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Delivered on Sabbath Morning, August 8, 1858, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens
“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.”—Psalm 97:10.
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION is a golden chain with which the hands of men are fettered from all hatred. The spirit of Christ is love. Wherever he governs, love reigns as a necessary consequence. The Christian man is not allowed to hate any one. Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy; but I say unto you,” said Jesus, “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.” The word “hate” must be cut out of the language of a Christian, except it be used with one meaning and intention only, and that, the meaning of my text. Thou hast no right, O Christian, to tolerate within thy bosom wrath, malice, anger, harshness, or uncharitableness, towards any creature that God’s hands have made. When thou hatest the man’s sins, thou art not to hate him, but to love the sinner, even as Christ loved sinners and came to seek and save them. When thou hatest a man’s false doctrine, thou art still to love the man, and hate his doctrine even out of love to his soul, with an earnest desire that he may be reclaimed from his error, and brought into the way of truth. Thou hast no right to excrete thy hatred upon any creature, however fallen or debased, however much he may irritate thy temper, or injure thee in thy estate or reputation. Still hatred is a power of manhood, and we believe that all powers of manhood are to be exercised, and may every one of them be exercised as in the fear of God. It is possible to be angry, and yet sin not, and it is possible to hate, and yet not be guilty of sin, but be positively performing a duty. Christian man, thou mayest have hatred in thy heart, if thou wilt only allow it to run in one stream, then it shall not do mischief, but it shall even do good—“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” As much as the revengeful man hates his enemy, so much hate thou evil. As much as contending despots in battle hate one another, end only seek an opportunity to meet each other face to face, so hate thou evil. As much as hell hateth heaven, and as much as heaven hateth hell, so much mayest thou hate evil. The whole of that passion which, when let loose in a wrong track, becomes as a fierce lion on its prey, thou mayest keep in leash, (like a noble lion, only destitute of ferocity) against any whom it should not hurt, and thou mayest let it slip against the enemies of the Lord thy God and do great exploits thereby. Tell me of a man who is never angry, that man has not any true zeal for God. We must sometimes be angry against sin. When we see evil, though not vindictive against the persons who commit it, yet angry against the evil we must be; we must hate wickedness always. Doth not David say, “I hate them with a perfect hatred yea, I count them mine enemies.” We are to love our enemies, but we are to hate God’s enemies. We are to love sinners, but we are to hate sin. As much as it is in the power of man to hate, so much are we to hate evil in every form and fashion.
The duty here enjoined is a general one to all God’s people. We are to hate all evi—not some evils. It was said, you know, long ago, of certain professors, that they did
“Compound for sins they were inclined to
By damning those they had no mind to.”
And there are some, I dare say, at this day, who think others extremely guilty for committing iniquities which they do not care to commit, but they themselves commit other sins with which they deal very gently. O Christian, never take hold of sin, except with a gauntlet on thy hand; never go to it with the kid-glove of friendship, never talk delicately of it; but always hate it in every shape. If it come to thee as a little fox, take heed of it, for it will spoil the grapes; if it come to thee as a warring lion, seeking whom it may devour; or if it come with the hug of a bear, seeking by a pretended affection to entice thee into sin, smite it, for its hug is death, and its clasp destruction. Sin of every kind thou art to war with—of lip, of hand, of heart. Sin, however gilded over with profit, however varnished with the seemliness of morality, however much it may be complimented by the great, or however popular it may be with the multitude, thou art to hate it everywhere, in all its disguises, every day in the week, and in every place. War to the knife with sin! We are to draw the sword, and throw away the scabbard. With all thy hosts, O hell, with every brat of thy offspring, O Satan, we are to be at enmity. Not one sin are we to spare, but against the whole are we to proclaim an utter and entire war of extermination.
In endeavoring to address you upon this subject, I shall first of all begin with it at home: Christian man, hate all evil in thyself. And then, secondly, we will let it go abroad: Christian man, hate all evil in other people, wherever thou seest it.
I. First, then, CHRISTIAN MAN HATE ALL EVIL IN THYSELF. I will strive now to excite thy hate against it, and then I will try to urge thee and assist thee to destroy it.
Thou hast good reason to hate all evil; greater reason than ever the most injured man could bring forward for the hatred of his enemies. Consider what evil has already done thee. Oh! what a world of mischief sin has brought into thy heart! Sin stopped up your eyes, so that you could not see the beauty of the Saviour; it thrust its finger into your ears, so that you could not hear the sweet invitations of Jesus: sin turned your feet into the way of evil, and filled your hands with filthiness. nay, worse than that sin poured poison into the very fountain of your being; it tainted your heart and made it “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Oh! what a creature thou wast when sin had done its utmost with thee before Divine grace began to mend thee! Thou wast an heir of wrath even as others; thou didst “run with the multitude to do evil;” thy mouth was an “open sepulcher.” thou didst flatter with thy tongue, and there is nought that can be said of thy fellow-creature living in sin, that could not be said of thee. You must plead guilty to the charge, “such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Oh! you have good cause for hating sin when you look back to the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged. Such mischief did evil do you that your soul would have been everlastingly lost, had not omnipotent love interfered to redeem you. Christian, hate evil. It has been your murderer; it has put its dagger to your heart; it has thrust poison into your mouth; it has done you all the mischief that hell itself could do—mischief which would have wrought your eternal undoing, had not the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ prevented. Thou hast good reason, then, to hate sin.
Again, Christian, hate evil, for it would be unbecoming if thou didst not when thou considerest thy position in life. A Christian belongs to the blood royal of the universe. Beggars’ children may run about the street with unkempt hair and shoeless feet; but should princes of the blood revel in uncleanness? We do not expect to see monarchs’ children apparelled in rags; we do not expect to see them rolling themselves in the mire of the streets. And thou, Christian, thou art one of God’s aristocracy, a prince of the blood of heaven, a friend of angels, yea, and a friend of God. Good reason hast thou to hate all evil. Why, man, thou art a Nazarite, dedicated to God. Now, to the Nazarite it was enjoined that not only he should not drink wine, but he was not even to eat the grape, nor might he so much as taste the bark of the vine, or anything whatsoever that grew upon it; he must neither touch nor handle it, or else he would be defiled. So is it with thee; thou art the Lord’s Nazarite, set apart for himself. Avoid, then, every false way. Let the appearance of evil be kept from thee: it is beneath thy dignity to indulge in the sins which disgrace other men. Thou art not snob as they are; thou art of a nobler race, thou hast sprung from the loins of the Son of God: is he not shine everlasting Father, even he who is the Prince of Peace? I beseech thee, never demean thy royal lineage, nor let thy holy ancestry be stained. You are a peculiar people, a royal generation; wherefore, then, should ye stain your garments in the dust. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.”
Again, you have good reason to hate sin, because it weakens you. Go when you have committed a folly, retire to your chamber and fall upon your knees in prayer. Before the sin was committed, your prayer reached the ear of God and the blessings came down swift as the lightning-flash; but now your knees are weak, your heart refuses to desire, and your tongue refuses to express the faint desires you strive to reach. You attempt, but you fail; you groan, but heaven is shut against your cry; you weep, but your tear penetrates not so as to obtain an answer from the breast of God. There you are; you bring your wants before the throne, and you carry them away again. Prayer becomes a painful duty instead of a most gracious and excellent privilege. This is the result of sin. “Sin will make thee leave off praying, or else praying will make thee leave off sinning.” Oh! thou canst never be strong in sin and strong in prayer. As long as thou indulgest in lust, or sin, or wantonness of any kind, thy power in prayer is taken away, and thy lips are shut when thou attemptest to approach thy God. Or if thou willest, try another exercise: after committing a sin, go into the world and seek to do good. Why, man, thou canst not do it; thou hast lost the power to cleanse others when them art impure thyself. What! can I with filthy fingers wash the face of others? Shall I essay to plough another man’s field while my own is lying fallow, and the tall, rank thistle and weed are overspreading it? I am powerless to do good until I have first cleansed my own vessel and made that pure. An unholy minister must be an unsuccessful one, and an unholy Christian must be an unfruitful one. Unless thou desirest to have thy sinews loosed, to have the marrow of thy bones scorched from thee, unless thou willest that the sap of thy being should be dried up, I beseech thee, hate sin, for sin can debilitate and weaken thee so much that thou shalt drag along a miserable existence, the very skeleton of a soul instead of flourishing in the ways of thy God. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.”
In the next place. you will find it extremely useful if, in order to get rid of sin, you are not content with merely restraining it, but always seeking to have it taken clean away by the Holy Spirit. You know, mere moralists restrain their sins, like a river that has locks and dykes: the water is kept from flowing, but then it gradually swells upward and upward, till by-and-bye it overflows with terrible fury. Now, don’t be content with mere restraining grace; that will never purge you, for the sin may be there though it break not out. Pray to God that your sin may be taken away, and that though the remnant and the root thereof remain, though the channel be there, yet the stream may be dried up like the stream of the Euphrates before the presence of the Lord your God.
Again, ye have good reason to hate evil, for if you indulge in it you will have to smart for it. God will never kill his children, he has put his sword away; he sheathed that once for all in the breast of Christ, but he has a rod, and that rod sometimes he lays on with a very heavy hand, and maketh the whole body to tingle. The Lord will not be angry with his people so as to cast them off but he will be so angry with them that they shall have to cry, “Heal the bones that thou hast broken, and restore my soul. O Lord my God.” Ah! you that ever have backslidden, you know what it is to be well scourged for when Christ’s sheep run way from the shepherd he will not let them perish, but he will often allow the black dog to bring them back in his mouth; he will allow sore trouble and sharp affliction to lay hold upon them, so that they are cast down almost to the gates of hell. A Christian shall never be destroyed, but he shall almost be destroyed; his life shall not totally fail him, but he shall be so beaten and bruised that he shall scarcely know whether he has any life left in him at all. Hate sin, O Christian, unless thou desirest trouble. If thou wouldst strew thy path with thorns and put nettles in thy death pillow, then live in sin; but if thou wouldst dwell in the heavenly places, hearing the everlasting chimes of Paradise ringing in thine own heart, then walk in all the ways of holiness unto the end. Christian man, hate evil.
So far, I have only addressed you selfishly; I have shown you how evil may hurt yourselves; now I will address you with another argument. Christian, hate evil; hate it in yourself, because evil in you will do hurt to others. What hurt the sin of a Christian does to the children of God! The sharpest trials God’s church has ever had, has come from her own sons and daughters. I see her, I see her with her garments rent and defiled; I see her hands all bleeding, and her back scarred. O church of the living God, thou fairest among women, how art thou wounded! Where hast thou received these wounds? Has the infidel spit in thy face and reviled thee? Has the Arian rent thy garments? Has the Socinian cast filth upon the whiteness of thine apparel? Who hath wounded thy hands, and who hath scarred thy back? Hath this been done by the impious and profane? “No,” saith she, “these are the wounds I have received in the house of my friends. Against my enemies I wear a secret armor, but my friends penetrate within it, and cut me to the very quick.” The bishops of God’s church, the professed leaders of the Lord’s hosts, the pretended followers of the Redeemer, have done more damage to the church than all the church’s enemies. If the church were not a divine thing, protected by God, she must have ceased to exist, merely through the failure and iniquity of her own professed friends. I do not wonder that the church of God survived martyrdom and death; but I do marvel that she has survived the unfaithfulness of her own children, and the cruel backsliding of her own members. O Christians, ye do not know how you cause God’s name to be blasphemed, how you stain his church, and bring dishonor upon her escutcheon, when you indulge in sin. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil”
Again, hate it not only for the church’s sake, but for the poor sinner’s sake. How many sinners every year are driven away from all thought of religion by the inconsistency of professors! And have you ever noticed how the world always delights to chronicle the inconsistency of a professor? I saw only yesterday an account in the paper of a wretch who had committed lust, and it was said that “he had a very sanctified appearance.” Ay, I thought, that is the way the press always likes to speak; but I very much question whether there are many editors that know what a sanctified appearance means; at least they will have to look a long time among their own class before they find many that have got much sanctification. However, the reporter put it down that the man had “a sanctified appearance;” and of course it was intended as a fling against all those who make a profession of religion, by making others believe that this man was a professor too. And really the world has had some grave cause for it, for we have seen professing Christians in these days that are an utter disgrace to Christianity, and there are things done in the name of Jesus Christ that it would be a shame to do in the name of Beelzebub. There are things done, too, by those who are accounted members of the church of our Lord Jesus, Methinks, so shameful that Pandemonium itself would scarcely own them. The world has had much cause to complain of the church; O children of God, be careful. The world has a lynx eye: it will see your faults; it will be impossible to hide them; and it will magnify your faults. It will slander you if you have none; give it at least no ground to work upon; “let your garments be always white;” walk in the fear of the Lord, and let this be your daily prayer, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.”
Once more: I have one argument that methinks must touch your hearts and make you hate evil. You have a friend, the best friend you ever had. I know him, and have loved him, and he has loved me. There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came hard by a spot for ever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this friend my best, my only friend, murdered. I stooped down in sad affright and looked at him. He was basely murdered. I saw that his hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and his feet had been rent with the same. There was misery in his dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, his back was red with bloody scourges, and his brow had a circle of wounds about it: clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns. I shuddered, for I had known this friend full well. He never had a fault; he was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy. Who could have injured him? For he never injured any man: all his life long he “went about doing good;” he had healed the sick, he had fed the hungry, he had raised the dead: for which of these works did they kill him? He had never breathed out anything else but love. And as I looked into the poor sorrowful face so full of agony and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile us to pierce hands like his. I said within myself “Where live these traitors? Where can they live? Who are these that could have smitten such an one as this?” Had they murdered an oppressor we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy, it might have been his due desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition, we would have said, “Bury his corpse: justice has at last given him his due.” But when thou wast slain, my best, my only beloved, where lodged the traitors? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death. If there be torments that I can devise, surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy; what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers what would I do with them! And as I looked upon that corpse I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand. It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that somehow or other wherever I put my hand I could not meet with him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go. At last I put my hand upon my breast. “I have thee now,” said I; for lo! he was in my own heart; the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul. Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harbouring the murderer; and I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over his corpse and sung that plaintive hymn:
“‘Twere you my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were:
Each of my crimes became a nail
And unbelief the spear.”
Revenge! revenge! Ye that fear the Lord, and love his name, take vengeance on your sins, and hate all evil.
Now, my beloved, my next endeavor must be to urge you to put your sins to death. What shall be done in order that you and I may get rid of our sins? There is the axe of the law; shall we bring that out and smite our sins with it? Alas! they will never die under the blow of Moses.
“Law and terrors do but harden
All the while they work alone.”
I have often striven to overcome sin by the thought of the punishment attached to it but I have very seldom found myself in a frame of mind in which my heart would receive that reason. I believe that to the most of us the terrors of the law, although they ought to be exceedingly terrible, have but little power to check us from sin. I met with a story the other day which showed me, if nothing else, the utter powerlessness of terror for curbing the heart from sin. It is pretended by some that it is necessary that men who commit murder should be capitally executed in order to deter others from crime. There is not, however I believe, the shadow of a hope that the execution of a murderer will ever produce any such effect. Three traitors were once executed in this country—Thistlewood was one of them,—and when the executioner smote off the head of the first man and held it up, saying, “this is the head of a traitor,” there was a shudder running through the multitude, a chill, cold feeling which was perceptible even by the executioner. When he killed the next man, and held up the head in like manner, it was evidently looked upon with intense curiosity and awe, but with nothing like so much thrilling caution as the first. And strange to say, when the third head was smitten off, the man was about to hold it up, but he let it drop, and the crowd with one voice cried, “Aha! butter fingers!” and laughed. Would you have supposed that an English crowd, on seeing a poor man die, could have become so hardened in so short a time, as actually to have made a joke of such an incident? Yet so it is; law and terrors never do and never will produce any other effect than to drive men to sin and make them think lightly of it. I would not, therefore, advise a Christian, if he would get rid of his sins, to indulge continually in the thought of the punishment; but let him adopt a better process: let him go and sit down at the cross of Christ, and endeavor to draw evangelical repentance from the atonement which Christ has offered for our guilt. I know of no cure for sin in a Christian like an abundant intercourse with the Lord Jesus. Dwell much with him, and it is impossible for you to dwell much with sin. What! my Lord Jesus, can I sit at the foot of that tree accursed, and see thy blood flowing for my guilt, and after that indulge in transgression? Yes, I may do it, for I am vile enough for anything, but still this shall be the great clog upon the wheel of my sin, and this repress my lust the most of all,—the thought that Jesus Christ hath lived and died for me.
Again, if you would cheek sin, endeavor to get as much light as you can upon it. The housewife, when she is busy about her house, with curtains drawn, she may have dusted all the tables, and think everything looks clean; but she opens a little corner of the window, and in streams a ray of light, in which ten thousand grains of dust are dancing up and down. “Ah!” she thinks, “my room is not so clean as I thought it was; here is dust where I thought there was none.” Now, endeavor to get, not the farthing rushlight of your own judgment, but the sunlight of the Holy Spirit, streaming upon your heart, and it will help you to detect your sin—and detection of sin is half-way towards its cure. Look well at your transgressions and endeavor to find them out.
Yet another thing, when you have fallen into one sin make confession of it, and let that lead you to search for all the rest. David, you know, never wrote so abject a confession as he did after he had committed one act of sin; then he was led to search his heart, and find out all the rest of his iniquities, and he made a complete confession of them all. When thou seest one sin, be quite sure there is a host there, for they always hunt in packs; and take care when thou dischargest thy confession against one, that there is enough powder and shot in thy confession to wound all thy sins and send them limping away. Be not content with overcoming one sin or one transgression, but labor to get rid of all.
Again, there are many sins by which you will be enticed unless you always take care to strip sin of its disguises. Sin will sometimes come to you, wrapped up in a Babylonish garment, like Achan’s wedge: pull off the covering and you will discover its iniquity. It will sometimes come to you like the iniquity of king Saul, under the form of a sacrifice; strip it and discover that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Alas! sin is like Jezebel; it attires its head and paints its face and appears lovely to us; unmask it, see its vileness, discover its filthiness, disdain the profit with which it gilds itself, take away the applause with which it endeavors to plume itself, and let it stand in all its naked deformity, and then thou wilt not be so likely to run into it.
Once again. Try always, when your mind is in a sanctified state, to estimate the weight of the evil of sin. When you are in a sinful state you will not feel the weight of the evil. A man that dives into the water may have a thousand tons of water above his head, and not feel the weight because the water is round about him; but take him out of the water, and if you put half a tubful on his head, it presses him down. Now, while you indulge in sin, you will not feel its weight; but when you are out of sin, after it is over, and the Spirit has applied the blood of sprinkling for your forgiveness, and the sanctifying work of the Spirit has begun to restore you, then labor to realize the enormity of your guilt, and by so doing you will be helped to hate it and to overcome it.
With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavor with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves.
Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe except we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.” Take care of that. It is only by the Spirit that you can be preserved from sin.
Above all, let us add, avoid all preachers who endeavor in any way to palliate sin; avoid all experiences and books of experience that give you a way of getting over the fact that the sin of God’s people is a vile thing. I know some folks who talk of their sins as if they were proud of them; they speak of their falls, and their backslidings, and transgressions, as if they were blessed experiences: like the dog that had a bell round his neck because he was dangerous, they are proud of that very thing which is their shame. Remember, a nettle is bad anywhere but it is never so bad as in a flower garden, and sin is bad anywhere, but never so hateful as in a Christian. If as you are going home to day you see a boy breaking windows, very likely you will speak to him; but if it is your own boy you will severely chastise him as sure as he is your own son. So likewise doth God deal with his people. When sinners do mischief he rebukes them; when his people do the same he smites them. He will not pass over sin in his own children at any time; it shall never go unchastened. Ye that fear the Lord never palliate sin, for God will not do so; he hateth it with perfect hatred.
II. My second point is, HATE SIN IN OTHERS. Mark it, do not hate others, but hate sin in others. As we have only a few minutes left I will occupy them with but one or two practical remarks.
If you hate sin in others, it will be necessary for you never in any way to countenance it. There is many a Christian who does more mischief than he knows of by a smile. You have heard a young man telling a story of some of his freaks; perhaps it has been in a railway carriage, and he has been very witty, and you have smiled at him. He knows you, and he seems to think he has done a brave thing—didn’t he make a Christian man smile at his sins? You have sometimes heard loose, lewd conversation proceeding from ungodly men, and you have not liked it; it has grated upon your ears; but you have sat very quietly, and others have said, “Ah well, he was still enough; he was sucking it in, and it was clear he liked it.” Thus it was stamped at once with the seal of your approbation. Now, never let sin have your countenance. Wherever you are, let it be known that you not only cannot endure it, but that you positively hate it. Don’t let people say, “Well, I don’t think he likes it;” but let them know you hate it, that you are absolutely angry with it, that you cannot smile at it, but feel your anger rise at the very mention of such shameful things. In the last century it used to be even fashionable and honorable to commit sins, which are now looked upon with scorn, and in another hundred years, some things that are done to-day will be discovered to be desperately vile, and we shall look upon them with disdain also. Christian, I say, never stamp another man’s sins with approval.
Again, whenever you are called upon to do it—and that will be very often—take care to let your sentiments with regard to sin come out. Sinful silence may make you a partaker in a sinner’s evil ways. If I saw a man breaking into a house and I were going by late in the evening, if I passed very gently, knowing that he was doing wrong, and did not give the alarm, I think I should be an accomplice in the crime. And so, if you are sitting in company where there is evil speaking, or where Christ is blasphemed, if you do not say a word for your Master, you are committing sin in your silence, you are an accomplice in the iniquity. Speak up for your Lord and Master. What if you should get upbraided for it and be called a Puritan? It is a grand name. What if some should say, You are too precise? There is good need that some should be too precise where a great many are far too lax; or if they should never welcome you in their company again, it will be a great gain to be out of it. What if they should speak evil of you? Know you not that you are to rejoice in that day when they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for Christ’s namesake? Always by your speaking boldly, let sin be put to the blush.
Then again, when you see evil in any one, always seek, if you see the slightest hope of doing good, for an opportunity of telling him privately of it. I have heard of a gentleman who was swearing, and a godly man who stood by, instead of upbraiding him for it, publicly said, “Sir, I wish to speak to you a moment.” “Well,” said the gentleman, “you had better come into the coffee-room.” They went accordingly; and the godly man said to the other, “My dear friend, I noticed that you took the name of God in vain I know you will excuse my mentioning it. I did not say a word about it when others could hear; but really it is a great sin, and no profit can come from it. Could you not avoid it in future?” The check was thankfully received; the gentleman bowed his acknowledgments, he confessed that it was the fault of his early education, and he trusted that the rebuke might do him good. Do you not think that very often we lose an opportunity of showing our hatred of evil by not endeavoring privately to speak to those whom we discover indulging in sin? Never let slip an opportunity of having a shot at the devil, be it where it may; always let fly at him whenever you see him. If you cannot do it in public, yet if you see a man doing evil, rebuke him in private for his sin.
And yet another thing. If you hate evil, do not get into it yourself, because it is of no use your talking to others about evil unless your own life be blameless. They that live in glass houses must not throw stones. Get out of your own glass house, and then throw as many as you like. Speak to other people, when you have first of all endeavored to set your own life according to the compass of the Gospel.
And now, beloved fellow-men, all of you who love the Saviour, are exhorted this morning to hate evil; and I will just enlarge once more upon this exhortation. Join heart and hand in the hatred of evil, with all men who seek to put it down. Wherever you see a society endeavoring to do good, encourage it. Let this be your doctrine—preach nothing up but Christ, and nothing down but evil. Help all those that are for the spread of the Redeemer’s kingdom. There is nothing else that can put evil away so quickly as the proclamation of right. Help the minister of the Gospel; pray for him; hold up his hands; endeavor to strengthen him. As for yourself, become a tract distributor, a Sunday-school teacher, or a village preacher. Show your hatred to evil by active efforts in putting it down. Distribute Bibles, scatter the Word of God broadcast over the land. Send your missionaries to foreign parts and let them penetrate the dens and alleys of London. Go among the rags and filth of our own population and seek to bring some one or two of the Lord’s precious jewels who are hidden in the dunghills of the metropolis. Thus, let the Lord Jesus Christ by your means get the victory, and let the evil of this world be cast out. How shall that be done but by the combined exertions of all Christ’s church? In these days we have a great many men to fight Christ’s battles, if they would but fight. Our churches are increasing at a great rate. There are an immense number of Christians now alive; but I think I would rather have the one hundred and twenty men that were in the upper chamber at the day of Pentecost, than I would have the whole lot of you. I do think those one hundred and twenty men had got more blood in them, more divine Christian blood and zeal, than as many millions of such poor creatures as we are. Why, in those days every member of the church was a missionary. The women did not preach, it is true; but they did what is better than preaching. they lived out the Gospel; and all the men had something to say. They did not leave it as you do to your minister serving God by proxy; they did not set deacons up, and leave them to do all God’s work while they folded their arms. Oh! no; all Christ’s soldiers went to battle. There was no drafting out one or two of them, and then leaving the others to tarry at home and share the spoil. No, every one fought, and great was the victory. Now, beloved Christians, all of you, at it, and always at it. O Spirit of the living God, descend on every heart, and bid every one of thy soldiers take his sword in his hand, and go straightway up to the victory. For when Zion’s children shall feel their individual responsibility, then shall come the day of her triumph. Then shall the walls of Jericho fall flat to the ground, and every soldier of the living God shall be crowned a conqueror. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil,” henceforth and for ever.
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