How has the fine gold become dim!
(Hetty Bowman, "Separation From the World" 1861)
If some of the holy men of a former generation could once more return to the scene of their labors and sorrows — what would they find among those who profess to follow in their steps? Would they witness . . .
the same decision,
the same faithfulness,
the same unyielding adherence to principles which involve contempt and scorn,
the same resolute separation from everything that is even questionable in its tendency
— which characterized their own walk in the world?
Would they not rather be grieved by the levity, the trifling, the inconsistency which are too often displayed — even by those whose names are enrolled in the list of professing Christians?
Would they not be amazed at the slender barrier which divides those who are in the world — from those who say that they have renounced it?
Would they not be bewildered by the strange mixture of good and evil which is presented by many who bear the name of Christ; one day to be found in the committee-room of some religious society — and the next day at a dance; one day at a prayer-meeting — and the next day at a concert?
Deeply would their hearts be saddened by these things, and mournfully would they exclaim, "How has the fine gold become dim!"
It is to be feared that the religion of the day is, in many respects, of too easy a nature. We know . . .
little of sacrifice,
little of deliberate counting the cost,
little of forsaking all for Christ's sake!
Truly the Church of God in these latter days, has need to watch that she be not found lingering in the plains of Sodom — instead of pressing forward, with girded loins and hastening step, to the Zoar which she has set out to seek.
Let her take heed, lest He who "walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks," visits her suddenly with the rod of His wrath — and lest her slumber be broken by the unlooked-for coming of the Bridegroom!
Believer! Seek to know your place in your Father's heart of love — and then no earthly thing will tempt you thence. Oh, leave the broken cisterns of this poor world, which can never quench your spirit's fevered thirst. Cast yourself upon the fullness of God's grace and mercy, and pray that His own hand may satisfy you with the riches that are treasured up in Christ!