Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "D"

114 -- DEATH, Triumph in

     Because one dies in peace, it is no evidence that he dies in a state of salvation. It seems to have been true of the wicked as far back as the days of the Psalmist, that "there are no bands in their death." Their consciences are seared; they have no sense of guilt. They are utterly insensible to the things of eternity.

     But the wicked do not triumph in death. The most that can be said of them is that they die as the brute dies.

     Saints sometimes have sore conflicts at the hour of death. The enemy thrusts at them sore. Like the Savior, they may exclaim, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" But these are the exceptions. Usually a godly life closes with a happy death. Said John Knox just before his departure: "I praise God for that heavenly sound." A little later he said: "Now it is come," and breathed his last.

     Said William Kendall as he was crossing over: "I have been swimming in the waters of death for two days, and they are like sweet incense all over me." And later he repeated:

"Bright angels are from glory come,

They're round my bed, they're in my room,

They wait to waft my spirit home.

All is well."

     "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

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115 -- DEBT, Do Not Go in

     No one can be happy who lives beyond his means. The fare may be good, but gloomy forebodings rob it of its relish. John the Baptist's food was "locusts and wild honey," but he was happy, for he walked with God. The papers state that a popular preacher was sued on a note for three hundred dollars, and he allowed judgment to go by default. When the officers of the church looked into the matter, they found that he was in debt, here and there, for borrowed money, to the amount of eighteen thousand dollars! Yet he had a salary of three thousand and five hundred dollars which was promptly paid.

     No matter what the income of some is, they can easily spend more. The appetite for luxuries grows by what it feeds upon. A simple way of living is the happiest way of living. Inordinate desires should be rooted out, not gratified. It takes but little to satisfy our real wants.

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116 -- DEBT, Preachers Should Not Go Into

     We trust that all our people will see to it that their preachers do not go into debt. Let there be no necessity for it. If they have not the money to pay the freight on their goods, do not lend it to them, but go around and raise it for them. If you have not a parsonage, let the official board rent a house and become responsible for the rent. See that the wants of the preacher's family are supplied.

     If the preacher wants to borrow money of you, inquire what he wants to do with it. If to procure the necessaries of life, see that it is paid to him for his labors of love. If to go into business, do not lend it to him, nor let others do it. If you lend to him, the probability is that you will lose your money, and he his credit. He is in danger of backsliding over spending your money, and you over losing it. Take no risks of the sort. They generally prove disastrous all around. Good preachers are poor farmers. The reverse is not apt to be true.

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117 -- DEBT: No Excuse for Not Giving

     Where does any one get the notion that he is not to give for the cause of God when he is in debt? If being in debt should be considered a valid excuse for not giving. we fear that some would keep in debt all their days. In fact, they do; as soon as they get one farm paid for, they buy another. No; if you are in debt to your fellow men, you are still more indebted to God. Meet the demands he makes upon you promptly and cheerfully. You can not get out of debt without his help. Giving is one of the ways that God has appointed to secure his help. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Prove him with what? With all the tithes. Who will try it?

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118 -- DEBTS should be Paid

     The next best thing to keeping out of debt is to pay one's debts. Be prompt in doing it: for not only is your own credit at stake, but also the credit of the church to which you belong. If it is impossible for you to pay as you expected, make haste to inform the party to whom you are indebted, that he may not depend upon it, and ask for an extension. Christians must have integrity all through them. Laxity in business matters implies laxity in religious principles. He who is not strictly honest can not be truly pious. Better go hungry than go in debt for luxuries; better go in rags than wear fine apparel for which you are keeping some one out of his pay. Better not promise to help on some religious or benevolent cause, than promise and not pay. The Psalmist said, "Integrity and uprightness shall preserve me." They are just as powerful preservatives at the present day. A small leak may sink a vessel; a little act of dishonesty lets in a flood of temptation that may be overwhelming in its consequences. The Scripture rule, from which it is not safe to swerve, is: "Provide things honest in the sight of all men."

     When a man who has, in his career of sin, run deeply into debt, professes to be converted, but lets his debts go, and thinks he must devote all his time "in the work of the Lord," and be supported in it, his case looks suspicious. He should be encouraged to work with his hands, pay his debts and get money ahead to buy books, and a horse and buggy, if needed. He could then come with confidence to God for his blessing; he would have boldness before his fellow men; and the probability of his holding out to the end would be greatly strengthened.

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119 -- DECEIVED, Danger of Being

To be deceived in regard to one's spiritual state is a very dangerous kind of deception. Yet many professors, and even ministers, are thus deceived. Christ has told us it will be so to the end.

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     It is a terrible thing for a soul to be deceived. Yet multitudes are. Bunyan's description of Talkative will apply to many. 'He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth: but he knows them only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him, both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savour. There is there neither prayer, nor sign of repentance of sin: yea, the brute in his kind serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach and shame of religion to all that know him; it can hardly have a good name in that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people who know him: 'A saint abroad and a devil at home.' His poor family find it so. Men that have any dealings with him say, 'It is better to deal with a Turk than with him'; for fairer dealings they shall have at their hands."

     Reader, are you deceived? If you have the Spirit, you must bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.

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     Deception may for a time be successfully practiced upon men, but it can not be upon God. No one is keen enough to deceive God, either as to his actions or his motives. His eye penetrates the deepest obscurity, and the hidden things of darkness he will bring to light. "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and be seeth all his going" (Job 34:21).

     Seeker says, "Man may gild over the leaves of a blurred life with the profession of holiness; but God can unmask the painted Jezebel of hypocrisy, and lay her naked to her own shame."

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122 -- DEFINITE, We Must Be

     We shall never succeed as Christians until we learn to be definite.

     If you want forgiveness, you must seek it distinctly and definitely. Holiness must be sought in the same way. Indefinite longings for it bring it no nearer.

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123 -- DELAY, Example of

     We should be prudent, but prudence carried to excess is no longer prudence. It may become cowardice. In going to an appointment on our circuit, in other years, we passed a farm on which stood an old log house. The owner busied himself every winter in preparing to build a new one. One winter he got out the timber. To draw the logs and get boards sawed took two or three winters more. Another winter or two was spent in making shingles. And so the years rolled by. Before his preparations were completed the timber had rotted. The process needed to be gone over again. The last we knew of him he was still living in the old house. It was propped up to keep it from falling over. So some sinners waste their time in preparing to become Christians, and some Christians in preparing to become sanctified wholly. The best thing to do is to act promptly. He who will repent is as ready to repent as he ever will be; he who will consecrate himself wholly to God needs no further preparation to do it.

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124 -- DELUSION, Danger of

     When one gives to his inward, spiritual leadings a greater authority than he does to the plain teachings of the Bible, he exposes himself to every delusion of the devil. He is almost certain to be led astray. We are very clearly taught that the written Word of God is superior to any inward revelations which even the holiest of God's people may claim to have. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). Yet they may claim to be full of light. All such claims should be rejected. St. Paul is very explicit: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). Just in the degree that one gets away from the Bible, does he get away from Christ. If he is inclined to strictness, he is liable to become a Pharisee; if to laxity, he may take up with some of the various forms of spiritism. In either case he is in danger of losing his soul. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16).

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125 -- DEMONSTRATIONS, Political and Religious

     We protest against the politicians finding fault after this with noisy religious meetings. If they ever had any right to do it, they have utterly forfeited that right. We have been in about as noisy religious meetings as are often held. We never witnessed any that bore any comparison with the political demonstrations made of late. We attended no political meetings during the last campaign, but it was impossible to be in a city and escape the noise. Principal streets were blockaded by political processions for hours, so that it was impossible for street cars or carriages to pass. But the police made no arrests on this account The papers had no protests to offer.

     A decent respect for the rights of Christians ought to keep our cities and towns from arresting a little band of pilgrims who go through the streets singing in an ordinary manner, and marching along without causing any serious obstructions. If any more arrests of the kind are made, all the papers of the land ought to cry out against them. Eternal things are of much greater concern than any elections. We do not read that the inhabitants of the heavenly world take any interest in political matters, but we do read that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

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126 -- DEVELOPMENT Always Possible

     You may be in "close circumstances," but you need not lack room for expansion and development. However you may be hemmed in, there is always room to dig down and to build up. Near us, in Chicago, is a new building which has just gone up to the height of thirteen full stories. The lot on which the building stands is comparatively small, but in the building there are many rooms. So, if your sphere of labor is limited, you can raise your work to as high an elevation as you please. It was a small parish, among a rude people living in the narrow valleys of the Alps, where Pastor Oberlin labored; but his earnest, self-denying labors have made his influence felt in distant lands. Any circuit is large enough to afford opportunities for a preacher to win an imperishable crown. Not those who are listened to with rapturous applause by eager thousands, but those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.

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127 -- DEVOTION, Fires of, Must be Kept Burning

     When the water is low in a boiler, or the oil is low in a kerosene lamp, there is danger of an explosion. So, when piety is low in the heart, there is no telling what havoc some passion, suddenly bursting loose, may make. The prospects of life may be blighted, the peace of a family be disturbed, the hope of Heaven be destroyed. Be careful then, and not decline in piety. Make use of all necessary means to keep the fires of devotion burning in your heart. Before you leave your room, seek the blessing of the Lord, in earnest, fervent prayer. The first thing you read in the morning, read a portion of the Scriptures. If you have a family. keep family prayer with perfect regularity. Your children need the influence of domestic worship. Let their home be to them a house of God. Get blessed with your family and your family will be a blessing to you.

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128 -- DISCIPLESHIP, Conditions of

     Experience often illustrates the Bible, but it never takes its place. Your watch may tell you when to look for the rising of the sun, but it never regulates it. No matter what your watch says, the sun rises all the same, at his appointed time.

     Apparently converted persons may differ widely in telling how they were converted, but the conditions of discipleship remain the same. One may say he had to give up the lodge, and another may declare he did not; but it still remains true that "whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). No matter how high may be the profession, and how eloquent may be the discourse of a Masonic preacher, all does not weaken the force of the divine command, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."

     Worldly, time-serving preachers may say, "It does not make any difference how one dresses; a fashionable lady may be just as devoted a Christian as one who dresses plain." A devotee of fashion, in earnest tones, and with gestures flashing light from her jeweled hand, may tell of her wonderful conversion, and how she "finds that the pursuit of pleasure does not interfere with her rapt fellowship with her dear Savior," but all this does not abolish the command, "Be not conformed to this world," or do away with the force of these emphatic words, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). Let us not be drawn away from the plain teaching of the Bible. "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).

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129 -- DISCIPLINE Must be Sustained

     Members of the church guilty of flagrant immorality should be excluded from the church. Their example should be made a warning to others. But we have been surprised to see how, in such cases, good people will be carried away by their sympathies. and stand by one who has forfeited all claims to the Christian character.

     Some years ago a preacher came to us from another denomination. He professed to be fully in sympathy with our principles. For several years there was trouble with him at every session of the conference. Complaint was made that he used tobacco. He acknowledged that he had used it, but in the most solemn manner declared he had given it up. After conference he would again use it. At last he was turned out for grossly immoral, wicked conduct. The evidence of his guilt was conclusive. In a few months be became a common drunkard and outcast. Yet so many members of the church he last served stood by him, and took sides against the action of the conference in expelling him, that the society was utterly destroyed. There has never been one in that place since. Yet these people were very excellent people.

     It is dangerous to become partisans. You should never stand by any one in a wrong. We may feel sympathy for those who do wrong, and be kind to them and endeavor to help them, but we should not do anything that looks like sympathizing with the wrong. We should not leave the church because unworthy members are turned out.

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130 -- DISCIPLINE Must be with Leniency

     We can not see how it is possible for one to be eager to turn people out of the church, and at the same time love their souls. Suppose they are not right; will they stand a better chance to get right out of the church than they will in it? We read that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance, but we do not read that the severity of the church tends to produce this effect. But few church trials are conducted so fairly that those who are turned out do not go away with a settled feeling that injustice has been done them. They have friends on the outside who sympathize with them. The influence upon the community is such that it is very difficult to have a revival in that church for years afterwards. We know of a church from which. a few years ago, some half a dozen of those generally considered good members were turned out. We inquired of one who was active in prosecuting them, what they were turned out for, but in only one case could we get anything definite. There have been good preachers on that circuit since, but they have been barely able to hold their own. To have an extensive revival seems to be out of the question. The Free Methodist church is not so popular that people generally are anxious to stay in it, unless they have at least a desire for salvation. Perhaps another preacher can help those whom you are not able to influence for good. Give them a chance.

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131 -- DISCIPLINE Versus Salvation

     A chairman in the Kansas conference, some years ago, in representing one of his preachers, said, "He has not much salvation to offer, so he goes it heavy on discipline." Is not that the real seat of the difficulty with preachers who have so much more zeal and success in getting people out of the church than they do to get them to unite with the church? They have not much salvation to offer. They can see the disease, but do not furnish a remedy. A person who has the toothache will not make up any more faces if you cut off his head. But is that the best way to treat him? To destroy a church is not the best way to promote its purity. Piety, prudence and patience will go further towards getting people fitted for the kingdom of God, than will a furious zeal to turn them out of the church. Before you begin proceedings to turn members out of the church, read the chapter on Discipline in "Fishers of Men." Above all, read Matt. 18:15-17. Then pray for them, until your heart is filled with deep, tender love for their souls. In proceeding against them, act just as you would it the person complained of was your own brother or son. Remember that the great object to be gained is the salvation of the soul.

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     All Christians should have a good degree of spiritual discernment. They should have eyes to see. This is especially true of ministers of the gospel. They should not be suspicious, on the one hand, nor should they be easily imposed upon, on the other. It is this needed spiritual discernment which Christ promised his disciples when he said. "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:23; also Matt. 18:18). They shall have such discernment that, from the evidences given, they can tell whether one is truly converted and fit for church fellowship, or not. Just as of old, in the case of leprosy, literally, the priest shall pollute him; that is, pronounce him unclean; or, with other evidences before him, the priest shall cleanse him; that is, shall pronounce him clean (Lev. 13:5, 13). In both cases God does the work, but he gives his servants discernment to tell when it is done. A blind leader is a dangerous guide.

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133 -- DISCONTENT, A Remedy for

     Many professed Christians are victims of discontent and uneasiness. The old as well as the young -- those who want for nothing in the way of bodily comforts, as well as the poor -- are thus tormented. They seek relief by changing their circumstances and their associations; but, especially if advanced in life, seldom find it -- only in the grave. They do not seem to have learned that

"The mind is its own place; and in itself

Can make a Heaven of hell, a hell of Heaven."

     The cause of this discontent is sometimes pride, and sometimes the consciousness of leading a useless life. Time will hang heavily upon the hands of those who have retired from the active business of life, unless they are doing something to make those around them better and happier.

     The gospel has a remedy for all this unrest of spirit. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me," says Jesus, "and ye shall find rest unto your souls." The yoke is the symbol of work. If, then, you would be contented and happy, forget yourself and live to do good to others. You will not find it so hard to trust in Jesus, if you are actively engaged in his service. As you bless others, God will bless you in many ways. Stop complaining, and go visit the sick. Carry relief to that burdened one, and relief will come to you. As you help bear the burdens of others, you will find it easy to cast all your care upon the Lord, and you will find that he careth for you.

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134 -- DISCRIMINATION Necessary

     There are many things about a white-clover blossom that a honey bee does not like. But it does not go to fighting and stinging these to bring them to its liking. The blossom has honey concealed in its depths. This the bee finds out, and proceeds to appropriate it to its own use. What it does not like it lets alone. We should learn to treat books, and periodicals and sermons in the same way. We should not swallow everything, any more than the bee does the stamens and pistils of the flowers that furnish it food. We should discriminate with care. What there is scriptural, and that will do us good, we should receive; what is hurtful or useless, we should reject. Many are unstable and sickly, because they devour everything that is set before them.

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     Many are in doubt about their inward experience, because they are doing too little for others. If a living body does not have food from without, it feeds upon itself, So, if a truly converted person is not doing for others, he is troubled about himself. The reason why he feels that he is lacking in grace is because he has not used the grace he had. As water is drawn from a well, water from unseen sources comes running in. So, as grace is dispensed to others, grace multiplies, like the barley loaves which the disciples handed out to the multitude. In helping others we help ourselves. In bearing one another's burdens our own grow lighter. Any one of Christ's disciples who needs our help stands to us in the place of Christ. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40).

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136 -- DRESS, Worldly Conformity in

     Putting on gold to adorn the person by one who was once clear in his experience, is an indication that he has backslidden from God. So far as we know, all Methodist Disciplines are agreed in saying that the putting on of gold and costly apparel is "doing what one knows is not for the glory of God," and something that none can do who have a "desire to flee from the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins." However the different branches of the Methodist church may differ, they are all agreed in their published position on these points. This is laid down in their printed constitution. It is also the plain teaching of the Bible. "Be not conformed to this world." Whatever else may be embraced in this general prohibition, it certainly includes all that the Bible forbids by name. So if you are by littles putting on things that you could not once wear, it is a sure indication that you are backsliding from God. You ,are gradually and noiselessly slipping away from him. Many things indicate this to others, though you yourself fail to see it. You are not as ready to give your testimony as you once were. It is no longer clear and definite and affecting. You may say the same things in a fashionable dress that you used to say in a plain dress, but there is not the same ring to it. The indorsement of the Spirit is wanting. Your words are powerless. Your appearance conflicts with your testimony. Consent to see and acknowledge that you are backslidden. Return unto the Lord, and he will return unto you.

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137 -- DRESS, Superfluous Ornaments Formerly Forbidden

     Years ago Methodists could not gain admission to their love-feasts without a ticket given them by the preacher in charge of the circuit. The rule of Discipline, by which he was governed, read: "Give no ticket to any, till they have left off superfluous ornaments. Allow no exempt case, not even of a married woman. Better one suffer than many. Give no tickets to any that wear high heads, enormous bonnets, ruffles, or rings."

     If this rule were carried out today, how many sisters would they have in their love-feasts? Were they fanatical then, on the subject of dress, or are they backslidden now? Times may change, but God does not change. His Bible does not change. It still reads, "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

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138 -- DRESS, Worldly, A Hindrance

     In trying to get to the Lord, the scissors can often be used to advantage. God has an order in which he works in the spiritual, as well as in the natural world. If we would have him draw nigh to us, we must draw nigh to him. This we must do by putting aside everything which he forbids. If you would have him take the pride out of your heart, you must put all appearance of it off from your person. God will not take the puffed-up ribbons from your bonnet. You can do that. At some of the camp-meetings we have attended this year, the scissors have been freely used. The effect has been good. Taking off superfluities, opens the channel through which the water of life flows to the soul. If you would get blessed, as you used to, and have the power you used to have, then dress just as plainly as you did then. You can not put on the world ever so little, without losing in your soul. In whatever degree you conform to the world, in that same degree you lose the transforming power of the Spirit of God from your heart. In order to be saved, you came out from the world; to keep saved, you must be separate.

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139 -- DRESS, Commend Respecting, to be Regarded

     The right to disregard one command of the Bible implies the right to disregard any other command. They all possess the same authority. They rest on the same basis -- the absolute sovereignty of God. The less temptation there is to break any particular command, the greater perversity of heart must there be in the one who breaks it. He who steals to keep from starving may not be a willing criminal; but he who steals when no necessity goads him on, does it because he is a thief. Ask professed Christians who violate a plain precept of the Bible, and who encourage the extravagance of the age by wearing gold and costly array, why they do it, and they will tell you it is not because they care anything for it. They would as soon dress plain as not. Why not then obey God, and "be not conformed to the world" in things which God forbids? Why profess to be a Christian while living in disobedience to the plain commands of God? "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 7:46).

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140 -- DRESS Should be Plain

     If you consecrate yourself to the Lord to dress plain, as he commands, then carry it out in all particulars. Do not let the costliness of the material of your dress be a compensation to your pride for the plainness of the style in which it is made. Do not pay more for one piece of cloth, because it looks better, than you would have to for another that would be equally serviceable. Be consistent throughout. If you do not put on gold or pearls, then do not put on any imitation of gold or pearls, Not only avoid evil, but avoid the appearance of evil. If you lay aside your necktie, do not button your collar with a large brass button that looks like gold. If you have abandoned cigars. do not put a dude smoking-cap on your head. If a young lady can not wear a feather on her hat, then she should not bunch up a quantity of ribbon to take its place. If you have renounced the devil, then renounce the devil's substitutes. If you are a child of God, then dress like a child of God. Formerly hypocrites were described as those who "steal the livery of Heaven to serve the devil in." Now the order is reversed, and professed saints steal the livery of the devil to serve God in. Do neither. Stand out in your true colors, an humble saint of God, clothed with humility, perfectly transparent, a living epistle known and read of all men.

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141 -- DRESS: Ornaments of a Christian

     Women of the world are seldom found without ornaments. At home or abroad they are adorned for the occasion. They wear rings in the kitchen and at the wash-tub.

     Christians should always wear their ornaments. Strangers and friends, domestics and children, should always find them arrayed in their appropriate adornings. Their ornaments are, in the estimation of the best judges, the most valuable in the world. They outweigh gold in value; they far exceed diamonds. in their brilliancy and costliness. The wealth of the greatest millionaire would not suffice for the purchase of the least of them.

     St. Peter places, as chief among them, "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Pet. 3:4).

     Have you this ornament? It comes from only one country -- Heaven. God alone can bestow it, Without it you can never appear in his court.

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142 -- DRESS of Clergymen

     We do not read in the Acts of the Apostles that the tailor had any part in fitting out the primitive heralds of salvation, Not the slightest mention is made of the shape in which the garments were to be made that they were to wear when conducting religious services. The Epistles are equally silent. So far as we can gather from the New Testament, the early ministers of the gospel wore such clothes as were worn by others of their nationality. Mention is made in 2 Tim. 4:13, of Paul's cloke, but Dr. Adam Clarke thinks it was something like a bay or portmanteau. It is evident that it had nothing to do with his preaching.

     The dress worn by Romish priests, and the imitations of this worn by the clergy of the church of England. when conducting service, were copied from those worn by the Jewish and heathen priests. This practice has not the slightest warrant in the New Testament. It is a fragment of priestly usurpation to which Christians should give no countenance.

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143 -- DUTY, Conviction of

     To be a true Christian you must be governed by a conviction of duty. If you go by impulse you will be fluctuating and unsteady. Bramwell says: "What is my duty? This is the point, without the least regard to consequences. For this reason, retire from every company, however friendly, a number of times in the day. Mind not what looks or words you may receive; stay in no place where you can not do this. Go to no parties without first knowing the persons and what is likely to take place. Claim your liberty by never consenting contrary to sound judgment. Let nothing hinder the full salvation."