An Appeal to the Saints
The day of apostasy is hastening on with rapid strides, along with the day in which the Lord shall come to snatch His own away. The present moment is of so solemn a character that I feel compelled to address you this word of exhortation. Godly men everywhere, who watch the signs of the times, see the moment approaching which shall terminate the present day of grace. The time has arrived when one must speak plainly and decisively, and ask you where you are, and what you are about. You have by grace been gathered out of the seething mass of idolatry and wickedness which now threatens Christendom and the world with an overthrow more awful than that of Sodom and Gomorrah末gathered out to walk with the Lord in holiness and truth. The question is whether you are adequately impressed with the responsibility, as well as the blessedness, of the ground you are on, and are walking like men and women whose eyes have been opened. Believe me, there has never been such a time in the world痴 history as the present, and Satan is occupied with no one like he is with you, and his occupation with you is to be feared all the more because of the subtlety of his operations. His object is to take your attention away from Christ, while you suppose you are on safe ground and have nothing to fear. He would destroy you with the very truth itself. For mark the subtlety: you are on safe ground, but only while Christ is your all in all. Here is where Satan is drawing some away. Put anything between your soul and Christ, and your Philadelphia becomes Laodicea, your safe ground is as unsafe as the rest of Christendom, your strength is gone from you, and you become spiritually weak. Some of you are young, recently converted, or newly brought to the right ways of the Lord, and you do not know the depths of Satan. You are hereby solemnly warned of your peril, and if mischief overtakes you, you cannot plead ignorance. Again I say, Satan has his eye especially on you for the purpose of putting the world in some form between your soul and Christ. He does not care how little, or in what form. If you but knew how trivial an amount will meet his purpose you would be alarmed. It is not by that which is gross or shameful末such is the development not the beginning of evil. It is not by anything glaring that he seeks to ruin you, but in small and, seemingly, harmless trifles末trifles that would not shock nor offend anyone as things go, and yet these constitute a deadly and insidious poison, destined to ruin your testimony and withdraw you from Christ. You ask what these alarming symptoms are, and where they are seen. The question only shows the character of the opiate at work. Brethren, you are being infected with the spirit of the world. Your dress, your manner, your talk, and your lack of spirituality, betray it in every gathering. There is a dead weight, a restraint, a want of power, that reveals itself in the meetings, as plainly as if your heart were visibly displayed and its thoughts publicly read. A form of godliness without power is beginning to be seen among you as plainly as in Christendom generally. As surely as you tamper with the world, so will you surely drift away to its level. It must be so. If you tamper with the world, then the privileged place you occupy, instead of shielding you, will only expose you to greater condemnation. It must be Christ or the world. It cannot be Christ and the world. God痴 grace in drawing you out of the world in your ignorance is one thing, but God will never permit you to prostitute His grace, and play fast and loose when you have been separated from the world. Remember you take the place , and claim the privilege of one whose eyes have been opened; and if on the one hand this is unspeakably blessed (and it is), on the other hand it is one of the most dreadful positions in which a human being can be found. The more light that I have, then the more responsible I am末responsible to God, to whom I shall have to answer.
Beloved, I am persuaded better things of you, though I speak in this way, and I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will bless Him for these few words. Nothing can be more glorious than the position you are called to occupy in these closing days. Saints have stood in the breach, and have watched through weary days and nights these twenty centuries, and you only wait for the trumpet of victory to go in and take possession of the glorious inheritance. Other men have laboured, and you have entered into their labours末and yet, you are lowering your dignity to the level of the poor potsherds of this world who only wait for the rod of the Victor to dash them in pieces. Oh awake then from your lethargy, slumber no longer, put away your idols and false gods, wash your garments and get up to Bethel. There you will find God to be better than ever you knew Him, even in your best days. Lay aside your last bit of worldly dress. Guard your speech that it be of Christ and His affairs and not, as you know it now often is, of anything but Him. Let your prayers mingle with those of other saints at the prayer meetings末they never were more needed. Neglect no opportunity of gathering up instruction from the Scriptures, that blessed Word which alone can keep us from the paths of the destroyer, and let your life be the evidence of the treasures you gather up at the lecture, or the reading meeting, or in secret with the Lord. If you want something to do, with a glorious reward from a beloved master, ask that master to set you to work for him. You will never regret it, either in this world or in that which is to come.
Beloved bear with me. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. You belong to Christ, and Christ to you. Do not break this holy union. Do not let the betrothed one be unfaithful to her Bridegroom! Why should you be robbed and spoiled? And for what? Empty husks and bitter fruits, while you waste this little time of blessing! All that is acquired here in the energy of the Spirit will only serve to render you more lovely in the eyes of Him who has espoused you to Himself. Can you refuse Him the fruit of the travail of His soul, who once hung, a dying man, between two thieves, on Calvary, a spectacle to men and angels, and for you末you who have forgotten (for you cannot have despised) his devotedness to you. He could have taken the world without the cross, and left you out, but He would not. And now will you, having been enriched by those agonies and that blood, take the world into your tolerance, and leave Him out? Impossible! Your pure mind only needed to be stirred up by way of remembrance.