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power—the advance from this comparatively sinning and repenting condition on to that platform where the soul so abides in Christ that it sins not, that it loves God with all its heart and soul, and mind and strength—so united to Christ that walking in the power of the Holy Ghost, it fulfils the law of love under which it is placed, the advance, I say, from that up and down, in and out, falling and rising state, to this higher platform, also has its conditions.
You would go up to it to-day if it were not for the conditions ; most of you would go up in a body as the Israelites would have gone into Canaan, if there had been no condition. I never knew any one so foolish as not to want to be in the good land; they want to be in, of course, and they would go in and get the honey and the milk, but there are the CONDITIONS! Now, then, here you have it plain, and you have it in numbers of other passages equally plain.
There is nothing upon which the Holy Ghost has been more particular than in laying down the conditions. And what are they? “And I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” The living man—all of you; not IT, something in you.
That term is never used by the Holy Ghost when speaking to Christians, but you yourselves, ye, you, your bodies, your souls, your mind, the whole man -YOU_“a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” And is it not? Is it too much? Is it more than He bargained for when He bought you? Is it more than He paid for? Is it your reasonable service.
And now, then, comes the conditions : “And be NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, THAT ye may prove."
Oh, if you could be transformed to Him and conformed to this world at the same time, all the difficulty would be over. I know plenty of people who would be transformed directly, but to be not conformed to this world, how they stand and wince at that! They cannot have it at that price. As dear Finney once said, “ My brother, if you want to find God, you will not find Him up there amongst all the starch and flattery of Hell. You will have to come down for Him.” That is it, “Be not conformed to this world.”
Nothing wounds me more, after being at meetings for dealing with souls, where I have tried to speak in a most pointed and thorough way to make everybody know what I meant, when I go to the dinner or supper table, people have not known a bit, or if they have, they won't accept it. Oh, this is the secret—they will not come down from their pride and high mightiness. But God will not be revealed to such souls, though they cry and pray themselves to skeletons, and go mourning all their days. They will not fulfil the condition_“Be not conformed to this world.” They will not forego their conformity even to the extent of a dinner party. A great many that I know will not forego their conformity to the shape of their head dress. They won't forego their conformity to the extent of visiting and receiving visits from ungodly, worldly, hollow, and superficial people. They
will not forego their conformity to the tune of having their domestic arrangements upset-no, not if the salvation of their children and servants and friends depends upon it. The sine qua non is their own comfort, and then take what you can get, on God's side. “We must have this and we must have the other, and then if the Lord Jesus Christ will, come in at the tail end and sanctify it all, we shall be very much obliged to Him; but we are not going to forego these things.” - Oh, friends, friends! I tell you this will never do. God helping me, I will, I must tell you, because it is driven in upon my soul by what I am seeing and hearing every day. People come to these meetings, and they groan and cry, and come to us for help, and we exhaust our poor brains and bodies in talking to them and giving them advice, telling them what to do, and when it comes to the point we find, “Oh, no, don't you be mistaken ; we are not going to sacrifice these things. We cannot have the Lord, if He won't come into our temples and take them as He finds them. We could not forego these things."
You remember the text that was read at the opening of the meeting, “and the world hath hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” It means something, and there are a hundred other texts 'teaching the same truth. NOW WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The Lord help us to see it. Does it not mean that we are not to be like the rest of the world? That we are not to be guided by the same measures and act upon the same principles as the world—that we are not
to attach the same importance to mere earthly and worldly things that worldly people do? Have you ever thought of those awful words in the parable of the sower. “ The desire of other things enter in and CHOKE the seed,” not abominable things, not immoral things, not shameful things, but the desire of other things. And, in another text: “Who MIND earthly things.” They attach more importance to worldly things, and other things, than they do to the things of His kingdom. They practically make these things FIRST, though they sing about His kingdom and profess to make Him first; they make the earthly things first, and therefore they will not have their earthly things upset for His things, and do you suppose He is cheated ? suppose He is deceived? Do you think it is likely that the great God of Heaven, who has millions of angels and archangels to worship and serve Him, is going to pour His glory on such people, and reveal Himself to them, and use them ? Not likely! “I will be first in your love," He says.
You women here, if you knew that you were not the first and only one in the affections of your husband, what would you say? And you husbands, would
dwell with a wife if you knew you were not the only one in her affections, but that they were divided between you and some one else? “Not likely!” you would say ; “I am not going to lavish my affections, and my society, and my gifts, and everything I possess, on one whose heart is divided with another.” “ If she will have her heart divided, then she must go to that other."
Now, you know God is a jealous God, and He
knows who do mock Him, and He knows who will not sacrifice this conformity to the world, that they may walk with Him in white; and He knows who do not care what anybody thinks of them, or what people say of them, who are willing to be counted fools and fanatics that they may walk with Him and promote the interests of His kingdom, and who only regard their bodies as His instrument and their homes as His temple, so that their breakfast hours, or dinner hours, or luncheon hours, or any other hours, may be upset, and, in fact, everything made subservient to the interests of His kingdom. We must place everything at His service-our children, business, homes, and everything. If I understand it, that is nonconformity to the world.
Before we close, let me say a word to try to help those who are desiring to attain this blessing. There is no other way. It is of no use beating about the bush. Be not conformed, but be ye transformed. These two are in juxtaposition. If you will be conformed then you cannot be transformed; if you will not be conformed, then you shall be transformed. Now will you give up conformity to the world ? If so, you may, every one of you be transformed this morning-go up into the land. You may all be saved to-day, and make your abiding place in Christ, and have all the power and glory which come to them that possess Him; you may advance from the miserable condition of a poor up-and-down, in-and-out wretched man, on to the glorious vantage ground of a saved man and a saved woman. The Lord help you. Amen.