Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "R"

438 -- READING, Give Attention to

     It is a misfortune to be ignorant. And yet in many respects we are all ignorant. What the most learned knows, is but little in comparison with what he does not know. It is a still greater misfortune to think that we know it all, than to be ignorant. Such is the decision of holy writ. "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Prov. 26:12). He who is conscious that he does not know much, is willing to receive instruction. And willing learners can always find good teachers. But self-conceit shuts out instruction, as a thick wall laid in mortar shuts out light. We once told a preacher, whose sameness in preaching was becoming tedious, that he ought to read more. His emphatic reply was, "What shall I read?" It takes but a few years for such preachers to run out. They are not long in demand.

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     Recklessness is not faith, nor is it one of the fruits of faith. It is rather the offspring of unbelief and despair. A man who sets out to cross a stormy sea, in a boat which he knows to be old and leaky, has no right to talk about having faith in God for a prosperous voyage. The farmer who plants poor seed on poor soil, poorly prepared, and who neglects to take the necessary care of it, can not have any proper faith that God will give him an abundant harvest. So one who sets at defiance the laws of health which God has ordained, has no right to expect that God will give him health.

     In matters physical, as well as in matters spiritual, there are conditions which we must meet in order to realize the desired results. Faith in God is shown by our obedience to the laws of God. "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save me?" (James 2:14). "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26).

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440 -- REFORMING MEN Not Sufficient

     It is not to be reformed a little, or to be reformed a great deal, that men in a state of nature need, but to be raised from the dead. Decorating corpses is at best but useless. Gilded coffins and costly sepulchers do dead men no good. No benefit can be conferred on them unless they are first restored to life. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). Then let us aim, not merely at reforming men, but let us strive to persuade them to come to Christ that they may have life. If we fail in doing this, however much we may succeed in other things, our ministry is but a failure. For a minister to drop into a mere reformer, is a public, though perhaps undesigned, acknowledgment that he has lost his power.

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441 -- REGENERATION or Reformation, Which?

     There were great social evils in the time of Paul. Society was corrupt. Slavery, intemperance and licentiousness abounded. But Paul never became a mere reformer. He organized no anti-slavery or temperance or social-purity societies. He preached a gospel which rooted out all moral evils. He laid the ax at the root of the tree. Society became reformed by the regeneration of many of its members. Their influence elevated in the moral scale those who were not converted.

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442 -- RELATIVES, Aged and Helpless, Should Be Cared for

     Paul, speaking of "children and nephews," says: "Let them learn first to show piety at home" (1 Tim. 5:4). He has special reference to their manifesting their piety by providing for the wants of those who, when they were helpless, cared for them. The religion of the child who can let the parent suffer, when it is in his power to relieve him, is of a very bad quality. It is not the religion of the Bible. In some heathen lands it is the custom to expose their aged men and women, and suffer them to die through neglect. True Christianity does away with all such barbarous practices. In a Christian land the poorhouse is no place for one who has "children or nephews," strong and well. They should make it their business to care for the aged and helpless relative. Among the Ten Commandments, the only one that has a promise attached to it is: "Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

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443 -- RELIGION, Foundation of True Greatness

     Nothing takes hold of the deepest nature of man like religion. Questions concerning our duty and our destiny are the greatest questions we have to solve. It is but a superficial, insincere nature than can dismiss such questions with a sarcasm or a sneer. All truly great men have been religious men. Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton all derived a large share of their inspiration from religious truths current in their times. Even the great warriors of the world recognized the authority, and invoked the aid, of the Divine Power above us. The ranks of atheism have never furnished a great poet or a great commander.

     The young man who aims at distinction by scoffing at religion is not likely ever to attain to any higher distinction. Unless he completely turns about and becomes converted, an inglorious career, ending in shame and everlasting contempt, is before him.

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444 -- RELIGION Not in Externals

     Much time spent in the externals of religion is fruitlessly spent. Not that the externals are of no account: they are of great account as indications of the state of the heart, and as the manifestations of a gracious or ungracious disposition of the soul. But much that is done is really nothing more than a protracted effort to make a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. The best that can be done in this direction is the production of an attractive but worthless imitation. All who believe should be careful to maintain good works; but they should see that the good works are genuine, and not false counterfeits -- that they spring from humble faith and ardent love of God, and not from a love of praise and an expectation of earthly rewards.

     When one habitually fails to do right, it is because he is not right. Efforts to do right should not be relaxed; but efforts to do right should be redoubled. Make the fruit good; but the only successful way to do it is to make the tree good. Humble confession to God, earnest prayer, obedience to the inward strivings of the Spirit, will bring us where God can accomplish the work. True religion does not consist in anything external, but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

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445 -- RELIGION, Our, a Benefit to All

     Our religion should, in some way, benefit every one we come in contact with. It should make us more considerate of others, more faithful in all the common duties of life. "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself" (Rom. 14:7). This is said of all true Christians.

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446 -- RELIGION, Trading in, For Profit

     Trading in principles is a disastrous business. It is a cheat all around. It has much the appearance of dealing in counterfeit money. The one who sells knows that he is practicing a fraud; the one who buys knows that he is getting something which he expects to sell for more than its actual value. The religion that is disposed of for a money consideration is not worth the price paid for it, however trifling that may be. It is worse than worthless. It will not save the soul, and it effectually prevents one from seeking that sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord. Judas gained nothing by selling Christ. His silver became a weary burden that he could not carry. The transaction was equally fatal to the other parties to the bargain. O ye compromising professors! Will ye not consider the words of Christ: "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own souls."

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447 -- RELIGION, Mixed, a Curse

     Mixed religion is the curse of Christendom. It is a greater obstruction to the spread of the gospel than infidelity in all its varied forms. A Christian faith combined with heathen forms of worship and worldly rules of conduct deludes and demoralizes wherever it prevails. To be conformed to the world, while professing to serve God, is as fatal a symptom as is the act of "stealing the livery of Heaven to serve the devil in." They both show a division of purpose that renders it impossible to worship God acceptably. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" is the great lesson which the professed Christians of today need to be taught. the preacher who ministers at the altars of Freemasonry, because of his devotion to its principles, should not be allowed to preach from Christian pulpits to get a living. Singing songs of Zion, and manifesting sinful tempers, will never take one to Heaven. Prayer and pride do not go well together. Prayer may feed pride; but pride kills prayer. The gospel of expediency is a damning substitute for the gospel of Christ. See to it that your religion is pure. Accept no mixture of celestial and infernal principles, be they ever so skillfully compounded. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."

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448 -- RELIGIOUS NEWSPAPER, The Province of a

     We do not intentionally assail the moral character of any person, especially of any minister or member in good standing, or permit it to be done, in these columns. A newspaper is not a tribunal for the trial of church-members, or of any one else. But it is a proper place for a temperate discussion of methods. While discussing these, we should be careful and not reflect upon the Christian integrity of others; but we should, on the other hand, guard against an over-sensitiveness when we read what others write in opposition to our views or practices. We should not assume that one thinks we are not Christians because he can not agree with us. When he says that the tendency of a given course of action is bad, we should not take it for granted that he says the actor is bad. We should construe it, as it was intended, as a question of methods, rather than one of morals. The best construction that can fairly be given words is the charitable construction. When a man says one thing in print, we should not proceed to denounce him for saying something entirely different, which we may choose to think he meant. We should not charge one with meaning worse than he says.

     Conscience and candor should be called into exercise in reading, as well as in writing. Give these full play, and it will prevent a good deal of hard feeling.

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     The popular churches of this country have set the example of establishing an aristocracy based on wealth. The best seats in the grand houses of worship are sold to the ones who will pay the most for them.

     The great political parties are following the example of the great churches. In the Senate of the United States there are said to be sixteen millionaires worth eighty millions of dollars! Probably every one of them owes his election to his wealth!

     The government of ancient Rome was much stronger than ours. It stood hundreds of years and was, humanly speaking, firmly established. But when its people became corrupt, and offices were bought and sold, and mammon seized the reins of power, the state fell to pieces from its own corruptions. Its enemies triumphed over it, and its people were reduced to slavery.

     Our nation is in danger, not from without, but from within. The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

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450 -- REPROACH Improper Among Saints

     A church composed of only those who, before they were converted, led respectable lives, could hardly, in the present state of society, be called a church of Jesus Christ. He came to call, "not the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The rags from which one sheet of paper was made may have come from a lady's parlor; those from which another sheet was made may have come from the gutter. But now you can not tell the difference. One sheet may be just as white, and just as good, as the other. The one from the parlor never reproaches the one from the gutter for its origin. Both had to be cleansed by the same process. It is so with God's saints. Their excellency depends, not on what they were, but on what they are. One should never accuse another of his sinful condition when he came to Christ.

     What if he or she did marry when young and wicked, and obtained a divorce on other grounds than those permitted by the Scriptures? Their scriptural right to a divorce now, no one questions. But as they were long ago legally divorced, they can not obtain another one now. And if they could, it would be a needless expense. They give every evidence of being forgiven, and of leading a Christian life, that you could ask for in any other case. Then let them alone. If God has forgiven them you must forgive them, if you would yourself be forgiven. Do not be so afraid that the church will be disgraced. It will not be disgraced by the bad conduct of its members prior to their being saved, if they are now leading holy lives. But it is disgraced by those who, professing to be saved, are guilty of backbiting and slandering others. You should try to help, and not to hinder, those who have been rescued from the very clutches of Satan. If they have repented, brought forth fruits meet for repentance, and are now blameless in their lives, it is a fiendish work to bring up the past against them. If God has covered it by his Spirit, let it stay covered. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Do not help him in his nefarious work. The former bad conduct of a person now saved of God is one of the things you are required to forget.

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451 -- REPROACHING One's Neighbor

Taking up a reproach against a neighbor is dangerous business. One can not follow it, and go to Heaven. Persons have been killed recently by handling old shells that had been dropped twenty-five years ago, during the war. If you should happen to plow one up you had better bury it again. If people bring to you reproaches against their neighbor, carry them no farther. If they lay them down at your door, leave them there till they die. Positively refuse to have anything to do with them. You take them up at your peril. They are an unclean thing, which we are not permitted to touch. Scandal-mongers should find no market for their wares at the house of a Christian. They may offer to give them to you; but you should spurn all such offers, as you would an offer to give you the smallpox, or the yellow fever.

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452 -- REPROOF

     Before you reprove, be certain that the reproof is deserved. If you hear, or see, anything in another that you think is wrong, do not condemn, either publicly or privately until you are fully assured that you have a right under standing of the matter. If possible, get the views and explanations of the party concerned.

     A preacher, in his sermon one Sunday morning, gave his members a severe chastising for neglecting a sick sister. At the close of the meeting, several asked him what he meant. He said that a sister who lived across the street from him, had been sick for three weeks, and none of the members had visited her.

     "Why did you not tell us before? We did not know that she was sick."

     "I did not know it till yesterday."

     Yet he reproved his people publicly and sharply for not doing what they did not know needed to be done. There is often no more foundation for scolding sermons than in this case.      Mr. Wesley was once about to drop a member for covetousness. He knew the brother's income, and thought he did not pay for the cause as much as he ought to. He went to the suspected brother about it. He found that the brother was living upon eighteen pence a week -- sometimes made an entire meal out of boiled turnips -- that he might pay debts which he had contracted before he became a Christian! So, instead of censure, Wesley gave him a hearty commendation.

     Before you administer reproof, make it a rule to go to the party concerned and, with a loving spirit and in quiet tones, find out the facts and explanations in the case.

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453 -- REPROOF, Manner of

     Reproof, to do good, must be wisely given. Much depends upon the occasion chosen and the manner employed. Generally, the person offending should be taken alone. If others not interested are present, he will naturally put himself upon the defensive. Instead of confessing where he is wrong, he will endeavor to lay the blame on others. Then the manner should be kind, the tones of voice quiet and tender, the words chosen the gentlest that will answer. What wisdom Nathan used with David! The object should be, not simply to do our duty, but to restore the erring. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

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454 -- REPROOF Should be Taken Kindly

     Preachers should have the consideration, the respect, the sympathy, and the support of their people. You should give some candid thought to your preacher, his circumstances, his trials, and his necessities, and ask yourself the question. "What can I do to help him?" If he gives you well-meant reproof, you should not be restive under it, even though you find that you do not deserve it. A saved soul is not touchy and over-sensitive. If you are not right, you should be thankful to have the fact shown to you; and, even if it does hurt your feelings somewhat, you should be willing to have it pointed out; and you should set yourself to get right. On the other hand, if you are all right, and the Word of God does not condemn you, and the Spirit gives you his indorsement, and fills you with comfort, why should you be troubled, though you are misunderstood and misjudged? "For what glory is it if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called" (1 Pet. 2:20, 21).

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455 -- RESURRECTION Power Required

     In our articles of religion we say that we believe in the resurrection of the dead. This refers to the bodies which have gone down to the grave. We also believe in the resurrection of dead souls, and dead societies. But this can be effected only by the power of God. It will not do any good to denounce them. We must be able to so prophesy upon these bones, that there will be a "shaking," and "a noise," and a "coming together bone to his bone," till the "breath come into them and they live." In this way many dead societies have been resurrected. But it is of no use for you to try it, If you are as dead as the rest. You must yourself first be brought to life. Come to him who is the "resurrection and the life," for power to enable you to help others to come to life. The dead can not raise the dead.

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     Push on the work of revivals. If there is no special stir in your church, try and awaken an interest. Look at the multitude about you, thronging the broad way that leads to destruction, until a burden for souls comes upon you. Concern begets concern. Earnest, importunate, believing prayer will be answered in the awakening of souls. If there is a revival interest, keep it up and increase it. Attend the meetings. Be there in time to take an active part in the opening exercises. Sing heartily. Pray earnestly. Get blessed. Give others a chance. Be short. Do not scold. If you stand in the way of any one, make such an humble confession as will remove every hindrance. Break down others by breaking down yourself. Do your own confessing, and let others do theirs. Make no issues. Avoid personal attacks upon any one. Be clothed with humility.

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457 -- REVIVALS Needed

     We hope that every Free Methodist appointment will go in at once for a revival of the work of God. A revival is needed in every place. Sin abounds. Multitudes make no profession of religion. Of those belonging to the churches. but few give scriptural evidence of being born of God. Many were never converted. Many who were once converted are now backslidden. Spiritual death reigns. It is epidemic. Those who were once alive are dying all around us. Hills and valleys are covered with the bones of the dead. And they are very dry. Everywhere the great want is an outpouring of the Spirit of God. Unless God breathe upon these dry bones, they shall never live. But the breath of the Almighty can cause a resurrection where every thing betokens a condition utterly hopeless. Those who believe in God should never despair. There is help in him. These dead can live. "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matt. 3:9).

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458 -- REVIVALS Needed in Every Locality

     We are very desirous that all our preachers, and all our people, should go to work to promote a revival of religion in their respective localities. There is not a town in all this land in which a revival is not needed. Everywhere, sinners in the church, and sinners out of the church, are going to hell. The worse the state of religion and morals in the community, the greater is the necessity for a revival. If you want to do the work of an evangelist, there is plenty of room for the exercise of all your energies in any of our circuits. If you desire to become a missionary, begin your training at once by doing mission work in your own neighborhood.

"If you want a field of labor, You can find it anywhere."

     Who will consecrate his service for this work to the Lord?

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459 -- REVIVAL, A Genuine

     So rigid was the discipline among the old Spartans that a campaign was looked upon by them in the light of a pleasant duty. So it is with every real Christian. His best days are when he is putting forth the most vigorous efforts for the salvation of men. He loves revival scenes. The cry for mercy of the convicted sinner, groaning under the load of his sins, and the shouts of the redeemed, fall like sweet music upon his ear. We are never so happy -- never so raised above the world -- as when God condescends to use us as his "battle axe to break in pieces the nations" of sinners, and to "destroy kingdoms" of darkness.

     But a revival, to be a blessing and not a curse, must be accompanied with the purification of the church. The old Pharisees made proselytes, but they were twofold more the children of hell than themselves. So it is with the converts of a cold, dead, formal, fashionable church. Among the old members are many who were once soundly converted. and who, when they were poor, and when their church was persecuted and despised, really enjoyed religion. These are generally, unless they are living in the secret commission of flagrant sin, sufficiently in sympathy with salvation not to oppose it very bitterly. But when unrenewed men in large numbers get into the church and take the reins of government into their hands, then the opposition to the life and power of godliness becomes too formidable to be successfully encountered. Then the sanctuary of the Most High is turned into a market-place where the right of worshipping God is sold by auction to the highest bidder. Then fairs and festivals, pleasure rides, oyster suppers and sociables, become the order of the day. True religion is treated with ridicule, and those who enjoy it are stigmatized as fanatical or superstitious.

     A genuine revival is one that leads its subjects to get right with God and man, that leads the stout-hearted to bow in humble submission at the feet of Jesus. Brother, would you enjoy a revival? Begin at once to search your own heart. Get right at any cost. Wherein you have wronged any one in his character or property, make confession and restitution to the utmost of your ability. Consecrate yourself fully to God for all coming time.

     "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever." If your converts are many, it will be because you are diligent and earnest. You must do much personal work. Men do not usually flock in multitudes to the standard of the cross. They are drawn and won -- one here, another there.

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460 -- REVIVAL Implies New Life

     A revival in a church does not depend so much upon the spiritual condition of a church as it does upon its taking a step forward in the divine life. A church may be in a good spiritual condition, every member may enjoy the blessing of holiness; they may be united, and have the respect and confidence of the community; the preacher may be able and laborious; but if they do not get melted down by the Spirit, and get fresh blessings on their souls, they will not likely enjoy a revival of any permanence or depth. On the other hand, if they are divided and backslidden, yet if they will turn to the Lord "with all their heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend their hearts and not their garments," that is, have true inward humility, God will pour out his Spirit upon them, and there will be a blessed revival of religion.

     It was after David had grievously backslidden, and returned to the Lord, and prayed for pardon and for a clean heart, that he prayed, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee" (Ps. 51:12, 13).

     Not that it is not better for all to lead holy lives. But if we would see an outpouring of the Spirit, we must break down before God, and get new touches of divine power.

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461 -- REVIVAL, Old-Fashioned

     Where is not a revival needed? Where are the people all living together in holy love, on their way to Heaven, with songs, and everlasting joy on their heads? Where does not sin abound? Where does not the church need purifying?

     An old-fashioned revival will do more to settle difficulties than arbitrations or church trials. It will improve the neighborhood. It will help on every needed reform. Salvation from sin removes the great cause of bickerings and dissensions and neighborhood difficulties. Nothing will help the finances of a church like a thorough revival of the work of God. Above all, it will glorify God in the salvation of souls.

     Then lay yourself out for a revival. Make your plans to have one. Consecrate yourself to God to do all you can to promote one. Let your cry to Heaven be, O Lord, revive thy work.

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462 -- REVIVALS Not by Chance

     Revivals do not come by chance. A harvest of souls is no more gathered by accident than is a harvest of wheat. In the first case well-directed labor is as necessary as in the latter. It takes a hard, heavy soil to raise good crops of wheat from year to year; and a great harvest of souls has often been gathered from the most unpromising fields.

     Charles G. Finney, the greatest revivalist of his day, said, "A revival is the result of the right use of the appropriate means. The means which God has enjoined for the production of a revival, doubtless, have a natural tendency to produce a revival. Otherwise God would not have enjoined them. But means will not produce a revival, we all know, without the blessing of God. It is impossible for us to say that there is not as direct an influence or agency from God, to produce a crop of grain, as there is to produce a revival." Reader, ask the Lord what he will have you do to promote a revival.

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463 -- REVIVAL, General Suggestions For a

     If you would have a revival, you must not only agree in asking for it, but you must agree as touching it. You must take hold together to remove every obstacle that stands in the way of a revival. Just as far as possible get all dissensions among the members healed. Put a stop to all real inconsistencies which are naturally held up by sinners as a reason why they do not get converted.

     Make the room comfortable in which the meetings are to be held. Give to the people not only public but personal invitations to come to the meetings. Be always present yourself at the opening of every service, and look to have the Spirit poured out in the singing of the first hymn. Lay aside all jealousy, and all desire of prominence, and take hold heartily with any one with whom God is pleased to work. Manifest your interest in, and your agreement with, everything that is of God. Do not seek to have attention directed to yourself, but be willing to work unnoticed and unappreciated by mortals. You know the wheel that turns the mill is out of sight. Keep filled with love, and carry with. you a gracious influence into every place you enter. Have a faith that never wavers, and try to inspire it in others.

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464 -- REVIVAL: Begin Bight

     One reason why revivals are not more extensive and more permanent is, that they do not begin right. In goods made according to a pattern, no pains are spared to have a perfect pattern. The preachers and the workers in a revival will, to a great extent, shape the experience of the Converts. If the workers are cold and formal, the converts will be weak and unstable. Pharisees do not make Converts like themselves. They have their faults doubled in intensity. This is what our Savior said. Then, if you would have a revival, begin with yourselves. Stir up yourselves to take hold of God. You Can not impart to others what you do not have. If you would communicate spiritual life, you must have spiritual life; and you need to have it more abundantly. Prayers from the dead will not raise the dead. No church is fit to labor in a revival that is not enjoying a revival. Then consecrate yourselves anew to God. Do not be afraid to break down and get blessed before the world.

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465 -- REVIVAL, Where Begin a

     Success in the beginning of any undertaking inspires those engaged in it with courage. If you want a revival, it is best to begin where, if you do your duty, failure is impossible. Your success will encourage yourself and others. There is but little doubt but that the work will spread.

     "Where," do you ask, "shall I begin? Where I am certain, if I do my part, to have a revival?"

     We answer, Begin with yourself. The obstinacy and perverseness of others can not prevent the holy fire from falling upon you. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw high to you." Others will feel it.

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466 -- REVIVAL: Opportunity to be Improved

     The long evenings afford opportunity for revival and protracted meetings, which should be improved. If you have no heart for such a meeting, talk to God in your closet about it. Set apart a day of fasting and prayer, that you may know the mind of the Lord in the matter, and beseech him to especially baptize your soul, that you may feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you an overseer. Then go to the homes of your membership and pray with them over the matter. By this time you will be ready to visit the unsaved in their homes. talk with them personally about their souls, and pray with them. If you succeed, you must be anointed for the work; and when you get the anointing you must work as though you had it all to do; and depend on God as though you were nothing, and he had it all to do.

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467 -- REVIVAL MEETINGS Should be Started Early

     The best time to begin revival meetings is right away before cold weather comes on. So, if you go back to your former circuit, make appointments for the first eight evenings and, in God's name, begin at once to make special efforts for the salvation of souls. If you go to a new appointment, get settled as soon as possible, and start revival meetings before the interest in the new preacher dies out. There is no time to be lost. Souls are perishing all about you. The young people will be harder to reach when the winter amusements begin. Get all on fire and you will find some place in which to kindle a fire. Get burdened with a love for souls, and you will find souls to be saved. To settle down in inactivity will deaden the energies of any preacher. Get thoroughly awakened, and you will awaken others. We want to hear of more revivals, and of a greater number of conversions in every revival. God help you!

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468 -- REVIVAL MEETINGS To Begin in Closet

     Do not wait for revival meetings to have a revival begin. Let it begin now. Have one yourself in your own soul. It will then spread. Fire, kindled by a live coal from the altar of God, catches as readily as any other. A very humble colored woman once, by her burning testimony to perfect love, set the heart of a lawyer, a dead formalist, on fire with love for God and love for souls. He at once began to labor with great zeal and power for the salvation of others. Thorough and permanent revivals attended his labors wherever he went. His labors for souls were incessant for over thirty years. Many thousands were brought to Christ in the meetings which he held. Dead professors, however beautiful they may be in death, can not bring dead souls to life. But if you get all alive you will bring others to life. Let the revival begin in the closet. It will soon reach the family altar, the prayer-meeting, and the public congregation.

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469 -- REVIVAL Begun

     If your church is cold, throwing cold water upon it will not warm it. Bring in a little fire. Do yourself what you wish others to do. Fire kindles fire. A good example is likely to be followed. A little blaze among smoldering brands will very often set them all aglow. One live person in a dull meeting can completely change its character. His promptness makes others prompt. His ardent love leads some to see that they have lost their first love. They say to themselves, "I used to feel that way myself. People may call him fanatical; but he is right. I am more nearly dead than I thought I was. I will get back to the Lord and get my soul blessed. I will not be in this luke-warm state any longer." This was the beginning of a revival. He had more to confess than he supposed. But he went through and was powerfully blessed. Others followed. Several backsliders were reclaimed. In a short time sinners began to seek the Lord, and the good work went on till many were saved.

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470 -- REVIVAL May Be Begun Where Two Are Agreed

     To have a revival in any place it is not necessary to have a large number of devoted Christians to labor for it. Christ says, "Where two of you are agreed as touching any thing which they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." These words are general, it is true. But there is nothing to which they will more properly apply than to a revival of religion. If you want a revival, can you not pray for one until God will give you some one to unite with you for it? If you have not a brother or a sister who will unite with you, is there not a backslider that you can get reclaimed, or a sinner you can get converted? Look up some one with whom you can be agreed. Simon Peter found his brother Andrew, and you can find some one if you try.

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471 -- REVIVALS: Cottage Prayer-Meetings

     We want to hear of more revivals among us. A thorough revival of the work of God is the great need of all our societies. There is not a place in the land where one is not needed. If the preacher is busy on another part of the circuit, do not wait for him to begin revival meetings. Let the members begin them. Hold prayer-meetings around from house to house. If unconverted people will open their houses for prayer-meetings, go there and hold them. The preacher may be greatly surprised, when he comes around, to find a revival in progress. Said a man in the love-feast yesterday, "I was very wicked. Several of the neighbors came in one evening. I said to my wife, 'Spread the cloth on the table; they have come in to play cards.' They replied, 'No; we have come in to have a prayer-meeting.' I was greatly taken back, but I consented. I was pleased with the singing. When they asked if they might come again, I said yes; but I really hoped they would not. They came, and I got to praying, and God gloriously converted my soul. This was some years ago, and I have been leading a praying life ever since. I am happy in God today." Some of the best revivals we have ever known began, and were carried on, in cottage prayer-meetings. These can be held anywhere, and without a preacher.

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472 -- REVIVAL Efforts Unmixed

     "The Free Methodists ill our place," said an intelligent member of the M. E. church, "have done more the last six years to build up our church than they have to build up their own."

     If in doing that they were helping souls to heaven, we would pass it by in silence. But when they are helping to put people in a church in which worldly conformity, church festivals, fun and frolic, and Freemasonry are fast destroying every vestige of the old-fashioned Methodist piety and fervor, we feel free to say, that Free Methodists ought to be better employed. They can use their time, and talents, and means, to better advantage. In doing such work they are recreant to the trust which God has committed to them.

     How was it brought about? Not intentionally on their part. They lost a good degree of the life and power out of their own hearts. They became absorbed in politics. Partisan zeal ate out religious zeal. Then they went into union meetings. The preachers toned down to suit the occasion. They failed to do thorough work for God. Superficial revivals resulted, and the more worldly church gathered in the weakly converts.

     Such preachers need to repent. God pronounces a woe upon them who do his work deceitfully. The truth should be preached with all plainness and boldness to worldly congregations. Those converted under our labors should be so thoroughly converted, and so well instructed, that formal churches will not want them. They should show so dearly in their testimonies what Christ can save a truly converted soul from, that their burning words would make the dull ears of cold professors tingle. Let us be true to our calling. Let us do thorough work for God.

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473 -- REVIVAL, Members Should Continue

     If meetings are going on successfully, they should not be closed because the preacher must go to another appointment. That must be a superficial revival in which the members are not so blessed that they can carry on a meeting without a preacher. We are living in the times spoken of by the Prophet: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another" (Mal. 3:16). It was about the things of the kingdom that they spoke, for "the Lord hearkened and heard it." It is considered an important meeting when a reporter for the press is present and writes down the proceedings. But these meetings are more important, for God sent a recorder and "a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord. and that thought upon his name." A meeting that interests Heaven can hardly fail to attract some attention on earth. Such a meeting may be held without a preacher.

     Better still, we are living in the days spoken of by the Prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28, 29). Can you not get along without a preacher with such a state of things? Generally the trouble at such times is to get along with a preacher. He is too liable to want to "steady the ark." Hands off when God's presence is signally manifested. Let the young kine move on, lowing as they go. You will not want for an audience: "the lords of the Philistines" will go after them. They will be moved by curiosity, if by nothing else. Let "your sons and your daughters," upon whom the Spirit of God rests, prophesy. Give them the opportunity, and God will work through them.

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474 -- REVIVAL MEETINGS: Do Not Close Too Soon

     Much efficient labor is often lost by closing protracted meetings too soon. They are sometimes stopped just as a deep interest has been awakened, and before there has been any great ingathering of souls. This is wrong. It is a mistaken policy. It prevents the realization of much good; and sometimes does positive harm. Those who were melted, but not saved, become harder than they were before. It is better not to plow up a field and sow it, unless you intend to take care of the crop and harvest it. It is wanton cruelty to take fish upon your hook, only to throw them back into the water. Paul, though the world was open before him and needing help, held on at Ephesus "by the space of three years." Nor was it a resting time among old friends: for he says, "I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." It was a long effort and a successful one. A strong church was gathered from the world and established in the truth.

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475 -- REVIVALS All the Year

     It is altogether a mistaken notion that we can have revivals only in the winter. Men die and are lost in the summer as well as in the winter. God is just as willing to work in one season of the year as another. The trouble is in our lack of faith and lack of consecration to the work. Preachers may have revivals in the summer if they will.

     On the last circuit we traveled we had a powerful revival in a farming community right on through the busy season of the year. The church, and wagons with hay-racks on, driven up to the open windows, were filled with people. Many were saved. It was a glorious visitation. At another point we kept up a grove-meeting every Sabbath afternoon all summer, which was attended by hundreds of people.

     Brother preacher, keep a revival spirit, and aim directly to get believers sanctified and sinners converted; your labors will not be in vain in the Lord.

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476 -- REVIVAL Destroyed by Impatience

     The whole community was stirred, and there appeared to be the prospect of a great revival of religion. The meetings were the common topic of conversation in the stores and in the houses. But the people did not move as promptly as they should have done. Conviction was working in their minds, but as yet they showed no disposition to yield to it. Many, doubtless, would have yielded, but the evangelist who was holding the meetings appeared to the people to get out of patience, and went to abusing them. They turned against him, refused to go to hear any more, and the meeting which began with so much promise ended in a total defeat.

     Beloved, whatever takes place, keep sweet in your temper. However provoking others may be, let the peace of God reign in your heart. If others will not get religion, still you can live religion. Christ says, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." But he does not say that he will drive them. And it is worse than useless for us to attempt to.

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477 -- REVIVALS, Popular

     In the popular revivals some important truths are preached. But unpopular truths, greatly needed, are either passed over in silence, or only occasionally touched upon. "Glittering generalities" are employed where pertinent personalities should be used. In general terms, people perhaps are told from the pulpit, that they must give up their sins, that they must renounce the world, but in the inquiry-room they are told simply to believe in Jesus; or to believe they are forgiven, and they are forgiven. Then they are urged to confess Christ; that is, to say they are converted. Then they join the church, and go on deceived to the end of life. "He that is down need fear no fall." If they are moral and amiable, they pass for Christians, when they were never even scripturally awakened. They never lose their experience, for they never had any to lose. They never backslide, for they have nothing to backslide from. For a sinner to be converted, he must repent. He must make a humble confession of his sins. He must turn from every wicked way. He must come out from unbelievers and be separate. He must come to Christ by placing himself wholly at his disposal. So likewise whosoever of you he be that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).

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478 -- REVIVAL WORK: Superficial or Thorough?

     A Free Methodist preacher informs us that he held meetings several weeks last winter, and had about thirty sinners converted; but only two or three of them joined the Free Methodist church. All the rest were induced to unite with the M. E. church. If they would be led on to holiness it would not be labor thrown away. But it is discouraging to labor hard to get sinners converted, and then see them join a church which, to say the least. tacitly encourages the young men to join an anti-Christian lodge; and the young women to dress like the world and mingle in its pleasures. It is like drawing water in a sieve. It is toiling to roll a stone up hill. only to see it, when near the top, slip from your grasp and roll back lower down than it was when you started it. Such results always come from too superficial work. Popular churches do not want those who are converted in the old-fashioned way, unless they have a good deal of money. Converts who bear their testimony against Freemasonry, and church festivals and worldly conformity, and who get shouting happy, would only work trouble in a worldly church. They would not be at home in it.

     If you would not have your converts go to popular churches, you must not adopt popular methods to promote revivals. You must preach repentance, and insist upon it. You must not assume that the conditions of salvation as laid down by Christ and the apostles have been outlawed. Stress must be laid on these conditions. "If we confess out sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). When people come forward for prayers let earnest and united prayer be made for them. Get them to pray. Do not be all the time talking to them. You talk to God for them and let God talk to them. Sing the good old Methodist hymns, such as, "Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive," and do not sing the antinomian hymns now so popular. Do not encourage them to think that they are converted until they have the witness of the Spirit that they are born again. Look to have them come through happy in God.

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479 -- REVIVAL SPIRIT Must be Maintained

     We hope that all our societies will settle down to steady work, but not settle down in formality. Let every member have a revival spirit; then you will have a revival spirit in all your meetings. The preacher may be cold; but unless he is dead, past all hope, he, too, will be revived. Every church ought to be a revival church, and every preacher a revival preacher. We prove it by the words of Christ, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8). The fruit which Christians bear is the good they do to others. If we arc doing no good, Christ tells us plainly that we are not his disciples. We may call ourselves such; but he disowns us. If we belong to him, we shall engage heartily in his work. Let us be warned in season. "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness." Do you not dread such a doom?

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480 -- RICH, Gospel Not To

     From the pains especially taken by many churches to make their services particularly acceptable to the rich and the proud, one would think that the gospel was primarily designed to meet the tastes of these classes. But this is a great mistake. Christ never said to the rich, "Come unto me, and I will give you an opportunity to display your fine clothes to the best advantage. Come to my church, and I will see that the preaching and the singing, and all the services, are adapted to your culture. Nothing offensive to your refined tastes shall be permitted." Quite the contrary. His words were such as these: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). "And the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matt. 11:5). "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Matt. 11:6).

     Let us then take special pains to preach the gospel to the poor. Those who are willing to hear it in its purity and power can then listen to it if they will. A free road is open to the rich as well as to the poor.

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481 -- RICH, Oppressors of Souls

     No church can maintain its purity and its simplicity, if it is dependent upon the rich. In return for their money, they will demand concessions to their pride; and that will prove destructive to vital godliness. St. James asks the saints, "Do not rich men oppress you?" Where is there a single church controlled by the rich in which the saints are free to get blessed and praise God?

     The Old Methodists saw so clearly the danger from this source that they gave, as a reason for building plain and inexpensive churches: "Otherwise the necessity of raising money will make rich men necessary to us. But if so, we must be dependent on them, yea, and governed by them. And then farewell to Methodist discipline, if not doctrine, too."

     Has not this farewell been uttered? What M. E. preacher enforces the M. E. Discipline, even as it has been toned down to suit the worldly inclined?

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482 -- RICHES

     It seems strange that any person who believes the Bible should join in the scramble after riches. What can be plainer than the words of Christ: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" Would any person have confidence in the sincerity of a young German who, expressing a great longing for the time to come when he could enter the army, deliberately mutilates himself so as to unfit him for the army? Can a man be in earnest to gain Heaven when he takes a course which Christ says will shut him out of Heaven?

     I was deeply impressed this morning in reading the account of the rich man and Lazarus. It sounds like a true narrative. Turn to the sixteenth chapter of Luke and read it over carefully. Ask yourself if you are seeking to have your good things in this life.

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483 -- RICHES Dangerous

     It seems strange that men will hazard almost everything to obtain that which renders their eternal salvation extremely difficult, if not impossible. Yet they do. To obtain riches many do not shrink from any act of dishonesty that promises success. Many of the common methods of getting rich, when stripped of the air of respectability which legal sanctions and common practice throw around them, are no better than downright robbery. Watering the stock of railroads is simply lying and stealing combined. Stock exchanges are gambling houses thinly disguised. Yet men who call themselves moral and respectable, and many church-members, engage in these practices. Only to get rich! Hear what our Savior says: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:24, 25). These texts are not often preached from in our popular pulpits. Yet such was the uniform teaching of Christ. The salvation of the rich is extremely difficult, if not impossible! Think of it, be fore you decide to try to become rich.

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484 -- RICHES An Obstacle to Salvation

     For a man to have burglars' or counterfeiters' tools in his possession is a suspicious circumstance. To show that he came by them honestly does not remove the suspicion. He amy show receipts from the men of whom he made his purchases, but that does not improve his standing with honest guardians of the law. "We are convinced that you bought them, but what have you bought them for?" So, if a rich man could show that he came by his riches honestly, seen in the eyes of Christ, the bare possession of them is strong presumptive evidence that he is an enemy of Christ and an alien to his kingdom. Dr. Adam Clarke says: "Earthly riches are a great obstacle to salvation; because it is almost impossible to possess them and not to set the heart upon them; and they who love the world have not the love of the Father in them" (1 John 2:15). To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of this? It is God himself who, by a miracle of mercy, can do this. Christ himself affirms the difficulty of the salvation of a rich man, with an oath, verily; but who of the rich either hears or believes him?

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485 -- RIGHTEOUS LIFE Brings Peaceful End

     If you would die the death of the righteous, you must live his life. Holy living makes easy dying. If you pass through the strait gate, and walk steadily on in the narrow way, you need have no concern about what the end will be when you reach it. Your sole concern should be to press on steadily in the narrow way, and not allow yourself, by any inducements which earth can give, to be turned aside into the broad way of worldly conformity.

     To live the life of the righteous you must become righteous. You must repent. You must be born of the Spirit. You must be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. You must walk in the Spirit and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Do this, and you need have no fears about dying. You will be ready for it when the time comes. Rivers that flow into the ocean reach it on a level with it, no matter from what high grounds they may come. Their waters run into the ocean and the waters of the ocean run into them. So if your life is going out towards God, his life will come into yours and you will become more and more like him, until at last you are swallowed up in the ocean of infinite love.

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486 -- RIGHTEOUSNESS, National

     Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). The mightiest nations of antiquity, one after another, fell from their own corruptions. While they had moral strength within, they were proof against all external enemies. In her best days Rome dispensed justice through all her dominions. The principles of jurisprudence which her jurists laid down are still acknowledged as binding by all civilized nations. But when her people became rich, and voluptuous, and rapacious, her decay began. Public offices were bought; and Gibbon says the crown itself was sold by the Praetorian guard at public auction. He became emperor who offered the highest price for the honor. (See Gibbon's Rome, 1:127). The spirit of venality prevailed at last to such an extent that the same historian says: "The Romans would demolish with their own hands the arches and walls, if the hope of profit could surpass the cost of the labor and exportation" (Same, 6:526).

     If the American republic is to stand, an end must be put to the practice of carrying elections by money. He who buys or sells a vote should be branded as a traitor, and be rendered incapable afterward of casting a ballot or holding an office.

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487 -- ROMAN CATHOLICS: Jesuits

     The Jesuits have been banished from every Roman Catholic country in Europe. They are thought the least of where they are known best. Those whom they serve are afraid of them. They were organized to uphold the Pope. They succeeded in stopping the progress of the Reformation begun by Luther. They have planted Romanism in every quarter of the globe. Their equals for devotion to the cause they have espoused can not be found. Their self-denial, their fearlessness in the face of danger. their persistency in carrying out what they undertake, their ready obedience to those in authority over them, their life-long consecration of every energy of body and mind. are wholly without a parallel. But they are so intriguing, so unscrupulous in their methods, and the standard of morality which they inculcate and practice is so low and elastic, that even Roman Catholic Government in the world is afraid of them. and closes its doors against them. This country is the paradise of the Jesuits. Here the,' can practice their dangerous arts unmolested. They work in secret. Without opposition in politics, they form a potential factor in important political movements. They are now making a persistent effort to obtain control of the judiciary of this country. They are succeeding to quite an extent. Roman Catholic magistrates and policemen in many of our cities, where they dare to interfere, lay an iron hand on any unusual effort on the part of Protestants to reach the low, degraded masses, composed generally of atheists, socialists and Roman Catholics. There is little doubt but that the Pope has greater political influence in Chicago and in New York than he has in Rome.

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     The disposition manifested by our Government to bestow special favors upon the Roman Catholic church ought to arouse the country to a determined opposition to all such measures.

     The Presbyterian Observer, of Baltimore, says: "The Indian schools receiving governmental aid are passing rapidly under the control of Roman Catholics. Just think of it! Four-fifths of them are under the direction of papists, while only one-fifth are under the care of Protestants of all denominations. How is this to be accounted for? What does it mean? Is Rome better qualified for the work, or is it designed to favor Romanism and secure its support politically? Protestants should watch Romish influence in this and other directions."

     The tread of the Jesuit is as noiseless as the approach of a serpent. He lays his plans and works in secret until he gets his victim within his embrace, and then there is no escape. Let this country fall under the control of the Jesuits, and it will soon fall into the decay common to all Roman Catholic countries. We should guard against the evil while it may be prevented.

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489 -- ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH and Property

     A large amount of the property of the country is fast passing into the hand of priests who acknowledge supreme allegiance to the Pope of Rome. In Brooklyn. New York, a few years ago, they obtained, by getting a rich bachelor to make his will in their favor, and allowing no one else to have access to him till he died, possession of nearly a block of property, now worth millions. In the town in which we live they own a good farm which was given to them. They have both these pieces of property so fixed that they are exempt from taxation. The same thing is going on quietly all over the country.

     In France, in the days of Cardinal Richelieu, the Romish priests, according to the historian Guizot, "possessed more than a quarter of the property of France." For this property they claimed exemption from taxation. Richelieu was the controlling spirit in the government in the reign of Louis XIII. He levied a tax at one time upon this property of eighty million livres.

     In no papal country in the world are Romish priests allowed to go on untrammeled in absorbing the wealth of the people, as they are in this country.

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490 -- ROMANISM, Aggressions of

     The aggressions of Romanism are steady, insidious, persistent, and well directed. They aim at one object -- to obtain control of the civil power of this country. Already, in many of our cities, religious liberty is circumscribed through its influence. Brass bands are permitted to head noisy processions on the streets, and even oil the Sabbath; but a few followers, marching and singing the songs of Zion, are arrested and sent to jail. Romanists should have the same rights as Protestants, but no more. We are in favor of religious liberty to its fullest extent; but we object to having religious liberty construed to mean only the liberty to do as the Pope directs. In Boston, the Rev. Mr. Davis, a minister of high standing, is sent to jail for a year, for the crime of preaching the gospel en Boston Common! And yet the country does not rise up and demand his release!

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491 -- ROMANISM and Free Institutions

     The American people can not afford to tolerate Jesuitism. It is a deadly foe to free institutions. The Jesuits have proved themselves so dangerous that they were once banished from the leading Roman Catholic countries of Europe.

     Joseph Cook says:

     "America is young and strong. She is a child in gay, overflowing health, rushing forward in full sunlight through lush, rank growths and vernal meadows. Jesuitism is a snake in the grass. The viper fastens itself almost unnoticed around her ankles as she runs. It already sinks its fangs into the veins of journalism, and into those of education, and into the great central artery of politics. The racing child in her eagerness and vigor as yet hardly feels the wounds. But the poison will tell in due time. When once the health of the republic begins seriously to suffer, the head of the serpent will be crushed beneath the heel of public opinion. The safety of men is inconsistent with the freedom of vipers. The plea for toleration is to be answered in presence of a full exposure of the purposes of Jesuit aggression. When the Syllabus lies behind the Roman Catholic propaganda, the right of self-preservation lies in front of it.

     "No Protestant American desires a union of church and state, or asks for himself in church or school any privilege he is not willing to grant to any other loyal citizen. But the safety of the people is the supreme law. A free school, a free church, and a free state are the three supports of the tripod on which rests the whole weight of American prosperity. Strike away either of these three and you cause the whole to fall. It is undeniable that the entire force of the Romish hierarchy is now pledged to the destruction of the first of these supports. The arm of' the Vatican is lifted to destroy the American common-school system."

     Our public schools must be defended at all hazards. No one should be admitted to citizenship who does not renounce all allegiance to all foreign powers.

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492 -- ROMANISM and the Public School.

     "Father Chapelle" asks, "Is there not a flagrant contradiction in the conduct of men who band together to direct evangelical influences to bear upon our people, and who thoroughly and most inconsistently proclaim that the teaching of the gospel shall be banished from the schools?" We reply: There is. Such a course is inconsistent. It ought to bring the blush of shame to the cheeks of every Protestant. But how came the Bible to be put out of our common schools? It was by an outcry made against it by the Romish priests. The infidels joined in the outcry; and the politicians, to gain their votes, voted the Bible out. But the priests are as clamorous as ever, only now they raise the cry that our common schools are godless schools. But they made them so. And this is only a specimen of what they will do if they gain the power.

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     It is a great thing to get saved: it is much greater to keep saved. Many lose communion with God by compromising with sin; many more by losing their love, and becoming harsh and uncharitable. In the same breath ii' which we are commanded to "follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord," we are charged to look "diligently, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15).

     These "roots of bitterness" are troublesome things. What trouble they make in the conference, and in the church. especially if there is a strong, leading spirit nourished by the root! There is almost no end to the mischief it can make. It brings in a spirit of division. It instigates to church trials, it stirs up a hasty spirit; it breaks up societies and ruins souls. As alcohol, the bane of our race, is extracted from grain from which the bread of our race is made, so this "root of bitterness" is a perversion of holiness without which no one can be saved. To discern it one must look diligently. Much that passes for the fruit of holiness grows upon this root of bitterness. It produces many sermons, and exhortations, and articles for the papers, which claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. From knowing that what goes into a building is suitable for food, you can not decide that what comes out is good to nourish human beings. The grain may come out flour for bread, or it may come out liquid hell-fire. It depends upon whether there is a mill or a still inside.

     So what one gets out of a text depends upon what there is in the heart. If there is love, the severest words will be seasoned with tenderness. They may be sharper than a two-edged sword; but to the honest soul that is wounded, there comes the oil of joy for mourning.      But if, instead of love, there is within the root of bitterness, the words will drive rather than draw; the arrow may be well aimed, but it will leave a poisoned wound which refuses to be healed. Those who come under the influence of this root of bitterness become less kind, less amiable, than they were before they professed holiness. Those who live in love may stir up enmity, but their enemies are drawn to them in spite of themselves.

     It is not enough that we are zealous, and our zeal is successful in making converts. What is the character of our converts? Are they filled with that love of God which leads them to keep his commandments? "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). Or, on the contrary, are they conformed to this world? If not, if they are simple and plain, are they bitter in their spirit, and denunciatory in their tone?

     Christ said of the Pharisees, "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Matt. 23:15). We must see to it that we are not of that sort, and that our converts are not of that sort. Zeal and success in making converts, and in getting them into the church, are not evidence that those who have the zeal and meet with the success are the children of God. The church and the world greatly need those who can and will do true work for God. Many who seem willing to do it are not in a spiritual condition to do it. They are either too complaisant, or too bitter. Their converts are either baptized worldlings or self-complacent bigots.

     Who will have true charity and will do faithful work for God?

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494 -- RULE OR RUIN SPIRIT UnChristlike

     We are struck with the reproof that Christ gave his disciples, when some of them wished to have authority over the others. "Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so it shall not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister [or servant]: and whosoever of you shall be the chiefest, shall be servant of all" (Mark 10:4244). He gives as a reason, his own example: "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." God "hath set governments' in the church (1 Cor. 12:28). But it does not follow that every man who wants to govern, is called of God to govern. If one puts himself forward to govern it is, as a rule, presumptive evidence that God does not call him to be a ruler. When God called David, it was through the prophet Samuel; and the people indorsed the call. Absalom called himself; and, though he secured many followers, he came to an untimely end. The spirit of "rule or ruin" is utterly opposed to the Spirit of Christ. If one must leave the church because he is not put into office, he is not fit for office. The love of power is as contrary to the Spirit of Christ as the love of dress or the love of money. One may be dead to everything else, but if he finds in himself a disposition to rally around his banner as many followers as he can, with whom his word is law, and over whom he exercises absolute authority, he has a right to conclude that he is not dead to sin. Self is still alive to a dangerous degree. "Only make me king today," said a Mohammedan prince, "and you may kill me tomorrow." But a true disciple of Christ does not want a kingdom of this world.