A decent, flowery, down-hill
way to eternal destruction!
(John Angell James, "Christian Hope" 1859)
Christ is . . .
the supreme object of a true Christian's love,
the chief source of his felicity,
the highest end of his life.
The first object of a Christian's desire, pursuit
and expectation—is the salvation of his soul.
Our great business on earth—is to fit for heaven.
Our main concern in time—is to prepare for eternity.
The world is, indeed, a very dangerous foe to the
believer. To very, very many, it is the most destructive
one. They are not so likely to be subdued by 'open vice'
as by worldly-mindedness.
Worldliness is the sin of the age, and has deeply
infected the church of Christ.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father
is not in him." 1 John 2:15
This verse ought to ring through all Christendom,
and make the ears of millions tingle—and their
hearts to palpitate with fear and alarm!
What is the world?
Not merely open sin and vice, profligacy, idolatry,
infidelity or heresy. Oh no! The world contains many
things besides the lust of the eye, the lust of the
flesh, and the pride of life—things . . .
than these vile objects!
Everything on earth, however fair, laudable and
excellent in itself—everything besides God, is the
Your business is the world,
your family is the world,
your comfortable home is the world,
the wife of your bosom is the world,
the children whom God has given you are the world.
"What! then," you exclaim, "are we not to love these?"
Yes, in proper degrees—but not more than God. You are
not to seek your highest happiness from them. You are
not to be more solicitous to secure them, than heaven.
It is of a 'supreme love' which the apostle speaks.
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is
not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter
more than Me is not worthy of Me." Matthew 10:37
Christian professors, there is need to have these solemn,
yet righteous demands, sent with a voice of thunder into
your places of business and scenes of domestic comfort.
You have need to be told that . . .
all this engrossing solicitude about business;
all this eager haste to be rich;
all this ambition for larger houses;
all this taste for elegance, show and fashion;
all this competition for name and fame,
which leads to a neglect of salvation, to departure from
God, to indifference to heaven—is the love of the world,
which is incompatible with the love of the Father!
And not less so . . .
that supreme concern about domestic enjoyment,
that taste for fashionable amusements, or even
that more refined and simple love of home-bred delights,
which leaves out God, salvation, heaven and eternity!
Here, here, I repeat, is your peril.
Here the enemy with which you have to do battle!
It is not vice.
It is not profligacy.
It is worldly-mindedness!
Do we not see mere professors throwing
themselves wholly—body, soul, and spirit . . .
into their trade,
into the cherished objects of their ambition,
into their entire devotedness to a worldly life.
In these things, and for them, they live!
These things . . .
bind round and overgrow their heart,
stifle all serious thoughts,
smother all heavenly desires.
The road that leads to destruction is broad enough
to comprise many parallel paths. And there is one path
crowded with professors of religion, walking in company,
with cheerful appearance, and elegant attire, and elastic
step—but still walking to perdition! Oh, yes, there is a
way 'through the church'—a decent, flowery, down-hill
way to eternal destruction, and there are many who
take that road!