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ensnared by them, and taught us how to avoid the danger, by fixing our hopes and our desires on immortal felicity.
In the New Testament we find no rules of external discipline; no statutes of prohibition : but we find all the enjoyments which this life affords described as they really are, transient and unsatisfactory; not adapted to satisfy and not intended to engross the soul. It is there represented as the Christian's duty to obtain such a complete control over his passions and inclinations, as may prevent them from ever gaining such an ascen. dency as may render him forgetful of his high destination. Nor is this limitation confined to the objects of sense. Power, and wealth, and fame, the chief objects of pursuit among the children of this world, are by the gospel of Jesus deprived of their preeminence, and reduced to a level with L 2
all temporary enjoyments, sinking into nothing when put into comparison with those that are eternal. “ What does « it profit a man if he gains the ( whole world, and loses his own u soul;” or “what shall a man give * in exchange for his soul?"
The love of praise, a more generous principle than the love of riches, is subject to the same restrictions, and represented as a passion extremely dangerous, unless where it is subordi. nate to the desire of the approbation of God.
The love of power is described by our Saviour as a heathen principle, utterly incompatible with the spirit of those doctrines which he inculcated, and of which he in his life set the brightest example. “ Ye know," said he, “ that the princes of the Gentiles “ exercise dominion over them; and “ that they that are great, exercise
* authority. But it shall not be so « among you: but whosoever will be “ great among you, let him be your “ minister; and whosoever will be « chief among you, let him be your “ seryant : even as the Son of Man * came not to be ministered unto, but “ to minister, and to give his life a “ ransom for many."*.
To persons who are taught to place their chief happiness in this world, power, and honours, and riches must necessarily be the primary objects of pursuit; but in the minds of those who look beyond this world for their happiness, they will be reduced to a level with all other temporary enjoyments, viz. considered as things conparatively insignificant.
Here again we perceive how admirably the doctrines and the precepts
* St. Matt. xx.
of our Divine Master support and elus cidate each other. In the same point of view in which all temporal things would be placed by a true and lively faith, they are placed by the positive precepts of the Gospel. We there find that all the gratifications which can be enjoyed with imocerice, are to be enjoyed with thankfulness, Wealth, and power, and reputation are to be valued as means of doing good to others, and of affording an exercise to those benevolent affections which we are commanded to cultivate. But they are not to be rested in as a chief good; neither are we to esteem ourselves or others on account of the degree in which we or they happen to possess them. We are to estimate these advantages, as they are estimated in the sight of God, and as they will be estimated by ourselves hereafter.
They must know very little of their own hearts, and have paid little ata tention to the actions of others, who do not see that the difficulty of thus justly appreciating the advantages of worldly enjoyments, is much enhanced by their possession. Hence arises the danger of a situation that is elevated in the eyes of the world. The pleasure that arises from the consciousness of pre-eminence, is too dear to pride to be easily relinquished. Our Saviour foretells this in language so forcible, as to have struck his audi. ence with dismay. The circumstance is remarkable; and as it affords a for. cible illustration of what I have just. advanced, I shall give you a more particular account of it.
Amongst the numbers whose hearts bore witness to the divine authority of our Saviour's doctrine, was “a cer• tain ruler,' a man of distinguished