Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "L"


     In the writings of Paul there is much that appears to be contradictory. This is in accordance with nature. What can be more contradictory than the soft, balmy air of a quiet day, and the resistless power of the cyclone? Yet. analyze each, and the elements are precisely the same. The only difference is one of motion. Paul evidently included himself when he wrote, "We which have believed do enter into rest." How could a man rest, who was so abundant in labors? It was his constantly being in a state of rest that enabled him to be so ceaselessly active. It was his habitual quietness of spirit that kept him from wearing out. Worry kills more than work. He was "in weariness often," but delightful rest made him forget his weariness. The anxieties of common lives about what they shall eat, and drink. and wear, did not disturb him. His resources were in Christ, his home was in Heaven, his one business to turn men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. Overwork could not kill him -- he died a martyr at his post.

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258 -- LAW, Vindicatory

     Blacks tone says that a law consists of four parts. Of one of these he says, "The vindicatory part signifies what punishment shall be incurred by wrong-doers; and in this consists the main strength and force of a law."

     Preachers who fail to impress their hearers that the punishment which God has pronounced against those who violate his moral law will certainly be inflicted, go far towards bringing this law into contempt. They rob it of its "main strength and force." Who cares for a law which he can violate with impunity? No one can question but that the Sermon on the Mount is as binding as ever. Yet how plainly does Christ point out the penalties that will be incurred by those who disregard the precepts and prohibitions he lays down with authority in this wonderful discourse! This easy-going religion, which gives the people to understand that they can live about as they please, and go to Heaven, if they only belong to the church, is but leading them down to hell. To suppose that fidelity to a church can compensate for sins against God, is a dangerous and damning delusion.

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259 -- LEADINGS, Mistaken

     It requires great watchfulness on the part of those engaged in the work of the Lord, lest that which was begun in the Spirit shall end in the flesh. The constant tendency is to drop from the supernatural to the natural. There is danger that those who, in the main, are led by the Spirit of God, may in some things give place to the devil. When he is suffered to have an influence he is very likely to obtain control.

     A woman took part in a revival which resulted in the salvation of' a number of young people. She professed to be led by the Spirit of God, but a spirit that would not brook control took possession of her. This was proof that it was not the Spirit of God. Her exercises became violent. She frequently fell. Then she took it upon her to get the young people married. "The Lord showed her," she said, "that this young man must marry this young woman." She seemed to be greatly burdened till her ends were accomplished.

     Such work is not of God. One of the most interesting books of the Bible is the Acts of the Apostles. But nothing of this kind is recorded among their acts. We read a good deal in the New Testament about Christians taking up their cross; but there is no hint about taking up their cross to get married. No person ever ought to marry when it is a cross to marry. Those whom God would join together do not need compulsion of any sort from others to come together. "Busybodies in other men's matters" ought not to lay their impertinent conduct to the Spirit of God.

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     One of the most damnable heresies of the day is the teaching that we can keep the spirit of God's commands while willfully and needlessly violating the letter. It is true "the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life." But this does not mean that we are to pay no regard to the letter; but that we must not rest in it. We must observe the letter, and get at the spirit of the thing. Adam Clarke says some excellent things on this subject, which we transcribe: "The gospel has both its letter and its spirit; and multitudes of professing Christians, by resting in the letter, receive not the life which it is calculated to impart. Water in baptism is the letter that points out the purification of the soul; they who rest in this letter are without this purification, and dying in that state, they die eternally. Bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, are the letter; the atoning efficacy of the death of Jesus, and the grace communicated by this to the soul of a believer, are the spirit. Multitudes rest in this letter, simply receiving these symbols, without reference to the atonement, or to their guilt; and thus lose the benefit of the atonement, and the salvation of their souls. ...It may be safely asserted that the Jews in no period of their history ever rested more in the letter of their law than the vast majority of Christians are doing in the letter of their gospel. Unto multitudes of Christians Christ may truly say, 'Ye will not come to me that ye may have life.'"

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261 -- LIBERALITY Toward God

     Many suffer loss, temporally, as well as spiritually, because they are not liberal toward God. It would be well for us to consider the word of the Lord which can e to Haggai the prophet, saying, "Is it time for you. O ye. to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes" (Haggai 1:3-6). If we provide for God's cause, God will provide for us. He will lead us in temporal matters in the way of prosperity. If we make our own interests first, and foremost, we are left to ourselves. and our labor amid our pains amount to but little. They bring neither peace nor prosperity. And time soul dies within.

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262 -- LIBERTY Not Lawlessness

     Many of the foreigners who come to our country make good citizens. To such we give a cordial welcome. But some have strange ideas of liberty. They seem to think that liberty is lawlessness, that freedom is anarchy. These are generally from Germany, and from other countries crushed by despotism. They have much to say about "Personal Rights." They mean by this phrase the right to keep saloons, the right to make drunkards, the right to abolish the Sabbath by turning it into a day of drinking. and revelry and carousing, to the disturbance of religious worship and the annoyance of all good citizens. They should know that our civil institutions are founded on the Bible. That we owe to the influence of the Bible. and the blessing of God upon our fathers while they obeyed his commands. the freedom which we enjoy. If they do not like our institutions, the way is open, as far as this country is concerned, for them to return to the lands from which they came. Our country can get along without them -- perhaps better without them than with them. If they stay they should be made to obey our laws.

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263 -- LIFE, Brevity of

     "Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been," said Jacob to Pharaoh. And yet he was a hundred and thirty years old. He began life poor, and became wealthy. He was the honored father of a large family of dutiful, intelligent children. Yet how short life looked to him in retrospect! How small an estimate did he put upon his great prosperity!

"For what is life? At best a brief delight.

A sun scarce bright'ning ere it sinks in night;

A flower, at morning fresh, at noon decayed;

A still, swift river, gliding into shade."

     Man is made for eternity. The longest earthly existence is too short for his immortal longings. Its pleasures are unsatisfying, its honors empty and short-lived. He who lives for the present lives to no purpose: he is but wasting golden opportunities, chasing empty phantoms that often elude pursuit and always dissolve when grasped.

     Reader, lay hold on eternal life!

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264 -- LIFE, Spiritual, The Importance of

     What do our peculiar doctrines amount to if we are spiritually dead? We may hold them up and defend them, but all this will not save a single soul. It is still true that "the life is the light of men." All that you say may be true; but, unless there is life in it, none will be brought under conviction. The most talented and best educated preacher is worthless to the cause of God if he is dead. He may fill the church with his eloquence, but what of it? He gets his salary, the expenses are paid, but preacher and people go down unawakened to eternal night.

     But a live man or woman will cause an awakening among the dead. They may not be gifted or educated, but they will make a stir. Life begets life. "A living dog is better than a dead lion" (Eccles. 9:4). A little boy or girl, full of vigor, can do more than a giant sleeping in the arms of death.

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265 -- LIGHT, The, Of God's Grace

     God's grace, like the sun, shines everywhere. To those who welcome the light which God sends to the soul, and have the courage to walk in it, the light shines with increasing brightness.

     A Roman Catholic professor in the University of Paris. before the days of Luther and the Reformation, wrote as follows: "Religion has but one foundation, but one end, but one head, Jesus Christ, blessed forever! He alone trod the winepress. Let us not then call ourselves by the name of St. Paul, or Apollos, or St. Peter. Christians are those only who love Jesus Christ and his word. May everything be illumined with his light! Through it there may be a return of times like those of that primitive church which devoted to Jesus Christ so many martyrs! May the Lord of the harvest, foreseeing a new harvest, send new and diligent laborers!"

     Without knowing it, he was one of those who prepared the way for the Reformation.

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266 -- LIGHT, Welcome and Walk in the

     Because you are under conviction it is no sign that you were always deceived. To become truly pious it is not necessary to become more wicked. To a backslidden minister the Spirit said, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God" (Rev. 3:2). The way to strengthen is not to give up and go back to the world utterly, but to call to mind the light once given, hold fast to it, and repent before God for not having walked in it. You hear a searching sermon, and new light breaks in upon you, or old light comes back with increasing power. Take it and go forward; but do not deny anything that God has done for you. If you do you will become confused; and perhaps be left to doubt whether there is any such thing as a reliable religious experience.

     Conscientious people are inclined to give up their experience too readily. The presumptuous hold on to their profession. In the face of the clearest evidence that it is not genuine.

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267 -- LIGHT Within

     A little blaze, where all is dark, attracts attention. Men instinctively are drawn towards a fire. Every minister of Jesus Christ should be a burning and a shining light. The root of the matter must be in him. He must not only be illuminated, but be luminous. The command of Christ is: Let your light shine. Place the emphasis on YOUR. Many a pulpit is all ablaze with the light of historians, and scientists, and poets, while the preacher himself is shrouded in Egyptian darkness. The command implies that we have light. Every truly converted person has inward light. But it may be lost. It is often lost. The only way to keep it is to walk in it and let it shine. Fire-baptized preachers are in great demand among us. Dry, dead preachers, no matter what their talent or learning, are a grievous burden. Brother, get fired up before you enter the pulpit.

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268 -- LIQUOR TRAFFIC a Disgrace

     The liquor traffic is a disgrace to our civilization; it is a reproach to our Christianity. It costs more than schools and churches -- it kills more than pestilence, war and famine. One rumseller does more harm than a hundred missionaries can undo. The great plague of the world is strong drink; and its manufacture and sale should be suppressed by the most stringent of laws.

     We. copy from the Missionary Herald an appeal which a native chief made to an English official in South Africa:

     "I fear Lo Bengula less than I do brandy. I fought with Lo Bengula when he had his father's great warriors from Natal, and drove him back, and he never came again; and God, who helped me then, would help me again. Lo Bengula never gives me a sleepless night. But to fight against drink is to fight against demons, and not against men. I dread the white man's drink more than all the assegais (spears) of the Matabele, which kill men's bodies, and it is quickly over; but drink puts devils into men, and destroys both their souls and their bodies forever. Its wounds never heal."

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269 -- LOVE is Self-Sacrificing

     Genuine love is considerate and self-sacrificing. Those who love Christ do, out of love for him, all they can to promote his cause. To secure their help it is not necessary to appeal to any other motive but love for Christ.

     William Cobbett was a celebrated English poetical writer of the past generation. He was devoted to his wife. One time, when they lived in London, she was sick-ready to die. The doctor said if she could sleep she might live. She could not sleep unless the street could be kept quiet. William Cobbett put on woolen stockings, and in his stocking feet walked the street all night, to keep it quiet. She slept and recovered.

     Love beareth all things. It is folly for one to profess to love Christ, when he is ready to forsake his cause because some minister or member does not treat him as he should. Abuse from her husband does not make the mother cease to love her child.

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270 -- LOVE to God, the Essential Thing

     All our religion amounts to nothing unless we love God. Preaching may commend itself to man by its eloquence and fervor; but God does not accept the preacher if he draws his inspiration from any other motive than love to God and love to man. There are doctrines that are true, and there are doctrines that are partly true, and there are doctrines that are false; but the most cordial belief of the soundest doctrines can not save a person unless he loves God with all his heart and all his strength. No worship, however, costly and attractive it may be, or however simple it may be, is acceptable to God unless the heart is in it. It was of strict attendance upon Divine worship that our Savior said, "This people draweth night unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:8, 9).

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271 -- LOVE Will Not Exaggerate

There is something defective in the holiness that can not state facts without exaggeration. We should never appear to be obliged to make allowance for what a holy person writes or says. We should be able to rely upon his facts, though compelled in any given instance to question his logic. We should feel that we can depend upon his representations, though we can not assent to his inferences. To exaggerate or color facts, in order to set forth our own labors to a better advantage, savors of vanity; to do it in order to depreciate the labors of others is an indication that prejudice or envy reigns within. Let us acknowledge our defects without apologizing for them; let us, with all sincerity and earnestness, seek the gospel remedy -- humble love.

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272 -- LUKEWARMNESS a Great Enemy

     We are in greater danger from indifference and lukewarmness than we are from prejudice and persecution. Indifference and lukewarmness are our greatest enemies, and are most to be dreaded. They steal upon the individual and upon the church as noiselessly as the serpent's tread. They give no warning; they excite no fears. They occasion no reproach. This is the great element of danger to which lukewarmness exposes us. It does not bring upon us reproach like open transgression. On the contrary, it raises us in the esteem of the worldly. They begin to speak well of us. Backslidden church-members receive us to their fellowship. We conclude that we have been "too particular," that there is no need of being "so much engaged" in the things of religion. So it becomes very difficult to arouse one from a lukewarm state. He is too contented. He compares himself with others and concludes that if they go to Heaven he will. So he sleeps on.

     When one person keeps alive in a society, he keeps the rest under conviction. They can see from him how they have declined in spirituality. In their meetings he brings the Spirit with him and ministers it to others. But where all have become backslidden, the cage is more hopeless. It is very difficult to awaken them. There is nothing noticeably wrong in their lives, and yet their whole lives are wrong. They go through the forms of religious worship, but they lack that love of God, that fervor of spirit, which alone renders any worship acceptable in his sight. The most searching sermons appear to have no effect upon them. They give no attention to truths adapted to their condition and necessary to arouse them to a sense of their danger. If they were openly backslidden they might be reached; but as it is next to impossible to fasten conviction upon a lukewarm person, Christ says to him, "I would thou wert either cold or hot."

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273 -- LUKEWARMNESS Leads to Loss of Soul

     Lukewarmness, common as it is, and generally unnoticed as it is, will, if persisted in, result in the loss of the soul. To a lukewarm minister Christ said: "I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16).

     Such a man is no more pleasing to Christ now than he was then. His only means of safety is to "be zealous therefore, and repent." But he is not very likely to do this; because he does not see that he is lukewarm. He will not admit it. He professes to be in a high state of grace. He says, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." How widely different is Christ's opinion of him: "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

     Reader, are you in this dreadful condition? If so, consent to see it. Do not be angry; but allow yourself to be warned. Break down before God. Come to Christ for light and life and salvation.

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274 -- LUKEWARMNESS Offensive to God

     To serve God acceptably we must be zealous in his service. Unless 'we are earnest Christians, we are not Christians. Lukewarmness is offensive to God. The love that he calls for is all the love of which we are capable. To love him with a divided heart is to acknowledge that we are listening with pleasure to the advances of his rivals. Anything done in his service, which is not done out of love to him, is not done for him. The sacrifice which he accepts is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. A display of pride in his service men may look upon with admiration, but it is an abomination to God. No sacrifice which he demands appears hard to one who is heartily engaged in his service. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."