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perhaps, you did not think it was pride ; yet it is so :
Again, There is a pride of understanding and opinion,
Therefore, I say, do not trust your own judgment,
Non- CONFORMITY to the World in.
joined; or, the Evil and Danger of SYMBOLIZING with the Wicked,
Rom. xii. 2.
Ir is the character of the children of God, that they I have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spi. rit which is of God, 1 Cor. ii. 12. They are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world. But it is the character of the wicked, that they are the men of the world, who have their portion in this life, Pfal. xvii. 14. Conforniity to Christ is the great mark and character of faints; “ Whom he did foreknow, then he did predes. tinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,” Rom. viii. 20. But conformity to the world is the great characterillic of Atheists and wicked persons: and therefore the apostle here diffuades all the children of God from such conformity; “ Be not conformed to this world.”
The apostle having at large treated the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, in the preceding chapters, he comes now in this to press home, upon the conscience, the principal duties thereof. True religion is not only designed to inform the judgment; but also to
* This Sermon was preached by our Author, in his own church at Dunferm. line, in the year 1723. And from the beginning of the Sermon itself, as well as from the place it has in the note-book, we learn, that it was delivered inmediately after chefe on Prov. XXX. 12. p. 325.
transform the heart, and reform the life. But the foun. dation of Christian practice must be laid in Christian knowledge: and hence the apostle, having discoursed, at large, of justification by faith, thro' the imputed righteoulness of Christ, and of the riches of free grace, carnal wisdom might be apt to infer, Therefore we may live as wė list, and walk in the way of our own heart: No, that doth not follow; the faith that justifies is a faith that worketh by love; having understanding how to receive Christ Jesus the Lord, we come to understand how to walk in him. Hence this chapter is joined to the foregoing discourse by the word therefore; “ I beseech you, THEREForc, brethren:” intimating; that the practical application of doctrinal truths is the life of preaching.
The first verse of the chapter is a general direction ; and that urged with the strongest motives and arguments and in the most affectionate and pathetic manner: “I be. feech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you pre. fent your bodies a living facrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” It might be useful to offer fome explication hereof; but it is not what I propose at the time; and therefore I go forward.
The apostle proceeds to give more particular directi. ons: and that which the text bears is set down both ne. gatively and positively. The positive direction is last fet down, tho' first in the order of nature and operation, bea fore the former; “ Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [or understand] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Concerning this renovation of inind, I propose not at prefent to treat ; especially as it is much the same, in other words, with that holiness and purity, or being washed from our filthiness, which I infifted so much upon from the last text of fcripture we prosecuted in your hearing*. Now, the negative direction is, “ Be not conformed to this world.” By World here, we are to understand the men of the world, the wicked of the world, the lusts of the world, the way and course of the world, &c. And by Not CONFORMING thereto, we are to understand, our Hh2 .
not Allading to the preceding Sermons, from Prov. XXX. 126
not fashioning ourselves according to the world. All the disciples and followers of Chrili mull be Non-conformists to this world, or unlike the wicked therein. And for the further expli ation of this text, I thall prosecute this doctrinal proposition.
Observ. That the people of God must not be like the
world, or the wicked therein: They must not be conformed to the wicked world.
The method we propose to ob'erve, for illustrating this observation, througlı supernatural aid, shall be the following,
I. Prove and clear the truth of the doctrine.
conformed to. III. Point out what this disconformity to the world
imports. IV. Give the reasons wliy we are not to be conform.
ed to the world.
Now, as I suppose, this subject is not unleasonable; fo, I think, it is not unsuitable to the last we insisted up on from Prov. xxx. 12.
Ilaving of late, 1. Spoken of the l'ATHSR's exhibition of Christ, saying, “I will give thee for a covenant of the people.” 2. Of the Spirit's operation, in order to his being know11; “ He shall tellity of me.” 3. Of the Son's declaration of his own excellency, saying, “I and my Father are one." 4. Of the WORLD's disapprobation of this glorious person, and the harsh treatment he got among the!); “ Behold, I and the children which the Lord has given.me, are for signs and wonders in Il. rael.” 5. Of the REASON why so many, even in Israel, pour contempt thus upon Christ and his followers; why, “ There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” Here is the sett of the world. We now cone, 6. To enquire what is our duty in a suitableness to this, even not to be conformed to this world. ..
I. The first thing proposed, on the general method, was, To prove and clear the truth of the doctrine, viz.
Toat the people of God must not be like the wicked world, or conformed thereto. We shall prove this both by scripture precepts and precedents.
ist, There are fcripture precepts, both in the Old and New Testament, to evince the truth hereof; and I would have you to consult them carefully in your Bible, and there see what is the mind of God to you in this matter.
1. There are Old Testament precepts that injoin this duty; such as these, and the like: “ Thou shalt not fola low a multitude to do evil,” Exod. xxii. 2. “ Enter not into the path of the wicked; and go not in the way of evil men; avoid theny, pass not by them, turn from them, and pass away,” Pror. iv, 14, 15. See also, Lev. xviii. 24. 27. Deur. xii. 30, 31, 32. Plal. i. I. Prov. i. IO, II. 14, 15, 16.
2. There are likewile New-Testament precepts inforce ing the duty, such as these follo ving; “ And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourfelves from this untoward generation, Acts ii. 40. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye hence. forth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind;-Be not partakers with them, Eph. iv. 17.' v. 7. Keep yourselves unspotted from the world,”'. James i. 27. See also, Mat, v. 46. vi. 31, 32. Luke xii. 29, 30. 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16. I Theff. v. 5,-3. 2 Pet. iii. 17.
2dly, There are feripture precedents to influence us not to be conformed to the wicked world. I shall inItance in the following perfons, (1.) In Noah; Gen. vii. 1. “ And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark ; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (2.) In Lot; 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. “ And delivered righteous Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul, from day to day, with their sinful deeds.” (3.) In Joshua; chap. xxiv. 14. “ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom
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