NOT WHAT MY HANDS HAVE DONE

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THE WATCHMAN

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Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ … I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” Ezekiel 33:6-7

“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.

If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not…. He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.

He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.

He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.

He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.

Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour.”

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads

Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God,

So I shall walk aright.

— by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

A SOFT AND EFFEMINATE CHRISTIANITY

There is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology. Christianty was born for endurance; not an exotic, but a hardy plant, braced by the keen wind; not languid, nor childish, nor cowardly.

It walks with strong step and erect frame; it is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile; obliging, but not imbecile; decided, but not churlish. It does not fear to speak the stem word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evil, under the pretext it is not of this world, it does not shrink from giving honest reproof, lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit.

It calls sin sin, in whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not to discharge an explicit duty. Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm.

The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity… It is a betrayal of truth and righteousness. I know that charity covers a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit; crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height~of attainment.

Horatius Bonar