clothing will soon be
stripped from the wolf's back!
(William Secker, "The Consistent Christian" 1660)
"Having a form of godliness—but denying its power."
2 Timothy 3:5
Formality frequently takes its dwelling near the chambers of integrity, and so assumes its name; the soul not suspecting that hell should make so near an approach to heaven. A rotten post, though covered with gold, is more fit to be burned in the fire, than for the building of a fabric. Where there is a pure conscience—there will be a pure conversation. The dial of our faces does not infallibly show—the time of day in our hearts. The humblest looks may enamel the face—while unbounded pride governs the heart!
A hypocrite may be both the fairest creature—and the foulest creature in the world! He may be fairest outwardly in the eyes of man—and foulest inwardly in the sight of God. How commonly do such unclean swans cover their black flesh with their white feathers! Though such wear the mantle of Samuel—they should bear the name of Satan!
Many appear righteous—who are only righteous in appearance. But while they are deceiving others with the false shows of holiness—they are also deceiving themselves with the false hopes of happiness. The hypocrite would not willingly appear evil—and yet would inwardly be evil. He would gladly be accounted godly—and yet would not be godly.
Man, either appear what you are—or be what you appear. What will the form of godliness do for you—if you deny the power thereof? Those who have the power of godliness, cannot deny the form; while those who have the form of godliness, may deny the power.
Hypocrites resemble looking-glasses—which present faces that are not in them. Oh, how desirous are men to put the fairest gloves—upon the foulest hands; and the finest paint—upon the rottenest posts!
Hypocrites are better in show—than in substance. They are like painted tombs—which enclose decayed bones. That is a sad charge, which the God of truth brings against certain false professors, "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not—but are the synagogue of Satan!" A false friend—is worse than an open enemy. A painted harlot is less dangerous—than a painted hypocrite. A treacherous Judas is more abhorred by God—than a bloody Pilate!
Professors! Remember—the sheep's clothing will soon be stripped from the wolf's back! The velvet plaster of profession—shall not always conceal the offensive ulcer of corruption. Neither the ship of formality nor hypocrisy—will carry a person to the harbor of felicity. The blazing lamps of foolish virgins may light them to the bridegroom's gate—but not into His chamber. Either get the nature of Christ within you—or take the name of Christ away from you.
A bad man is certainly the worst—when he is seemingly the best. We must not account everyone a soldier—who swaggers with a sword. A rusty sword—may frequently be found in a highly decorated scabbard. What good is it to have our hands as white as snow—if our hearts are as black as the bottomless pit! Such professors resemble soap bubbles—smooth and pretty without—yet only filled with air!
A man may wear the Savior's livery—and yet be busied in Satan's drudgery! The skin of an apple may be fair—when it is rotten at the core! Though all gold may glitter—yet all is not gold that glitters. The worst hypocrite may have the color of gold—but not the value of gold!