Turn away from the lovely enchantress!
(J. A. James, "Faith's Victory over the World" 1852)
"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for
when you love the world, you show that you do not have
the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only
the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we
see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from
the Father. They are from this evil world." 1 John 2:15-16
Such is the world that assails the Christian, and which
he must overcome—or perish eternally! He is aware of
his danger from the strength, subtlety, and ever-present
activity of this enemy of his soul.
The whole current of Scripture commands runs against the
love of the world. In every possible form, it is forbidden.
Worldliness is the most thronged road to everlasting ruin!
Worldliness does not merely consist in an intense love
of money, and an excessive eagerness to be rich—but in
a supreme regard to that which is visible and temporal,
whether these relate to the quiet scenes of domestic
comfort, or to those elegancies, splendors, and accumulations
of wealth, which lead a man to seek his highest bliss in these!
The world is a foe which attacks us in various places! In the
shop—by all the temptations incident to trade and wealth. In
the halls of politics and public business—by all the enticements
to pride and ambition. In the places of amusement—by all the
soft blandishments of pleasure. In the haunts of vice—by all the
gratifications of appetite. In the scenes of nature—by all the
delights of taste and imagination. In the walks of science and
literature—by all the delights of intellectual gratification. In the
social circle—by all the enjoyments of friendship. In the domestic
retreat—by all the sweets of marital bliss. Oh, how many are
the scenes where the world meets man and subdues him!
Sometimes the world approaches the believer with a smiling
face, making promises and offering caresses, like the serpent
to our first mother in the garden; or like Satan to our Lord
when he said, "All these things will I give you—if you will fall
down and worship me!" How difficult is it on such occasions
to turn away from the lovely enchantress, to keep the eye
steadily fixed on heavenly glories—and instead of greedily
quaffing the cup of poisoned sweets, to dash it on the ground!
If immorality slays its thousands—the world slays its ten
thousands! 'Supreme love of the world' will as certainly lead
its possessor to the bottomless pit, as the love of open vice!
Worldliness, I repeat, and repeat with emphasis, is . . .
the most polished,
the most fashionable,
the most respectable
path to the bottomless pit!
Victory over the world is subordination . . .
of the creature to the Creator;
of earth to heaven;
of temporal blessings to spiritual ones;
of time to eternity.
Victory over the world is the formation of an unearthly,
spiritual, divine, and heavenly mind-set and character!
"It was the sight of Your dear cross,
First weaned my soul from earthly things;
And taught me to esteem as dross,
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings!"
How all the splendor of earthly things pales before
that infinitely more resplendent object—Jesus!