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makes in our unseen nature. The current of our thoughts, the wanderings of our imagination, the tumult of our passions, the flashes of our temper, all the movements and energies of our moral being, leave some mark, wither some springing grace, strengthen some struggling fault, decide some doubtful bias, aggravate some growing proneness, and always leave us other, and worse, than we were before. This is ever going on. By its own continual acting, our fearful and wonderful inward nature is perpetually determining its own character. It has a power of self-determination, which, to those who give over watching and self-control, becomes soon unconscious, and at last involuntary. How carelessly men treat themselves! Men live as if they had no souls. In their traffic of this life, they scheme as if they were to live for ever. In their preparation for death, they trifle as if there were no life beyond the grave. How easy is all selfcontrol at the first! if neglected, how all but impossible at last! To most men, it must have somewhat of sharpness. To the unchastened it is galling and irksome; but what is this to the remorseful looking back and the fearful looking onward of the guilty spirit waiting for the day of doom!
Watch, therefore, and win the mastery over yourselves. Live so as you would desire to live
for ever. Speak and act as if you were now fixing your eternal state. Be such, that, if your moral being were now to be precipitated and made eternal, your portion should be in the kingdom of God. And commit yourselves to the great movement of His mysterious providence, by which He is working out the change and transfiguration of His saints. The vision which the prophet saw by the river Chebar1 a vision of many wheels and wondrous creatures of God, of a whirlwind, and a light infolding itself, full of movements seemingly opposed, but absolute in harmony-full of powers angelic and ministering-full of meaning and of mystery; all this is a parable of the Divine presence working through the complex unity of His Church. On His Church, as upon the potter's wheel, He hath laid our immortal being; and as it revolves, He shapes us with the unerring pressure of His hand, and the vessel of wrath rises into a vessel of glory. It is by His holy word and sacraments, by acts of homage and adoration, by a life of obedience, and by a wisely - tempered discipline of chastisement and peace, that He wins and conforms us to Himself. He is working upon you. That in you which shall never die is changing daily, is being moulded or marred, according as you yield to or resist the
1 Ezek. i. 4.
working of His word and Spirit—is taking the eternal stamp of good or ill. To our eyes it is the Church, to our faith it is God Himself, that is changing us into the likeness of His Son.
"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."
ST. JOHN here tells us that the love of the world thrusts the love of God out of our hearts. Now, this love of the world means a love either of things which are actually sinful, or of things not sinful in themselves, but hurtful and a hinderance to the love of God. The first is too plain to need a word. A love of sin must set a man at war with God: his whole inner being ranges itself in array against the Spirit of holiness. The second form of this truth is somewhat less clear, and far less thought of; and we will therefore consider it.
There are things, then, in the world, which, although not actually sinful in themselves, do nevertheless so check the love of God in us as to
stifle and destroy it. For instance, it is lawful for us to possess wealth and worldly substance; we may serve God with it, and consecrate it at His altar: but we cannot love wealth without growing ostentatious, or soft, or careful, or narrow-hearted; "for the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. So, again, with friends and what is called society. It is lawful for us both to have and to love friends, both to enter into and to enjoy the pure happiness of living among them; but when we begin to find loneliness irksome, when we grow fond of being much in society, we are really trying to forget ourselves, and to get rid of sadder and better thoughts. The habit of mind which is formed in us by society is so unlike that in which we speak with God in solitude, that it seems to wear out of us the susceptibility of deeper and higher energies. Much more true is this when to the love of society is added a fondness for light pleasures, or a love of power, or a craving after rank and dignities. And so, once more, lawful as it is to be thoughtful and circumspect in the ordering of our life, and in thankfully enjoying the ease and happiness which God gives us, we cannot long have our thoughts on these things without becoming
11 Tim. vi. 10.