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man; it is the Word who took flesh and dwelt among them that He might overcome the Evil Spirit. These young men are engaged with a conquered enemy, but with one who will seek to persuade them that he is almighty. Only while they give up their own strength and depend upon that living Word who is sustaining them at every moment, will they be able to prove that they are not the slaves of the enemy.
All young men of this day, all that are now struggling against their own enemies and God's, have a right to this same confidence. It is only dangerous when it becomes confidence in themselves. It is only dangerous when they forget that Christ's victory in the wilderness was not the end but only the beginning of the conflict in which He was engaged for the deliverance of them and the glory of God.
THE WORLD AND THE FATHER.
1 JOHN II. 15—18.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man
love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof : but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
You remember the words of which I spoke to you last Sunday, 'I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong.' I think it is especially for these young men that St. John designs the precept, “ Love not the world,' which I have just read to you. But we shall not understand that precept, nor the reason of it, nor the place which it holds in Christian ethics, if we do not recollect also what he has said to the children.
We talk of sons going out into the world. Hitherto they have been dwelling in the house of their father. Day by day they have had experience of his care and government. They have had experience of it when they have been right, and when they have been wrong; when they have done the things which he commanded them, and when they have disobeyed him; when they have confessed their faults,
when they have received his forgiveness, when they have suffered the punishments he has appointed for them.
This going out into the world we speak of as if it were a loss of some of these blessings. It may be a loss of them altogether; the father and the father's house may be altogether forgotten. We may come into an atmosphere as unlike that as possible, and we may prefer it because it is unlike. The world may seem to us a good world, because it sets us free from the restraints of the family in which we have been brought up.
But, on the other hand, all children look forward to this time of going out into the world. Their fathers encourage them to look forward to it. They tell them that it is what is appointed for them; they tell them that they are to work in the world, and make their way in the world ; they tell them their discipline in the nursery has been intended to prepare them for the world. This is not the language of inconsiderate, or mercenary, or ambitious parents. It is the language of parents who remember that their sons are to have a life of their own, that they are co shift for themselves, that they will not fulfil the purpose of their existence, unless they fall in with evil men as well as with good men, with things that may do them hurt as well as with things that may profit them. It is the language of men who reflect, that though there are a number of disorders in the world, yet that the world itself is an Order. That is what the word means; at ali events, the Greek word which St.
uses, if not the English word which we use. Well, as I have shown you already, St. John is regarding all those Ephesians to whom he is writing, as members of one family, in different stages of their growth. The children,
FIGHTING GOOD, NOT EVIL.
the young men, the fathers, are all treated as sons of God, and as brothers of each other. Christ has revealed to them their Father; Christ has revealed to them their brotherhood in Him. These are not fantastic titles ; they belong to real human beings. So St. John would have them understand that what is true in particular families, is true also of this great family. There is a time of childhood, a time when the name of a Father, and the care of a Father, and the forgiveness of a Father, are all in all. It seems as if nothing was wanted, but that name, and the belief that we are under that eye. This is a genial, blessed time, which may last longer with some than with others. Numbers who die in their early years, numbers, perhaps, who have been awakened in their later life to a sense of their Father's forgiveness and goodness, may go to their graves without having any other belief than this, without having needed any other. Sometimes we may count them fortunate, we may be inclined to envy them. But we are not to envy them. If another state is provided for us, that is the state which is best for us. If we are to be thrown
the world, there is a lore which will be given us for the world, which is an advance upon the lore that we had in our childhood, though it need not be the least inconsistent with that, though it need not drive that out of our minds.
St. John, therefore, has not condoled with these young men who had lost the smooth cheeks of infancy, who had acquired a strength which does not belong to infancy. He has not treated them as unhappy for having made this exchange; he has given them assurances of the victory which had already been won for them, the recollection of which was to fit them for their own battles. He has told
them what the particular wisdom is which they want and which they can now enter into, because they want it. They must believe that they have the Word of God dwelling in them; they must learn that there is One who is speaking to them in their consciences, who is quickening their hearts, who will go with them where they go, and stay with them where they stay; who knows what they are thinking, wishing, doing at every moment; who can give them the right thoughts, the right wishes, and guide them to the right acts. To make this discovery, to find that they have such a Friend, such a Teacher with them continually, is a compensation for a thousand losses; it is worth while to know a thousand evils which they did not know in infancy, if they may know also of this Deliverer from evil, this Director to all good.
But while he looks thus encouragingly and hopefully upon these youths, while he sees in them the strength of the time that is, as well as of the time that is to come,
he is also fully alive himself, and he wishes them to be alive, to the danger of their new position. They may forget their heavenly Father's house, just as any child may forget his earthly father's house. And the cause will be the same. The attractions of the outward world, the attractions of the things that are in this world, these are likely to put a great chasm between one period of their life and another; these may cause that the love of the Father shall not be in them.
But are the cases parallel ? The family of my parents is manifestly separated from the general world ; to pass from one to the other is a great change indeed—like the crossing an ocean, like entering into another hemisphere. But is not the world God's world? Is not the order which we