You have fallen, terribly fallen. Satan lured you on into his net, and then left you to disentangle yourself as best you could. You have been harassed and perplexed, and fearfully
tempted. A guilty conscience troubles you. You distrust yourself and imagine that everyone else distrusts you. You are jealous of yourself and imagine that jealousy exists in other hearts toward you. You have not confidence in yourself and imagine that your brethren have not confidence in you. Satan often presents the past before you and tells you that it is of no use for you to try to live out the truth, the way is too strait for you. You have been overcome; now Satan takes advantage of your sinful course to make you believe that you are past redemption. You are on Satan's battlefield engaged in a severe conflict. The barrier which is thrown around every family circle, and which makes it sacred, you have broken down. And now Satan harasses you almost constantly. You are not at rest. You are not at peace, and you seek to make your brethren responsible for your conflicting feelings and doubts and jealousies; you feel that they are at fault, that they do not give you attention. The trouble is with yourself. You want your own way, and do not rend your heart before God, and with brokenness and contrition cast yourself all broken, sinful, and polluted, upon His mercy. Your efforts to save yourself, if persisted in, will result in your certain ruin.
Cease your jealousies and your faultfinding. Turn your attention to your own case and by humble repentance, relying alone upon the blood of Christ, save your own soul. Make thorough work for eternity. If you turn from the truth you are a ruined man, your family is ruined. After the fortifications preserving sacred the privacy and privileges of the family relation have been once broken down, it is difficult to build them up; but in the strength of God, and in His strength alone, you can do this. Truth, sacred truth, is your anchor, which will save you from drifting in the downward current to crime and destruction.
A conscience once violated is greatly weakened. It needs
the strength of constant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. You are standing in a slippery place. You need all the strength that the truth can give to fortify you and save you from making entire shipwreck. Life and death are before you; which will you choose? Had you seen the necessity of being firmly settled upon principle, not moving from impulse, and not being easily discouraged, but prepared to endure hardness, you would not have been overcome as you have been. You have moved from impulse. You have not, like our faultless Pattern, been willing to endure the contradiction of sinners against yourself. We are exhorted to remember Him who endured this, lest we become weary and faint in our minds. You have been weak as a child, having no power of endurance. You have not felt the necessity of being established, strengthened, settled, grounded, and built up in the faith.
You have felt that it might be your duty to teach the truth to others instead of being taught yourself. But you must be willing to be a learner, to receive the truth from others, and must cease your faultfinding, your jealousies, your complaining, and in meekness receive the engrafted word which is able to save your soul. It rests with you whether you will have happiness or misery. You have once yielded to temptation and cannot now trust your own strength. Satan has great power over your mind, and you will have nothing to hold you when you break from the restraining influence of the truth. This has been as a safeguard to you to restrain you from crime and iniquity. Your only hope is to seek for thorough conversion and redeem the past by your well-ordered life and godly conversation.
You have moved from impulse. Excitement has been agreeable to your organisation. Your only hope now is to sincerely repent of your past transgressions of God's law and purify your soul by obeying the truth. Cultivate purity of
thought and purity of life. The grace of God will be your strength to restrain your passions and curb your appetites. Earnest prayer and watching thereunto will bring the Holy Spirit to your aid to perfect the work and make you like your unerring Pattern.
If you choose to throw off the sacred, restraining influence of the truth, Satan will lead you captive at his will. You will be in danger of giving scope to your appetites and passions, giving loose rein to lusts, to evil and abominable desires. Instead of bearing in your countenance a calm serenity under trial and affliction, like faithful Enoch, having your face radiant with hope and that peace which passeth understanding, you will stamp your countenance with carnal thoughts, with lustful desires. You will bear the impress of the satanic instead of the divine.
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." It is now your privilege, by humble confession and sincere repentance, to take words and return unto the Lord. The precious blood of Christ can cleanse you from all impurity, remove all your defilement, and make you perfect in Him. The mercies of Christ are still within your reach if you will accept them. For the sake of your wronged wife, and your children, the fruit of your own body, cease to do evil, and learn to do well. That which you sow, you shall also reap. If you sow to the flesh you shall of the flesh reap corruption. If you sow to the Spirit you shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
You must overcome your sensitiveness and faultfinding. You are jealous that others do not give you all the attention you think you should have. The experience founded in feeling, and savouring of fanaticism, you must not adhere to. It is unsafe. Move from principle, from thorough understanding.
Search the Scriptures, and be able to give to every man that asketh you the reasons of the hope which is in you, with meekness and fear. Let self-exaltation die. "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." When harassed with temptations and evil thoughts, there is but One to whom you can flee for relief and succour. Flee to Him in your weakness. When near Him, Satan's arrows are broken and cannot harm you. Your trials and temptations borne in God will purify and humble, but will not destroy or endanger you.