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A Worldly Life to Be Relinquished.

BY REV. CHARLES SIMEON 1 Pet. iv. 3. The time past of our Vfe may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles.
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  A WORLDLY LIFE TO BE RELIQUISHED. BY REV. CHARLES SIMEO 1 Pet. iv. 3. The time past of our Vfe may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles. THE end of all God's dispensations towards bis people is to promote their advancement in righteous- ness and true holiness. The Lord Jesus Christ him- self was made perfect through sufferings ; and the afflictions which his people suffer, from whatsoever quarter they arise, are intended for their profit, to make them partakers of God's holiness. The Lord's people are ordained to suffer, in conformity to their Divine Master : and their great concern should be, not so much to get rid of their trials, as to make a due improvement of them, by ceasing from sin, and living more entirely to God, and for God. To this purpose the Apostle speaks in the verses before my 132 1 PETER, IV. 3. [1162. my text ; and then adds, that the time past might well suffice to have lived after the manner of the Gentile world, whose ways it became them hence- forth determinately to renounce. From the words before us I shall take occasion to ghew, I. In what respects we also have wrought the will of the Gentiles — The unconverted man, whether Jew or Gentile, is cast into the same mould, and, in the main, walks in  the same paths. The nominal Christian also has the same views, the same desires, the same pursuits. In some external matters he may differ from the Hea- then : but in the most essential parts of his conduct he accords with them. He resembles them, 1 . In an utter disregard of God — [The Heathen, of course, cannot regard God, because they know him not, nor are at all acquainted with his will. The nominal Christian has in some little degree the knowledge of his will ; but he regards it no more than if he were utterly un- acquainted with it. He professes to know God ; but in works he denies him. On this subject let me appeal to yourselves. It is, I con- fess, a heavy charge, to say that you have hitherto lived like Heathens. But I would put it to your own consciences, and ask, IVkat regard have you sheivn for God's authority P and, J'Vhat desire have you manifested to obtain his favour P You have had in your very liands the means of knowing his will: you profess to believe that the Scriptures have been given you by him, on purpose to instruct you in the knowledge of him. Have you been thankful for this revelation of his will ? Have you studied it with care, for the express pvu'pose of learhing how you might please and serve him acceptably ? Have you turned away from every thinu which his word forbids ? Have you followed after every thing which his word enjoins? Have you embraced the whole of it as an infallible record, believing all that it reveals, and expecting with hope and fear the ac- complishment of all his promises and all his threats ? Have you, in short, trembled at his word, as it became you to do ? I must further ask. Have you liumbled yourselves before him for all } our past transgressions ? Have you fled for refuge to the hope set before you ? Have you washed your souls daily \x\ the blood of the Lamb, even in that fountain which was opened for sin and for uncleanness ? Have you cried mightily to God for the  1162.] A WORLDLY LIFE TO BE RELIQUISHED. 133 the gift of his Holy Spirit to sanctify you, and to transform you into the Divine image ? Have you surrendered up your souls to God as living sacrifices, and accounted an entire dedication of yourselves to him your reasonable service ? If you have not done this, wherein have you differed from the Heathen ; except indeed, that you have sinned against greater light and knowledge than they, and therefore involved yourselves in deeper guilt and heavier condemnation ?] 2. Ill a determined prosecution of your own will — [The character given of the Gentiles is, that they lived to the lusts of men, and not to the will of God^ And what have you done ? By what standard have you regulated your conduct ? and whose will have you consulted ? A decent Heathen regulates himself according to the standard which the society in wliich he lives has established. Whatever they approve, he follows : and whatever would degrade him in their estimation, he avoids. And has it not been thus with you also? In whatever line of life you move, have you not conformed to the habits of your associates, accounting every thing innocent which they deemed innocent ; and satisfied with yourselves, if you only satisfied them ? Amongst the particular habits of the Gentiles, the Apostle enumerates lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idola- tries : and do not these characterize the Christian world also ? If we are free from open idolatry, we are guilty of it in our hearts as much as the Heathen themselves : for whilst some make a god of their belly, and others are addicted to covetousness, which is idolatr}^, Ave all, in one way or other, love and serve the creature more than the Creator, who is over all, blessed for ever. As to all the other evils, it will be well if we have not been gviilty even in the outward act : for *' lasciviousness and excess of wine are not such uncommon evils amongst us ; but, granting that we have been free as it respects the act, have we abhorred the very thought of such evils, as we ought ? Have we not, on the contrary, found  pleasure in revellings and banquetings, and such like, without ever thinking that they who do such things cannot inherit the kingdom of God'' ? Is it not a notorious fact, that this season of the year, which ought to be in a more especial manner consecrated to holy duties, is devoted to revelling and banqueting ; precisely as if the Lord Jesus Christ had come unto the world, not to deliver us from sin, but to give us a licence to sin ? But, whether we have indulged in these things * ver. 2. '' Compare the words following the text with Gal. v. ip— 21, ^ It would be well if those who speak of a merry Christmas, would inquire what is ineaiii by revellings, and such like. 134 1 PETER, IV. 3. [1162. things or not, still the same charge must he re-iterated against us ; namely, that we have lived to ourselves, and not to God ; and have made our own inclinations the rule of our conduct, instead of adhering to his commands. This is the course of this world ; this is the line of conduct which characterizes without exception the children of disobedience, and the vas- sals of the wicked one'*. Say now, Bi-ethren, whether ye have not wrought the will of the Gentiles ; or, in other words, whether ye have not lived like atheists and Heathens ?] Let me then proceed to shew you, II. That the time past may well suffice for such a course as that — Let me put it to yourselves : 1 . What benefit have you derived from this course hitherto ?


Jul 30, 2017


Jul 30, 2017
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