Thoughts on Being a Christian W. H. Greer Written to Reverend Dinham of Ireland
We all want help in the great struggle of life. Those persons who are always walking on stilts are of no service to themselves or anybody else. At one of those meetings where these presumptuous individuals are apt to speak, there was on man got up and said. I am on board the old ship: I am sailing heavenward. I am going at the rate of 17 knots an hour and shall soon sail into the harbor. Another man with a little more vim in his presumptuousness said: I am on board the old ship of Zion, and am going at the arose and said: I am aboard the old ship and it is a steam ship and we shall soon sail into the harbor and he sat down. An old woman got up and said: “Well, Brethren, I have been going to heaven for 70 years and going afoot and I supposed I shall have to go afoot all the way and if some of these people going by steam don't look out they will burst their boilers.”
What I may say shall be more especially directed to my own condition than to yours. It shall be simply the silent inward reasoning of my mind put into words. No fault to find with anyone, nor any particular praise, but shall be in the spirit of benevolence and humility.
When a person who is not a member of a church rises to express the thoughts passing through this mind on the subject of religion and heavenly things, the people are apt to stare and to wonder as if something was wrong: fearing perhaps that something might possibly be uttered in opposition to certain forms of devotion and against the worship of the only living and true God. But might they not more reasonably wonder at a person’s silence upon a subject that so much concerns himself: upon a subject which so completely involves his own safety: his own wellbeing both in this life and in the life which is to come: that life which has no end: a subject which moves the tender compassion of an every interceding Redeemer: a subject into which Angels desire to look with interest and delight. “For there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Beloved Friends, what sweet Christian consolation to think there is joy in Heaven over the contrite, penitent sinner no matter how wretched and miserable and vile and worthless he may have been. I regret to say in my opinion that outsiders are too ‘remiss’ in their duty as good citizens for their reluctance to applaud the praise worthy example of good men and moral influences.
I often blame myself and many others also who are not soldiers of the cross; not devoted followers of the Lamb, but who are friendly and well disposed toward the cause of religion and the promotion of holiness, who remain mute, who will not stand up and offer one kind word to the honor and glory of God, not a word to encourage and commend those who have girded on the breast plate of righteousness and are striving to fight the good fight of faith and true repentance. But one word to member of admonition: but you must be earnest in the advancement of His cause, regardless of the opposition of your spiritual adversaries. The Savior has said “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” Therefore so far from repining at the hostility of the ungodly, you should rejoice in it as a testimony to the genuineness and decision of your Christian character; and if you steadily watch and pray, you shall be more than conquerors through Him that loved us. “Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” “The Lord is thy keeper” and mark His kind invitation “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him and will sit with him and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne.” They shall hunger no more neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them until living fountains of waters; God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
What more glorious, heavenly consolation could the poor sinner desire? Although unable to boast of works or righteousness, or any worth myself to set before you a good example, yet I am glad to see so many friends within the courts of God’s own house. I am truly glad to see so many willing to confess and acknowledge the claims of God and to honor and to adore His holy name. This shall be the great aim of life with all of us. If we fail to do it, it shall be our own eternal loss. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what would a man give in exchange for his soul.” Appalling, dreadful thought, and yet how true and by so many very little contemplated until the day of grace shall be forever past. In our dispassionate, calm, reflective moments, is it not the greatest wonder of the world that so many procrastinate and trifle with their own eternal destiny: who continue from day to day to sport upon the very brink of everlasting woe? In the hour we know not when the son of man cometh. Everyone knows that death is certain and that it often comes as a thief in the night, and unless our walk and conversation be in conformity to the will of our divine Master we cannot escape His most righteous judgment. We may escape the punishment of men, but we cannot evade the scrutinizing gaze of the Great Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, who numbers the very hairs of our heads, and not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his infinite knowledge. Life is the time to serve Lord. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of the salvation: and how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation so many offers of mercy, such golden opportunities to do good: to turn to God and be made happy for ever and ever. In the day of our distress and tribulation we may call upon the mountains and rocks to fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, but alas! alas! Our cries shall be utterly vain.
In conclusion, believe me; it is as easy to do good as to do evil. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.
If we incline our hearts to wisdom and virtue, we shall enjoy a peace of conscience that the world can neither give nor take away: the approbation of both God and man: the respect and friendship of neighbors and acquaintances through the whole journey of life. How cheering it is to be traveling to a happy, beautiful land: to a peaceful welcome home: to mansions in the skies, prepared for us at God’s right hand, where our pleasures for evermore. “He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot out his name out the book of life, but I will confess His name before my Father and before His angels.” Without money and without price this great reward is kindly offered to everyone: freely, an individual gift both precious and inestimable – it is for each one’s self alone. But he who continues to reject this Pearl of great price shall have nothing to expect at the end of the race, but torment and anguish and regret, having fear and remorse of his sad companions throughout the countless ages of eternity.
“In the cold grave to which we haste There are no acts of pardon past But fixed the doom of all remains And everlasting silence reigns”
Alas! Alas! The Harvest past, the summer ended and it may be some of us not saved. May the Great giver of every good and perfect gift, through the merits of His only begotten and well beloved son, save us one and all from the endless despair and from the blackness of darkness forever, is the prayer of your unworthy fellow citizen.