The visible Church is now a ‘mixed’ body. Believers and unbelievers, holy and unholy, converted and unconverted, are now mingled in every congregation, and often sit side by side. It passes the power of man to separate them. False profession is often so like true; and grace is often so weak and feeble, that, in many cases, the right discernment of character is an impossibility. The wheat and the chaff will continue together until the Lord returns.
We may listen to a sermon with pleasure, while the impression produced on us is only temporary and short-lived. Our hearts, like the “stony ground,” may yield a plentiful crop of warm feelings and good resolutions.
We shall all do well to remember the charge: “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.” (Heb. 10:25). Never to be absent from God’s house on Sundays, without good reason – never to miss the Lord’s Supper when administered in our own congregation – never to let our place be empty when means of grace are going on, this is one way to be a growing and prosperous Christian.
Let us pray, while we live in health, that we may glorify God in our end. Let us leave it to God to choose the where, and when, and how, and all the manner of our departing. Let us only ask that it may “glorify God.”
When a man turns to Christ empty—that he may be filled; sick—that he may be healed; hungry—that he may be satisfied; thirsty—that he may be refreshed; needy—that he may be enriched; dying—that he may have life; lost—that he may be saved; guilty—that he may be pardoned; sin-defiled—that he may be cleansed; confessing that Christ alone can supply his need—then he comes to Christ.
Let us never forget that religious earnestness alone is no proof that a man is a sound Christian. Not all zeal is right–it may be a zeal without knowledge. No one is so mischievous as a blundering, ignorant zealot.
Church-membership is no foundation of hope. We may belong to the best of Churches, and yet never belong to Christ. We may fill our pew regularly every Sunday, and hear the sermons of orthodox, ordained clergymen, and yet never hear the voice of Jesus, or follow Him.
Ambition, self-esteem, and self-conceit lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected. Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves.