Monday, January 25, 2010

the things of earth...

Seriousness, we were told by John Emery Abbot on Saturday, is not opposed to cheerfulness.  It is, however, the opposite of the mind and heart that "seeks first the things of earth." Part two of his sermon, "Seriousness:"

"1. Such a disposition, in the first place, is here represented as a great security against sin; and reason and experience confirm the truth of the assertion.

By the phrase "stand in awe," and by the term seriousness, we are to understand a disposition to reflect on the truths and objects of religion, an habitual sense of our own personal interest and deep concern in it; a habit of regarding all events and objects a religious point of view.

Many temptations arise from the fascinating influence of the world, its flattering distinctions, the splendor which riches throw around those who possess them, and the excitements of its various pleasures. On a light and giddy disposition the full effect of these worldly influences is felt; they seize upon all its thoughts, continually kindle its desires, fill its imagination with earthly visions, and prevent its affections from being formed into a devotional spirit, and from soaring to a better world than this. But a serious mind implies a state of feeling over which these fascinations have little power; vain wishes are there excited with difficulty and subside without effect; the habit of considering the objects around us in a religious light; soon detects the delusions of fancy and the insufficiency of the brightest promises of earth. We learn to regard them as they really are, capable of giving enjoyment, but an enjoyment which is uncertain in its duration, disturbed by many anxieties, and insufficient to satisfy the heart; as perfectly unable to support us in the trials and sorrows of life; and from which at all events death will soon separate us for ever...By seeking first the things of earth, we may leave behind us more abundant wealth or a prouder name, or life while it lasts may pass away in hurried amusement, and careless dissipation. But what shall compensate us for the loss of a kingdom in heaven ! " Stand in awe, and sin not."

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