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The believer marches on, fighting the good fight of faith, and daily gains victory over the world.
The world signifies the visible frame of nature; not the earth only, but also the present constitution of the universe, of animate and inanimate beings : all which were created good at first, but, through the sin of man, and the just sentence of God, are now subject to vanity.
The world has become a great enemy to fallen man: because it is always presenting something to his senses which is a temptation to sin. It keeps him from God by its flatteries, promising to make him happy in its enjoyments. It sets them before him. He looks and loves. He gives his heart a willing sacrifice to the world, and suffers himself to be entirely influenced by its hopes and fears.
While man was innocent, every object raised in him some spiritual idea, and thereby led him to contemplate and adore the great Creator in his works; but upon the fall he lost this use of natural objects; they did not, as they struck upon his senses, excite correspondent ideas in the mind; because the man was alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in him. His understanding was in darkness ; he could not see the things of the Spirit of God; neither could he know them, for want of spiritual discernment. Being thus deprived of the image and likeness of God in knowledge, having no will but the will of the flesh, and his heart being at enmity with God, he sinks into communion with the creaturé. His very mind is carnal. His affections are earthly. His pursuits are after temporal things. His enjoyments are in the delights of sense.
In this state he lives a mere animal life, without God, in the World.
Indeed, he has within him an immortal soul, but it is apostate. It is fallen from
God, and has no more communion with him by nature than the devil has. The law has condemned it to death-the soul that sinneth, it shall die--and it is already spiritually dead to God, being as incapable of quickening itself as a dead corpse is. Therefore it cannot attain of itself any true knowledge of God, or have any real fellowship with the things of God. While fallen man is in this state, his earthly and sensual appetites take the lead; and all the light in his mind, and the desires of his heart, only dispose him to seek for their present gratification. Outward objects offer themselves to him; they make an impression upon his senses, and sometimes act upon them very forcibly, soliciting and enticing to the enjoyment of some fancied good; and so long as he continues an unregenerate man, these temptations prevail, and keep him from God. He does not see God in outward objects. He does not love God for them. He does not enjoy them to the glory of God. God is not in all his thoughts.
Man has been called a microcosmn. Не is so wonderfully made, that the whole creation comes under the observation of some of his senses.
His eye, by means of light, can discover the forın and surface of all objects. The ear takes in all sounds. The nose perceives all vapours and smells. The palate tastes all sorts of fluids. All sorts of solids come under the sense of feeling, which is in every part of the body, for the benefit and preservation of the whole. Thus every object in the universe is fitted to act upon some of the senses, and was intended by the Creator to excite some spiritual idea. But this use was lost by the fall. The impression made by outward objects, does not raise up the mind to God, and excite adoration and praise; but keeps the heart from him, and affords a continual temptation to live to the world, and to the things of it. Whatever is presented to the eye, to the ear, &c. can stir up and bring forth evil. And actually does, according to the Scripture: for "the whole world”-as fallen from God5 lieth in wickedness,” and is at enmity with him;
and therefore believers are commanded“ Love ye 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, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Mind, ALL that is in the world, is the means of feeding some lust: for which reason the apostle calls it " this present evil world"--evil, because of sin, and because of its temptations to keep the heart in love with it, and to shut out the love of the Father.
How awfully solemn are these Scriptures ! What strict examination, () my soul, should they put thee upon! Search, and try thyself by them, and see whether thou art saved from the love of the world. It is a blessed part of redemption, and it is one of the brightest jewels in the Redeemer's crown. How infinitely glorious is this character : “Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” This deliverance is worthy of God.