ur Lord predicted false Christs, and if satan is permitted to set up a mimic Christ, he will surely set up mimic Christians, and a mimic church. As to men of great piety being members of it, that is only another proof that infidelity under the mask of liberality has pervaded "the church" in proportion as it has pervaded the outer world; and hence the great necessity of those who would be esteemed of God as his real servants, to come out and stand aloof both from the professing as well as from the non professing world. This was the case with the church at the period immediately preceding the Deluge; she had mingled herself with the men of the earth (Genesis 6:1,2), and that judgment came upon her as well as upon them, Noah and his family--a family of separatists--alone, being saved.
If the study of the prophecies, and the belief which it inculcates of the speedy coming of Christ, had led merely to intellectual speculation without the tendency of drawing the believer to a closer walk with God, and a greater separation from the maxims and practices of the world, then such study would not have been so much opposed as it has been. Yet we find that professors of Christianity call every attempt to rise--and still more the attempt to lead others to rise--above the ordinary standard, a breach of Christian unity and love.
It is our duty however, to protest clearly and boldly against the sins of "the church." She has settled upon her lees, and all she begs is, like the world, to be let alone. This sort of happiness consists in the conscience being asleep: the true believer tries to awaken it, and they detest him for his pains. Hence it comes to pass, that the Sons of God, who are children of peace, are, nevertheless, the occasion of much disturbance in the world, and of much suffering to themselves. "I am for peace," said David, "but when I speak, they are for war"(Psalm 120:7). Why speak then? Why not exercise love, and charity, and forbearance, and avoid giving offence by disagreeable truths? "I tried," he says, "to refrain even from good words, but it was pain and grief to me; as I mused the fire kindled, and at the last I spake with my lips."(see Psalm 39:2,3).
Jeremiah found the same thing; see chapter 15:10; 20:7-11. A greater than David said--even he who will be Prince of Peace-- "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword; for I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household"--Matt. 10:34-36.
When holiness and zeal are combined in a man, that man becomes a sword against a wicked world. If a man be holy without zeal, he will be scoffed at indeed by many, but despised for his insignificance. If a man be zealous without holiness, he exposes himself to that withering rebuke, "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam in thine own eye." Life would be much easier if we had no contention but with the unconverted world; but we have a multitude who belong not fully to either camp. It seems uncharitable to call them enemies; it seems unfaithful to admit that they are friends. Hence arises the difficulty.
It is the Lord's special and distinctive commandment to his disciples that they love one another. but who is a disciple? And how far is our love to one whom we suppose a disciple to be carried?
I lay before you a statement which I believe to be the truth of God. There is a man who
I suppose not to be a Christian. This statement offends that man. What is my duty? Should
I out of love to the man, suppress the statement; or should I out of love to the truth,
make the statement, even though I offend the man? Suppose we adopt the former mode in
order to keep the peace; then it is clear that this consequence would follow: the
prejudices of our brother, and not the contents of the Bible, would become the measure and
standard of our statements of truth I can imagine no greater evil nor any thing more
absolutely destructive. If this be admitted, the church, instead of growing to the measure
of the stature of Christ, would dwindle into the dwarfish littleness of the most puny,
timid believer in her communion. We must adopt the latter mode then, and speak out; and in
so doing we must incur the consequences, namely, we shall be reproached for disturbing
peace, harmony and brotherly love. We shall be seen as rending the body of Christ, as
being destitute of that meekness which characterized our Master, whose commandment we
shall hear was love.
From: The Herald of The Kingdom and Age to Come. Vol.10. p 284.