The crying evil of our times?

(Winslow, "The Inner Life in its Gradual and Imperceptible Relapse")

I am solemnly convinced that the world, in its
relation to the religion of the day, is the giant
snare and the crying evil of our times!

It is not the world in one form only, but the world
in its many shapes, its numerous forms of fascination
and power, which gives it so amazing and subtle
an influence over the Christian Church.

There is....
no shape it cannot assume,
no garb it will not wear,
no plea it may not urge,
no concession it is not prepared to yield, thus to
obtain the ascendancy over the Christian's mind.

The compromising character of the prevailing
religious profession, present but little obstruction,
and offer but faint resistance, to the rapid and
alarming encroachments of the world.

There is everything in the 'easy Christianity' of
the times to court, and but little to discourage,
the advances of the world upon the Church;
impairing its strength,
crippling its efforts, and
shading its luster.

The facile compliance with its solicitations,
the inordinate attachment to its principles,
the sinful conformity to its customs,
the humiliating participation in its pleasures,
form the grand secret of the dwarfish religion
of so many professors.

The world has devoured their spiritual strength,
and thus the life of God in their souls is stunted
in its growth, and they are but infants when they
ought to be men; dwarfs when they should be
giants in knowledge, in grace, and in holiness.

The policy of the world;
the gay enjoyments of the world;
the self indulgence of the world;
the soaring ambition of the world;
the vain glory of the world;
the sinful alliances of the world;
the covetous, grasping desires of the world;
the love of vain show and fondness for dress; and
the easy religion of the world;
are the fearful and fatal snares into which
many professing Christians are drawn.

The ball;
the gay party;
the concert;
the novel;
the drama;
O how do these things devour the little
strength that some seem to possess; to
what small dimensions do they stunt their
Christianity; how do they wither and shrivel
up their religion, reducing their spiritual
power of resistance to an infant's weakness!

Worldliness causes....
an exhaustion in the soul,
a wound in the conscience,
a deadness in the spirit,
a vagrancy of thought,
an indolence and listlessness of mind,
with feelings which partake more of earth
and less of heaven, which unfit you for
communion with God, incapacitate you for
any spiritual duties whatever, and leave you,
like Samson despoiled of his glory, the victim
and the sport of the uncircumcised Philistines.
"Are you also become weak as we are? Are
you become like unto us?" is the exclamation
of the world that has thus cruelly robbed you
of your vigor, and now exultingly taunts you
with your loss.

I repeat it with earnestness and in bitterness of
soul: the world, the WORLD is the deadly foe, and
worldliness is the crying sin of the Church of God.

You profess to have separated yourselves from
the world, to not be of the world, and by the
cross of Jesus to be dead to the world; and yet
how opposite and falsifying is your practice!

You mix up with the world!
You float down the stream with the world!
You woo and embrace the world!

And but for the enrollment of your name upon the
records of the Church, we should scarcely suspect
that you were a follower of Him who solemnly and
emphatically declared, "My kingdom is not of this world."

With increased earnestness we beseech you....
Do not love the world!
Do not imitate the world!
Do not go needlessly into the world!

It is a cruel, treacherous, soul destroying world!

It crucified your Lord, and seeks nothing less than
your eternal destruction. Come out of it, and let
your unearthly principles, and holy enjoyments,
and heavenly mindedness, and simplicity of walk,
integrity and uprightness in all your transactions
with the world, be a witness against it for God,
for Christ, and for eternity.

Worldliness is the foe and the bane of religion.