency are incompatible with ship and their appropriate emotions the true business of the world, or and joys, is not denied to man, but with any of the duties which arise made his privilege and his duty. from our present condition. An in
As a constituent part of the same spired Apostle has taught us to use great end, man is to propose to bim- this world as not abusing it. To self, his own present and eternal well- abuse the world, is to turn it from a being, and that of his fellow men.- good to a bad purpose. None will To aim at the glory of God as the doubt that the world formed by infiultimate end of all our actions, in- nite wisdom and goodness, is capable volves the loss of no real good, either of answering a good end to the creato ourselves or to our fellow crea- tures for whose habitation and benefit tures. God, in his wisdom and good- it was made. If then, we can ascertain ness, has not only required us to glo- how that end may be defeated on the rify him, but has established a periect one hand, and how secured on the coincidence between that end, and other, we shall also ascertain what our own best good. Amid all the it is to use the world as not abusing varying scenes and duties of life, the it, and whether the true use of the alternative can never arise, when one world is at all inconsistent with the real interest of man, must be sacritic- duties of religion. ed to the divine glory, or one particle 1. We are not to regard this world of that glory, to the real interest of as of no value to our happiness, but man. The anthem sung by the duly to appreciate it as the means of heavenly hosts, when the Saviour present good." There is nothing was born, may be repeated, till time better for a man than that he should shall be no longer, "glory to God in eat and drink and that he should the highest, peace on earth and good make his soul enjoy good in his laWill to men.”
bour.” “Every creature of God is "he rule by which this great end good, and nothing to be refused, if it
e promoted, is contained in the be received with thanksgiving." The world then which God has appointed yet compared with that of which the us to inhabit, is not to be regarded soul is capable, is justly denominated with absolute aversion, nor even with vanity and vexation of spirit. Under indifference. If we use the world as what a lamentable practical mistake, of no worth, we virtually declare its then, are a great majority of men! insufficiency to administer to our pres. In youth, in manhood, in old age, ent comfort, we contemn its bles- happiness from the world is the great sings, we impeach the goodness of object of pursuit. Though it perpetour Maker. The bounties of heaven ually eludes the grasp, yet disapthat are scattered around us to be en- pointment only serves to renew the joyed, are despised; every emotion of ardour of pursuit, or to change the gratitude for them to our divine Bene- path of search; never persuades to factor is stifled, and the very means of abandon the object. Now is this use supporting our bodies while employ- of the world conformed to the true ed in the duties of religion, are neg. desigo of bim that made it for man? lected. This use of the world is a If the whole world were gained, would palpable abuse of it, and no less pal- the object aimed at, be secured ? pably inconsistent with the claims of Would present happiness be enjoyibat religion which we have describ- ed ? Is not God the only satisfying ed. That religion which teaches us portion of the soul ? Is not man a to make the glory of God the end of pilgrim on earth, and in the midst of all our actions, requires also that we his journey; and does either his seek our own and our neighbours present or his future happiness rewell being, as well as honour God by quire that he look for his home, bis acts of praise and thanksgiving.– rest, his complete enjoyment, while Some degree of worldly enjoynient on his way to eternity ? Surely he is therefore, as inseparable from the not subserving the end of his present subsistence of man, so far from being condition, by using this world to satincompatible with that religion, is in- isfy the desires of that spirit which dispensable to its existence. These pants for immortality, and which can blessings, are given to us as the means be satisfied only with the fulness of of furnishing us with strength and ac- God. Reason tells us, that the good tivity, in the performance of personal things of our earthly pilgrimage are and relative duties; of exhibiting to given as mere refreshments by the us the perfections of the invisible way, to cheer our progress and aniCreator, of exciting our lively grati- mate our steps toward our Father's tude to that unwearied Benefactor house ; while the experience of six who provides so liberally for our thousand years, decides, that to fix comfort and our happiness, and in the heart on this world as our portion, this way to prepare us for the song is to tread the path of disappointeternal; and thus we see a di- ment, of anxiety, of sorrow, of sio vine harmony between using the and of ruin. What then is there in world as not abusing it, and the du- the true and proper use of this world ties of that religion which the gospel that is inconsistent with the demands inculcates.
of religion ? Is the religion, which re2. If we would use this world as quires us to estimate this world acnot abusing it, we must not regard it cording to its true value in comparison as the means of perfect happiness.- with another, which would awaken A siogle glance at the structure of us from the wretched dream, that to the soul; and at the nature of the feed on ashes is the perfection of our world, forces the conviction on every immortal nature, which would check mind, that the world cannot make us iu the pursuit of empty visions, man happy. The amount of good which surrounds us with the substanwhich it can afford, much as it er- tial realities of eternity, and which ceeds what we have reason to expect, directs us to fix the desires of the soul on the only object that cau fill discontent, envy, pride, and avarice, and satisfy them, is such a religion are the appropriate operations of a an enemy to human happiness ? Does selfish spirit, as that spirit is excited it bring disorder into the affections of and put in action by the world.the soul or defeat the end of our be- Counteract that influence of the ing, or does it prescribe to us that world which excites the spirit of selfvery estimate of the world, and that ishness, and none of these passions very use of it, which will alike con- would invade the breast of man. tribute to our happiness here and That the indulgence of these pashereafter? If then we would not per- sions are necessary to the present vert the world by direct and palpable well being of man, in any condition abuse, if we would use it for the end in which he can be placed, nove will designed by the Creator, let us yield affirm. Will anger make him hapimplicitly to the authority of that re- py? Will discontent or fretfulness, ligion, whose demands conform so or an open contest with God under exactly with the real good of man. adverse events, make him happy?
3. Another remark closely allied Will pride, or envy, or revenge, make with the former, is that if we would him happy? Will avarice which use this world as not abusing it, we hoards or desires useless wealth, must not make it the occasion of ex- make him happy? Will any one, or eiting or gratifying our animal appe- all of these selfish passions as contintites or selfish passions. That the ual or occasional inmates of the botrue and proper use of the world is not som of man, secure “the soul's calm to pamper the body with food, or sunshine ?” Every one's own heart drink, or other sensual indulgence, is tells him, that the real sacrifice is not obvious in its effects on the present to renounce these tempers, but to well being of man. Contemplate the cherish them, that to use the world as drunkard, wasting by the poison that the occasion of their excitement is to he loves; listen to the oaths and blas- abuse it, and that in all the diversifiphemies he utters, and mark the ed conditions of man, there is no way crimes he perpetrates. Follow him of deriving an equal measure of ento his home, witness his broken heart. joyment from the world as by cultied wife, and his starving children, vating meekness, humility, forgivesee them terrified by his fury, or ness, submission, compassion, benevoverwhelmed in anguish by his vices, olence. What then, in this departbehold bis bloated visage, his trem- ment of life, are the requisitions of bling hands, bis enfeebled frame; true religion ? Are we ill-treated by see his remorse and conscious degra- our fellow men, we are to think of dation in the moments of sobriety, or the bright example of him, who when what is more common, his restless- he reviled, reviled not again; and ness to repeat his brutal indulg. nce; are to render good for evil, blessing consider thus minutely any course of for cursing. Are we called to endure sensual indulgence, and say, is this to adversity and affliction, we are to reus the world as not abusing it ? Con- fect on the vanity of the world, resider these things again, and say, is minded that all that befalls us is of the religion which proscribes intem. God's appointment, summoned to a perate indulgence, incompatible with cheerful submission to his will, made that use of the world, which reason to reflect that we need correction, and approves ? Surely he who was form- urged to profit by the strokes of our ed to be the companion of angels, is heavenly Father's hand. Are we pot doomed so to use the world in blessed with prosperity, we are to which he is placed, as to sink him- check our expectations from it, to self below the beasts that perish. consider of how little consequence is
Similar remarks apply to the self- all earthly good, to guard against its ish passions of man. Auger, revenge, power on our hearts, to awaken gratitude to our divine Benefactor, and and of the wants of those who are deto be quickened in pursuit of that pendant upon us, cannot be rationalhigher and nobler good, which is ly denied. secured by the covenant of his prom- Tosay nothing then, of the incongruise. Are we applauded and caressed ity of supposing that God should reby the world, we must see to it, quire a portion of time to be allotted to that we are not overcome by this prayer and other exercises of devomost dangerous temptation, and cher- tion, and that he should place us in a ish a higher regard for the favour of world, where our own comfortable God than for the honour that cometh subsistence, necessarily prevents obefrom man. Do we possess wealth, dience to his requirements; the point talents, influence, or other means of of enquiry now is, whether a true doing good in this world of sin and and proper use of the world, necessuffering, we are taught that these are sarily occupies the whole of our proentrusted to us by that God whose bation. If the only proper use of stewards we are, to be used for the glo- the world, is to pursue with insary of him who has said, “occupy till I tiable eagerness, its honours and its come;" that we are not to bury one riches, to despise a low situation talent, lest we incur the doom of that though amply comfortable, and to servant, who ventured on the awful grasp at all the possessions that the experiment; that neither pride nor utmost effort can accumulate, then avarice nor sensuality, are to measure indeed man has no time for religiou. our beneficence, nor appropriate our But to justify such a use of the world possessions; that we are not to amass the plea of necessity cannot be made. useless wealth, for posthumous dis- Judeed reason and experience both tinction, or as the means of indul- decide that a moderate indulgence of gence and ostentation to our children, the good things of this lise, is the part that we are to open our hand wide to of true wisdom. To sit loose to the the poor, to be rich in good works, world in our affections, is the surest willing to distribute, ready to com- way to derive from it the highest municate, and that it is more blessed measure of good. All beyond is the to give than to receive. These in- vexation of care, and the torment of staoces are sufficient to shew, what anxiety: and having food and raiare the demands of Christianity, in ment, and the ordinary portion of all the conditions in which men are pla- other worldly comforts, we have not ced in the world, and to enable us to de- only reason for conteotment, but for cide whether its claims come into com- gratitude. petition, with any real interest which
“ Man wants but little here below, ihe world creates. They shew us
Nor wants that little long." tbat if we can be satisfied to use the world as not abusing it, to use it in It becomes every one who pleads such a manner as to derive from it the press of occupation, the calls of under every condition of life, the business, and the cares of life, to enhighest measure of good which it can quire, why his time is thus engrossed. afford, we shall instead of finding our Is it a matter of absolute necessity? path crossed by the requisitions of If not, it is a matter of choice without religion, find ourselves walking in the necessity; and what right has any very path which God has marked out man to involve himself in a multiplifor us.
city of useless cares, to bind around 4. It is to be enquired how far the him the chains of incessant occnpa-, necessary business of the world is tion, and plead that he cannot exempt compatible with the devotional duties bimself from the bondage, which neiof religion. That much care and la. ther God nor nature has created ? bour are necessary to provide for the Let him farther enquire, does he find comfortable supply of our own wants, no time for unnecessary relaxation or Vol. 3—No. I.