This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: world (Page 1 of 3)

David’s Digest: Don’t Be a CHRINO

I believe Scripture defines two kingdoms on earth: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world, influenced by Satan:

Mark 1:14-15 – “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Eph 2:2 – “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience

I also believe the following implies that time is a factor of servitude. For example, when one spends time pursuing either mammon or God, they are serving one or the other:

Matt 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Besides mammon, I believe generally the activities of our lives that we can engage in fall into being a part of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the world; and, like mammon, if it is part of one, it cannot be part of the other. If we were to list all the activities in our lives throughout the week and categorize them honestly as being part of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the world, in what kingdom would they end up?

How much of our lives is spent participating in, and thus serving, the kingdom of the world; and therefore, how much of our lives is spent not in the service of Christ and following Him? And then are we actually servants of Christ?

To use the political vernacular of the day, are we just CHRINOs — Christians in name only?

It is possible to say we are Christians and not be:

Matt 7:21-23 – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

James 2:19-20 – “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

1 John 4:20 – “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Judas was a Christ-follower, but externally only and not in his heart truly. (You can listen to an excellent sermon on Judas being a Christian in name only here.)

 

Christianity isn’t something we do — it’s who we are. We shouldn’t fit Christianity into the rest of the things in our lives — the rest of the things in our lives should fit into our Christianity, directed by the Word of God, the Bible.

 

How is our Lord’s Day keeping? Is the day — the whole day — kept holy, set apart for the worship of Christ and religious exercises? Here is what Puritan Thomas Watson said in part regarding the 4th Commandment, which you can listen to here, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or all the commandments in their entirety:

Use one. See here the Christian’s duty, “to keep the Sabbath-day holy.”

(1) The whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God. It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy but the whole day must be piously observed. If God has given us six days, and taken but one to himself, shall we grudge him any part of that day? This would be sacrilege. … Let those who say, that to keep a whole Sabbath is too Judaical, show where God has made any abatement of the time of worship; where he has said, you shall keep but a part of the Sabbath; and if they cannot show that, it robs God of his due. That a whole day be designed and set apart for his special worship, is a perpetual statute, while the church remains upon the earth, …

(2) As the whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God, so it must be kept holy. …

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable: and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words.” Isaiah 58:13. Here is a description of rightly sanctifying a Sabbath.

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath.” This may be understood either literally or spiritually. Literally, that is, if you withdraw your foot from taking long walks or journeys on the Sabbath-day. So the Jewish doctors expound it. Or, spiritually, if you turn away your affections (the feet of your soul) from inclining to any worldly business.

“From doing your pleasure on my holy day.” That is, you must not do that which may please the carnal part, as in sports and recreations. This is to do the devil’s work on God’s day.

“And call the Sabbath a delight.” Call it a delight, that is, esteem it so. Though the Sabbath is not a day for carnal pleasure, yet holy pleasure is not forbidden. The soul must take pleasure in the duties of a Sabbath…

“Not doing your own ways.” That is, you shall not defile the day by doing any servile work.

“Nor finding your own pleasure.” That is, not gratifying the fleshly part by walks, visits, or recreations.

“Nor speaking your own words.” That is, words unsuitable for a Sabbath; vain, impertinent words; discourses of worldly affairs.

 

Now, how about the rest of our lives? How do our lives compare to the following?

From AW Pink’s “A Fourfold Salvation”, part 3 on “Salvation from the Power of Sin“:

But not only must the new nature be fed, it is equally necessary for our spiritual well-being that the old nature should be starved. This is what the apostle had in mind when he said, “Make not provision for the flesh, unto the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14). To starve the old nature, to make not provision for the flesh, means that we abstain from everything that would stimulate our carnality; that we avoid, as we would a plague, all that is calculated to prove injurious to our spiritual welfare.

Not only must we deny ourselves the pleasures of sin, shun such things as the saloon, theatre, dance, card-table, etc., but we must separate ourselves from the worldly companions, cease to read worldly literature, abstain from everything upon which we cannot ask God’s blessing.

Our affections are to be set upon things above, and not upon things upon the earth (Col. 3:2).

Does this seem a high standard, and sound impracticable? Holiness in all things is that at which we are to aim, and failure to do so explains the leanness of so many Christians. Let the young believer realize that whatever does not help his spiritual life hinders it.

 

Or this, from J.C. Ryle’s Holiness book (Chapter 19, which you can listen to here, Part 1, Part 2, or in its entirety):

I must honestly declare my conviction that, since the days of the Reformation, there never has been so much profession of religion without practice, so much talking about God without walking with Him, so much hearing God’s words without doing them, as there is in England at this present date. Never were there so many empty tubs and tinkling cymbals! Never was there so much formality and so little reality. The whole tone of men’s minds on what constitutes practical Christianity seems lowered. The old golden standard of the behaviour which becomes a Christian man or woman appears debased and degenerated.

You may see scores of religious people (so-called) continually doing things which in days gone by would have been thought utterly inconsistent with vital religion. They see no harm in such things as card-playing, theatre-going, dancing, incessant novel-reading, and Sunday-travelling, and they cannot in the least understand what you mean by objecting to them! The ancient tenderness of conscience about such things seems dying away and becoming extinct, like the dodo. When you venture to remonstrate with young communicants who indulge in them, they only stare at you as an old-fashioned, narrow-minded, fossilized person and say, “Where is the harm?” In short, laxity of ideas among young men, and “fastness” and levity among young women, are only too common characteristics of the rising generation of Christian professors.

Now in saying all this I would not be mistaken. I disclaim the slightest wish to recommend an ascetic religion. Monasteries, nunneries, complete retirement from the world, and refusal to do our duty in it, all these I hold to be unscriptural and mischievous nostrums. Nor can I ever see my way clear to urging on men an ideal standard of perfection for which I find no warrant in God’s Word, a standard which is unattainable in this life, and hands over the management of the affairs of society to the devil and the wicked. No; I always wish to promote a genial, cheerful, manly religion, such as men may carry everywhere and yet glorify Christ.

 

Or this, from Puritan Thomas Manton:

John 17:16 – “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

2. Observe again, an excellent means to digest the world’s neglect is to consider the example of Christ. It is our duty, it will be for our comfort, and it turneth to our profit.

1. It is our duty. In his example we have a taste of his Spirit: ‘I am not of the world,’ said Christ; and we should ‘ imitate Christ as dear children,’ Eph. v. 1. They that love to live in delight and pleasures are but christians in name. If we had no other reason to contemn the vanity of the world than the life of Christ, this were enough. Who was wisest, Christ or you ? Who can make the better choice, Christ or you? Who is in error, Christ or you? Christ chose a poor life, and you affect [work to acquire] greatness.

 

Claiming to be a Christian and not living as one can also be taking the Lord’s name in vain. If we say we are Christians, we take the name of Christ as ours (like when a new wife takes her husband’s surname).

For example, besides potentially swearing falsely, Puritan commentator Matthew Henry suggests the following is one of the ways of taking God’s name in vain:

Prov 30:7-9 – “7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

Lest I should steal, and take the name of my God in vain, that is, discredit my profession of religion by practices disagreeable to it.

 

And here is Thomas Watson on the 3rd Commandment (which you can listen to in its entirety here) giving his explanations of some of the ways we can take the Lord’s name in vain:

Exo 20:7 – “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

[2] We take God’s name in vain, when we profess God’s name but do not live answerably to it, we take it in vain. They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, Titus 1:16. When men’s tongues and lives are contrary to one another, when, under a mask of profession, they lie and deceive, and are unclean, they make use of God’s name to abuse him, and take it in vain. “Pretended holiness is merely double wickedness.” “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”, Rom 2:24. When the heathen saw the Jews, who professed to be God’s people, to be scandalous, it made them speak evil of God, and hate the true religion for their sakes.

[4] We take God’s name in vain, when we worship him with our lips but not with our hearts. God calls for the heart, “My son, give me your heart.”, Prov 23:26. The heart is the chief thing in religion; it draws the will and affections after it, as the Primum Mobile [the outermost moving sphere that carried the others with it in the geocentric view of the universe] draw the other orbs along with it. The heart is the incense which perfumes our holy things. The heart is the altar which sanctifies the offering. When we seem to worship God but withdraw our heart from him, we take his name in vain. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain.”, Matthew 15:8-9

Hypocrites take God’s name in vain: their religion is a lie; they seem to honor God but they do not love him; their hearts go after their lusts [generally, any corrupt desires of the heart]. “They set their heart on their iniquity.”, Hos 4:8. Their eyes are lifted up to heaven but their hearts are rooted in the earth, Ezek 33:31. These are devils in Samuel’s mantle.

Superstitious people take God’s name in vain. They bring him a few ceremonies which he never appointed, bow at Christ’s name and cringe to the altar but hate and persecute God’s image.

 

Further, do we have oil in our lamps, or are we just holding empty ones?

Is our true purpose in life God and His glory alone?

Is our eye single toward Christ? Are our treasures, and thus our hearts, on things of this world, or Christ Himself and heavenly things?

And finally, are we ravished with the beauty of Christ? Do we wish to be in His presence more each day, in prayer now and in person in heaven one day? Is he our all?

The Song of Solomon is an allegory of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. If you’ve never read through it with that in mind, I would encourage you to do so. And here are other excellent sermons, focusing on some of this relationship, and the Church’s desire, and those individuals that make up the bride of Christ, for Christ, the excellency it (the Church) and they (the individuals) see in Him, and its and their desire for communion with Him:

I believe the kingdom of Christ is real, here, and now, and is not yoked with the kingdom of the world; and those that take the name of Christ I believe should strive to live life in and focused on Christ and His kingdom, participating much in heavenly things, purposing all things for God’s glory, separated as much as possible from the world’s kingdom and its accoutrements.

May God grant us a desire for the things of the world to die to us, and may He grant that they indeed do!

Your main and principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for Christ. To live for glory? Yes, but for his glory. To live for comfort? Yes, but be all your consolation in him. To live for pleasure? Yes, but when you are merry, sing psalms, and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. To live for wealth? Yes, but to be rich in faith. You may lay up treasure, but lay it up in heaven.

– Charles Spurgeon

1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Rom 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Psa 73:25-26 – “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Phil 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

— David

David’s Digest: The Carnal Life

James 4:13 – “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

Where are our hearts truly? With God or the things of the world?

Luke 12:34 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James” discusses the life of carnal persons and the things important to them.

How do we compare?

You can listen to all of verse 13 here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 375 (in the print, page 356), or you can get it in other formats here

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 13. – Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

Ye that say, “To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, etc.” By an imitation he recites the speeches or thoughts of the Jewish factors or merchants: Now we will go to Alexandria, or to Damascus, or to Antioch, which were the places of their usual traffic [for business]. Observe hence,

Obs 1. That carnal hearts are all for carnal projects. Thoughts are the purest offspring of the soul, and do discover the temper of it. Men are according to their devices; see Isa. xxxii. 6, 7: “Liberal men devise liberal things.” Carnal men are projecting how to spend their days and months in buying and selling, and getting gain. The fool in the Gospel is thinking of enlarging his barns, and plucking down his houses, and building greater (Luke xi. 17, 18): this engrosses all his thoughts.

One apostle describes such men thus, “Minding earthly things” (Phil. iii. 19). Another thus, “Having a heart exercised with covetous practices” (2 Pet. ii. 14); that is, with earnest contrivances how to promote their gain and earthly aims.

A gracious heart is for gracious projects, how they shall be more thankful (Psa. cxvi. 12), how more holy, more useful for God, more fruitful in every good work; “what they shall do to inherit eternal life.” Oh! consider, this is the better care, that more suits with the end [purpose] of our creation and the nature of our spirits. We were sent into the world, not to grow great and pompous, but to enrich our souls with spiritual excellencies, etc.

Obs 2. Again you may observe, that carnal men send out their thoughts to forestall and fore-enjoy their contentments ere [before] they obtain them. [ie. looking forward to expected events and enjoyments with excitement] It is usual with men to feed themselves with the pleasure of their hopes. Sisera’s mother’s ladies looked through the lattice, pleasing themselves in the thought of a triumphant return (Judg. v.).

Thoughts are the spies and messengers of the soul; hope sends them out after the thing expected, and love after the thing beloved. When a thing is strongly expected, the thoughts are wont [often] to spend themselves in creating images and suppositions of the happiness of enjoyment. If a poor man were adopted into the succession of a crown, he would please himself in the supposition of the future honour and pleasure of the kingly state. Godly men, that are called to be co-heirs with Christ, are wont [often] to pre-occupy the bliss of their future estate, and so do in a manner feel what they do but expect.

So also do carnal men charm their souls with whispers of vanity, and feed themselves with the pleasant anticipation of that carnal delight which they look for: as young heirs spend upon their hopes, and riot away their estate ere [before] they possess it.

Well then, look to it; it is a sure note of fleshliness, when the world runs so often in your thoughts, and you are always deflowering [corrupting] carnal contentments [in this case I believe lawful ones] by these anticipations of lust [generally, any corrupt desire in the heart] and sin; and you have nothing to live upon, or to entertain your spirit withal, but these suppositions of gain and pomp, and the reversion [future possession] of some outward enjoyment.

Obs 3. Again, you may observe their confidence of future events. “We will go, and continue there a year,” etc. Note from that, that carnal affections are usually accompanied with, certainly much encouraged by, carnal confidence. They are doubly confident: of the success of their endeavours. “We will get gain”; of the continuance of their lives, “We will continue there a year.” Lust [corrupt desires] cannot be nourished without a presumption of success.

When men multiply endeavours, they liittle think of God, or of the changes of providence. [If they were to], It is [or would be] enough to undo [sadly, to them, take away from them their] lust [corrupt desire] to suppose [that] a disappointment [might happen].

Besides, when there is such a presence of means [wealth, prosperity], we ascribe little to the highest cause [God and His providence, how He causes things to happen in our lives]. First the world steals away our affections, and then it intercepts our trust: there is not only adultery in it (James iv. 4), but idolatry (Eph. v. 5). It is not only our darling, but our god; and that is the reason why worldly men are always represented as men of a secure presumption; as, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke xii 9). “I shall die in my nest, and multiply my days as the sand” (Job xxix. 18). So in that apocryphal passage, “I have found rest, and will eat continually of my goods, and yet he knoweth not what time shall come upon him” (Ecclus. xi. 19). They think now they have enough to secure them against all chances [happenstances].

Well then, look to your confidence and trust: when you are getting an estate, is your expectation founded in faith, or lust [corrupt desire]? When you have gotten an estate, where lies the assurance of your contentment, in the promises or your outward welfare?

Obs 4. Again, from that to-day or to-morrow, and we will tarry there a year. Carnal men are not only confident of present, but future welfare; which argues a heart stupidly [insensibly, like in a stupor] secure, and utterly insensible of the changes of Providence: “To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundantly” (Isa. Ivi. 12): “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever” (Psa. xlix. 11).

Men love to enjoy their carnal comforts without interruption, thought of death, or change. Every day is as a new life, and brings sufficient care with it; we need not look out for so long time. But worldly men in their cares do not only provide for the morrow, but the next year, in their possessions; do not only please themselves in their present happiness, but will not so much as suppose a change.

May God grant the things of the world be seen as the vain things they are. May our hearts be with spiritual things and all our desires be toward Christ Jesus, being in union with Him, loving Him, adoring Him, and worshipping Him in our hearts, minds, words and actions!

1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Psalm 27:4 – “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 4

This is continuing from part 3 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.

Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all the felicity of this world is mixed.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To get better acquaintance and better assurance of more blessed and glorious things.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against tins device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That true happiness and satisfaction is not to be had in the enjoyment of worldly good.

True happiness is too big and too glorious a thing to be found in anything below but God that is a Christian’s chiefest good.

(Footnote: True happiness lies only in our enjoyment of a suitable good, a pure good, a total good, and an eternal good ; and God is only such a good, and such a good can only satisfy the soul of man. Philosophers could say, that he was never a happy man that might afterwards become miserable.)

The blessed angels, those glistering courtiers, have all felicities and blessedness, and yet have they neither gold, nor silver, nor jewels, nor none of the beauty and bravery [livery] of this world. Certainly if happiness was to be found in these things, the Lord Jesus, who is the right and royal heir of all things, would have exchanged his cradle for a crown; his birth chamber, a stable, for a royal palace; his poverty for plenty; his despised followers for shining courtiers; and his mean [low] provisions for the choicest delicates, etc. Certainly happiness lies not in those things that a man may enjoy, and yet be miserable for ever.

Now a man may be great and graceless with Pharaoh, honourable and damnable with Saul, rich and miserable with Dives [the rich man in the rich man and Lazarus story], etc.: therefore happiness lies not in these things. Certainly happiness lies not in those things that cannot comfort a man upon a dying bed. Is it honours, riches, or friends, etc, that can comfort thee when you come to die?

Or is it not rather faith in the blood of Christ, the witness of the Spirit of Christ, the sense and feeling of the love and favour of Christ, and the hopes of eternally reigning with Christ? Can happiness lie in those things that cannot give us health, or strength, or ease, or a good night’s rest, or an hour’s sleep, or a good stomach? Why, all the honours, riches, and delights of this world cannot give these poor things to us, therefore certainly happiness lies not in the enjoyment of them, etc.

(Footnote: Gregory the Great used to say, He is poor whose soul is void of grace, not whose coffers are empty of money. The reasonable soul may be busied about other things, but it cannot be filled
with them.)

And surely happiness is not to be found in those things that cannot satisfy the souls of men. Now none of these things can satisfy the soul of man. ‘He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase; this is also vanity,’ said the wise man, Eccles. v. 10. The barren womb, the horse leech’s daughter, the grave and hell, will as soon be satisfied, as the soul of man will by the enjoyment of any worldly good. Some one thing or other will be for ever wanting [lacking] to that soul that hath none but outward good to live upon. You may as soon fill a bag with wisdom, a chest with virtue, or a circle with a triangle, as the heart of man with anything here below. A man may have enough of the world to sink him, but he can never have enough to satisfy him, etc.

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, Of the dignity of the soul.

Oh, the soul of man is more worth than a thousand worlds! It is the greatest abasing of it that can be to let it dote upon a little shining earth, upon a little painted beauty and fading glory, when it is capable of union with Christ, of communion with God, and of enjoying the eternal vision of God.

Seneca could say, ‘I am too great, and born to greater things, than that I should be a slave to my body.’ Oh! do you say my soul is too great, and born to greater things, than that I should confine it to a heap of white and yellow earth.

(Footnote: Plutarch tells of Themistocles, that he accounted it not to stand with his state to stoop down to take up the spoils the enemies had scattered in flight; but said to one of his followers, You may, for you are not Themistocles. Oh what a sad thing it is that a heathen should set his feet upon those very things that most professors [of religion] set their hearts, and for the gain of which, with Balaam, many run the hazard of losing their immortal souls for ever.)

I have been the longer upon the remedies that may help us against this dangerous device of Satan, because he doth usually more hurt to the souls of men by this device than he doth by all other devices.

For a close, I wish, as once Chrysostom did, that that sentence, Eccles. ii. 11, ‘Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do, and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun,’ were engraven on the door-posts into which you enter, on the tables where you sit, on the dishes out of which you eat, on the cups out of which you drink, on the bed-steads where you lie, on the walls of the house where you dwell, on the garments which you wear, on the heads of the horses on which you ride, and on the foreheads of all them whom you meet, that your souls may not, by the beauty and bravery [livery] of the world, be kept off from those holy and heavenly services that may render you blessed while you live, and happy when you die; that you may breathe out your last into his bosom who lives for ever, and who will make them happy for ever that prefer Christ’s spirituals and eternals above all temporal transitory things.

Amen, and may the Lord grant us all that protection from Satan’s devices, and that the things of the world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 3

This is continuing from part 2 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.

Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all the felicity of this world is mixed.

Our light is mixed with darkness, our joy with sorrow, our pleasures with pain, our honour with dishonour, our riches with wants [lacks]. If our lights be spiritual, clear, and quick, we may see in the felicity of this world our wine mixed with water, our honey with gall, our sugar with wormwood, and our roses with prickles.

(Footnote: Hark, scholar, said the harlot to Apuleius, it is but a bitter sweet you are so fond of. Surely all the things of this world are but bitter sweets.)

Sorrow attends worldly joy, danger attends worldly safety, loss attends worldly labours, tears attend worldly purposes. As to these things, men’s hopes are vain, their sorrow certain and joy feigned. The honours, profits, pleasures, and delights of the world are true gardens of Adonis, where we can gather nothing but trivial flowers, surrounded with many briers.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To get better acquaintance and better assurance of more blessed and glorious things.

(Footnote: Let heaven be a man’s object, and earth will soon be his abject. Luther being at one time in some wants, it happened that a good sum of money was unexpectedly sent him by a nobleman of Germany, at which, being something amazed, he said, I fear that God will give me my reward here, but I protest I will not be so satisfied.)

That which raised up their spirits, Heb. x. and xi., to trample upon all the beauty, bravery [livery], and glory of the world, was the acquaintance with, ‘and assurance of better and more durable things.’ ‘They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they bad in heaven a better and a more durable substance.’ ‘They looked for a house that had foundations, whoso builder and maker was God.’ ‘And they looked for another country, even an heavenly.’ ‘They saw him that was invisible, and had an eye to the recompence of reward.’ And this made them count all the glory and bravery [livery] of this world to be too poor and contemptible for them to set their hearts upon.

The main reason why men dote upon the world, and damn their souls to get the world, is, because they are not acquainted with a greater glory. Men ate acorns, till they were acquainted with the use of wheat. Ah, were men more acquainted with what union and communion with God means, what it is to have ‘a new name, and a new stone, that none knows but he that hath it,’ Rev. ii. 17; did they but taste more of heaven, and live more in heaven, and had more glorious hopes of going to heaven, ah, how easily would they have the moon under their feet.

It was an excellent saying of Lewis of Bavyer, emperor of Germany, Such goods are worth getting and owning, as will not sink or wash away if a shipwreck happen, but will wade and swim out with us.

(Footnote: There is, saith Augustine, goods of the throne; and there are goods of the footstool. When Basil was tempted with money and preferment, saith he, Give me money that may last for ever, and glory that may eternally flourish; for the fashion of this world passes away, as the waters of a river that runs by a city.)

It is recorded of Lazarus, that after his resurrection from the dead, he was never seen to laugh, his thoughts and affections were so fixed in heaven, though his body was on earth, and therefore he could not but slight temporal things, his heart being so bent and set upon eternals. There are goods for the throne of grace, as God, Christ, the Spirit, adoption, justification, remission of sin, peace with God, and peace with conscience; and there are goods of the footstool, as honours, riches, the favour of creatures, and other comforts and accommodations of this life. Now he that hath acquaintance with, and assurance of the goods of the throne, will easily trample upon the goods of the footstool.

Ah that you would make it your business, your work, to mind more, and make sure more to your own souls, the great things of eternity, that will yield you joy in life and peace in death, and a crown of righteousness in the day of Christ’s appearing, and that will lift up your souls above all the beauty and bravery [livery] of this bewitching world, that will raise your feet above other men’s heads. When a man comes to be assured of a crown, a sceptre, the royal robes, etc., he then begins to have low, mean [low], and contemptible thoughts of those things that before he highly prized. So will assurance of more great and glorious things breed in the soul a holy scorn and contempt of all these poor, mean things, which the soul before did value above God, Christ, and heaven, etc.

Go on to Remedies 7-8!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 2

This is continuing from part 1 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.

Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Man himself is but the dream of a dream, but the generation of a fancy, but an empty vanity, but the curious picture of nothing, a poor, feeble, dying flash. All temporals are as transitory as a hasty headlong current, a shadow, a ship, a bird, an arrow, a post that passes by. ‘Why shouldst thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?’ said Solomon, Prov. xxiii. 5. And said the apostle, ‘The fashion of this world passeth away,’ 1 1 Cor. vii. 31.

(Footnote: 1 Cor. vii. 31 intimates, that there is nothing of any firmness, or solid consistence, in the creature.)

Heaven only hath a foundation, earth hath none, ‘but is hanged upon nothing,’ as Job speaks, xxvi. 7. The apostle willed Timothy to ‘charge rich men that they be not high-minded, nor put their trust in uncertain riches,’ 1 Tim. vi. 17. 2

(Footnote: Riches were never true to any that trusted to them; they have deceived men, as Job’s brook did the poor travelers in the summer season.)

They are like bad servants, whose shoes are made of running leather, and will never tarry long with one master.

(Footnote: A phrase meaning, he is given to rambling about.)

As a bird hops from tree to tree, so do the honours and riches of this world from man to man, Let Job and Nebuchadnezzar testify this truth, who fell from great wealth to great want [lack]. No man can promise himself to be wealthy till night; one storm at sea, one coal of fire, one false friend, one unadvised word, one false witness, may make you a beggar and a prisoner all at once. All the riches and glory of this world is but as smoke and chaff that vanishes; ‘Asa dream and vision in the night, that tarrieth not’, Job xx. 8. ‘As if a hungry man dreameth, and thinketh that he eateth, and when he awaketh his soul is empty; and like a thirsty man which thinketh he drinketh, and behold when he is awaked, his soul is faint,’ as the prophet Isaiah said, chap. xxix. 8.

Where is the glory of Solomon? the sumptuous buildings of Nebuchadnezzar? the nine hundred chariots of Sisera? the power of Alexander? the authority of Augustus, that commanded the whole world to be taxed? Those that have been the most glorious, in what men generally account glorious and excellent, have had inglorious ends; as Samson for strength, Absalom for favour, Ahithophel for policy, Haman for favour, Asahel for swiftness, Alexander for great conquest, and yet after twelve years poisoned. The same you may see in the four mighty kingdoms, the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman: how soon were they gone and forgotten.

(Footnote: The most renowned Frederick lost all, and sued to be made but sexton of the church that himself had built. I have read of a poor fisherman, who. while his nets were a-drying, slept upon the rock, and dreamed that he was made a king, on a sudden starts up, and leaping for joy, fell down from the rock, and in the place of his imaginary felicities loses his little portion of pleasures.)

Now rich, now poor, now full, now empty, now in favour, anon out of favour, now honourable, now despised, now health, now sickness, now strength, now weakness. Oh, let not these uncertain things keep you from those holy services and heavenly employments, that may make you happy for ever, and render thy soul eternally blessed and at ease, when all these transitory things shall bid thy soul an everlasting fare-well.

(Footnote: The pomp of this world John compares to the moon, which increases and decreases, Apoc. xii. 1.)

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.

Oh, the rest, the peace, the comfort, the content that the things of this world do strip many men of! Oh, the fears, the cares, the envy, the malice, the dangers, the mischiefs, that they subject men to!

(Footnote: Henry the Second hearing Mentz his chief city to be taken, used this blasphemous speech: I shall never, said he, love God any more, that suffered a city so dear to me to be taken from me.)

They oftentimes make men carnally confident.

(Footnote: When one presented Antipater, king of Macedonia, with a book treating on happiness, his answer was, I have no leisure.)

The rich man’s riches are a strong tower in his imagination. ‘I said in my prosperity I should never be moved,’ Ps. xxx. 6. They often swell the heart with pride, and make men forget God, and neglect God, and despise the rock of their salvation. When Jeshurun ‘waxed fat, and was grown thick, and covered with fatness, then he forgot God, and forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation,’ as Moses spake, Deut. xxxii. 15.

Ah, the time, the thoughts, the spirits, that the things of the world consume and spend! Oh, how do they hinder the actings of faith upon God! how do they interrupt our sweet communion with God! how do they abate our love to the people of God! and cool our love to the things of God! and work us to act like those that are most unlike to God! Oh, the deadness, the barrenness that doth attend men under great outward mercies!

(Footnote: That four good mothers beget four bad daughters: great familiarity begets contempt, truth hatred, virtue envy, riches ignorance; a French proverb.)

Oh, the riches of the world chokes the word; that men live under the most soul-searching, and soul-enriching means with lean souls. Though they have full purses, though their chests are full of silver, yet their hearts are empty of grace. In Genesis xiii. 2, it is said, that ‘Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.’ According to the Hebrew it is ‘Abraham was very weary;’ to shew that riches are a heavy burden, and a hindrance many times to heaven, and happiness.

(Footnote: Ponacrites bestowed five talents for a gift upon one Anacreon, who for two nights after was so troubled with care how to keep them, and how to bestow them, as he carried them back again to Ponacrites, saying, they were not worth the pains which he hud already taken for them.)

King Henry the Fourth asked the Duke of Alva if he had observed the great eclipse of the sun, which had lately happened; No, said the duke, I have so much to do on earth, that I have no leisure to look up to heaven. Ah, that this were not true of most professors [of religion] in these days. It is very sad to think, how their hearts and time is so much taken up with earthly things, that they have scarce any leisure to look up to heaven, or to look after Christ, and the things that belong to their everlasting peace.

Riches, though well got, yet are but like to manna; those that gathered less had no want [lack], and those that gathered more, it was but a trouble and annoyance to them. The world is troublesome, and yet it is loved; what would it be if it were peaceable? You embrace it, though it be filthy; what would you do if it were beautiful? You cannot keep your hands from the thorns; how earnest would you be then in gathering the flowers?

(Footnote: A recollection of Augustine. -editor)

The world, may be fitly likened to the serpent Scytale, whereof it is reported, that when she cannot overtake the flying passengers, she does with her beautiful colours so astonish and amaze them, that they have no power to pass away, till she hath stung them.

(Footnote: Sicily is so full of sweet flowers that dogs cannot hunt there. And what do all the sweet contents of this world, but make us lose the scent of heaven!)

Ah, how many thousands are there now on earth, that have found this true by experience, that have spun a fair thread to strangle themselves, both temporally and eternally, by being bewitched by the beauty and bravery [finery] of this world.

Go on to Remedies 5-6

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 1

If you’ve been following our blog for any time, we’ve been posting a few snippets from an excellent book from Puritan Thomas Brooks called “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”.

The Bible warns of one of our greatest adversaries of our souls:

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

But we are to resist…

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 – “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

…but only with God’s help:

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

The following is another of those devices, where Satan works to draw people from being the Christians they should be, this time capturing the soul by the allurements of the world, and Brooks’ remedies against that device.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.

(Footnote: The beauty of the world foils a Christian more than the strength; the flattering sunshine more than the blustering storm. In storms we keep our garments close about us [as in the fable of the sun and wind. — editor])

(It is true, this took not Christ, because Satan could find no matter in him for his temptation to work upon.) So that he [Satan] can no sooner cast out his golden bait, but we are ready to play with it, and to nibble at it; he can no sooner throw out his golden ball, but men are apt to run after it, though they lose God and their souls in the pursuit.

Ah! how many professors [of religion] in these days have for a time followed hard after God, Christ, and ordinances, till the devil hath set before them the world in all its beauty and bravery, which hath so bewitched their souls that they have grown to have low thoughts of holy things, and then to be cold in their affections to holy things, and then to slight them, and at last, with the young man in the Gospel, to turn their backs upon them.

Ah! the time, the thoughts, the spirits, the hearts, the souls, the duties, the services, that the inordinate love of this wicked world doth eat up and destroy, and hath ate up and destroyed.

Where one thousand are destroyed by the world’s frowns, ten thousand are destroyed by the world’s smiles. The world, siren-like, it sings us and sinks us; it kisses us, and betrays us, like Judas; it kisses us and smites us under the fifth rib, like Joab. The honours, splendour, and all the glory of this world, are but sweet poisons, that will much endanger us, if they do not eternally destroy us.

(Footnote: he inhabitants of Nilus are deaf by the noise of the waters; so the world makes such a noise in men’s ears, that they cannot hear the things of heaven. The world is like the swallows’ dung, that put out Tobias his eyes. The champions could not wring an apple oat of Milo’s hand by a strong hand, but a fair maid, by fair means, got it presently.)

Ah! the multitude of souls that have surfeited [consumed too much] of these sweet baits and died for ever.

Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

They are not able to secure you from the least evil, they are not able to procure you the least desirable good. The crown of gold cannot cure the headache, nor the velvet slipper ease the gout, nor the jewel about the neck cannot take away the pain of the teeth. The frogs of Egypt entered into the rich men’s houses of Egypt, as well as the poor. Our daily experience doth evidence this, that all the honours, riches, etc., that men enjoy, cannot free them from the cholic, the fever, or lesser diseases.

(Footnote: The prior in Melancthon rolled his hand up and down in a basinful of angels, thinking thereby to have charmed his gout, but it would not do. Nugas the Scythian, despising the rich presents and ornaments that were sent unto him by the emperor of Constantinople, asked whether those things could drive away calamities, diseases, or death.)

Nay, that which may seem most strange is, that a great deal of wealth cannot keep men from falling into extreme poverty: Judges i. 6, you shall find seventy kings, with their fingers and toes cut off, glad, like whelps, to lick up crumbs under another king’s table; and shortly after, the same king that brought them to this penury, is reduced to the same poverty and misery. Why then should that be a bar to keep you out of heaven, that cannot give you the least ease on earth?

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

This is the sum of Solomon’s sermon, ‘Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.’ This our first parents found, and therefore named their second son Abel, or vanity. Solomon, that had tried these things,
and could best tell the vanity of them, he preached this sermon over again and again, ‘Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.’ It is sad to think how many thousands there be that can say with the preacher, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,’ nay, swear it, and yet follow after these things as if there were no other glory, nor felicity, but what is to be found in these things they call vanity.

(Footnote: Gilemex, king of Vandals, led in triumph by Belisarius, cried out, ‘Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.’ The fancy of Lucian, who placed Charon on the top of an high hill, viewing all the affairs of men living, and looking on their greatest cities as little birds’ nests, is very pleasant.)

Such men will sell Christ, heaven, and their souls for a trifle, that call these things vanity, but do not cordially believe them to be vanity, but set their hearts upon them as if they were their crown, the top of all their royalty and glory. Oh let your souls dwell upon the vanity of all things here below, till your hearts be so throughly convinced and persuaded of the vanity of them, as to trample upon them, and make them a footstool for Christ to get up, and ride in a holy triumph in your hearts.

(Footnote: Oh the imperfection, the ingratitude, the levity, the inconstancy, the perfidiousness [treachery; traitorousness; breach of faith] of those creatures we most servilely affect. Ah, did we but weigh man’s pain with his payment, his crosses with his mercies, his miseries with his pleasures, we should then see that there is nothing got by the bargain, and conclude, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’)

Chrysostom said once, ‘That if he were the fittest in the world to preach a sermon to the whole world, gathered together in one congregation, and had some high mountain for his pulpit, from whence he
might have a prospect of all the world in his view, and were furnished with a voice of brass, a voice as loud as the trumpets of the archangel, that all the world might hear him, he would choose to preach upon no other text than that in the Psalms, ‘O mortal men, how long will ye love vanity, and follow after leasing? Ps. iv. 2.

Tell me, you that say all things under the sun are vanity, if you do really believe what you say, why do you spend more thoughts and time on the world, than you do on Christ, heaven, and your immortal souls? Why do you then neglect your duty towards God, to get the world? Why do you then so eagerly pursue after the world, and are so cold in your pursuing after God, Christ, and holiness? Why then are your hearts so exceedingly raised, when the world comes in, and smiles upon you; and so much dejected, and cast down, when the world frowns upon you, and with Jonah’s gourd withers before you?

Go on to Remedies 3-4!

— David

David’s Digest: Love of the World, Part 6 – Denying Lawful Pleasures

This is the planned final part of this series of blog posts, and here are the previous parts:

Part 1 – Cooling Zeal
Part 2 – Truth in Trials
Part 3 – The Evil of Worldliness
Part 4 – Heaven My Way
Part 5 – Worldliness in Much

This is another little related excerpt I found from Thomas Manton in his sermon 6 on Genesis 24:63, of which the entire sermon you can read here:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:26.6?rgn=div2;view=fulltext

Others for want of considering the end of their lives, are so far from living as Christians, that they scarce live as men, but either as beasts, or as devils. Delight in the pleasures of the world transformeth a man into a beast, it is their happiness to enjoy pleasures without remorse, and to gratify the body; and delight in sin transformeth a man into a devil. Worldly pleasures are not bread, and sinful pleasures are poison: You that are allured by the pleasures of the world, which are lawful in themselves, you lay out your money for that which is not bread; and you to whom it is meat to do evil, you feed upon that which is rank poison; the world cannot satisfy, and sin will surely destroy.

How much of our time is spent in the things of the world, even those that might be lawful? I believe this is an important question to continue to ask ourselves.

Finally, let’s look at the example of Christ, again from Thomas Manton in a sermon on Philippians 2:7, which in its entirety you can read here:
https://sites.google.com/a/oldpaths.org.uk/oldpaths/m/manton/mantonvol18/m000000012/page124sermonuponphilippiansii7philii7butmadehimselfofnoreputation:

[5.] The last lesson is contempt of the world and all the glory thereof. Christ teacheth us this lesson by making himself of no reputation in two ways—

(1.) The example of his own choice. The Lord of heaven and earth despised and neglected the glory and riches of this world. He passed through the world to sanctify it as a place of service; but chose not pomp of living, nor the happiness of it, lest we should choose it as our rest and portion: ‘They are not of the world, as I am not of the world,’ John xvii. 16. Those that are dearest unto God must look by crosses and trials to be fitted for another world. If a man say never so much for contempt of the world, yet live in the love of it, his saying is nothing. But Christ would be a pattern of his own doctrine. Contempt of the world is a lesson of great consequence; salvation lieth upon it: 1 John ii. 15-17, ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world; and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.’ Whether we are high or low, full or kept bare, it concerneth us all to learn it. Though we flow in wealth, we should be as having nothing, and sit loose from the creature. If we are poor, we must count grace a preferment: James i. 9, 10, ‘Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich, in that he is made low, because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.’ There is required of all an hearty preparation for, when they are not called to a patient enduring of, afflictions for Christ’s name: Phil. iv. 12, ‘I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ This is of a hard digestion to a natural man. Now Christ’s example is a great help to us to check our worldly desires; let us not affect greater eminency in the world than Christ had; and to check the vanity of fulness, or our carnal complacency, that it may not be a snare to us: 1 Tim. v. 6, ‘The woman that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.’ Christ was a man of sorrows; do you profess Christ, and yet are you addicted to vain pleasures, and not able to deny them?

(2.) As it is an argument to confirm us in the certainty of the happiness of the world to come. It were best to choose the easiest life here if we did not believe eternity, to live a life of pomp and ease. The troubles and miseries of the godly have been counted a sure argument to confirm it: 1 Cor. xv. 19, ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.’ God would not make us miserable by our duty. And 2 Thes i. 5, ‘It is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God.’ If the consideration of godly men’s sufferings in this world be of moment to such an inference, much more the sufferings of Christ, who was not only a man good and innocent beyond example, instructing the souls, curing the bodies of so many men, but also the Son of God. His exaltation is a pledge of our happiness, and his humiliation an argument he is gone there as our forerunner.

The kingdom of the world, ruled by Satan, is the enemy of all people — its ends, like Satan’s, are to destroy souls. The carnal man, which is enmity against God (Rom 8:7), is like a cancer to the soul (Paul calls it “the body of this death” in Rom 7:24; see what Puritan commentator Dr. John Gill says about this verse), and these worldly distractions and pleasures are like sugar to that cancer, which feed it and help it grow. Why wouldn’t we choose to deny ourselves these things?

The carnal man is with us until we die, Satan is on the constant prowl, and the world is continuously pulling us toward it. After going through the previous 5 parts (and hopefully the whole sermon here), and this part, I believe that surely this is something for which we should always be on careful watch, for the rest of our lives, if we have concern for our eternal welfare.

May the Lord God almighty help us to mortify the flesh, and by His infinite graces and mercies, may the things of earth during our time here ever continue to fade…

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Psalm 73:25-26 – “25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

— David

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