Is not the world in itself evil? Is it an accident, is it an occasion, is it but an excess, or a crisis, or a complication of circumstances, which constitutes its sinfulness? or, rather, is it not one of our three great spiritual enemies, at all times, and under all circumstances and all changes, ungodly, unbelieving, seducing, and anti-christian? Surely we must grant it to be so. Why else in Baptism do we vow to wage war against it? Why else does Scripture speak of it in the terms which we know so well, if we will but attend to them? St. James says, that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God,” [James iv. 4.] so that “whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

And St. Paul speaks of “walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;” [Eph. ii. 2.] and exhorts us not to be “conformed to this world,” but to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind;” [Rom. xii. 2.] and he says that Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world.” [Gal. i. 4.] In like manner St. John says, “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.” [1 John ii. 15.]

Let us be quite sure, then, that that confederacy of evil which Scripture calls the world, that conspiracy against Almighty God of which Satan is the secret instigator, is something wider, and more subtle, and more ordinary, than mere cruelty, or craft, or profligacy; it is that very world in which we are; it is not a certain body or party of men, but it is human society itself. This it is which is our greatest enemy; and this it is of which the text in its fulness speaks, when it says that “though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” It is powerful at present, but in the end it shall be overthrown; and then these its separate members “shall not be unpunished,” but “the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”

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