Suppose the pulpit in our land gives an uncertain sound. As a result God’s people begin to forsake the assembling of themselves together; no crowds gather to hear the Word; places begin to get empty; prayer-meetings become more and more deserted; the efforts of the Church may be still carried on, but they are merely a matter of routine; there is no life, no heart in it. I am supposing a case you see, a case which I trust we never may see. Things get worse and worse; the doctrines of the gospel become expunged and unknown; they that fear the Lord no more speak one to another. Still for a little time the money continues to be brought into the Society, and foreign missions are sustained. Can you not imagine in the next report, “We have had no converts this year; our income is still maintained; but notwithstanding that, our brethren feel that they are labouring under the greatest possible disadvantages; in fact, some of them wish to return home and renounce the work.” Another year—the missionary spirit has grown cold in the churches, its funds decrease. Another year, and yet another; it becomes a moot point among us as to whether missions are absolutely necessary or not. We have come at last to the more advanced point which some divines have already reached, and begin to question whether Mohammed and Confucius had not a revelation from God as well as Jesus Christ. And now we begin to say, “Is it needful that we should extend the gospel abroad at all? We have lost faith in it; we see it does nothing at home, shall we send that across the sea which is a drug on the market here, and distribute as a healing for the wounds of the daughters of Zidon and of Tyre that which has not healed the daughter of Jerusalem?”
For meditation: A healthy church is the light of the world; an unhealthy church will be as much use to the world as the seven churches of Revelation are today (Matthew 5:13-16).