Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.
we happen to live, because they are specially prominent to us. But we may certainly say this much - we live in an age when outside wickedness and semi-wickedness are telling very directly and very injuriously on the Christian spirit. It cannot be said that there is general failing from the Christian profession; but there is a strange, sad "chilling of the Christian love," a "leaving of the first love." In some ages the separation of the Church from the world is more marked, and so the influence of the world on the Church is less felt. Illustrate by Slapton Sands in Devonshire. A freshwater lake well stocked with fish is divided from the sea only by a road and a narrow belt of sand. Usually the two are well kept apart. But when wind and tide unite, the sea rises, floods the sand and the road, and pours the defiling and destructive salt waters into the sweet lake.
I. EFFECT OF GROWING INIQUITY ON THE CHRISTIAN SPIRIT. "Love waxes cold." The true idea of Christian life is the sanctifying and ennobling power of a personal love to Christ. Iniquity, self-willedness, and self-willed ways chill this love
(1) by presenting to us other and rival claims to our love (preacher must be left to select illustrations of such claims);
(2) by undervaluing and putting slights on Christ. Show how human friendships are spoiled when our friends are satirized and scorned. Show how jealously, in these criticizing days, we need to watch over our high, adoring, admiring thoughts of Christ.
II. THE MASTERY OF SURROUNDING INIQUITY IS THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIAN STEADFASTNESS. "He that shall endure to the end." It will cost persistent and persevering effort if we are to keep loving Christ supremely. True endurance is not possible unless we have a strong grip of Christ. We must have and cherish warm feeling toward Christ. We must keep on
(5) working for Christ.
And if ever faint, it must be "taint, yet pursuing." - R.T.
The love of many shall wax cold.
I. WHEN INIQUITY BE SAID TO ABOUND.
1. When those who are set for the defence of the gospel can see its doctrines corrupted without emotion.
2. When those who live in total disregard of practical religion increase.
II. THE ABOUNDING OF INIQUITY OPERATES TO COOL THE BLOOD OF CHRISTIANS.
(Sketches.)I. THE EXTERNAL POSITION OF THE CHURCH. Abounding iniquity in the forms of speculative error, obvious and shameful sin, direct opposition to the gospel, etc.
II. THE INTERNAL STATE OF THE CHURCH The same circumstances which cause gross wickedness to abound in the world, produce coldness of love in the Church. Antediluvians, Jewish history, etc. The wickedness which abounds in the world is often the fruit of coldness in the love of the Church, and then the reaction, etc. That you may sustain no harm by the abounding of iniquity, guard your attention, affections, etc. Cherish ardent, enthusiastic love to Christ.
(A. Tucker.)Psalm 120:5; Isaiah 6:5). There is a compulsive power in company to do as they do (Galatians 2:14). It behoveth us, therefore, upon whom the ends of the world are come, to beware lest we suffer a decay; lest, leaving our first love, and led away with the error of the wicked, we fall from our former steadfastness (Revelation 2:5; 2 Peter 3:17). The world, says Ludolfus, has been once destroyed with water for the heat of lust, and shall be again with fire for the coldness of love. Latimer saw so much lack of love to God and goodness in his time that he thought verily Doomsday was then just at hand. What would he have thought had he lived in our age, wherein it were far easier to write a book of apostates than a book of martyrs?
(Dean Kitchen.)their apostasy. They have always assigned other causes of it, which in their opinion clears them from all suspicion of unjust prejudice or prevention. And these are
(1) (2) (Bishop Warburton.) (John Trapp.) (H. W. Beecher.)
(2) (Bishop Warburton.) (John Trapp.) (H. W. Beecher.)
(John Trapp.)Constitution we will suppose. She anchors at the navy-yard. See how men throng the cars and go to the navy-yard to get a sight of her! See how the sailors stand upon the deck and gaze upon her! Some of them, perchance, have been in her, and to them she is thrice handsomer than any new vessel. This old war-beaten ship, that carries the memory of many memorable campaigns, lies there; and they look at its breached bow, its shattered rigging, its coarse and rude lines, its dingy sides, which seem long since to have parted company with paint; and every one of them feels, if he is a true patriot, "God bless you, old thing! God bless you!"
(H. W. Beecher.)