Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love of the World...

is enmity to God. The next few posts will excerpt the sermons (and explore the brief life) of John Emery Abbot .
My devotions this morning began in my favorite book of the Bible, James (Chapter 4.)

"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?"

And this from JEA's


"There is another christian disposition utterly irreconcilable with a worldly temper. " If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." The formation of pious dispositions, like that of all others, is gradual, and is the result of all continued care, attention, and labor...We need minds, composed, undistracted, and serious.
Is not devotion to the cares or the pleasures of life, fatal to that mental serenity, that devotional seriousness, in which alone the inclination or the capacity exists, of attending to the manifestations of God's character, in such a manner as shall awaken us to a love of him ?...To maintain the love of God, the good impressions which may at any time have been given, must be watched over, deepened, and enlivened, by frequent and long continued reflection.
But this is not all. Attachment to the world has an immediate tendency greatly to impair, if not gradually to destroy, the moral sensibility, so far as devotional feeling is concerned...An unceasing attention to worldly business, by withdrawing our regard from religious truths, by rendering us averse to serious and continued contemplation, and by occupying our minds with the scenes and objects of time and sense, thus impairs the sensibility of our hearts, and renders it difficult, if not at last impossible, to awaken them to lively or permanent feelings of devotion.
In the last place. Love of the world is the source of the most fatal passions, and most trying temptations. To that fountain of bitterness, we may trace most of the envyings and jealousies, hatreds and animosities, which have blasted at once the characters and happiness of individuals, and turned the peace and mutual confidence of society to discord and distrust...Christians—in all this, you see the effects of a love of the world. We, too, betray the cause of our Master, and render all that he hath done for us, vain, when we suffer the world to gain possession of our hearts, and in our pursuit of its business or its pleasures, neglect to form that holiness and spirituality of character, which his teachings, and example, and death, all were designed to urge us to acquire."



David G. Markham said...

Hi BU:

Rev. Abbot seems a bit puritanical to me and I don't agree with his rejection of the world. This is the old body/spirit dichotomy which has caused such havoc.

I agree as Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, but he was quick to say to render under Caesar's the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's and I think this is a more reasonable approach.

Asceticism will only get you so far and is a means to the end not an end in itself.

This world is part of God's creation too and it is given to us to enjoy.

All the best,

David Markham

boston unitarian said...

Hi David,
Its always good to hear from you! I acknowledge the justice of what you say. When I read this passage, I think not of rejecting this world (or the creation) but of "love" or "devotion" to the world...I think Abbot would agree that the creation is good and to be enjoyed but if it becomes the end, its harmful to what should be the true object of our ultimate "love" and "devotion"
I agree that taken to an extreme, it is potentially damaging...
I guess I also must admit to a bit of an ascetic streak (more so in thinking than in living!)
Thanks again and I hope all goes well with you. Blessings, BU

Anonymous said...

Ah, see, I look at John 3:16 and it says that God so loved the world, that tells me that the world is actually pretty cool in "His" eyes. :)

boston unitarian said...

Hi Red (is it alright if I call you Red?)
True enough. Thanks for your comment. The world is a splendid creation but worldliness (in myself) I don't always like...Thanks again and I look forward to reading more on "Redblog"
Many blessings, BU