You have gunpowder hearts!
(George Everard, "Mind Your Steps!" 1884)
"Avoid every kind of evil!" 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Be careful to guard against all occasions of sin and evil. There is no safety without setting a watch against all that is likely to prove a stumbling-block.
I read one day of the remarkable precautions which are taken to avoid danger in a gunpowder manufactory. The walls are all of stone, and no wood is allowed to be in the place. Anyone who walks through has to take off his shoes, lest the nails in them should strike a spark. Then, if he has any metal on him, he must leave it at the door. The danger is so great, that everything must be done to avoid any approach to it.
Oh that Christians would take heed in a similar way to keep from the peril of sin! Keep far away from any approach to temptation. You have gunpowder hearts — so ready to ignite from the least spark! A look, a word, an evil example, a sentence in a book, a suggestion from a bad companion — any of these may be the cause of a world of mischief.
Therefore, make it your firm resolve to keep out of harm's way.
Beware of all places, and scenes, and people — that may turn you from the right course.
Don't imagine you are strong enough to go, and get no harm.
Better to keep far from the edge of the precipice.
Better to keep out of the lion's reach!
Better to keep from the long grass where the viper is coiled up!
Stop while you can — or you may go so far that it may be impossible to escape.
Be careful to guard well the various gates of access to the heart — and of egress into the world.
Guard well the eye. Keep it from vanity. Remember that one look cost Achan his life — and a lustful look embittered the whole of David's years. Let the eye look straight onward, and right upward to the throne.
Guard well the ear. Receive nothing that will pollute or defile you. Hearken to no voice of flattery or persuasion to evil. Welcome every message of the word of truth.
Guard well the memory and imagination. Let no vision or image tarry there, which will chain and enthrall the soul. If unclean birds fly over your head — do not let them settle in your hair!
Nor be less mindful . . .
to curb the tongue,
to guide the foot,
to use the hand,
according to God's holy will.
The words you utter,
the paths you go,
the deeds you perform,
tell mightily on yourself and on others. And none should be permitted to act except under the control of the fear and love of God.
Yet always remember, that it is not your careful walking, but Christ's careful keeping — which will ensure your final victory!
Your enemies are legion,
your strength is nothing,
your resolutions soon fail,
your heart is easily beguiled and turned aside —
but the good Shepherd will keep His own redeemed people.
He will point out your danger — and enable you to flee from it.
He will uphold you in perilous places — and lift you up when you fall.
He will keep you from falling — and save you even to the uttermost!