When the honey is all sucked!
(James, "The Christian Father's Present to His Children")
Love of worldly pleasure is a great impediment
to true piety. It has been most wickedly said,
"Youth is the time for pleasure,
manhood is the time for business,
old age is the time for religion."
It is painful to observe, that if the two latter parts
of human life are neglected, the first is not.
Young people too often answer the description given by
the apostle, "Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God."
In youth, there are many temptations to this wicked
propensity . . .
the senses are vigorous,
the spirits lively,
the imagination ardent,
the passions warm, and
the concerns of life but few and feeble.
Hence many give themselves up to the impulses of their
corrupt nature, and are held in alienation from a life of
piety--by a love of pleasure. Some are carried away by
a vain and frivolous love of dress and show; others by
a delight in mirth and parties; others by games, balls,
and theatrical performances; others by the sports of
the field; others by intemperance and debauchery.
It is admitted that all these gratifications are not equally
degrading in themselves--nor equally destructive of
reputation and health. But if indulged in as the chief
good, they may all prevent the mind from attending
to the concerns of true religion.
A predominant love of worldly pleasure, of any kind--is
destructive in every point of view. It often leads on from
gratifications which, in the opinion of the world, are decent
and moral--to those which are wicked and immoral. It is
incompatible with the duties and comforts of domestic life.
It hinders the improvement of the understanding, and keeps
the mind barren and empty. It prevents from becoming the
benefactors of society. But its greatest mischief is, that it
totally indisposes the mind for true religion, and thus extends
its mischief to eternity! In short, if a predominant love of
worldly pleasure is cherished and persisted in, it ruins
and damns the soul forever!
My children, beware of this most dangerous propensity for
worldly pleasure! Consider where it leads--resist it to the
uttermost--and ask grace from God to acquire a better taste.
Yes, if you live for worldly pleasure, and neglect true religion,
you are giving up an exceeding great and eternal weight of
glory--for light and frivolous gratifications, which are but for
a moment! You are, for the sake of a few years' empty mirth,
entailing everlasting ages of unmitigated torments!
Besides, though worldly pleasure may temporarily gratify
--it does not really satisfy! When the honey is all sucked
--it leaves a sting behind!
And what are the pleasures of the world, compared with
those of true piety?
But the shadow to the substance;
the stagnant pool to the fresh and running fountain;
the smoking candle to the midday sun!
Shall worldly pleasure cheat you of eternal salvation?