The True Inspiration to Enthusiasm
If there is anything in our world that should inspire enthusiasm, it is the cross of Calvary. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Christ is to be accepted, believed on, and exalted. This is to be the theme of conversation,--the preciousness of Christ. * * *
Parties of Pleasure
While there has been so much fear of excitement and enthusiasm in the service of God, there has been manifest an enthusiasm in another line which to many seems wholly congenial. I refer to the parties of pleasure that have been held among our people. These occasions have taken much of the time and attention of people who profess to be servants of Christ; but have these assemblies tended to the glory of His name? Was Jesus invited to preside over them?
Gatherings for social intercourse may be made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God, glowing in their hearts, when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing His work and doing good to their fellow-men. When nothing is said or done
to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but it is regarded as a welcome guest, then God is honoured, and those who meet together will be refreshed and strengthened.
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels."
But there has been a class of social gatherings in _____ of an entirely different character, parties of pleasure that have been a disgrace to our institutions and to the church. They encourage pride of dress, pride of appearance, self-gratification, hilarity, and trifling. Satan is entertained as an honoured guest, and he takes possession of those who patronise these gatherings.
A view of one such company was presented to me, where were assembled those who profess to believe the truth. One was seated at the instrument of music, and such songs were poured forth as made the watching angels weep. There was mirth, there was coarse laughter, there was abundance of enthusiasm, and a kind of inspiration: but the joy was such as Satan only is able to create. This is an enthusiasm and infatuation of which all who love God will be ashamed. It prepares the participants for unholy thought and action. I have reason to think that some who were engaged in that scene, heartily repented of the shameful performance.
Effect of Such Gatherings
Many such gatherings have been presented to me I have seen the gaiety, the display in dress, the personal adornment. All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting,
cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, conscience sleeps. With eating and drinking and merry-making, they do their best to forget God. The scene of pleasure is their paradise. And Heaven is looking on, seeing and hearing all. * * *
Deceptive Working of Satan
The tenor of the conversation reveals the treasure of the heart. The cheap, common talk, the words of flattery, the foolish witticism, spoken to create a laugh, are the merchandise of Satan, and all who indulge in this talk are trading in his goods. Impressions are made upon those who hear these things, similar to that made upon Herod when the daughter of Herodias danced before him. All these transactions are recorded in the books of heaven; and at the last great day they will appear in their true light before the guilty ones. Then all will discern in them the alluring, deceptive workings of the devil, to lead them into the broad road and the wide gate that open to their ruin.
Professed Christians as Decoys of Satan
Satan has been multiplying his snares in -----; and professed Christians who are superficial in character and religious experience are used by the tempter as his decoys. This class are always ready for the gatherings for pleasure or sport, and their influence attracts others. Young men and women who have tried to be Bible Christians are persuaded to join the party, and they are drawn into the ring. They did not prayerfully consult the divine standard, to learn what Christ had said in regard to the fruit to be borne on the Christian tree. They do not discern that these entertainments are really Satan's banquet, prepared to keep souls from accepting the call to the marriage supper of the Lamb; they prevent them from receiving the white robe of
character, which is the righteousness of Christ. They become confused as to what it is right for them as Christians to do. They do not want to be thought singular, and naturally incline to follow the example of others. Thus they come under the influence of those who have never had the divine touch on heart or mind. * * *
True Attitude of the Christian
The eternal God has drawn the line of distinction between the saints and the sinners, the converted and the unconverted. The two classes do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colours of the rainbow. They are as distinct as midday and midnight.
Those who are seeking the righteousness of Christ will be dwelling upon the themes of the great salvation. The Bible is the storehouse that supplies their souls with nourishing food. They meditate upon the incarnation of Christ, they contemplate the great sacrifice made to save them from perdition, to bring in pardon, peace, and everlasting righteousness. The soul is aglow with these grand and elevating themes. Holiness and truth, grace and righteousness, occupy the thoughts. Self dies, and Christ lives in His servants. In contemplation of the word, their hearts burn within them, as did the hearts of the two disciples while they went to Emmaus, and Christ walked with them by the way, and opened to them the scriptures concerning Himself.
How few realise that Jesus, unseen, is walking by their side! How ashamed many would be to hear His voice speaking to them, and to know that He heard all their foolish, common talk! And how many hearts would burn with holy joy if they only knew that the Saviour was by their side, that the holy atmosphere of His presence was surrounding them, and they were feeding on the bread of life! How pleased the Saviour would be to hear His followers talking
of His precious lessons of instruction, and to know that they had a relish for holy things!
When the truth abides in the heart, there is no place for criticism of God's servants, or for picking flaws with the message He sends. That which is in the heart will flow from the lips. It cannot be repressed. The things that God has prepared for those that love Him, will be the theme of conversation. The love of Christ is in the soul as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, sending forth living streams, that bring life and gladness wherever they flow.