Colossians 3:2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Affections Rightly PlacedW. Bridge, M. A.Colossians 3:2
Affections the Wings of the SoulJ. Inglis.Colossians 3:2
Attractions of the WorldCuyler.Colossians 3:2
Drawings Toward HeavenT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Colossians 3:2
Earthly and Heavenly ThingsR. Baxter.Colossians 3:2
Earthly-MindednessJ. Spence.Colossians 3:2
Love of the WorldFrom the Hindustani.Colossians 3:2
Not on Things on the EarthE. Hake.Colossians 3:2
Setting the Affections on Things AboveColossians 3:2
Spirituality a Safeguard Against TemptationC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:2
The Affections to be Habitually HeavenwardT. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Colossians 3:2
The Antidote to Asceticism and SensualismBishop Lightfoot.Colossians 3:2
The Death of MelancthonColossians 3:2
The Heart MisplacedBishop Reynolds.Colossians 3:2
The Heavenly Inheritance PreferredW. Anderson, LL. D.Colossians 3:2
The Supreme Attachment Due to Spiritual ObjectsJohn Foster.Colossians 3:2
The Vital TransferenceT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Colossians 3:2
Things AboveJ. Cumming, D. D.Colossians 3:2
Vanity of Earthly ThingsC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:2
The Heavenly LifeR.M. Edgar Colossians 3:1, 2
Above the TideJ. L. Nye.Colossians 3:1-4
Aspring Towards HeavenT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 3:1-4
Attaining Higher LifeD. L. Moody.Colossians 3:1-4
Believers Risen with Christ, and Their Duty in ConsequencW. Jay.Colossians 3:1-4
Christ and the Higher NaturePrincipal Tulloch.Colossians 3:1-4
ExcelsiorD. Davies, M. A.Colossians 3:1-4
Following the Risen ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:1-4
High Ground for the AffectionT. H. Leary.Colossians 3:1-4
HomewardsT. H. Leary.Colossians 3:1-4
Of the ResurrectionBishop Andrewes.Colossians 3:1-4
Our Risen LifeR. Finlayson Colossians 3:1-4
Present Privileges: Future GloryE.S. Prout Colossians 3:1-4
Reasons for Seeking the Things AboveRobert Hall, M. A.Colossians 3:1-4
Risen with ChristFamily Churchman., Dean VaughanColossians 3:1-4
Risen with ChristBishop Beveridge.Colossians 3:1-4
Seek Those Things that are AboveJ. Beaumont, M. D.Colossians 3:1-4
Seeking Things AboveCanon Liddon.Colossians 3:1-4
The Affections ElevatedC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian Risen with ChristEbenezer Temple.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian TemperKnox Little.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian's Higher LifeU.R. Thomas Colossians 3:1-4
The Heavenly Aspirations of the Renewed NatureF. Wagstaff.Colossians 3:1-4
The Hidden LifeA. Vinet, D. D.Colossians 3:1-4
The Resurrection of Christ an Argument for Seeking ThingsArchbishop Tillotson.Colossians 3:1-4
The Risen LifeCanon Liddon.Colossians 3:1-4
When Will the World Grow BetterG. Maurer.Colossians 3:1-4
Heavenly Things the True Object of Christian ContemplationT. Croskery Colossians 3:2, 3

Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth; for ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. We must not only seek things above, but think them.


1. Not things upon the earth, because

(1) they are below us (Philippians 3:8, 19);

(2) unsatisfying (Luke 8:18; Proverbs 23:5; Hosea 13:13; Psalm 78:39);

(3) full of anxieties (Matthew 13:22; Job 38:22);

(4) unnecessary to our happiness (Job 28:14);

(5) transient and uncertain (Proverbs 23:5; Luke 12:19, 20).

2. "Things there are above." (See hints on previous verse.) We ought to set our mind upon them, because

(1) they are satisfying;

(2) suitable;

(3) because our treasure is there - of riches (Matthew 6:19-21), of honours (1 Samuel 2:30), of pleasures (Psalm 16:11).

II. THE DUTY OF SETTING THE MIND UPON RIGHT OBJECTS OF THOUGHT AND AFFECTION. This is the secret of heavenly mindedness. "Tell me what a man thinks, and! will tell you what he is."

1. It is our duty not to set our mind on things on the earth, because

(1) God may give them to you as your entire portion (Psalm 17:14);

(2) you may provoke him to take them away (Psalm 78:5-7);

(3) they will turn away your thoughts from heaven (Psalm 10:3, 4);

(4) they will distract you in duty (Ezekiel 33:31);

(5) they involve the guilt of idolatry (ver. 5).

2. It is our duty to set our mind on things above, because

(1) there is nothing else worth our serious thought (1 John 2:15);

(2) they will keep you from over anxiety about the affairs of this life (Philippians 4:11, 12);

(3) the thought of them will increase your fitness for duty (Acts 20:24);

(4) they will make the thought of death more pleasant in anticipation (Philippians 1:23).

III. THE REASON FOR OUR SELECTING SUCH OBJECTS OF BELIEVING CONTEMPLATION. "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God." The thought is twofold - it refers to a past act and to a continuous state.

1. Our death in Christ. This involves

(1) our death to sin (Romans 6:2) and

(2) our death to the world (Galatians 6:14). We are, therefore, cut loose from "things on the earth."

2. Our hidden life in God. "Your life is hid with Christ in God."

(1) Christian life is a hidden life,

(a) in its origin (John 3:8);

(b) it is hid, as an experience, from the world;

(c) it is hid from the believer himself in times of spiritual desertion;

(d) the full glory of this life is hidden even from the believer (1 John 3:1).

(2) Christian life has its hidden source and abiding strength "with Christ in God." Christ is now hid in heaven and our life is hid with him.

(a) It is hid with him as our Representative; this marks its security; this is the sheet anchor of our spiritual existence.

(b) It is hid with him as its constant source; "For he is our Life," in whom we realize a growth in all the graces of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22); "Because I live, ye shall live also; I am come that ye may have life.., more abundantly."

(3) God is himself the "sphere or element in which our life is hid. It is "with Christ in God." The Son is "in the bosom of the Father," and thus we have fellowship with both the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). Thus the believer is doubly secure. He is not only hidden in God's home; he is hidden in God's heart. Therefore we can understand the import of the phrase, "And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:23). - T. C.

Set your affections on things above.
It is implied in this exhortation that the things above are —

I. KNOWN TO US. We may love the unseen, not the unknown. We know them through the Scriptures.

II. OURS. We may not set our hearts on what is not ours. But "all things are ours."


IV. THEY ARE THOSE AMID WHICH EVERY CHRISTIAN WILL SOON BE PLACED FOR ETERNITY. It becomes the pilgrims of time to visit by faith their future home.


VI. THEY HAVE A TRANSCENDENT EXCELLENCY. Note the Apocalyptic figures of them.

VII. THEY ENDURE FOR EVER. All else is perishable.


IX. THEY BECOME DAILY MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT, WHILE THE THINGS OF EARTH GROW DAILY LESS SO. Every day lessens the duration of temporal things and brings us nearer to eternal things.

X. THEY CAST DOWN UPON US A TRANSFORMING BEAUTY. Man's heart never acts without being acted upon. Contact with the good sanctifies; communion with the happy gladdens. Conclusion: Seek these things then —

1. In the Scripture.

2. In Christ.

3. In the ministry of the gospel.

4. On the Sabbath.

5. In prayer.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

I. WHAT THINGS ABOVE? Things above nature and above earth.

II. WHAT THINGS ON EARTH? (1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:6).

1. Lust of the flesh — pleasures.

2. Lust of the eye — riches (Ecclesiastes 5:11).

3. Pride of life — honours.


1. The understanding and meditation.

2. The will and affections.





1. They are below us (Philippians 3:8).

2. Unsuitable to us.

3. Unsatisfying (1 Corinthians 7:31; Job 30:15; Psalm 78:39; Hosea 13:13; Proverbs 23:1. 5; Luke 8:18).

4. Troublesome and vexatious (Matthew 13:22).

5. Unnecessary.

(1)To the making of us happy (Job 28:15).

(2)To the bringing us to happiness.

6. Fleeting and unconstant (Proverbs 23. 5; 2 Samuel 19:43, 21.; Belshazzar; Luke 12:19, 20). Uses:

1. Information.

(1)How sin hath debased and infatuated mankind.

(2)See the folly of covetous worldlings.

(3)See the easiness of charity. What a little thing God demands, and what vast returns there will be (Matthew 10:41, 42).

(4)What little cause men have to be troubled for the want of such things.

(5)Or others to be proud of having them.

2. Exhortation. Consider if ye do set your affections on things below —

(1)Ye cross God's end in giving them.

(2)Ye provoke Him to take them away (Psalm 78:5-7).

(3)Or to give you them for your portion (Psalm 17:14).

(4)The more you affect them, the less comfort you will have in them (Psalm 106:15).

(5)They will divert your thoughts from heaven (Psalm 10:3, 4).

(6)And so disturb you in duty (Ezekiel 33:31).

(7)It is gross idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

(8)You have better things to mind (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1).


1. Why? Because —(1) They are suitable for our affections (Psalm 17:15).(2) Our chief relations are three.

(a)Our Father (Luke 12:32; John 20:17; Malachi 1:6).

(b)Our Husband (Hosea 2:16; Isaiah 54:5).

(c)Brethren (Hebrews 2:11; Romans 8:29).(3) Our treasure is there.

(a)Riches (Matthew 6:19-21).

(b)Honours (1 Samuel 2:30).

(c)Pleasures (Psalm 16:11).

(d)Your affections were made on purpose for these things (Proverbs 16:4).

(e)Setting your affections on them now is the way to come to their enjoyment hereafter.

2. What?(1) Our thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

(a)Upon God (Psalm 10:4; Psalm 139:18).

(b)Upon Christ (Luke 22:11-19).

(c)Upon the Scripture that leads to them (Psalm 1:2).(2) Our love (Deuteronomy 6:5).

(3)Desire (Psalm 73:25; Philippians 1:23).

(4)Hope (Romans 5:2).

(5)Joy (Psalm 4:6-7; 1 Peter 1:8).

3. How?

(1)In the most intense degree (Luke 14:26).

(2)Constantly. Uses:

1. Examination.

(1)What do you most think of?

(2)What are you most loath to part with?

(3)What do you spend most time about? (Mark 4:19).

2. Exhortation. "Set your affections," etc.

(1)There is nothing else worthy of them (1 John 2:15).

(2)This will keep you from doating on the world (Philippians 3:8).

(3)It will keep you from grieving too much about the affairs of this life (Philippians 4:11, 12).

(4)It will make you more active in all duties (Acts 20:24).

(5)By so doing you will partly enjoy them (2 Corinthians 12:2, 3).

(6)This will make you willing to die (Philippians 1:23).

(7)And fit you for the enjoyment of God after death.

(Bishop Beveridge.)


1. The motions of the reasonable soul. When Jerusalem was much affected about the tidings of Christ's birth it is said that "all Jerusalem was moved." And when the Jews were affected against Paul they "were moved with envy.

2. So they are the movings of the soul whereby the heart is sensibly carried out upon what is good or evil.

3. And as it is sensibly carried out towards, so it must embrace the same. By one we follow what is good and the other shun what is evil. There are several affections, but all are ministers of love. I love a thing and, if absent, desire it; if present, delight in it. If I hate a thing I shun it or am angry with it.


1. What, may we not at all affect the things of earth? Yes, ye may desire them, and grieve at the loss of them, and both desire and grief are affections.(1) But not for themselves, only in deference to Christ and in subordination to God. You are commanded to love your wives, husbands, etc., because you can love them in the Lord — but nowhere to love ourselves, money, etc., because "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him."(2) In comparison with spiritual things your affection for them is to be as no affection. "Let him that rejoiceth be as though he rejoiced not." "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart."

2. Why are we to set our affections on things above? Because, if they are not set on Christ and the things of Christ —(1) You will not be found marriageable unto Him. That woman is not fit to be married to a man whose affections are not knit to him.(2) You will never own Him. Ardent love is required for faithful testimony, and those who are ashamed of Christ, of them will He be ashamed.(3) Our affections will never be drawn from things beneath. Sin is mortified by the contrary good; the joy and grief of the world by spiritual joy and grief. The snow is melted by the warm beams of the sun, and the more your hearts are warmed with love to Christ, the easier will earthly affections fall away.(4) We shall never press much after the knowledge and enjoyment of heavenly things. A child if he have no affection for his book will never make a scholar.(5) We shall never be zealous for God, for zeal is the heat of Divine love.(6) We shall never do any great thing for God. The reason for David's great gift was his affection (1 Chronicles 29:3).(7) We shall never please God in anything we do (Romans 12:11).(8) We shall not be safe from apostasy. Conclusion: Do you set your affections on things above?

1. This is a hard thing to do: for it means to have a sympathy with that against which we had an antipathy; and to change our sympathies into antipathies, and vice versa, is no easy matter.

2. It is one thing to affect the best things and have some affections for them, and another thing to set our affections on them. Herod heard John gladly, and the stony ground received the Word with joy.

3. If men's affections were set on things above they would not be so indifferent in the things of God as they are. For this is described as hungering and thirsting.

4. Then they would always carry these things about with them in their minds.

5. They would seek them first, of their age, day, and competition; in youth, morning, and before all.

6. They would be often speaking of them, and would love to hear others (Psalm 45:1).

7. They would be most indulgent and tender of them.

8. They would not be put off with any slight evidence of their interest in them.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

If you will go to the banks of a little stream and watch the flies that come and bathe in it you will notice that while they plunge their bodies in the water, they keep their wings high out of it; and after swimming about a little while they fly away with their wings unwet through the sunny air. Now that is a lesson for us. Here we are immersed in the cares and business of the world; but let us keep the wings of our soul, our faith and our love, out of the world, that with these unclogged we may be ready to take our flight to heaven.

(J. lnglis.)

"Birds," says Manton, "are seldom taken in their flight; the more we are upon the wing of heavenly thoughts the more we escape snares." Oh that we would remember this, and never tarry long on the ground lest the fowler ensnare us. We need to be much taken up with Divine things, rising in thought above these temporal matters, or else the world will entangle us, and we shall be like birds held with limed twigs, or encompassed in a net. Up, then, my heart. Up from the weedy ditches and briery hedges of the world into the clear atmosphere of heaven. There, were the dews of grace are born, and the Sun of Righteousness is Lord paramount, and the blessed wind of the Spirit blows from the everlasting hills, thou wilt find rest on the wing, and sing for joy where thine enemies cannot even see thee.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

After painting the Sistine ceiling, Michael Angelo found that the habit of looking upward, which that long-continued work rendered necessary, made it for some time impossible to read or to look carefully at a drawing except in the same attitude. So our converse with heaven should affect our attitude in looking at the things of earth.

(T. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)


1. How happy it were if affection might go just at its own pleasure and all be right and safe, i.e., that an infallible perception accompanied it with which the moral taste strictly agreed. Then nothing would attract it that ought not; it would be in repulsion to all evil, and both in the right degrees.

2. But this is not so.(1) Our nature, composed of two kinds of being, places us in strict relation to two different economies. Therefore there is great difficulty in apportioning the regards towards these in due proportion.(2) By the output of our nature our relation to one class of interests is immediate and sensible, while the relation to things spiritual is only through thought and faith.(3) Our nature is sunk in such a state that it has a most obstinate tendency to give itself to the inferior class of interests, the effect of which is to throw away the supreme interests of the soul.(4) One would imagine the terror of this to make the doctrine of Divine grace welcome. Except in reliance on this we should hear the text with despair.

II. A MEASURE OF AFFECTION FOR THINGS ON EARTH IS LEGITIMATE. Good men have used an indiscreet language almost of requiring an indifference to or contempt for earthly things; and according to this there is one essential inconsistency between our duty and the condition in which God has placed us. But our interests here have claims that must be allowed.

1. Think in how many ways we derive pleasure or pain from earthly things. Surely our Creator does not desire the pleasure denied or the pain endured more than is inevitable, or disciplinary. And, therefore, we may in measure desire the pleasing, and be anxious to avoid the painful.

2. Think how much care is necessary to avoid the ills of life, and that we may have the most benefit of its relations. Affection is inevitably and justly set on health, near relatives, and as a matter concerning him and them, on his temporal condition. And then a man that looks on the conduct of public affairs, by which his own, his family's, and his fellow-citizens' welfare are affected, will necessarily feel consider able interest in that direction. Again, if a man be of a cultivated intellect and taste, he cannot help being affected by the beauties of nature and the great works and discoveries of men.

3. But how sad it is that the relations of the present are all which many recognize. Think if they were exhorted to such an utter indifference to their temporal interests as they indulge respecting their eternal ones. What madness would be charged. A fortiori, then, is not theirs an awful madness.


1. By the nobler part of our nature we are placed in solemn relations with another economy comporting with its immortality — to God, the one infinite Being; to the Redeemer, the Lord of the new economy; to an unseen state of holy companionships and endless felicity. How marvellous that the soul can consent to stay in the dust when it might live beyond the stars.

2. What then should be the comparative state of the affections as towards the former and the latter?(1) The answer can but be that there must be, at the lowest, a decided preponderance in favour of the spiritual and the eternal. Otherwise how is the great purpose of Christ accomplished who came to redeem us to them?(2) But if no more than barely this is attained, how often it is likely to be put in doubt. We should aspire to have therefore more than a preponderance.

IV. WHAT, THEN, MAY BE TAKEN AS PROOFS THAT WE HAVE THE REQUIRED PREPONDERANCE OF AFFECTION FOR THINGS ABOVE. In most cases this is a matter of prompt and unequivocal consciousness; but in this the best men find tests valuable.

1. Let a man examine when he is strongly interested in some temporal concern whether he can say more than all this is the interest I feel in things above.

2. When he is greatly pleased with something, and his thoughts suddenly turn to higher objects, is he then more pleased?

3. Or is he solicitous that this temporal good may not injure his spiritual interests?

4. If he suffers in goods or body does he feel that he would far rather suffer so than in soul, and does he feel a strong overbalancing consolation from above.

5. Is he more pleased to give earnest application to higher things than to inferior, and that he would sacrifice more for one than for the other?

6. Does he check his temporal pursuits directly they interfere with heavenly, and double his diligence in regard to the latter.

7. Do heavenly things grow increasingly attractive the nearer he gets to them?

(John Foster.)


1. In pursuing one of them we can only gain itself, but in pursuing the other we gain it and a large share of its competitor — who could hesitate about making an election? So if a man choose the earthly he can gain none of the heavenly; whereas if he choose the heavenly, besides securing it, he gains the best of the earthly. Nay, the choice of the heavenly portion is the more promising way of obtaining the earthly on the ground of the greater prudence and superior morality which the choice inspires, together with the blessing of God. And further, this is the only way of finding satisfaction in earthly things, and without that satisfaction they are worthless.

2. We shall be wise if we prefer that which we are sure of attaining, and resist that of which it is doubtful if we ever gain it. You who have chosen the earthly consider what a gambler's work you make of the pursuit of happiness. You must have the whole of your uncertain life in health; you must be pure amidst temptations without grace; you must have uninterrupted business prosperity; a wife who shall prove a helpmeet although chosen under dubious circumstances, and children who shall love and honour you in spite of a godless education. And happiness, according to your estimate, depends on such chances as these. But the happiness of him that seeks the things above is independent of these, and is assured not only now, but for ever.

3. Wisdom will prefer that which requires less labour. Reflect, then, what skilfulness, scheming, racing, anxiety, sleeplessness are required for gaining and retaining earthly things. Not that the life of the heavenly seeker is one of sloth, but his heavenly-mindedness enables him to go through the same work without the same disturbance, and to add others of a benevolent character by way of pastime.

II. BUT THE TWO THINGS ARE NOT OF EQUAL VALUE, and though the pursuit of the heavenly excluded the earthly, though it were uncertain while the pursuit of the earthly were certain, and though it were more laborious, yet —

1. Its intrinsic value would outweigh all adverse considerations. The earthly is mainly for the body and fortune, the heavenly for both body and soul and for eternity.

2. Its necessity to our happiness is another weighty consideration. Earthly things are only at best a temporary convenience; but without the heavenly a man perishes for ever. Let, then, the most depressing view of life be taken, it is soon over, and then the Christian is for ever with the Lord. But where is the worldling after every earthly gratification then?

(W. Anderson, LL. D.)


1. They destroy while they please.(1) Take riches; there is no harm in preferring them to poverty; but thousands are destroyed by the pleasure of their accumulation, bodily, spiritually, and eternally. Men demean themselves, defraud, and lie for money, and think of nothing else. You have not got so far as that? But you will acknowledge that during the week if you hewed away all that was given to earthly things there would not be much left.(2) Take the approval of the world. A good name is, of course, an immense power for good: but thousands have gone down under worldly applause. Beauty, genius, everything that men and women have have been sacrificed for this, and as they went up in fame went down in character. Think of Byron, Sheridan, Burns, etc. The approval of the world while it pleases it damns.

3. They are unsatisfactory.(1) Where is the man who has been made happy by temporal success. First a man wants to make a living, then a competency, then a superfluity, then he wants more. The husks of this wilderness can never satisfy the hunger of the soul. How is it with you now with your large house of twenty rooms sumptuously furnished; are you any happier than when you had only two? If you have never found out the true secret of life — the love of God and His service, you are not so happy. Besides, if they had all that they profess, we cannot keep them. How many dollars is Croesus worth now?(2) We cannot depend on friend ships. Some play us false; the truest leave us.(3) We cannot build on domestic enjoyments, pure and holy though they be.


1. We ought to do so. We have a throne there, a multitude to greet us, and Jesus.

2. If we did so it would change everything in us, and make us more gentle, loving, hopeful, and when we come to die we should need no Jacob's ladder or angel's wing.

3. The apostle had such an idea of heaven that it made the troubles of life seem insignificant. "This light affliction."

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

A man was passing along the street, and saw a blind boy seated on his father's knee, holding in his hand a kite-string, the kite flying away in the air. The man said, "Is it any satisfaction to you, my lad, to fly that kite, when you cannot see it?" "O yes, sir," he replied, "I cannot see it, but I can feel it pull." And so out of this dark world, and amid this blindness of sin, we feel something drawing us heavenwards; and though we cannot see the thrones, and the joy, and the coronation, blessed be God, we can feel them pull.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

You must not only seek heaven; you must also think heaven. (Cf. Philippians 3:19, 20.) Extremes meet. Here the apostle points the antithesis between earthly and heavenly things to controvert a Gnostic asceticism: in the Philippian letter he uses the same contrast to denounce an Epicurean sensualism. Both alike are guilty of the same fundamental error; both alike concentrate their thoughts on material, mundane things.

(Bishop Lightfoot.)

Is there anything else you want?" was asked Melancthon on his deathbed. "Nothing but heaven," was the reply.

In return for his splendid services to China, Gordon would accept only the distinctions of the "Yellow Jacket" and the "Peacock's Feather," which correspond to our own orders of the Garter and the Bath. Of these rewards he wrote to his mother: "I do not care twopence about these things, but know that you and my father like them." The Chinese Government twice offered him a fortune. On the first occasion ten thousand taels were actually brought into his room, but he drove out the bearers of the treasure, and would not even look at it. On the second occasion the sum was still larger, but this also he declined, and afterwards he wrote home: — "I do not want anything, either money or honours, from either the Chinese Government or our own. As for the honours, I do not value them at all. I know that I am doing a great deal of good, and, liking my profession, do not mind going on with my work. Do not think I am ill-tempered, but I do not care one jot about my promotion, or what people may say. I know I shall leave China as poor as I entered it, but with the knowledge that through my weak instrumentality upwards of eighty to one hundred thousand lives have been spared."

(E. Hake.)

To set the heart on the creature is to set a diamond in lead, or to lock coals in a cabinet and throw jewels into a cellar.

(Bishop Reynolds.)

— AEsop's fable says: — "A pigeon oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a sign-board. Not supposing it to be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whirr, and unwittingly dashed against the sign-board, and jarred herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was killed by one of the bystanders." The mockeries of the world are many, and those who are deluded by them not only miss the joys they looked for, but in their eager pursuit of vanity bring ruin upon their souls. We call the dove silly to be deceived by a picture, however cleverly painted, but what epithet shall we apply to those who are duped by the transparently false allurements of the world!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Nearly all can recall that favourite fiction of their childhood, the voyage of Sinbad the sailor into the Indian Sea. They will remember that magnetic rock that rose from the surface of the placid waters. Silently Sinbad's vessel was attracted towards it; silently the bolts were drawn out of the ship's side, one by one, through the subtle attraction of that magnetic rock. And when the fated vessel drew so near that every bolt and clamp was unloosed, the whole structure of bulwark, mast, and spars tumbled into ruin on the sea, and the sleeping sailors awoke to their drowning agonies. So stands the magnetic rock of worldliness athwart the Christian's path. Its attraction is subtle, silent, slow, but fearfully powerful on every soul that floats within its range. Under its enchanting spell bolt after bolt of good resolution, clamp after clamp of Christian obligation, are stealthily drawn out. What matters it how long or how fair has been the man's profession of religion, or how flauntingly the flag of his orthodoxy floats from the masthead? Let sudden temptation smite the unbolted professor, and in an hour he is a wreck. He cannot hold together in a tempest of trial, he cannot go out on any cruise of Christian service, because he is no longer held together by a Divine principle within. It has been drawn out of him by that mighty loadstone of attraction, a sinful, godless, self-pampering, Christ-rejecting world.


As it is but foolish childishness that makes children so delight in baubles that they would not leave them for all your lands, so it is but foolish worldliness, and fleshliness, and wickedness, that makes you so much delight in your houses, and lands, and meat, and drink, and ease, and honour, as that you would not part with them for heavenly delights. But what will you do for pleasure when these are gone? Do you not think of that? When your pleasures end in horror, and go out like a taper, the pleasures of the saints are then at their best.

(R. Baxter.)

It is storied of Henry the Fourth of France, asking the Duke of Alva if he had observed the eclipses happening in that year, he answered, that he had so much business on earth, that he had no leisure to look up to heaven. A sad thing it is for men to be so bent, and their hearts so set on the things of this world, as not to cast up a look to the things that are in heaven; nay, not to regard though God brings heaven down to them in His Word and sacraments. Yet so it is: most men are of this Spanish general's mind; witness the oxen, the farms, the pleasures, the profits and preferments, that men are so fast glued unto, that they have hardly leisure to entertain a thought of any goodness.

(J. Spence.)

— A dervish once went into a confectioner's shop. The confectioner, to honour him, poured some honey into a dish before him. Immediately a swarm of flies settled, as was their wont, upon the honey; some upon the edge of the dish, but the greater number in the middle. The confectioner then took up s whisk to drive them off, when those upon the side flew away with ease, but the others were prevented from rising, the honey clinging to their wings, and were involved in ruin. The dervish noticed this, and remarked, "That honey-dish is like the world, and the honey like its pleasures. Those who enjoy them with moderation and contentment, when the whisk of death approaches, not having their hearts filled with the love of them, can with ease escape its snare; while all who, like the .foolish flies, have given themselves wholly to their sweetness will meet with destruction."

(From the Hindustani.)

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