Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "C"

024 -- CAMP-MEETING, Location of

     The success of camp-meetings depends very much upon their location. Our experience has demonstrated that it is not profitable to hold them in some neighborhoods.

1. They should not be held on grounds used by others as pleasure grounds. The people come there, not to be instructed, but to be entertained. They will not attend often enough during the week to get sobered down so as to become serious. When they come, it is to visit, to hear "smart preaching," to criticize. They are joined to their idols. Let them alone.

2. They should not be held where the people are hostile or indifferent. We should not, as a rule, hold camp-meetings where the people do not feel sufficient interest to fit up the ground. This holds true, even where we have no members in the neighborhood. The smallest attendance we saw at a camp-meeting last summer was about a mile from a city, in a thickly populated neighborhood. The light had been offered to the people, and they had deliberately rejected it. They did not want to be troubled further, and so stayed away.

3. Locate it as conveniently to a depot as you can, and have it in a friendly neighborhood. Do not be afraid of the towns. The people residing in them, generally, are getting so civilized that they will not disturb a properly conducted, salvation meeting.

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025 -- CAMP-MEETING, Manner of Preaching at

     If you preach at camp-meeting, be sure and preach the gospel. Do not try to pull down anybody; but hold up Christ. If you have a grievance against any of your brothers or sisters, do not go to camp-meeting to give them an airing. Slander and ridicule and sarcasm and personal abuse, however merited they may be by those for whom they are designed, are no parts of the means which God has ordained for the salvation of mankind. Plain preaching need not be provoking. It will not be if it comes from a heart full of tender love. One moved by deep compassion can so utter the most searching truths as to melt instead of madden. Men and women may be cut to the quick; but they will repent under the truth spoken in love, and will not resent what they feel was said from no other motive but to do them good. Elijah appears to have been severe in his conflicts with the priests of Banal; but he carried the people with him. He destroyed the priests of idolatry; but he did it to rescue their deluded followers. He brought the people back to God. His example gives no support to those who, by their ill-timed denunciations, drive away those who were half-inclined to go with them. If you can not cast out devils, be careful how you stir up devils.

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026 -- CAMP-MEETING, Preaching at

     The preaching at our camp-meetings should be of the most awakening character. Fine sermons are out of place everywhere, especially at camp-meetings. The people do not need to be delighted, but to be convicted. Superficial, worldly religion is on the increase. Its utter worthlessness to save the soul should be clearly shown. The radical truths of the New Testament should be proclaimed with all authority. Where our work is no more thorough than that of the popular churches, it is not needed. Those who heal slightly should reform at once; for they are in danger of losing their own souls, and of taking their hearers with them down to hell. God's law is not repealed. The sermon on the Mount has not become obsolete. We must not only preach the truth, but insist upon it, and enforce it. Those converted among us should be so thoroughly saved that the popular churches will not want them. They should be so in love with Christ and his truth that they should everywhere be ready to bear a bold testimony to his power to save from bondage to tobacco, and pride, and the world, and the lodge.

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027 -- CAMP-MEETING: Preachers Should Be Burdened for Souls

     The preachers at a camp-meeting should feel a deep concern for the salvation of souls. The wretched, dangerous condition of the unsaved should rest as a heavy burden upon them. They should have something at least of the feeling of the Psalmist, when he exclaimed, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law (Ps. 119:136). The more time preachers have of this feeling, the deeper anxiety will God's people feel for the lost. A spirit of awakening will rest upon the congregation, and sinners will be converted to God. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8). But if chairmen and preachers are indifferent at heart, or in appearance, no matter how good and how pointed the preaching may be, the results will not be satisfactory. To have the best help from abroad is a positive injury to a meeting if it is the cause, or the occasion, of those upon whom the responsibility of the meeting should rest, slipping from under the burden and making the meeting only a season of social enjoyment.

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028 -- CAMP-MEETING: Preachers should Remain at the Altar

     It does not look well at a camp-meeting, when sinners come forward to be prayed for, to see the preachers generally scatter and leave the prayer-meeting. The preachers may have a good excuse. The one who preaches probably has; but those who are not exhausted by incessant labors should make themselves felt at the altar. A preacher of the gospel should be able to prevail with God in prayer. He should be an example and an inspiration to the people in this respect. The real battle for souls has only begun when sinners have become so awakened as to take a position before the world as seekers of salvation. It is a critical time, and the most fervent prayers of the righteous should be offered up for their salvation. If they give up without being converted, they may become discouraged, and give up seeking the Lord until it is too late. At such a crisis, for those preachers who are fresh and strong to go away looks as if they felt but little interest in the salvation of souls. This appearance of evil should be avoided.

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029 -- CAMP-MEETING, Public Criticism at

     If the Free Methodist critic will carry on his business at camp-meetings, let him do it when the outside world are not present. Those in charge of the meeting should see that none are allowed, on the Sabbath, before the great congregation, to make wholesale attacks on the piety of our preachers and members. Such attacks do not evidence either piety or sense. They can do no good -- they may do much harm. They should not be allowed.

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030 -- CAMP-MEETING, Family Altar at

     Family prayers should not be neglected at camp-meeting any more than at home. The one in charge should give out the hour for both morning and evening prayer.

     Said a gentleman to us at a camp-meeting: "I am not a Christian, but my wife is. For twenty years I have not been so crowded with work that I did not, with my men, attend family prayer which she conducted. But I have been here a week, stopping with a Free Methodist preacher -- and he is a good one -- and we have not had family prayers yet."

     We should not like to take the responsibility of such a preacher. We should be afraid we  might hear God say, "His soul will I require at thy hand." A man, to attend a camp-meeting in that  way, must at heart feel a good deal of religious interest. Who can say that, with proper effort by  those with whom he stopped, and in answer to persistent prayer at the family altar, he might not  have been converted? Where Abraham pitched his tent he builded an altar. Keep up your family  altars at the camp-meetings, and everywhere you go.

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031 -- CAMP-MEETING, Strangers at

     When strangers come to your camp-meetings, or other meetings, treat them with proper courtesy. You need not indorse them as Christians, if they do not bring forth the fruit of Christians; but you should treat them civilly. You can be friendly where you can not feel the fellowship of the Spirit. You should hold up the cross of Christ; but do not make it needlessly offensive by your repulsive manners. Sinners drive; saints draw. Use people so, when they come to your meetings, that they will want to come again. A friendly spirit will make more converts than a criticizing spirit. Love attracts; bitterness repels. His enemies called Christ "a friend of publicans and sinners." Let this be one of the worst things they have to say of you. Show unsparing severity toward sin; but be very kind to sinners.

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032 -- CAMP-MEETING, Thorough Work at

     We hope that all our preachers who have charge of camp-meetings, or of services on camp-grounds, will see that thorough work is done for God. The ranks of superficial workers need no recruits from Free Methodists. City and country are overstocked with doctors of divinity who heal slightly. Men must be gross sinners who can not be satisfied with indulgences which popular churches permit among their members. The broad road is crowded. Men and women of all ranks of society crowd and jostle each other in their eager chase after sensual delights, which are alluring them down to hell. Let our work be to turn people from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. Let us get people converted from the world to Christ. Whether our converts be few or many, let us do our part to have them genuine. Eternity is at hand.

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033 -- CAMP-MEETING: Success

     A camp-meeting, to be a success, must be held steadily to the work of getting sinners converted and believers sanctified. It will not do for the one in charge to give up his time to managing secular matters, and let the meeting run at random. He must feel the burden for souls upon him, and devote all his energies to securing an outpouring of the Spirit upon preachers and people. Let God be manifestly present, and there will be little need for committees of order. Satan may rave, but he will be bound. A baptism of the Spirit will supersede the necessity of contrivances to raise money to pay expenses. Expect great things from God. As a rule, invite people to seek salvation at every service. Especially look to have a great ingathering of souls on the Sabbath. Pray for it, work for it.

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034 -- CAMP-MEETING: Collections

     Camp-meetings are not common fishing-grounds open to all who, with baited hook, wish to draw money from the pockets of the people. If a man makes a fish-pond on his own ground, and stocks it with fish, he who goes there to catch them without permission is worse than a common thief. The fish caught may go to feed the hungry, but that does not make the action right. So, if a society, or a quarterly conference, are at the trouble and expense of getting up a camp-meeting, they have a right to say to what an extent, and for what purpose, advantage shall be taken of the coming together of the people, to raise money. The object may be the very best, but that does not cover with morality a transaction which is wrong in itself. There are rights in such cases which all conscientious Christians are bound to respect. It is grossly inconsistent, as well as wrong, for men who oppose organizations and who refuse to submit to authority, to take advantage of these organizations to promote their own selfish objects. Christians should imitate Christ in their freedom from guile.

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     The armor of righteousness can not keep us from being shot at, but it can keep us from being wounded. Job's friends, sincere but mistaken, endeavored to convict him of secret wickedness, but in due time God appeared for his vindication. Men may injure our reputation for a season, but they can not injure our character. What we are depends only upon ourselves and God; what is said about us depends upon the disposition of others. Over the latter we have no control; over the former our control, under God, is absolute. It is ours to be right and to do right; it is God's to take care of the results. Sensitiveness is a symptom both of pride and unbelief. He who is conscious of integrity, confident of divine protection, has nothing to fear. "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday" (Ps. 37:5, 6).

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036 -- CHILDREN: Labor for Conversion of

     Some years ago we assisted Brother Phillips and others in a camp-meeting at Boyden, in northwestern Iowa, The meeting was remarkable for the large number of children who were clearly and powerfully converted. As we pass through the place we are pleased to see one of the boys who was then converted, now a young man of promise, come on the train on his way to conference to take work.

     Those who place a light estimate on the conversion of children make a great mistake. The best orchards are composed of trees which were grafted when small. The men of whose deep and abiding piety, and consequent usefulness, honorable mention is made in the Bible, began to lead a life of piety in early youth. Look over the list. We give one or two: Moses was brought up in the court of Pharaoh, and was skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians; but there is no mention made of his having practiced their vices. Joseph, while a mere lad, lived so close to God that prophetic revelations were made to him. He, too, as Moses had done, successfully resisted all the enervating and worldly influences of an idolatrous court.

     Those converted young may not make as great a sensation at the start as those who have turned from vicious courses to the service of God, but they, as a rule, hold out longer and lead more useful lives. Let us labor more earnestly, steadily and prayerfully for the conversion of the children.

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037 -- CHILDREN, Take Your, to Camp-meeting

     The camp-meeting season is upon us. If consistent, by all means attend. Go with a tent, and take as many of your family with you as possible. Do not leave the unconverted children at home. Take them with you, and make a special effort for their salvation. Do not be so much interested in others that you do not feel, and manifest, a deep interest for your children. Their eternal salvation depends upon their being converted to God. The longer they remain unconverted, the greater is the probability that they will never be converted. Now is the accepted time. Do all you can to have this day the day of their salvation. They may do much good by being converted to God. Be importunate in your prayers; faithful in your effort for their salvation.

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038 -- CHILDREN? Where are Your

     One of our liveliest, most earnest members in a church of which we were pastor, was a man past middle life. He had grown up wicked, and had been miraculously converted after his younger children were of an age to attend Sunday-school. We urged him to bring them, but he never would. He said, "I don't want my boys brought up formalists; I want them to know when they are converted." Before we left the charge, one Sunday, while the parents were at church, one of the older boys had an eye knocked out, and another one had his arm broken in a bar-room fight in a country tavern! We learned that some of these boys afterwards went to State's prison, but have never heard that one of them was ever converted.

     Brother, do you take your children with you to church regularly? Do you see that they are not serving Satan while you are serving God?

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039 -- CHILDREN, Modesty in Dress of

     As long as parents are responsible for their children they should control their children. They should consecrate them to the Lord, and train them up for the Lord. In dressing them they should conform to the rules which God has laid down in his Word. They should explain to them that they do it to please the Lord. The minds of children should be directed to something nobler than the vanities of dress. Children may learn at an early age that the favor of the Lord is more to them than the admiration of the world. But measured even by the low standard of taste, a child is never so beautiful as when dressed with simplicity. Modesty and humility are more precious ornaments than any which can be purchased at Vanity Fair. Teach your child to prize these above all price. If God has opened your eyes to see that you must dress plain, then, if you have children, dress them plain. Do not put ornaments on them which you can not wear. Relatives or friends should not be permitted to dress them up in fashionable attire, any more than they would be permitted to send them to a dancing school. Dress then in a neat, comfortable, plain manner. If you dress them up when they are small, they will dress you up when they are big. Many a woman who dressed plain when young, and when her children were small, and who led a godly life, has allowed her fashionable children to dress her up like the world, and has lost her religious experience, and become a mere dead, formal professor, in danger of damnation. If you allow yourself to become one of this world, you will share the fate of worldlings. You compromise in religious matters with your children at great peril to yourself and to their souls. Pride shuts those whom it governs out of Heaven. Therefore shun it if you would shun hell.

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040 -- CHILDREN Should be Taught to Work

     A great injury is done to children by bringing them up without teaching them how to work. It may be easier for you to do a piece of work than to teach your child how to do it, but when the child is old enough to learn, it has the right to learn, and you should take the pains to teach it. Bring up your children from an early age to wait on you and help you, instead of making yourself a slave to them. If you have a cow and have boys and girls, have every one of them learn to milk, and teach the boys how to take care of a cow. They may some day own one themselves. If we hire others to do work, especially ordinary farm work, it helps very much towards having it done properly, for us to know how to do it ourselves. One of the best things that can be done for a boy from fifteen to twenty years of age, is to have him work out by the month. one season at least, with a good Christian farmer. It will be worth more to him than a year at school. The habit of applying himself to work all day long will be of incalculable benefit to him in after life. That was a wise father who, when asked what he was going to do for his daughter, who had just graduated with all the accomplishments the schools could give, replied, "I am going to apprentice her to her mother, to learn how to take care of a house and family."      A boy that has been good to his mother will be good to his wife. A girl that has steadily helped to bear her mother's burdens will find her own more easily borne, from the discipline she has acquired.

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041 -- CHRIST, All in All

     Christ is God. "They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." There has always been a longing in men for a manifestation of God among them. To this feeling, idolatry owes its origin and prevalence. In Christ we have God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). Granted that it is a mystery; we are surrounded by mysteries -- the human mind loves mysteries, When it can not find them it strives to make them. But he meets all the longings of our hearts.

"Thou, O Christ, art all I want."

     There is no longer any demand for sacred animals, or for idolatrous images. He who has found Christ will not seek further. He is happy and contented. He has a present help in every time of need; one whose resources and whose power never fail. To every soul in which he dwells, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.

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042 -- CHRIST, Spirit of, Essential

     These words of Paul are of universal application: "Now it any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). Here is no chance for a single exception. Let each of us ask himself: "Have I the Spirit of Christ?" I am not so much concerned about others as I am about myself. If all others are wrong, that will not save me. My prospects are not improved by the shortcomings of my brethren. Their failures to reach Heaven will not take me there. I may be very zealous for truth, but have I the spirit of truth? I may be a strict observer of Christian forms, but am I a new creature? Is the prayer offered and answered -- "Jesus, plant and root in me."?

     All the mind that was in thee, Settled peace I then shall find; Jesus' is a constant mind"? "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6).

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043 -- CHRIST'S MESSENGER Must Have Courage

     The messenger of Christ must be a man of courage. The coward will compromise. He will keep back part of the truth. The fear of giving offense will take the edge from his sword. If he is true to God, he can but arouse against him the active hostility of the enemies of God, as well as the church as in the world. Paul, the most divinely prudent of men, did; John Wesley did; Jonathan Edwards did. Charles G. Finney met with the most decided opposition, even in his own church. He who will be faithful to the truth has need to pray:

"Steel me to shame, reproach, disgrace,

Arm me with all thine armor now;

Set like a flint my steady face,

Harden to adamant my brow."

     Eternal life is not won without a struggle. The world is not overcome without a conflict. Souls are not rescued from the grasp of the destroyer without the most determined effort. Buckle on your armor; whet your swords; fight the good fight of faith.

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     Christ says, "My yoke is easy," but he does not say that it is an easy, trifling matter to take it upon us. Quite the contrary. His words are, "So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). This modern easy way of getting people converted, without repentance, without renouncing the world, by substituting presumption for faith, is but blinding them to their true condition, and leading them down to eternal death. A popular evangelist is reported to have converted two hundred in a single evening. "And it was done so quietly and with such propriety!" Lookers-on did not say, "These men are full of new wine." There was no known confession of sin, no restitution, no crying unto God with the voice. To the simple, and those quite meaningless questions, "Do you accept Christ?" they answered "Yes," or assented by nodding the head, and that was pretty much all there was to it! And it is quite as easy a matter to live this kind of religion as it is to get it. Bishop Hurst of the M. E. church is reported to have said in a recent dedication sermon, "Where there is such timidity, diffidence, hesitation, or where extempore prayer is not considered just the thing that one is free to offer in his family, I do not see why one can not have domestic prayers by reading just a passage of Scripture and just reciting the Lord's Prayer." Is not this "Religion made easy"?

     Reader, Christ says, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek  to enter in, and shall not be able."

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045 -- CHRISTIAN, A, Must Be Both Firm and Yielding

     While a Christian must be inflexible in principle, he must be yielding in methods, as far as is consistent with principle. He must be firm but not obstinate, independent in his judgment but not self-willed. It is blessed to learn how to yield gracefully in things indifferent, even when we are satisfied that our way is best. One who must always have his own way will make trouble in a church. No matter how many good qualities he may possess, he will in the end do more hurt than good.

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046 -- CHRISTIANS, All, Working Christians

     We have an intense dislike for all those arrangements, becoming so popular, by which a portion only of the church is put into active service for the salvation of souls. They are unscriptural, and anti-Christian. They assume that one can be a Christian and yet not be a working Christian; that one can be on his way to Heaven and `yet not be putting forth Christian endeavors for the benefit of his fellow men.

     Christ speaks in no ambiguous terms on this point. He declares: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matt. 12:30). This does not look as if Christ expected that a single one of his disciples would be indifferent in the great work of the salvation of souls.

     Every member of a Christian church should be engaged in earnest efforts to rescue the perishing. In the cause of Christ indifference is hostility, and lukewarmness is a damning sin.

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047 -- CHRISTIANS, Consistent

     People who will not dress like Christians have no right to call themselves Christians. It is true the dress does not make the Christian, any more than the feathers make the bird. The inner man clothe itself in appropriate outward forms. A humble person never has the appearance of a proud one, although a proud person may, for selfish purposes, put on an appearance of humility.

     Bishop Morris, one of the godly bishops of the M. E. church of the last generation, says that such things as these can not be for any purpose but to gratify vanity -- "a gold ring on the finger, or hung to the ear; a gold breastpin, or guard-chain; a gold-headed staff; an artificial flower on the bonnet; a string of gold beads hung around the neck; a large bunch of some dead person's hair hung on the side of the face. How unsuitable, trifling and sinful it is for persons to indulge in them, who, as disciples of Christ, should be dead to the world, always bearing about in their bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus; not conformed to the world, but glorying in the cross of Christ; and more especially our Methodist brethren and sisters, who have been better instructed on the subject. They offend with their eyes open, knowing that God forbids the wearing of gold and costly array, as plainly as he forbids any sin."

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048 -- CHRISTIANS Are Citizens

     In becoming Christians we do not cease to be citizens. We are still members of the civil community, entitled to its protection and under obligations to do our part toward its support. While we should avoid a litigious spirit, yet it is proper for us, when the emergency requires it, to claim the protection of the civil power. Paul appealed from the persecuting priests of the church to Caesar.

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049 -- CHRISTIANS Must Respect the Rights of Others

     The gospel makes us respect the rights of all mankind. We can not be Christians and make it our business to look out for ourselves alone. We must take some interest in the welfare of those around us. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Pay a proper regard to their interests, their convenience, and their feelings. One objection, among the many, to the smoking habit is, that it makes its votaries so forgetful of the claims of others. In a public place, where pure air can be had, every person has the right to have it. Yet smokers do not hesitate to smoke in the streets and parks, and even in the sleeping cars! We have been so annoyed with the latter, that when obliged to take a sleeping car, we ask for one that is not also a smoking car. On our last trip we were given one. In the morning we had the gratification of getting up without a headache, as we do not when compelled to go to sleep amid the fumes of tobacco smoke. If men will undermine their own constitutions and annoy others by this vile habit, we say, as Daniel Webster is reported to have said, "If these men must smoke, let them take the horse shed."

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050 -- CHRISTIANS should Read and inform Themselves

     Some professing Christians do not seem to care to learn. They live on excitement. They have but little relish for sermons that explain the Scriptures, and set forth clearly the doctrines which God would have us believe, and the duties he would have us perform. Articles in periodicals which afford instruction, and which require some attention to get their full meaning, they either do not read at all or pass over so hastily as not to be able, when through, to tell what they are about. Such people do not make useful, permanent Christians. They may make a great ado for a time, but they soon die. In a long-continued battle they can not be depended on; but, like some of Stanley's men recently in Africa, they run away and proclaim that their leader is dead.

      They will mourn at last "and say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!" (Prov. 5:12, 13).

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051 -- CHRISTIANS Should Study

     In olden time God complained, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." This is still the case. Multitudes are led astray because they have not the understanding they should have in the things of God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7) Let the most ignorant person become truly converted to Christ, and he will at once feel an inward yearning for knowledge. He who settles down content with knowing little or nothing of the ways and works of God, gives, by such an act, the clearest evidence that be has no saving knowledge of God. A house not only needs inhabitants, it also needs furniture. If God dwells in us, we must furnish the temple with knowledge, as well as with other good things (2 Pet. 1:5). Do the best we can, we shall still be ignorant of many things it is desirable to know. But we may make daily advancement in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, if we will. * * * * * * *


     It is by insensible additions made from sources outside of itself that a tree grows. It picks up particles from the air through its leaves, and from the soil through its root-lets, and by the wonderful power of life transforms them into its own substance and makes them a part of itself. It is much the same way that Christian character is built up. From the reproofs that he gets, the trials with which he meets, a live Christian learns to correct something in his spirit, or in his manner, and so grows strong. He derives profit from each undeserved reproof. He who always puts himself in an attitude of defense, and indignantly repels every intimation that he might possibly be better or do better, shows that he was too much of the life of self and too little of Divine life. To bear reproof and profit by it is one mark of a true Christian.

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     A Christian often needs higher courage than a soldier. Some who can face ramparts bristling with cannon, can not face ridicule. It is much easier for many a man to be a soldier than to be singular for Christ's sake. To stand committed to the truth in the presence of its enemies, to hold up the doctrine of the cross among worldly, compromising, unscrupulous members of the professed church of Christ, demands a valor that veteran soldiers seldom possess. Said George of Freundsberg, a valiant captain, a commandant of the Emperor's guard, to Luther, as he saw him boldly enter Worms, a city filled with Luther's mortal enemies: "Little monk, this is a daring step thou art going to take! Nor I, nor any captain of us, ever did the like. If thy cause is good, and if thou have faith in thy cause, forward! Little monk, in God's name, forward!" Luther had faith in his cause, and went forward.

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     A Christian is always known. Those present may never have seen him or heard of him before; but he can not be long in their company without their finding out who he is. They may not know his name, or his residence, but they will generally conclude that he is a Christian. There is something in the plainness of his dress and the quiet simplicity of his manners that attracts attention. He does not manifest in little things a selfish spirit. He is considerate of others. He is careful to respect their rights. If any one needs assistance he is ready to give it. On every fitting occasion he is ready to express his opinion, but is never obtrusive. It may be apparent to all that he is "unlearned and ignorant"; but they will "take knowledge of him that he has been with Jesus." Those who think that a Christian need not be a person of good manners; that, in order to be free from pride, he must be boorish and uncivil, would do well to ponder the exhortation of the apostle, "Be courteous." (See 1 Peter 3:5). This term "courteous" is used to express the noble bearing of those who compose the court, or the social circle, of the king. These are understood to be the most polite, well-bred, obliging people in the world. You may not equal them in the outward graces of expression; but you should greatly exceed them in true kindness of heart, of which good manners are only an imitation. What with them is an outside appearance, should be with you an inward reality.

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055 -- CHRISTIAN FERVOR, Awakening

     People out in the cold often do not know how cold they are till they come in to a fire. So a Christian living in a community where coldness and formality prevail, does not realize his own condition till he gets among those whose affections are warm for Christ and his disciples. Their fervor contrasts strangely with his coldness, and he sees what he has lost. If he is honest he will confess how he has drifted, and seek again the joy of salvation. If he allows pride and self-conceit to gain the mastery, he will resist conviction and endeavor to reason himself into the belief that those with whom he once had fellowship are too strait and perhaps fanatical. This is a dangerous state. One in this condition is apt to sink lower, until the light that was in him becomes darkness. When this takes place, how great is that darkness!

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056 -- CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY Must be Retained

     When one parts with his integrity, he virtually sells his soul. No earthly advantage can be a sufficient compensation. James II. of England gave to his son this last advice: "I am about to leave this world, which has been to me nothing but a sea of tempests and storms. The Omnipotent has thought right to visit me with great afflictions; serve him with all your heart, and never place the crown of England in the balance with your eternal salvation."

     What must be the remorse in the dying hour, and to all eternity, of those who bartered their salvation -- not for a crown, but for fleshly indulgence, for the varieties of dress, for the deceitfulness of riches, or the fleeting, unsatisfying honors which these mortals can give?

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057 -- CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLE, the foundation of Christian Character

     Genuine Christian principle lies at the foundation of true Christian character. He who lacks obedience to God, whatever else be may possess. can not possibly be a real disciple of Christ. If he knows he is not, and yet professes to be, he is a hypocrite; if he does not know it, he is deceived. The Savior gives us ample warning on this point. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but be that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." The Savior does not here discard faith, but rather he shows us the nature of saving faith. It is not of purely a speculative character. It does not consist mainly in consent to creed; nor does it manifest itself mostly in confident assertions of our own safety, and in violent denunciations of those who differ from us. It prompts us to humble, patient, conscientious obedience to all of God's commands. He who is living in plain violation of a single one of God's commands, can not atone for such disobedience by any degree of. zeal for other requirements, nor by any amount of contributions for the enterprises of the church. One who habitually neglects what he knows to be a duty which he owes to God ought to dismiss all hope of Heaven, though he be a prominent professor or an eminent minister. A religion that will take us through to Heaven consists in something more than reciting creeds and singing hymns and saying prayers. It will bring us into harmony with God and obedience to his commands.

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     It has become a popular thing to belong to a church. In many instances it secures admission to better society. It helps in business. So, where one joins a church from religious convictions, because he believes its doctrines, and is in hearty sympathy with its measures, it is to be feared that many join for the sake of the social and secular advantages which they hope to realize by so doing. Such motives show the utter worthlessness of the Christian profession which those make who yield to them. Even when Christ was here in the flesh, be said to many who sought him, "Verily. verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" (John 6:26, 27). Selfish motives spoil commendable acts.

     We are in the days spoken of by the prophet Isaiah (Ch. 4:1). There is no doubt but that this chapter refers to the gospel dispensation. "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." The word "woman," in prophetic language, stands for "church." The number "seven" denotes the completeness, or the whole. By one man" is meant the man Jesus Christ. So the meaning of this verse is, that in the corrupt days of Christianity, the several religious associations will take the name of Christ, in order to be respectable -- to take away their reproach -- but will make their own conditions, will dress like the world and live like the world; will eat their own bread and wear their own apparel.

     Do not be of this class. If you take the name of Christ, eat the bread which he furnishes; embrace his doctrines; seek to comprehend them, and get the strength which they impart. Live as he directs. Wear his apparel. Dress plain, Be not conformed to this world. Avoid all jewelry, all expensive and fashionable attire, and dress plainly and economically.

     Men may fail of success in business, without any fault of their own. But if you fail of becoming a real Christian, no one else will be to blame. The failures of others can not cause you to fail, unless you will let them. Whether any one else goes through or not, you may become soundly converted to God, if you will The kingdom of Heaven is opened before you, and you are cordially invited to enter. No man has the power to shut you out. Everything depends upon the decision you make and the action you take. Your destiny is placed in your own hands. God calls on you to decide. Do not stop with any half-way measures. Make thorough work. Commit yourself in the most public and in the most positive manner. Give yourself wholly to God. Pray in the name of Jesus, until you get the evidence, as clear as a sunbeam, that your sins are forgiven. and that you are a child of God.

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     False Christianity very readily unites with anti-Christianity. Nothing on earth is more liberal than sin; nothing more intolerant than true holiness. Light has no affinity for darkness. Everywhere it is its active opponent. Sin and holiness never make a truce; much less a peace. The conflict between them never ends, except in the death of one or of the other. Wherever the two exist, there will be all the commotion incident to a state of active hostility. What is called peace between the church and the world is actually a surrender of the church to the world. Some kings when in captivity have fared more sumptuously than they did when free and enduring the privations of the camp and the dangers of the battlefield. So the church, led captive by the world, may flaunt in its fineries, dance to its music and feast upon its delicacies; but its fine apparel is that of a victim doomed to slaughter, and its dance is the dance of eternal death.

     Though fetters are of gold, spurn to wear them; though your prison-house may be a palace, choose God's broad canopy as your covering in preference. "Stand fast there fore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

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     The best way to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace is to have, as far as we are concerned, peace on earth and good will to men, Have others wronged us? We should forgive them. Have any persons any complaints against us? We should be kind and conciliatory, ready to make any concessions and do all on out part to bring about a good feeling. Envy, jealousy and animosity form no part of the Christian character. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of love. Where Christ reigns friendship and brotherly kindness prevail. If you want Christ to come into your heart you must cast out of it all unkind feelings towards others. You can not love God without loving your brother.

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     It is customary to wish our friends a "Merry Christmas." We do not exactly like the word "merry" in this connection; but we wish our readers all that is meant by it in its best sense. The Apostle James couples the word merry with singing psalms (Jas. 5:13). This kind of merriment does not degenerate into levity. It does not grieve the Spirit.

     If you would have a pleasant Christmas, your pleasure will come more from what you do for others than from what others do for you. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Try and make others happy all the way through life, so that, as you look back, you can say,

"The thought of our past years, in me doth breed

Perpetual benediction."

     Christ loved us, and gave himself for us; and he would have us manifest our love for him by doing good to others.

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062 -- CHURCH of Jesus Christ

     "Dedication of a church?" You are mistaken. It is not the shape, nor the magnificence, nor the cost of an edifice that constitutes it a church of Jesus Christ. A very churchly-looking building near us is, we are told, devoted exclusively to the uses of Masonic lodges!

     The gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to the poor. An edifice from which the poor are excluded by selling or renting the seats, and by the aristocratic and exclusive air with which it is pervaded; an edifice in which the nature and the conditions of the salvation offered by Jesus Christ are not laid down and insisted upon; in which the hymns are sung by a godless choir, and the acts of worship generally are performed by proxy; an edifice in which a kitchen and parlors are provided to allure those "whose god is their belly," is not a church of Jesus Christ. Those who help to support it, thinking it is, are grossly deceived. It is a temple of Mammon!

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063 -- CHURCH and Riches

     The professed church of Jesus Christ is rapidly passing from the dispensation of the Holy Ghost into the dispensation of worldly riches. "I thank God," we heard a doctor of divinity say in a sermon, "the time has come when men's piety is not estimated by what they profess, but by what they give." No matter how they got their riches. He had nothing to say about that. It may have been acquired by stock gambling, by the brewing business, by wholesale liquor-selling; but if they only gave liberally to the institutions of the church, their liberality must be praised and their piety must not be called in question! Hear the word of the Lord, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten, Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter" (Jas. 5:1, 2, 3, 5).

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064 -- CHURCH Must Have Life

     An animal may be ever so noble, but it is of little worth unless it has life. If it is entirely dead, it is good for nothing but to be consumed. "A living dog is better than a dead lion." An organization may be ever so perfect, but unless life is put into it, no good will be effected by it. We believe most firmly in free churches. Every seat in every Christian church should be free for any who wish to come there to worship God. To sell or rent pews in a house dedicated to the worship of God is contrary to the letter and the spirit of the New Testament. Yet live people in a pewed church, if such a thing is possible, will do more good than dead folks in a free-seated church. Our dependence must be, not in any system, or rules, or organizations, but in the living God. Our organization is a good one, but we must be alive to make it efficient. What have need, above all things else, is that which Christ came to impart, life more. abundantly.

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065 -- CHURCH Progresses by Power

     The Free Methodist church progresses, not by popularity, but by power. Where the preacher and the people seek to make it popular, by conforming to the ways of worldly churches, they soon run out. But where they plant them. selves firmly and fully on the Bible platform, and are careful to maintain holy living, and keep among them Holy Ghost power, they make steady progress. All the churches around may combine against them; but God stands by them, and sinners are convicted and converted, and the work moves on in the face of prejudices that seem well-nigh insurmountable.

     This is as it should be. There are enough proud, formal, dead churches already. If we can not be unlike them in these respects, we had better not be at all. God has called us out to be a plain, pious, peculiar people. Let us obey the call.

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066 -- CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, Should Not Be Sought for Secular Ends

     No Christian should belong to a religious denomination unless he conscientiously believes in the doctrines it teaches and the principles it upholds. A lack of sincerity certainly evidences a lack of saving grace. He who is in a church for the opportunities which it affords to promote his own secular interests, or his ambitious schemes, greatly deceives himself if he thinks he is in a state of salvation. Christ demands honesty of all his disciples.

     Dr. Stephen Olin, one of the greatest, largest-hearted men ever connected with the M. E. church, says: "He is the best Methodist, and, being a Methodist, I think the best Christian, who respects and follows fully our appointed methods of getting and doing good. He attends upon the public and the more private and social means of grace punctually and conscientiously. He is ever at his class, at the prayer-meeting and the love-feast. He approves of -- he sustains the institutions, and forms and usages of his own church, very little concerned if it should so happen that others do not altogether like them.

     "If denominational attachments should be strong, sectarian prejudices can not be too weak or too few; and I should rejoice to know that never a word is said in this or any other Methodist pulpit to excite or strengthen them."

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067 -- CHURCH, Urge Converts to Join

     If souls are converted under your labors, open the door of the church and invite them to join. Do not wait to see whether they will hold out. Help them to hold out. The younger a child, the more it needs its mother. If people ever need to be within the protecting bulwarks of the church. It is when they have just started in the service of Christ. Satan is after them with all his arts, and all his malignity. Their old companions in sin will seek to draw them back.

     If any show a hesitancy about joining the church, visit them at their homes; give them a personal invitation; talk with them freely; let them know they will be welcome; and remove any objections they may offer. Do not be afraid to proselyte your own converts. You may rest assured that preachers of other denominations will have no such scruples. They will go eagerly after any that would be likely to add strength to their church. Young converts, full of love and zeal, are often drawn into dead churches by being told how much their "help is needed," and how much good "you can do among us," and "how much we need your influence to wake us up."

     It would not be so serious a matter were it not generally the case that after they have joined a popular church, skillful and successful attempts are made to dampen their ardor, and blunt their consciences, and draw them into a sinful conformity to the world. They take up with the shadow, and neglect the substance; they settle down in the form, and deny the power. Many promising converts are killed in this way. Do not neglect to baptize your converts. Lead them forward to take upon them the full responsibility of the Christian profession. Make it as hard as you can for them to backslide. Throw around them every possible protection against the assaults of the world. Get them to go over fully on the Lord's side.

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068 -- CHURCHES, No Fellowship with Fashionable

     Lot kept his religion in Sodom. How did he do it? "He vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds." He did not compromise. He did not fall in with any of their bad practices. He did not adopt their modes of worship nor unite in their services.

     If we would keep saved in the midst of fashionable churches. we must adopt a similar course. We must have no fellowship nor communion with them. However splendid the displays they make, our prayer must be, "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way." We shall soon learn to relish what we view with admiration. The taste easily becomes perverted. We must condemn what we know to be wrong, or we shall soon get into such moral darkness that we shall not see that it is wrong. Joseph Cook says, "The churches of the present day care more for the flowers before the pulpit than for the sound doctrine within it. The love of right is the hatred of wrong. The new light believes in love, not conscience, and makes out the God of the Hebrew Scripture a tyrant. As the majesty of the pulpit is lowered by giving up Divine sovereignty, so its tenderness is lost by giving up the atonement of Christ. The expression, 'the atonement overworked,' strikes the funeral knell of the pulpit. Little by little, laymen are giving up the Old Testament, the writings of the apostles, and even saying that Christ was sometimes wrong, and did not know as much as his German critics."

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069 -- CHURCH, The, and the World

     The church is in a fair way to be completely captured by the world. The distinction between the two is rapidly becoming obliterated. The Presbyterian says:

     "A quarter of a century ago, and more, Dr. James W. Alexander wrote with great decision of influences then at work. He said: `The door at which those influences enter which countervail parental instruction and example, I am persuaded is yielding to the ways of good society. By dress, books and amusements, an atmosphere is formed which is not that of Christianity. More than ever do I feel that our families must stand in a kind but determined opposition to the fashions of the world, breasting the waves like the Eddystone lighthouse. And I have found nothing yet which requires more courage and independence than to rise a little, but decidedly, above the par of the religious world around us.' If this was true in his day it must be acknowledged to be more undeniably and safely true in our own time. The incursions of alien influences and customs upon the sacred territory of the church has been steadily growing more marked, perhaps because less earnestly resisted."

     We must keep an atmosphere of godliness in all our families. If you dress your children like the world, and send them to worldly Sunday-schools, you must expect that they will grow up to be worldlings. Let us come out and be separate.

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     It is Christ-like to feed the hungry. On two occasions Christ performed a great miracle to give food to the famishing. He tells us that it is one of the fruits of a genuine piety that will be inquired into on the judgment day. But kitchens are not built in fashionable churches to feed the hungry. By no means. Those who are starving do not go there for relief. These church kitchens are built to afford entertainment for those who live in good houses and have plenty to eat at home. There is an instinctive feeling that people who go to church should be made stronger to resist evil and do good. But the fashionable pulpit deals out no meat for hungry souls. Even the little sweetened milk it passes around is so diluted that it is loathsome to the healthy taste. To feed babes with, it is no better than a mixture of chalk and sugar and water. So, as the spiritual nature is starved, an interest is kept up in the church by catering to the animal nature. The oysters that float in a bowl of church soup may be few, but they are genuine. They are not paper imitations. The church, in the kitchen, lays aside shams, and deals in realities. It is true her realities are not of a very elevating character, but they are not as debasing, after all, as hypocrisy and deceit. To eat delicacies which they like does not demoralize people as much as joining in devotions which they feel in their heart are all a mockery. Hence the kitchen in the fashionable church is becoming popular. If the class-meeting is neglected, the night is made up in the large attendance upon church frolics. If a pastor fail as a revivalist, he succeeds as a caterer. But it is too bad that such stuff should be palmed off upon the credulous as Christianity! It is a partial relapse to heathenism!

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     There is a perfect harmony between nature and revelation. They teach us in different modes the law of the one God. They illustrate each other. Neither nature nor revelation preaches the gospel of anarchy. Wherever you find life in nature, you find organization. The lowest form of either vegetable or animal life has its organs, each of which has its appropriate functions to perform. Useful animals and fowls go in herds and flocks; while beasts and birds of prey roam about alone and independent. In New Testament times, when a Christian could not find a church outside, he established one in his own house. Belong to the church he must. The early saints were not so afraid of sectarianism that each of them must form a sect by himself. They were knit together in love. So close was the union that "when one member suffered all the members suffered with it." If you are a Christian then, do not be afraid of the church. Find a branch of it to which you belong and unite with it, if you have to go a thousand miles for the purpose.

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072 -- CHURCH OFFICERS Should be of Humble Spirit

     Even in apostolic times, when the gospel was taught in its simplicity, and no worldly considerations led men to seek office in the church, it was difficult to obtain good officers. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour" (1 Tim. 5:17). This implies that but few of the elders ruled well. Some, doubtless, were incompetent, some were prejudiced, some lacked discernment, some were wanting in practical wisdom. The same defects, with others added, exist today in the men who are called to control the affairs of the church. It requires a good degree of grace in those to whom government is entrusted in the church, to exercise their authority, "not as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." But it requires still more grace in many persons to submit to the proper exercises of lawful authority. There is a spirit of insubordination abroad, which, subtle as the air, penetrates everywhere. It is manifested in the family, in the school, in the state, and in the church. Liberty degenerates into lawlessness. Where there is a lack of a spirit of submission, there is a lack of saving grace. A disciple of Christ is a person who has learned obedience.

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073 -- CHURCH, Governing Power in

     Even the apostles could not attend to everything. They needed assistants to look after temporal matters. If they had looked upon the ministry as the governing power in the church, they would themselves have appointed these assistants. But they did nothing of the kind. They laid the subject before "the multitude of the disciples." The disciples evidently did not think that they must adopt the plan because the apostles had proposed it. For it is written, "And the saying pleased the whole multitude." And they -- the whole multitude -- chose seven men for this special work. That women were included in the "whole multitude" there can be no question. For it is said, "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women" (Acts 5:14). And these assistants were called for, to see that a just and equal distribution was made to the widows (Acts 6:1).

     The choice of "the whole multitude" of believers was not conditional, but final. The word translated in the third verse, we way appoint, is in the original, in many of the best manuscripts, in the indicative mode, we shall appoint.

     So we see that in the primitive church the governing power was: (1) in the people; (2) that the women shared in this power equally with the men. It is time that the Christian church outgrew heathen prejudices.

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074 -- CHURCHES, Building

     As a rule, it is not best to build a meeting-house in any locality unless there is interest enough in that locality to lead the people to pay for it. Cities where real estate is enormously high may be the exceptions. In the cities the poor are virtually shut out of the aristocratic churches and left to wander as sheep without a shepherd. The charge for sittings, and the costly apparel needed to appear in the company of richly-dressed church-members, quite effectually exclude the poor. If these undertake to build for themselves a house of worship, where they may meet and wait on God in simplicity and sincerity, they deserve all the assistance that can be given them.

     But under ordinary circumstances no attempt should be made to build a church edifice unless the people of the vicinity manifest a willingness to meet the necessary expense. They can build houses for themselves to live in; and unless they have enough love for Christ to build a house in which they can meet in his name, then one had better not be built. A ship needs a crew; a fort needs a garrison; and a church needs members alive with love to God and full of zeal for the salvation of souls. Where Christ has such disciples they will procure some place in which they may meet with the Master: where there are none, a place is not needed. A church is a battleground on which the war against Satan's kingdom is to be carried on with vigor; but patriotic, disciplined, courageous soldiers are of more account than any fortifications. Wherever there is occasion they can make a battlefield. Secure the converts and the church will follow. Let our main efforts, then, be directed to promoting revivals of religion -- to get sinners converted, and believers to seek that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Then let churches be built where there is a real necessity for them.

     The expense of building any church should be within the means of the people who build it. They should adopt such plans as they can carry through without distressing themselves. They should not place themselves in such a position that they are obliged to make appeals to the public, through the papers, for help. Such a course is wrong. We have no right to solicit money for religious purposes, and then jeopardize all that has been paid by recklessly running into debt. If you have not means to finish the church, enclose it, and use it in that shape until you can raise means to finish it. You had better be three years in building a church, and have it paid for, than build it in three months and have it sold on a mortgage. One of our conferences was held this fall where the society first built a sod meeting-house. It was the birth-place of many souls. For a time it was the only public building in that part of the territory. United States courts were held in it. They now have a good frame church, and God is blessing their labors.

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075 -- CHURCHES, Do Not Borrow to Build

     Do not go to the bank, nor anywhere else, to borrow money to build a church with, relying upon any one's subscription but your own. It is much easier to collect money to build a church than it is to collect money to pay a bank note. If you can not get the money to start with, then wait till you can. Be prudent in such matters. Do not involve yourself in money obligations any further than you can without distressing yourself or your family. Better not build a church than build one and backslide over it. The Roman Catholics manage such things better. They get their people to pay so much a week towards building a church, and go on with the building as the money is paid in. In church expenses, as in personal expenses, let your motto be, "Pay as you go." Church debts should be avoided, for it is not the calling of the church to make money.

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076 -- CHURCHES: Property Title Should Be Clear

     In some places we are having trouble with the title to our church property. Greater care should be exercised in this respect.

     Make it a rule never to raise money or pay any considerable sum of money for a Free Methodist church, or school, or parsonage, until you are satisfied that a good title has been given, or will be given, to the Free Methodist church for the property. Have the deed drawn up in substantial agreement with the form given in our book of Discipline. Expend no money on property for which you have no title. If for any reason a deed can not be given at once, take a contract for such a deed, as our Discipline requires, and pay at least one dollar on the contract to make it binding. Do not, in such matters, take the verbal promise of the best man on earth. He may suddenly die; and his heirs may be of another mind. The `title to property is governed by law, and we should be careful in all such matters to go according to law. A little prudence and firmness at first may save a good deal of trouble and expense afterwards. But above all, keep your title to Heaven clear.

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077 -- CHURCHES, Expensive Versus Inexpensive

     The Methodist Episcopal Discipline of today reads: "Let all our churches be built plain and decent, and with free seats wherever practicable, but not more expensive than is absolutely unavoidable." In practice the rule appears to be, to build just as expensively as circumstances will permit. Is not this "holding the truth in unrighteousness"?

     The New York Tribune says of one of the bishops of the Episcopal church: "Bishop Huntington takes the position that a wealthy city congregation has no moral right to worship in a luxuriously-appointed church, while it allows its poorer members to worship in a cheap mission chapel. If this principle were rigorously carried out, there would never be any costly churches. For there are always poor and plain churches in some part of the country, which would thus become the model and pattern for the religious worship of the country."

     But people who are joined to their idols do not want a "pattern for religious worship." They want to be let alone. The number who honestly embrace religious truth, when they see it, is exceedingly small.

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078 -- CHURCHES: Duty of Trustees

     Trustees of churches are agents of the society. They have no personal right above any other members of the society in the church property committed to their care. The charge of funds raised to build, repair or furnish church edifices, or parsonages, properly belongs to them. The charge of all other financial matters belongs to the official board. It is the duty of trustees to carry out the wishes of the society. They should take no steps to build, repair, pull down, or sell any church property, without the consent of the society, fairly expressed in a society meeting properly called for the purpose of expressing its wishes in the matter.

     Our trustees should be men of God and men of sense. They should be men who know how to do business, and whose one aim, in doing business for the church, will be to promote its best interests and carry out the wishes of the society in the best manner. There should never be any conflict between the board of trustees and the official board. Generally there are so many of the same men on both boards, that conflict is hardly possible. But whether this is the case or not, both should so labor in their respective spheres to promote the welfare of the church, that there will be perfect harmony between them.

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079 -- CIVILITY to Stranger.

     When strangers attend your meetings, treat them with civility. Though your seats are free, they may not know it; so if you see them looking around for a seat, help them to a good one. Put yourself out of the way to accommodate others.

     If strangers speak in your meetings, and are not dressed as plain as they should be; or if their testimony is not as clear and explicit as it should be, do not make an assault upon them. This can do no good, but may do much harm. If possible, get acquainted with them, and get their confidence, and put yourself in sympathy with them, and do them good. He that winneth souls is wise; but he that drives them away, beyond the reach of his influence, by uncharitable Judging and provoking language, is very far from being wise.

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080 -- CLASS-MEETING Attendance

     The class-meeting is a good place to try the spiritual pulse of the church. A revival that does not result in increased attendance upon class-meetings is not likely to add permanently to the increased strength of the church. If there is life in the souls of the members, there is interest in the class-meeting. Those who have an experience of saving grace, love to talk of this experience. If one has any knowledge of divine things, he desires further instruction in divine things. Those who prefer lawlessness to spiritual discipline do not like class-meetings. Unless they can be leaders, their choice is that there should be no leaders. In a spiritual. disciplined, effective Methodist church, class-meetings are well attended. There the weak are strengthened, and the strong become stronger. There backsliders are reclaimed, sinners converted, and believers sanctified. Reader, do you regularly attend class-meeting?

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081 -- COMMANDS, All, Must be Kept

     We must be Christians, not only in some respects, but in all respects. A man who makes his money by counterfeiting is not honest, though he pays all his debts and conducts himself in other respects as an upright citizen. So one who is habitually doing what God forbids, or neglecting to do what God commands, can not be in a state of acceptance with him. This the Bible makes very clear. What can be plainer than the words of Christ, -`Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). Dr. Adam Clarke says this means that they shall not enter Heaven. This appears to be taught by St. James: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (Jas. 2:10). If we claim the right to select what commands we will keep and what we will disregard, how can we deny this right to others? But what does this amount to but a practical rejection of the Bible altogether?

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082 -- COMMENTARY, Choice of

     A commentary on the Bible is a necessity for every preacher. The better educated he is the more he will feel the need of a commentary. The more pious, and therefore the more conscientious, he is, the more afraid he will be of giving a wrong construction to his text, and of thus teaching the people false doctrine. Many inquire, "What is the best commentary?" We have given the matter such attention as we could, and we are free to say that we like Dr. Adam Clarke's the best by far of any that we have examined. Adam Clarke was one of the most learned men of his day. The great scientific and literary societies of Great Britain considered it an honor to them to have his name enrolled among them as a member. His piety was deep, fervent, and of the most thoroughly evangelical type. His comments are not dry, scholarly criticisms, such as an unconverted scholar might make; but he brings out the deep spiritual significance of the text. His commentary is not only helpful to the preacher, but to the devout Christian who seeks for a right understanding of the Word of God.

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083 -- COMPLAINTS: Do Not Print Them

     A newspaper is not a tribunal for the trial of either ministers or members. Therefore, if you have any complaints to make against a preacher or member, do not rush into print with them. Obey the command of Christ in such cases: "Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone" (Matt. 18:15). If this is done in the spirit in which it is intended, it will generally end the matter. Make an honest effort to win the brother back to his duty; and generally you will succeed; you will gain your brother. But be careful to keep filled with the spirit of humble love. What is said in print, it is right to review in print, so that it be done candidly. But what is alleged to have been said or done in private, unless it be a flagrant offense, should not be put in the papers to the reproach of the person concerned.

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084 -- COMPROMISE, To, May be Fatal

     You make a great, and, it may be, a fatal mistake, if you compromise principle under any pretense whatsoever. Of course you could not do it for the sake of worldly gain and still claim to be a Christian. But you are in danger of compromising for another reason. An apparent angel of light suggests that if you would not be so strict, you might do more good. If you would dress just a little like the world, they would listen to you more readily. If you would join a lodge, you might reach the Masons. This is a subtle artifice by which Satan draws many souls to perdition. You yield to it at your peril. If you join in with the world, you will find that your influence with it is less than ever, except it be in a worldly channel. They may love you as a companion; but they have lost confidence in you as a Christian. In their hearts they despise you for the very concessions for which they flatter you. They will draw you, step by step, along with them in the broad road which ends in perdition.

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085 -- COMPROMISE, Danger of

     The Christianity of this country is gradually becoming like that which prevails in the State Church of Europe. People will belong to the church, and drink and swear and gamble and frequent theaters and balls. In short, they act like the world, dress like the world, live like the world, and go to the world for their pleasures, and yet are zealous members of the church and pay their money freely for its support. There are but few churches and but few preachers who draw the line of separation where God draws it in the Bible.

     We must be careful and not allow this compromising spirit to steal over us. There is danger in every direction. When we unite with these worldly professors in commendable reforms we are liable to give way by littles until we too drift into the world in spirit, The only safety is to obey Divine direction, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate."

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086 -- COMPROMISE, Never

     Peace? I love peace. But I want the right kind of peace-peace founded on truth, not on falsehood; on realities, not on shams; on union with God, not on union with the prince of darkness. The peace of the grave is right for dead folks. But those who are full of life prefer the din of battle to the quiet of death. "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" They are not true soldiers of Christ, but traitors, who make peace with Satan. The conflict between sin and holiness can never cease till one or the other be brought under and subdued. No matter how badly you are treated, and how awfully you are threatened, make no truce, no peace, no compromise with sin. Take sides always with the right, that is, with God, and you will come off conqueror at last.

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087 -- COMPROMISE, There Must Be No

     We can not compromise God's truth in the least. It is our business to proclaim it, in all humility and love, and yet with all boldness and fidelity. It will provoke opposition. There is no help for that. We must accept it in all meekness and firmness; but we must never, to please the worldly, make the conditions of salvation any easier than our Lord has made them. We must hold up fully the Bible standard.

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088 -- CONDITIONS OF SALVATION, Must Be Preached

     Preaching the gospel includes presenting clearly the conditions on which the gospel offers salvation to man. One who assures his hearers that all they have to do, to become Christians, is to believe that Christ accepts them, may make many converts; but he is deceiving them to their eternal undoing. Novel-reading, cigar-smoking, worldly-conformed professors are not disciples of Christ. "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). This certainly includes cigars and the fineries of dress. John Wesley wrote: "Let but a pert, self-sufficient animal, that has neither sense nor grace, howl out something about Christ, or his blood, or justification by faith, and his hearers cry out. `What a fine gospel sermon!' Surely the Methodists have not so learned Christ! We know no gospel without salvation from sin." Do those who call themselves Methodists today receive this gospel?

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089 -- CONSCIENCE, Must Be Tender

     A tender conscience should be carefully cultivated and sedulously guarded. If you can feel perfectly easy while living in habitual disobedience to plain commands of God, you have great reason to be alarmed. Your condition is extremely dangerous. The insensibility which is stealing upon you is the certain precursor of spiritual and eternal death.

     Be careful, then, how you violate your conscience. Attend to its demands, even in the slightest particular. Its sharp edge is easily blunted. Its still small voice is readily silenced. Its faithful warnings, if unheeded, fail to be repeated. You will be left the sport of circumstances, a compass without a needle, a ship without a rudder.

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090 -- CONSECRATION, Mistaken

     The man most evidently possessed by an evil spirit, of all persons whom we have ever seen, was most frequently prostrated in meetings. He would seldom, if ever, hold a meeting without falling. Sometimes he would fall half a dozen times in the same meeting. No one thought he put it on. It was plain he was operated on by a superior power. He was a strong man physically and intellectually -- a practical man of good judgment -- one of the last men you would expect to be led astray. He had been clearly converted and sanctified. "I have," he said in a meeting. "consecrated my tools to God, never to do another day's work in my life." We took him one side and told him that such a consecration was not to God but to the devil. "Six days shalt thou labour. and do all thy work." Paul, than whom no man can be more entirely consecrated to Christ, said, "These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that, were with me." He was not ashamed to work for a living when necessary. From this time this man went on from bad to worse: yet he had a number of followers at first. He served a term in jail for the seduction of a young woman, whom he persuaded to go out with him to hold meetings. This opened the eyes of others, but his own remained blinded the same as ever. He became a religious tramp, and went away among strangers. His air of sanctity gave him, for a while, access to religious people; but as they found him out he went away to new fields, in search of new victims. What made this man fall? "The devil threw him down" (Luke 9:42).

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091 -- CONSECRATION TO GOD, the Better Way

     Extremes meet. The poor struggle to get a living: the rich struggle to live. The poor go about to get work: the rich go abroad to get away from care and work and worry. They leave a finely furnished home for a crowded hotel at some watering-place or seaside resort, in the hope of enjoying better health. They try the city and they try the country; they try the mountain and they try the valley; they try magnetic springs and they try hot springs; but nothing seems to fully agree with them. Thus, with them as with the poor, life is a continued battle for existence. The better way is to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God, and care for them and use them as he directs. He only is always safe who "seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Freedom from consuming care is found only as we cast all our cares on God. Days illuminated with the steady sunshine of God's favor, and filled up with deeds of kindness, cease to be burdensome, but are a joy and a delight.

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092 -- CONFERENCE, Importance of Attending Devotional Exercises at

     The prosperity of our work depends much upon our conferences. If they are occasions of spiritual profit, and all get baptized anew of the Holy Spirit into an increased love for souls, the work is likely to take a new start among us. But if a spirit of self-seeking or of division prevails, the work will suffer.

     There should be much prayer for our conferences and at our conferences. It is a great help to have an outpouring of the Spirit at the devotional exercises at the opening of the daily sittings. We have noticed that some ministers, who have dropped out of the work, began to fall away, as far as we could see, by dropping out of the devotional exercises, he aims wrong who aims to be out at prayer and in at roll-call. We are much more likely to act together when we get blessed together. Both ends of iron must be brought to a red heat to be welded. Let us make our conference sessions revival seasons.

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     God promises to forgive us our sins, if we confess our sins. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). But the confession must be a sincere one. There must be no covering up, no throwing the blame on others. That was what vitiated the confession of Adam -- he laid the blame on his wife, and, indirectly, on God. If we have sinned, the guilt of our sins rests upon us alone. Others may have their responsibility in the case, but no matter what they do, that can neither condemn nor excuse us. We may yield to sin, but we can not be forced to sin, Without the consent of the will to any action, there is no sin in the action. Hence, when we confess our sins, it is not necessary to confess the sins of others, but we must acknowledge the wrong which we have done. We must humble ourselves; but at the same time we must be careful lest the transaction be vitiated by an attempt to humble some one else. A truly penitent spirit and an accusing spirit are not found together.

     A wrong done to any human being is a sin against God. If any injury is willfully done to the character, the reputation or the property of any -- the lowest of the family of man -- the law, equally binding on all, is transgressed and God is offended. The soul is under condemnation. If forgiveness would be obtained, the wrong must be acknowledged and reparation made to the fullest extent possible. This is necessary, but it is not enough. God has been sinned against; and the sin must be confessed to God, and his pardon sought. His forgiveness must be implored, if the soul would find peace and have the penalty for sin remitted. So, if your heart is burdened with guilt, go to God with it. Ask him to forgive you for the sake of Christ, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). But you need not go to any other being except to God, and to the one that you have injured. Preacher or priest has nothing whatever to do with the matter. They may tell you the condition, but they may tell you wrong; so you must do as the Word directs, and come to God for yourself. Men may forgive wrongs done to them, but they can not forgive those done to others; but God only can forgive sins. This is his sole prerogative; the right to exercise. It is never delegated to any human being. The guilt of a transgression committed against God can be removed only by God himself.

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     One part of our religion should be to make others as little trouble as possible. We should be considerate. Instead of adding to the burdens of others -- and especially of those already overworked -- we should seek to lighten them. We should govern ourselves by the rule, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). We should be very particular, in cases where others show us a favor, to make the favor as little burdensome to them as may be. Whatever we borrow should be returned in as good condition as we found it.

     Preachers whose piety we can not doubt write to us expecting an answer. They do not give their addresses. If written to about it, they justify themselves by saying, "You have my address on your mall-books in the office." If they would consider, they would see that this does not justify the omission. The mail-books are in another room, in care of another person. We have to stop our work to go and make inquiries. He has to stop his work to hunt it up. Take it altogether, very much more time is consumed than would have been required for you to have given the necessary directions. Do not such neglects show that there is still some selfishness in the heart? Brethren, be considerate.

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095 -- CONSIDERATION of Others

     Those who are inclined to sit in judgment upon their brethren should read carefully Romans 14. We are taught that we must receive one whose faith is weak, but not to go to disputing with him about things concerning which Christians may righteously hold different opinions. Matters that are not decided by the Word of God should be left for each one to settle with his own conscience. We must not judge one another. Nor, on the other hand, must we ostensibly continue in a course which we think is right, but our brethren think is wrong. We must be willing to sacrifice our own convenience to the convictions of others. Our love for our brethren must be stronger than our love for anything which we eat or drink, though we may be satisfied that it is perfectly harmless. We must care less for ourselves and more for others.

     "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."

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     If the members and ministers of the Free Methodist church desire its prosperity, they can each contribute to it by living holy and consistent lives. All the attacks of our enemies do not hurt us as do our own inconsistencies. If we are indeed dead to sin, and filled with meek and lowly, and gentle love, if we are holy in conversation and prudent in conduct; in short, if Christ dwells constantly in our hearts, we shall grow and prosper. The best defense that can be made for us is the impression we make on others that we lead holy lives and die happy in God. If our members in any locality are full of life divine, "filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves [themselves] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," the place in which they meet will be filled with people. But if they are contentious and bitter, no matter how eloquent may be their preacher, they will be left to themselves.

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     The weather varies, but the sun is invariable. He is always in his place. Some days we see him, and some days we see him not. But whether we see him or not, he is always in his place, exerting his silent, but mighty, influence. Our joy may vary; but our righteousness, like the sun, should never vary. Whether elated, or depressed, whether shouting from the mountain top. or in heaviness through manifold temptations, we should go straight forward in the line of duty. Come what may, we should do right under all circumstances. We should never be swerved from the path of rectitude by an influence from within or without. Neither flattery nor threatenings should make us deviate from the right. We should compel our enemies to say of us, as an enemy said of one old Roman, "It would be easier to turn the sun from his course than Fabricius from the path of honesty."

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098 -- CONTENTMENT, with Godliness, Great Gain

     A man who has millions does not, at one time, sleep in but one bed, eat but one meal, and wear but one suit of clothes. It is doubtful if they afford him any more physical enjoyment than the temperate, frugal laborer derives from his plainer fare. The absurdity of men's acquiring great estates was clearly shown by a Roman poet in the days of its wealth and luxury:

"What though you thrash a thousand sacks of grain,

No more than mine thy stomach can contain.

The slave who bears the load of bread, shall eat

No more than he who never felt the weight.

Or say what difference, if we live confined

Within the bounds of nature's law assigned,

`Whether an thousand acres of demesne,

Or one poor hundred, yield sufficient grain?"

                                                     -- Horace, Sat. I, lib. i, v. 45.

     The greatest enjoyment which this world affords is found in a life of godliness. "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6).

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099 -- CONTROVERSIAL SPIRIT, to be Avoided

     Avoid a controversial spirit. It is not the spirit of Christ. Of him it was said, "He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets" (Matt. 12:19). It is dangerous business for one who enjoys religion to be always attacking his brethren. If he keeps it up, he is sure to backslide. We are slow ton take up arms against those we love. If you have anything to say in a religious meeting, do not say it in a way that will reflect upon some one who has spoken. If you have anything to say through the press, say it independently, and not as a criticism upon the writings of another.

     Get your inspiration from the Lord; and not from others who write. There is a chance to criticize anything that is said or written. A construction that was not intended can be put upon the language. But even when a statement, fairly construed, is wrong, the best way to correct it is generally to do it indirectly, and not by a flat contradiction. In writing and in speaking, as in war, success often depends upon one's skill in making flank movements. The way to expel darkness from a room is to flood it with light. So the way to put down error is to hold up the truth. Let your light shine. Never mind the other man's darkness. It will make no trouble in the circle filled with light. Put the best construction warranted on what you hear and read. "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."

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100 -- CONVERSION, a Miracle

     The conversion of sinners draws sinners. It may be late in the evening; but if sinners are getting converted, the congregation stops to see it through. And no wonder. The great object of religious meetings is the salvation of souls. When this object is secured, the people will, as a matter of course, be interested. A genuine conversion is a genuine miracle; and miracles always excite attention. A preacher who gives himself to the work of soul-saving can not be unsuccessful. He may not be talented; but if he has on his heart a burden for souls, he will excite attention. A stream never rises higher than its fountain -- generally not as high. A preacher, no matter how loud he may vociferate, can not expect to excite in his congregation feelings deeper than his own. If he wants them to care for their souls, he must care for them. He who would have a revival among his people should have one in his own heart first. Where there is anything combustible, fire will spread. A blaze easily kindles a blaze. Reader, are you laboring to win souls?

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101 -- CONVERSIONS Must be Thorough

     The popular, easy way of getting sinners converted is having a bad influence over us as a people. Formerly when sinners came forward to be prayed for we prayed for them in dead earnest. The saints with one accord cried to God aloud; the penitents joined in, and the voice of supplication reached unto Heaven. It seemed almost impossible for one to go forward without being all broken down. There was a good deal of noise, but seldom any confusion. It was like the roar of Niagara, in perfect harmony with the occasion. Generally those who came forward were powerfully converted, and came out shouting and praising God. We have seen altar full after altar full converted the same night, and the work carried on all night long.

     Popular preachers did not want our converts. They did not know what to do with them if they got them. They could not manage them and keep them from giving a clear testimony and getting blessed in their formal, proper meetings. This would convict others.

     But now, get sinners forward, and professors will flock around them, pray a little, but talk with them and sing to them a great deal. There is too often but very little of earnest, united pleading with God for them. They are told to believe, and to profess that they love Christ, when there is no appearance of their having experienced any change. They are healed slightly. If they keep up their profession they will probably unite with some popular church; for all they have got is the popular religion. Brethren, the old way is better. Let us at once, and forever, abandon a mode of working that results in more self-deceptions than conversions. Let us do thorough work for God. It is not enough to present the truth in all plainness; let us enforce it, and insist upon its being carried out in all our meetings.

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102 -- CONVERSIONS, Superficial

     Many, who profess to be converted, arc not scripturally awakened. They are drawn into the church by personal attentions, and appeals to their love of pleasure. They are not warned to flee from the wrath to come. They have not seen themselves to be in danger.

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103 -- CONVERTS Must Turn from Sin

     Recruiting officers are eager to get recruits. But before they send them to the front they subject them to a rigid examination. They will get neither credit nor money for those whom they enroll who are unfit for service. Their superior officers are not to be imposed upon.

     God is not mocked. There is no use in bringing into his church a great number of converts, who have not been turned from sin to righteousness, with the expectation that he will recognize them. It makes no difference how zealous they are for the church, if they still go on committing sin. They may be what the preacher calls "his most useful members"; but Christ disowns them. His language is. "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:20). Many live and die in his church; and pride themselves on their great usefulness; and wake up in eternity to find they are forever lost, because they consented to take up with something short of a heart-work -- of a thorough conversion to God! Oh, it is an awful thing to live and die deceived! Reader, Is your heart right with God?

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104 -- CONVERTS Should be Invited to Join

     The Carthaginian guard, Hannibal, and the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus, were the greatest warriors of their days, but they did not seem to know how to turn their victories to the best advantage. It is so with some preachers. They preach well, have good congregations, and good revivals; but they do not leave their circuits any stronger than they found them. They catch fish, and others string them and carry them away. They are too modest altogether. They are so afraid of proselytizing that those converted under their labors do not know whether they want them to join their church or not. But the neighboring preacher has no such scruples. He visits every desirable convert, tells him what an interest he feels in him, how much he needs his help, makes unfavorable insinuations against the Free Methodists, and invites him to join His church. He keeps on urging him until he gets his name.

     Brethren, it is not enough to cut the grain and tie it into bundles; but you need to draw it in. Your duty to people is not done when you get them converted; you should take them into the church, and build them up in faith and holiness.

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105 -- CONVICTION, An Evidence of

     People do not go forward to a Free Methodist altar because it is popular. As a rule, if they go there, it is because they have deep convictions. It is a step that requires no small degree of courage to take. No matter who comes forward to our altars, we should assume that they earnestly desire salvation, and we should act on that assumption. We should not discourage them. and weaken our own faith, by any word that appears to call in question their sincerity. Those who come forward should get what they come to seek. This should be the rule, and not the exception. The one who has charge of the meeting should make everything contribute to this one result. He should not look for disappointment in a single case. All who labor at the altar should unite in faith for the salvation of every one who has come forward to the altar. They should not be content to take up with anything less. It greatly encourages others to come, when those who do come get what they seek.

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106 -- CONVICTION Should be Yielded to

     Conviction may be deep and overwhelming; but it is never irresistible. Those who will can always resist the Holy Ghost. St. Stephen told his hearers that they always resisted the Holy Ghost, Yet they would not own that they were doing it. Perhaps they did not know it. The habit of resisting the Spirit had become a second nature to them. If you are ever expecting to get right with God, yield now to the gentle drawings from above. They will probably never be stronger. But every time you resist them the power of resistance is greatly strengthened. Then yield now. God is working within: do you begin to work out. Make every confession that you feel led to make. Consecrate up fully to all the light that God gives you. In short, begin from this moment to obey the Holy Ghost.

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107 -- COURAGE

     A true Christian must have true courage. There is no place for cowards in the kingdom of heaven. Among the Greeks and Romans virtue was courage. In our own language the primary meaning of valor is value. It is the duty of every child of God to be brave. A heart right with God is a heart strong to do and dare, and strong to endure. To fight the good fight of faith, we must be valiant-hearted. We must not be afraid of the enemies of the cross of Christ, no matter what power they may possess. "And fear not them which kill the body," is the command of our Captain. The Apostle cries, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." Cowardice is weakness. We must keep from it, as we would shun hell, "The fearful shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Then trample fear under your feet. Let it not have dominion over you.

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108 -- COURAGE Needed

     What a conquering host the Free Methodist church would have been by this time if all who have received light and salvation among us had been true to their convictions and stood firmly at their posts! Had this been the case we should have acquired by this time a momentum that would sweep the track of all obstructions. The faint-hearted, the discouraged, the time-servers, the men-pleasers, do more harm than all the armies of opposers.

"We want no cowards in our band

Who will their colors fly;

We call for valiant-hearted men,

Who are not afraid to die."

     No other person needs so high and so pure a courage as the soldier of Christ. However timid or shrinking we are by nature, the great Captain will if we keep our eye on him, fill us with noble daring. Let us go forth from victory unto victory. Let us fight to the end. Add to your faith courage.

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109 -- COURAGE, Praying for

     "What are you at the altar for?" we asked, at a camp meeting, of one of our young preachers, who, we had every reason to believe, enjoyed the blessing of holiness.

     "For more courage," was the reply. He was a young Englishman who had landed on our shores during the war, and had enlisted in the Union army the day he landed. A total stranger to all our officers and soldiers, he won his way by his bravery to a captaincy before the war ended. After the war he became converted and sanctified to God, and was called to preach. And now, this veteran of many battles in which men were killed all around him, was at the altar seeking courage that he might do his whole duty as a minister of Jesus Christ! He got it, and preached with fidelity, not only from the pulpit, but to crowds in the streets.

     A cowardly minister, whatever may be his talents, will be a failure. It will be a wonder and a mercy if he does not fail to reach Heaven through falling to declare all the counsel of God. It will go hard in the day of judgment with men who, for the sake of popularity, or salary, or position, or from a want of courage, compromise the truth of God. "The fearful shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

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110 -- COURTEOUS, Be

You must be sincere in all your discourse with your fellow men, but this does not imply that you are to be rough in your manners or unkind in your feelings. Quite the contrary. Christianity is love to God and love to man. If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? But if we really love others we shall be good to them, patient towards their faults, and honest and persevering in our efforts to do them good. True love makes us ready to assist each other in every proper way. One of the greatest pleasures of life is to deny ourselves for those we love. Then do not think you are compromising because you are kind and friendly. Christ says, If I lay down my life for you, ye ought also to lay down your lives for one another. But what folly to talk of laying down our lives for one another, if we are not willing to give a seat to one another; or to help, as far as we may, one another to bear the burdens of life? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. No matter what may have been one's advantages, or want of advantages, if we really love others we shall speak kindly to them and act kindly towards them. If we let them alone, we serve them just as we are commanded to treat the devil. And do you call that a course dictated by love?

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111 -- CRITICS, Troublers in Zion

     A Christian loves the truth. He will not knowingly countenance error. But he is not afraid of it. He does not feel called upon to correct every one in his own church who writes something or says something that is capable of a construction which he can not approve. God's minister is a watchman, hearing the word at God's mouth and declaring it from him. But he is not a watch-dog, barking at everybody that comes along, be he friend or foe. One such a critic in a church can kill the social meeting.

     Of all the troublers of Zion he is the most difficult to manage. If he is opposed, he poses as a martyr, and excites sympathy and raises up a party to stand by him. As a rule, the only thing to do with him is to let him alone. In time he will make himself so intolerable that even those who sympathize with some of his views will give him up as a nuisance that ought not to be tolerated.

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112 -- CRITICAL, Do Not Be

     The honey-bee gathers food from flowers, but does not hurt the flowers. The noxious and useless ones it lets alone. It does not waste its time and strength by seeking to destroy them. Christians should do the same with the sermons they hear, and the articles they read. If there is any good in them, get it; if there is that which is worthless or hurtful, let it alone. This should be the rule. Of course there are exceptions, but the exception should not become the rule. He who spends his time in attacks upon articles he does not like, and upon persons he does not like, will not have time for much else. It is better to be gathering honey, than to go about stinging. There is a great difference between a honey-bee and a wasp -- between an humble Christian and a cross critic.

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113 -- CRITICISM, Spirit of, Destructive

     A few years ago there was a flourishing Christian society here, The members were ultra-radical. There was nothing like a spirit of compromise among them. While they bent their energies to getting others saved, they prospered. But a spirit of criticism crept in among them. It grew stronger by exercise, and soon they began to put one another to rights. A long, hotly-contested church trial followed. One member was expelled, others withdrew, and the work of purifying went on till now there are but six members left. These, originally of the same faction, are falling out among themselves. They are evidently on the verge of extermination. "If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention before it is meddled with." This is the only safe course. Avoid contention. Shun quarrels as you would shun the devil.