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"But he that shall endure unto the end, the
same shall be saved.”—Mark xiii. 13. The Fleedful THERE was great need
for the Saviour to Cantion. caution His followers against the sin of backsliding, inasmuch as many who had once identified themselves with His cause, went back, and walked with Him no more. In the times of the apostles also, tho same danger existed, as appears from Paul's exhortation to the Hebrews “ Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,”—and a similar warning is by no means inapplicable in the present day.
That there is something peculiarly heinous in such conduct is evident from the following considerations:- In the first place, it is a sin expressive of the most extreme folly. This feature belongs to every sin, and therefore wicked men are frequently represented as fools; but this is especially the case with the sin of backsliding.
What would be thought of persons in want of water, if they removed their tents from a full fountain which was close at hand, with the expectation of getting a larger supply by settling in a dry desert, where, with the greatest labour, they had to hew out for themselves cisterns -yea, broken cisterns, which could hold no water? Now, this is what we do when we depart from God; and hence both heaven and earth are called upon to wonder at such egregious folly—the folly of leaving Him who is the source of all felicity, and of engaging in the useless toil, “Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up.” In the next place, it is a sin committed without any provocation whatever, there being nothing in the Blessed God to deserve such treatment from us. Has He ever been a hard or austere Master ? Has His conduct on any occasion evinced an unfeeling and unforbearing spirit? Have we found any iniquity in Him, that we should forsake Him? “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have 1 wearied thee? testify against me.” Alas! what can we testify? All we can say is, “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of face, as it is this day.”
Again, it is a sin that involves the greatest ingratitude. Not merely has He done nothing against us, but how much has He done for us! He led His people of old through the wilderness and brought them to a plentiful land, to eat of the fruit thereof, and the goodness thereof; and yet, notwithstanding all His mercies, their hearts were fully set upon backsliding from Him. And how often has it been with us as it was with them!
Finally, what solemn engagements are violated by this sin ! To bind ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, to declare publicly that we would be His entirely and for ever, anal then to break our vows, and prove faithless in the face of the most express and deliberate promises !
Reader! dread the most distant thought of putting your hand to the plough and then turning back. Having entered the army of Christ, resolve, in the strength of His grace, never to become a deserter, but to fight His battles at all hazards, and to stand your ground until you become either a corpse or a conqueror. “ Never give up! though the grape shot may rattle,
Or the full thunder-cloud o'er you burst; Stand like a rock, and the storm and the battle,
Little shall harm you, though doing their worst. Never give up! if adversity presses,
Providence wisely has mingled the cup; And the best counsel in all your distresses
Is the stout watchword of-Never give up!"
" Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."-Matt. v. 16. The What unspeakable injury
has been done to the cause of Shiniug
Christ by the inconsistent Light. lives of many professors of religion! To this must be mainly as. cribed the comparatively little progress which Christianity has hitherto made. It is this that emboldens the scoffer, that encourages the profligate, that strengthens the hands of the infidel, and that seals the eyes of the impenitent in death-like slumber.
Those who bear the name of Jesus should ever remember that the eyes of an ungodly world are upon them, and that their impression of the gospel, both in its nature and results, is derived from what they witness in the conduct of those who are identified with it. " The Bible," as one observes, “is God's revelation to Christians and Christians