I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.—JOHN xvii. 15.
In busy mart and crowded street,
No less than in the still retreat,
Thou, Lord, art near, our souls to bless,
With all a Father’s tenderness.
Only the individual conscience, and He who is greater than the conscience, can tell where worldliness prevails. Each heart must answer for itself, and at its own risk. That our souls are committed to our own keeping, at our own peril, in a world so mixed as this, is the last reason we should slumber over the charge, or betray the trust. If only that outlet to the Infinite is kept open, the inner bond with eternal life preserved, while not one movement of this world’s business is interfered with, nor one pulse-beat of its happiness repressed, with all natural associations dear and cherished, with all human sympathies fresh and warm, we shall yet be near to the kingdom of heaven, within the order of the Kosmos of God—in the world, but not of the world—not taken out of it, but kept from its evil.