Those poor stupid people!
(J. C. Philpot, "The
Sons of God—
Their Blessings and
"The world knows us not." 1 John 3:1
Both the openly profane world, and the
professing world, are grossly ignorant
of the children of God. Their . . .
real character and condition,
state and standing,
joys and sorrows,
mercies and miseries,
trials and deliverances,
hopes and fears,
afflictions and consolations,
are entirely hidden from their eyes.
The world knows nothing of the motives and
feelings which guide and actuate the children
of God. It views them as a set of gloomy,
morose, melancholy beings, whose tempers
are soured by false and exaggerated views of
religion—who have pored over the thoughts of
hell and heaven until some have frightened
themselves into despair, and others have puffed
up their vain minds with an imaginary conceit of
their being especial favorites of the Almighty.
"They are really," it says, "no better than other
folks, if so good. But they have such contracted
minds—are so obstinate and bigoted with their
poor, narrow, prejudiced views—that wherever
they come they bring disturbance and confusion."
But why this harsh judgment?
Because the world knows nothing of the spiritual
feelings which actuate the child of grace, making
him act so differently from the world which thus
It cannot understand our sight and sense of the
exceeding sinfulness of sin—and that is the reason
why we will not run riot with them in the same
course of ungodliness.
It does not know with what a solemn weight eternal
things rest upon our minds—and that that is the cause
why we cannot join with them in pursuing so eagerly
the things of the world, and living for time as they
do—instead of living for eternity.
Being unable to enter into the spiritual motives and
gracious feelings which actuate a living soul, and the
movements of divine life continually stirring in a
Christian breast, they naturally judge us from their
own point of view, and condemn what they cannot
You may place a horse and a man upon the same
hill—while the man would be looking at the woods
and fields and streams—the horse would be feeding
upon the grass at his feet. The horse, if it could
reason, would say, "What a fool my master is! How
he is staring and gaping about! Why does he not sit
down and open his basket of provisions—for I know
he has it with him, for I carried it—and feed as I do?"
So the worldling says, "Those poor stupid people,
how they are spending their time in going to chapel,
and reading the Bible in their gloomy, melancholy way.
Religion is all very well—and we ought all to be religious
before we die—but they make so much of it. Why don't
they enjoy more of life? Why don't they amuse themselves
more with its innocent, harmless pleasures—be more gay,
cheerful, and sociable, and take more interest in those
things which so interest us?"
The reason why the world thus wonders at us is
because it knows us not, and therefore cannot
understand that we have . . .
nobler pleasures, and
more substantial delights,
than ever entered the soul of a worldling!
Christian! the more you are conformed to the image
of Christ—the more separated you are from the world,
the less will it understand you. If we kept closer to the
Lord and walked more in holy obedience to the precepts
of the gospel, we would be more misunderstood than
even we now are! It is our worldly conformity that
makes the world understand many of our movements
and actions so well.
But if our movements were more according to the mind of
Christ—if we walked more as the Lord walked when here
below—we would leave the world in greater ignorance of
us than we leave it now—for the hidden springs of our life
would be more out of its sight, our testimony against it
more decided, and our separation from it more complete.