You do not know, dear friends, of how much service your open confession of Christ might be to some trembling soul. One reason why we have churches, and are joined in fellowship, is that we may help the weak; that by our daring to say ‘Christ has saved me,’ others may take heart, and may come to him and find the same mercy. ‘Oh,’ but you say, ‘the church does not want me.’ Then, I might say the same, and all Christians might say the same. Where would there be a visible church on earth at all? What is right for one Christian to do is right for all to do; and if it is right for you to neglect professing Christ, then it is right for all believers to do so. And then, where is the church? Where is the ministry? Where is Christ’s truth? How are sinners to be saved at all? Suppose, my brother, that John Calvin and Martin Luther had said, ‘Well now we know the truth; but we had better be quiet, for we can go to heaven much more comfortably. If we begin preaching we shall set all the world by the ears, and there will be a deal of mischief done; hundreds of persons will have to be martyrs for their faith, and we shall be subject to many hardships.’ They had quite as much right to hide their religion as you have. They had quite as much reason for the concealment of their godliness as you have. But alas! for the world, where would have been the Reformation, if these had been as cowardly as you are, and like you had skulked to the rear in the day of battle. I ask again, what would be the wretched lot of England, what calamities would happen to our island, if all who know Christ as you know him were to act as you do?
For meditation: Do you have to plead guilty? Many of us are more ready with our excuses than we are with our testimonies (1 Peter 3:15). The only excuses the early church made use of were excuses for spreading the Gospel (Acts 2:14–15; 3:12–13; 4:9–10,19–20,29; 5:29,41–42).