“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.” Numbers 13:32 and 14:6-7
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 2:17-24
Every unguarded word you use, every inconsistent act, puts a slur on Christ. The world, you know, does not find fault with you—they lay it all to your Master. If you make a slip tomorrow, they will not say, “That is John Smith’s human nature;” they will say, “That is John Smith’s religion.” They know better, but they will be sure to say it; they will be sure to put all the mischief at the door of Christ. Now, if you could bear the blame yourself you might bear it manfully; but do not allow Christ to bear the blame—do not suffer his reputation to be tarnished—do not permit his banner to be trampled in the dust. Then there is another consideration. You must remember, if you do wrong, the world will be quite sure to notice you. The world carries two bags: in the bag at the back they put all the Christian’s virtues—in the bag in front they put all our mistakes and sins. They never think of looking at the virtues of holy men; all the courage of martyrs, all the fidelity of confessors, and all the holiness of saints, is nothing to them; but our iniquities are ever before them. Please do recollect, that wherever you are, as a Christian, the eyes of the world are upon you; the Argus eyes of an evil generation follow you everywhere. If a church is blind the world is not. It is a common proverb, “As sound asleep as a church,” and a very true one, for most churches are sound asleep; but it would be a great falsehood if anyone were to say, “As sound asleep as the world,” for the world is never asleep. Sleeping is left to the church. And remember, too, that the world always wears magnifying glasses to look at Christians’ faults.
For meditation: Like Mary our souls and words may magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46), but does any area of our lives allow the unbelieving world to magnify our sins instead?
Sermon no. 197
6 June (1858)