Every man, especially in a great city like this, is responsible not only for himself but for his neighbours, and there are some of us who are like the church clock—other people set their watches by us. It becomes such of us as are religious teachers to be particularly careful. There are some things which I feel I might do, as far as I am concerned, which I believe I might do without suffering any personal hurt, but which I would not do for your sakes and which I dare not do for the sake of many who would take license from my example to do a great deal more than I would do, and would make me the horse on which they would put the saddle of their sin. Christian parents, you must not always say, ‘I can do this.’ Yes, but would you like everybody else to do it, because, if it is unsafe for one, it seems to me, you have no business to touch it. ‘If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth,’ is a grand old Christian saying of one who was not a whit behind the very chief of the apostles. We must be careful even of things indifferent, but when it comes to those things which are positively evil, the ill example of a Christian is ten times worse than that of one who is not a Christian, for if I see a sinner commit sin, his example is poison, but it is labelled. The inconsistent life of a Christian is unlabelled poison, and I am very likely to be injured by it. Inconsistent Christians, false professors, you that have a name to live and are dead, take care lest bloodguiltiness lie at your door, and much of it too.
For meditation: No man is perfect. Spurgeon was a cigar-smoker. This became the subject of controversy in later years. He did not regard smoking as a sin in itself, but justified his habit on the grounds that it relieved his physical pain, soothed his weary brain and helped him to sleep. However, non-smokers criticised him for setting an example which led others into a body-destroying habit. Do you eat or drink anything or do something else which could cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21)?