The church in ----- ----- has greatly backslidden from God. It is no longer in a state of healthful prosperity. Each individual member of the church has had burdens and discouragements of his own to bear, but these he should have borne and kept his soul alive before God without weakening others in the church. He should have added to the strength of the church instead of diminishing it. Brother C has not taken a position to strengthen his own faith or that of the church. He has been acting on the side of the enemy to dishearten and discourage. Satan is constantly encouraging unbelief. He notes the mistakes and failings of Christ's professed followers, and taunts the angels of God with them. He is an accuser of the brethren, and he will influence as many as possible to do the same work. Those who take it upon themselves to watch their neighbor's garden instead of weeding their own plot of ground will surely find their own gardens so grown up to weeds that every precious plant will be crowded out.
Brother C is not in a position to be a light to the world. Oh, no; he is a body of darkness. Eternity will reveal the fact that his inconsiderate words have planted the seeds of questioning, doubt, and faultfinding in many minds and that his influence has turned many souls from the truth. He has consented to make himself a channel of darkness, to communicate suspicion and bring discouragement upon minds. God is not pleased with him. His own soul is becoming less and less susceptible to the influence of the Spirit of God. He has but little faith; and how could it be otherwise, when by his words he is constantly strengthening unbelief? While he suggests doubts instead of letting beams of precious light shine upon others, he is aiding the enemy in his work. This spirit makes him almost an infidel, and unless he turns square about he will yet become one.
Brother C is thoughtless of his words and actions. Idle words, for which he must render an account in the day of God, are almost continually falling from his lips. He places himself upon the enemy's ground and, as the result, has not the Spirit of Christ. He will sometime see that he has made a great mistake, that he has been losing precious, golden moments which he might have employed in purifying his own heart. He has been picking flaws in others, living on their mistakes; and this is spiritual starvation. Every revival is liable to bring persons into the church who are not really converted. They hold the truth nominally, but are not sanctified by its sweet influence. Being destitute of grace, they are selfish, hard, and unyielding. Such persons are always unreliable. They will ever be doing and saying things contrary to our faith. The church that has such a burden inflicted upon it deserves pity. The world is in opposition to the church, and Satan and his angels are constantly at war with it. Therefore the defects of these unworthy members are held up before those who are sound in the faith.
Those who believe the truth should be determined to help and not to hinder the few in ----- ----- who are struggling under discouragements. The members of the church should each have a jealous care that the enemies of our faith have no occasion to triumph over their lifeless, backslidden state. Some have wasted their influence, when with a little self-denial, earnestness, and zeal, they might have been a power on the side of good. This zeal will not come without effort, without earnest struggles. If only three faithful souls were left in the ----- ----- church, they would, if connected with God, be living channels of light, and He would add to their numbers. God has raised up standard-bearers in ----- -----. Some have moved away, some have died, and some have become spiritually dead; their services are given to Satan. They do not realize that a by-and-by is coming when their account in the heavenly records will be balanced and when every man's work will be revealed of what sort it is.
Remember that everyone must be judged according to his work. When, in the great day of final reckoning, the record of your life shall be opened before you, my doubting, questioning, accusing brother, how will it stand? "Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?" This has been the language of your heart; and "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." By your words you are to be justified or condemned. Accusing the brethren is the very work that Satan has been engaged in since his fall. You have disheartened the church who had little enough courage at best. You have presented the truth in almost every objectionable light. This is the work Satan is doing. You have no occasion to be proud of your words; for they will bring confusion of face, shame and despair, in the day when every man shall receive according to the deeds done in the body.
Your wife has heard your expressions of darkness until she is molded in a great degree to your ideas. The fear of the Lord is almost entirely removed from you both. You are now sowing seeds of unbelief, and they will produce a plentiful harvest by and by, in the reaping of which you will take no satisfaction. You have lent yourself to the enemy to be his agent to lead souls to doubt and unbelief. Your whole work has been to scatter from Christ. You glory in your sharpness, your aptness in confusing minds. You think it a mark of intelligence; but it is the same kind of intelligence that the prince of darkness possesses, and will receive the same reward that he is winning by his intense activity and shrewdness. The tendency of this age is to unbelief, to making light of godliness and true religion. This is Satan's plan, and when you yield your powers to unbelief you are led captive by his devices to do his work.
Your wife will have a hard fight to conquer the devices of the enemy, to overcome her own defects of character, and bring all her powers into subjection to the will of God, planting her feet firmly upon the platform of eternal truth. She is not naturally devotional, and you have placed things before her in such an uncertain light that she is left to drift without anchorage. She takes no real comfort in faith and hope, for she has not an intelligent knowledge of the truth. She is greatly affected by the atmosphere of unbelief she breathes, and if she is lost, the blood of her soul will be found on your garments.
You are just as surely doing the work of Satan as is any one of his open agents. The doubts which you have introduced into many minds will bear fruit. Your harvest is ripening for the final gathering. Will you be proud of it then? You may turn to the Lord; you may find rest in Him. But you have so long educated yourself to criticize, to turn and twist everything in a false light, that it will require earnest prayer and constant watchfulness to break the habit which has become second nature. My heart yearns over you and your family. The Lord is displeased with you; He is grieved every day. You must be a thoroughly converted, transformed man, or you will never have the precious gift of everlasting life.