Observe here, 1. That our apostle doth not, as he did before, direct his advice to any one particular sort or rank of Christians in special, but unto all in general; Love not the world, &c.
Observe, 2. That the prohibition here is not absoltue, but comparatively only. It is not an ordinata charitas, but inordinata cupiditas, that is here forbidden; we may look upon the world, and desire it, delight in it, and in the enjoyment of it, provided we do not chuse it for our portion, delight in it as our chief good.
Observe, 3. St. John doth not say, Leave the world, but Love not the world; he doth not say, use not the world, but Love it not; that is, seek not after the world inordinately, and delight not in it immoderately. Seek it we may, but but not in an undue manner; delight in it we may, but not in an undue measure.
Observe, 4. The arguments which our apostle makes use of to enforce his dehortation.
1. The contrariety of the love of the world to the love of God; If any man love the world (in an undue manner and measure) the love of the Father is not in him; that is, the worldly lover has no interest in the Father's love; the world's darlings are none of God's friends, the world's lover has no love of the Father in him; there is no positive love of God in him in whom there is a superlative love of the world.
Lord, how desperate and dangerous a sin then is worldly love! If the love of the Father be not in him, the hatred of the Father is towards him,Jam_4:4Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
A second argument to dissuade from worldly love is contained in the 16th verse: For all that is in the world; that is, all that is in esteem and vogue with the men of the world, is either the lust of the flesh, that is all sensual delights and enjoyments, which occasion intemperance: or the lust of the eye, the desire of gold, silver, stately houses, rich gardens, which tend to gratify the eye: and the pride of life, or the desires of honours and dignities, high titles, and places of advancement, which tend to gratify our pride, all these are not of the Father; that is, they are not desires excited by him, nor are they pleasing to him, but are the desires of the men of the world, and proceed from that corruption which is in them.
The third argument is taken from the world itself, and its short continuance, in the 17th verse, the world passeth away, that is, all the things of the world, which the men of the world doat upon, and are in love with, are of a fading transitory nature in themselves, and they pass away from their possessors and owners. And the laws thereof: that is, the pleasure which they had in gratifying their lusts passeth away, but the sting remaineth, and the torment abideth.
It is added, But he that doth the will of God abideth forever. Behold here the permanent felicity, not of the knowing, but obedient Christian. He abideth forever, not in this, but in the other world, in a state of endless happiness. Although eternity, in its most comprehensive notion, be peculiar to a Diety, and incommunicable to a creature, yet it is that which God has made rational creatures capable of; and as he abideth for ever, so will he grant to them that do his will to abide with him for ever also; The world passeth away, and the lust therof; but he doth the will of God abideth for ever.