THE CHURCH WALKING WITH THE WORLD
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the good Church hid her snowy hands
And solemnly answered “Nay,
I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there;
Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain;
The sky to me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe;
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the old World grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low,
“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”
The Church looked down at her plain white robes,
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.
I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.
“I’ll build you one like mine,
With walls of marble and towers of gold,
And furniture ever so fine.”
So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold:
Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.
There were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
But the poor who were clad in shabby array,
Sat meekly down outside.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine;
My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”
So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry,
But she drew her beautiful robes aside,
As the widows went weeping by.
Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increased;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside—
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame;
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne,
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
I am rich,’ and hast not known
That thou art naked, and poor and blind,
And wretched before My face;
Therefore from My presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”
—Matilda C. Edwards.
I do not know the author of this poem, but it seems as inspired as what I have read to you from the Bible. The poem tells the same story as the Bible does. Those who like to dress and look like the world, do so only because their hand is, as it were, in the world’s hand, and because the world refuses to walk with them unless they dress as the world dresses. Ironical indeed—the world is true to its profession,but the daughters of Zion are not true to theirs!
The world kept on pleading. The church at first kept on backing out. But the world kept on pleading and pleading until it finally won. Those who give in by a fraction of an inch, day by day, are, therefore, the very ones who by their influence Satan is using to cause the church to fall. Awake Brother! Awake Sister! lest the Devil make everlasting fools of us all.
God is not asking us to put on anything that will roast our bodies. But He is asking us to put on some-thing decent that will represent Him and His message of the hour. Unless we do this, the world will not believe that He has sent us, and we ourselves will begin to doubt. Our manner of dress speaks louder than words.
The Devil, of course, works both ways—he himself cares not which, but he is careful to accommodate the sinner so as to win him to his side. If one extreme will not do, the Enemy lets him have the other—any-thing to keep him from the middle of the road, anything to keep him from following the Lord.
Verse 2—“In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.”
In that day,—in the day the daughters of Zion become haughty, in the day the seven women take hold of the one man, at that time the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for them that are the escaped of Israel. From what are His people toescape? Here is the answer:
Isa. 3:1-3—“For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.”
It is obvious that they escape the destruction of these sinners in the church.
Isa. 4:3—“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is writtenamong the living in Jerusalem.”
Only the holy ones, those whose names are left written in the Book escape the destruction that falls upon the wicked in the church. Only they constitute “the remnant,” the ones that are left. When is this to be?—The Lord Himself has the answer:
Verses 4-6—“When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”
It is to be when the purification of the church takes place, during the Judgment for the Living in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17), during the separation of the wheat from the tares, in the harvest time, the time the good fish are separated from among the bad, the goats from among the sheep (Matt. 25:32).
In this time of trouble, when every element is at work to bring the time of trouble such as never was (Dan. 12:1) God is to cleanse His church in order to protect His people from the trouble that she is headed for. The people that are left after the sinners are taken, “the remnant,” shall have perfect peace.
The Lord is now calling for men and women “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the accept-able year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
“And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in Truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh him-self with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteous-ness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The Lord hath sworn by His right hand; and by the arm of His strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of My holiness. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” Isa. 61:1-11; 62:1-12.
Why not return to God? No matter how bad a sinner you may be He will gladly pardon you. Why not accept now His call? You cannot afford to lose out eternally, you certainly do not want to miss this future glory that is projected by the prophets, and now freshly brought to light. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17. “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:).” Heb. 3:7, 8.
This is your opportunity. Today you may take it or you may pass it by, but tomorrow you will either leap for joy, or gnash your teeth in the outer darkness. It now all depends on you.
Surely you will not sell out so cheap as to forsake all this unsurpassing glory and God’s heart-rendering plea to drop the world and to return wholeheartedly to Him now at His final call.
Can the World See Jesus in You?
Passing to and fro on life’s busy way,
That the world in us can a likeness see
To the Man of Calvary?
All His creatures lost in the mire of sin?
Will we reach a hand, whatsoever it cost,
To reclaim a sinner lost?
To our words and acts giving daily heed;
Will they be attracted, or turn away
From the man of Calvary?
Can the world see Jesus in you?
Does your love to Him ring true,
And your life and service, too?
Can the world see Jesus in you?
—Mrs. C. H. Morris