THE GOOD AND THE BAD WORLDLINESS. By Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.

D

1 John ii. 1-17. There are a number of places in the Bible where the " world " and " worldliness " are spoken of in a spirit of condemnation, and Christians are warned as to being drawn away by them. It is, however, certainly not meant to be taught by these passages that one can not live a holy life while engaged in the ordinary worldly pursuits. The life of Jesus is an abiding proof against this. Every attempt to hide oneself away from the ordinary obligations and duties of the life of the world in order thereby to insure purity has been a failure. Such a life is a starved, dwarfed life. The meaning is, I think, made clear in these words of John, where he explains that the danger of worldliness comes from the pride of life, the lust of the eye, and the love for those things that are constantly perishing. It is not life itself that is condemned, but pride ; it is not the beauties which the eye beholds, but lust; 141

143 B l^ear^s ipragcrs^ccting Ualh5. it is not that we are to shut ourselves out of the enjoyment of things that are transient, but that we shall hold them at their relative value, and not set our heart on them to the loss of those things that will last forever. In other words, the worldly man, in this sense which is under condemnation, is one who sets his heart on the binding of the book, and cares nothing at all for the inspiring truths the volume itself may hold. It is cherishing the husk while the ear of corn is thrown away. It is frittering one's life away on things as transient as blossoming poppies while great values are lost. Mr. Moody tells of a young couple who on commencing to keep house started to keep an account of their family expenses. After a few months the young husband said to his wife: "Darling, 1*11 spend the evening at home to-night, and we will look over the account together." The young husband found frequent entries like this : " G. K. W., one dollar and a half " ; and a little later on, " G. K. W., two dollars " ; and after a little, " G. K. W., three dollars." Becoming a little suspicious, he demanded, "Who is this * G. K. W.' you have spent so much on?" "Oh," said she, "I never could make the accounts come out right, so I

lumped all together that wouldn't balance, and caUed it G. K. W.— Goodness Knows What ! " There seems to be a large number of people who

XLbc (3ooD anO tbe JSaD 'iKaorlDl(ne6s. us spend their time and nervous energy on " goodness knows what; " and after it is passed it is like a tale that is told, because there has been no great purpose, no sublime spirit, no real abiding achievement. The present world, with its imperative duties as well as its illusive temptations, is so very near to us and so very insistent, as well as persistent, in its attraction that unless w^e cultivate our spiritual nature by Bible reading and prayer and meditation on religious things, we shall find ourselves in the condition of that great old Scotch preacher, Dr. Chalmers, when he said : " I am bustled out of my spirituality." Some of you remember from your childhood the old story of "Sindbad," the sailor of the Indian Ocean, and how the magnetic rock rose above the surface of the placid waters. While hardly being aware of it, Sindbad's vessel was attracted toward it little by little. Silently, one after another, the bolts were drawn out of the ship's side by the imperceptible attraction of the magnetic rock. After a while every bolt and clamp were unloosed. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the whole ship — ^bulwark, mast, and spars — tumbled into ruin upon the sea. When the sailors awoke it was only to find themselves lost beyond rescue. The dangers from worldly pleasures and worldly ambitions are like the dangers to those sailors in the old story of

144 B )^car'0 ipcaBcrs/nbeetlng XTalKa. " Sindbad. " Unless we are watchful, one after another of the bolts which hold our spiritual life compact and solid and secure will be drawn out. Usually the first bolt to go is a stated time of secret prayer; then the daily reading of one or more chapters of the Bible. Perhaps the attendance on prayer-meeting goes next ; then it is easy to drop Sunday-school attendance. The religious paper is dropped off from the family reading; a carelessness becomes apparent as to regularity of attendance even on the Sunday services. And all this time the man is not alarmed. He sleeps on until, suddenly, under the spell of some unexpected emergency or unusual temptation, his whole ship of religious faith, which has been gradually weak-

ening all the while, goes to pieces and he finds himself swamped in sin. God forbid that it should ever be so with any of us ! But if it is not to be so it must be because we refresh and strengthen our lives daily by communion with God and spiritual fellowship with his people. As some one has said, religion is not the stop of an organ to be pulled out for Sunday and then pushed in for the rest of the week. It is rather the life and spirit which is to pervade all the music of daily doings. True religion is the spirit of Christ in our hearts. And just as Jesus was as ready with deeds of healing, words of love, and out-

^be (3ooD anD tbe :fi3aD "waorlDltnesg. 145 pouring of prayer to God on one day as another, so we are to show forth our Christianity day by day. A little girl in Ehode Island expressed a great deal in her evening prayer. After the usual " Now Hay me down to sleep, " she continued : "Goodby, God; good-by, Jesus. I'm going to Boston to-morrow." I'm afraid there are many people who, while they would be shocked to put it just that way, yet practically say good-by to their thoughts of God and their obligations to him when they enter upon their daily business, political, or social engagements. It is the glory of our Christianity that it is neither transient nor temporary, and if we give it the full right of way in our hearts, its upspringing fountain will send forth living streams to refresh and make fertile every field of our human achievement.

1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books 2. ALL WRITINGS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful