Our Attitude to the World

[Ja. 1:27]---'Unspotted from the world.'

The problem of the relation between religion and the world is older than Christianity; and it is one of those problems which Christianity has met, not with a concise and portable solution, but with rays of light enough for a consistent life, though not for a coherent theory.

When we try to disentangle our way from the world's ways, we may not find it a simple and straitforward task. Conscience and experience may speak to us emphatically as the Bible about worldliness, and what comes of it: we may know well how true it is that no man can serve two masters, and how the love and service of the world drain life and reality out of the love and sevice may still profess towards God: we may know the inner poverty, the weakness, the deterioration, the blank and pitiful failure of insight that sets in when a man allows himself worldly ambition, worldly pride---all this may be clear and certain to us, and the sternest language of the New Testament may be matched in the plainset experience of our own life: nevertheless we may sincerly find it hard to see distinctly what the world is, and where its ways diverge from those that a Christian man should hold. For it is a complex and mysterious scene that is before us. Human life, human society, has not come to be what it is without the care of God for it. It has its own laws, and their original is in His will. It may be all astir with human selfishness and folly, but it is astir also with Divine love and wisdom; and the great patience of the Almighty, from whom no secrets are hid, moves about its tangoled ways. Through a costly and unfathomable past it has came to be what it now is. The elements that have entered into that past, and into the present that has come of it, have differed as widely as light and darkness; their interaction, their conflicts, their form, have gone on for centuries by the permission and under the providence of God :---it would be strange if the product of all this admitted of easy unravelling, of obvious division, of confident and simple labelling. But if men take pains about two things they are not likely to go far wrong. The first is to try patiently and reverently to understand, so far as they can, the life, the troubles, the apirations, the forces of the age in which they live. The second is to maintain steadily their own communication with God, their realization of His presence, their attention to the disclosures of His will, their expectation of His judgment.

In Him Tim Maranatha