There's No Fear for Me
James Smith, 1859
It is well to know our weak points, for the most confident are often in the greatest danger. Hence an Apostle has said, "Let him that thinks he stands — take heed lest he fall." He thinks himself quite capable of taking care of himself. He does not need to be watched, and looked after as some others do; but let him take heed, he may be tripped up before he is aware, or stumble over some stone in the dark. "They are well kept — whom God keeps," says the saying; and there is no doubt of its truth. I never knew a self-sufficient person, who walked steadily, or never tripped. When cautions are despised or neglected, then danger is near.
William Thorp was cautioned against keeping company with certain loose young men, lest they should lead him astray; but he felt quite safe and secure, and said, "There's no fear for me." But there was fear, for first they praised and complimented him, then they urged and bantered him, until at length they got him entirely into their power. He was led by them to the alehouse, the theater, and the races — and then his money was squandered, his morals were corrupted, and his health was undermined. At length, with an empty purse, a ruined constitution, and a wretched mind — he became a burden to his family, and a misery to himself. Oh, William, you said that there was no fear for you — but you found out your mistake — but not until it was too late.
Young men, beware of self-confidence. Beware of trifling with temptation. "He who walks uprightly, walks surely — but the companion of fools shall be destroyed." Many a young man has been ruined, because he has thought too highly of himself, and has had too much conceit to listen to advice. Make the Bible your companion; get the book of the Proverbs into your head and into your heart — and it will prove an invaluable preservative.
Kitty Brown, while at home with her parents promised well — but she went to be servant in a large family, and being of a quick and cheerful disposition, she soon made her way, and got advanced. Then she began to be vain, and carried her head rather high; her kind and judicious mother warned her and entreated her to be on her guard — but with a self-confident air, she said, "There's no fear for me." But her mother saw that there was fear. The footman invited her to go with him to visit his friends, who were frivolous and very worldly. Then he took her to the fair, and to the dancing room. By degrees she began to love these things, she lost her simplicity, became dissatisfied with service, married without any good prospect of a living, and became a miserable, poverty-stricken, unhappy wife! Kitty little thought that she would ever come to live in such wretched apartments, be the wife of such a degraded man, or experience such misery as she did; but it all originated in her overweening opinion of herself, as expressed in our motto, "There s no fear for me."
Young women, if you are not afraid for yourselves, others will fear for you. You have no idea of the power of temptation, or how easily, and how soon, evil habits are contracted. Nothing can be more true, than the statement of the Holy Scriptures, "Evil companions corrupt good manners; which makes the exhortation so important, "Awake to righteousness, and sin not."
James Humphreys, was a member of a Christian church, and for a time he walked wisely, and promised well. But at length his Pastor saw that he was getting "heady," and very kindly admonished him. He appeared to take it well — but added, "There's no fear for me." And yet, he was the very man of whom there was the most to fear; for as soon as we begin to have any confidence in ourselves, we are in danger. Poor James found this out. He began to read questionable books, and lost his relish for God's Word. He joined several societies, and preferred their meetings, to the prayer meetings or weekly sermons. He became fond of controversy and debating, and all his savor in Christian conversation was soon gone. He had little relish for private prayer, and entirely neglected self-examination. At length he began to trifle with the truth, and fell into error. Conscience remonstrated — but he stilled that. Friends warned him — but he smiled at their fears.
As one evil always leads to another, so having embraced erroneous views — he began to lose his reverence for divine things, his heart was hardened, and he fell into sin. In this wretched condition for a considerable time he remained, having too much religion thoroughly to enjoy the world; and too little, thoroughly to enjoy the things of God. At length, God in his mercy laid him on the bed of affliction, convinced him of his sin, humbled him in the dust, or, as Job would say, "rolled him in the ditch." And with broken bones, with deep groans and heavy sighs, he managed to crawl to the cross, where, after deep prostrations of soul, heart piercing confessions of his folly, and earnest prayer — he was restored to the enjoyment of peace with God.
Now, he loathes himself in his own sight, walks softly before the Lord, and speaks with caution before his fellow men. He would not say now, "There's no fear for me" but instead thereof would cry, "Hold me up — and I shall be safe." He thoroughly approves of Solomon's words, "Blessed is the man who fears always." God has forgiven him — but he will never forgive himself.
Reader, we could give you many instances of the folly of self-importance, and self-sufficiency; and in many more ways illustrate our motto — but let the above suffice. We wish to warn you in time, to caution you before you fall into danger, and so to preserve you from it. You need divine keeping, and you may have it. But if you would, you must cultivate humility of mind, exercise faith in God's promises, and seek the fulfillment of them by earnest prayer. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
You are only safe — as you walk humbly with your God. Never despise the advice, or neglect the warnings of aged Christians; they know more of human weakness, more of the power of Satanic influence, and more of the effects of improper company, than you do. They have seen more, they have felt more, and most likely, they have read more; they are therefore better qualified to judge for you on many points, than you are for yourselves. Be sure that you "hold fast that which is good; and abstain from all appearance of evil."
In parting, our motto is a rock on which many a fair vessel has been split to pieces; it is a sand-bank, on which many a gallant ship has been wrecked; beware then, O beware of feeling or saying, "There's no fear for me."