A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, August 8, 1858, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At The Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
You who love the Lord, hate evil. (Ps 97:10)
1. The Christian religion is a golden chain with which the hands of men are fettered from all hatred. The spirit of Christ is love. Wherever he governs, love reigns as a necessary consequence. The Christian man is not allowed to hate anyone. You have heard that it has been said by those of old time, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy; but I say to you,” Jesus said, “Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you.” The word “hate” must be cut out of the language of a Christian, except when it is used with one meaning and intention only, and that is the meaning contained in my text. You have no right, oh Christian, to tolerate within your heart wrath, malice, anger, harshness, or uncharitableness, towards any creature that God’s hands have made. When you hate a man’s sins, you are not to hate him, but to love the sinner, even as Christ loved sinners and came to seek and save them. When you hate a man’s false doctrine, you are still to love the man, and hate his doctrine even out of love for his soul, with an earnest desire that he may be reclaimed from his error, and brought into the way of truth. You have no right to exercise your hatred upon any creature, however fallen or debased, however much he may irritate your temper, or harm you with respect to your possessions or reputation. Still hatred is a power of manhood, and we believe that all powers of manhood are to be exercised, and may each one of them be exercised in the fear of God. It is possible to be angry, and yet not to sin, and it is possible to hate, and yet not to be guilty of sin, but to be positively performing a duty. Christian man, you may have hatred in your heart, if you will only allow it to run in one way, then it shall not do any mischief, but it shall even do good—“You who love the Lord, hate evil.” As much as the revengeful man hates his enemy, so much should you hate evil. As much as contending despots in battle hate one another, and only seek an opportunity to meet each other face to face, so you should hate evil. As much as hell hates heaven, and as much as heaven hates hell, so much may you hate evil. All of that passion which, when let loose in the wrong way, becomes as a fierce lion on its prey, you may keep it on a leash, (like a noble lion, only destitute of ferocity) against any whom it should not harm, and you may let it loose against the enemies of the Lord your God and do great exploits by it. Tell me of a man who is never angry, that man does not have any true zeal for God. We must sometimes be angry against sin. When we see evil, though not vindictive against the people who commit it, yet we must be angry against the evil; we must always hate wickedness. Does not David say, “I hate them with a perfect hatred yes, I consider them my enemies.” We are to love our enemies, but we are to hate God’s enemies. We are to love sinners, but we are to hate sin. As much as it is in the power of man to hate, so much are we to hate evil in every form and fashion.
2. The duty here commanded is a general one for all God’s people. We are to hate all evil not some evils. It was said, you know, long ago, of certain professors, that they did
Compound the sins they were inclined to
By damning those they had no mind to.
And still today there are some, I dare say, who think others are extremely guilty for committing iniquities which they do not care to commit, but they themselves commit other sins with which they deal very gently. Oh Christian, never take hold of sin, except with a gauntlet on your hand; never approach it with the kid-glove of friendship, never speak delicately of it; but always hate it in every shape. If it comes to you like a little fox, take heed of it, for it will spoil the grapes; if it comes to you like a warring lion, seeking whom it may devour; or if it comes with the hug of a bear, seeking by a pretended affection to entice you into sin, strike it, for its hug is death, and its clasp is destruction. You are to be at war with every kind of sin—of lip, of hand, of heart. Sin, however gilded over with profit, however varnished with the seemliness of morality, however much it may be complimented by the great, or however popular it may be with the crowd; you are to hate it everywhere, in all its disguises, every day of the week, and in every place. War to the death with sin! We are to draw the sword, and throw away the scabbard. With all your hosts, oh hell, with every brat of your offspring, oh Satan, we are to be at enmity. We are not to spare one sin, but we are to proclaim an utter and entire war of extermination against all of them.
3. In endeavouring to address you upon this subject, I shall first of all begin with it at home: Christian man, hate all evil in yourself. And then, secondly, we will let it go beyond this: Christian man, hate all evil in other people, wherever you see it.
4. I. First, then, CHRISTIAN MAN HATE ALL EVIL IN YOURSELF. I will strive now to excite your hate against it, and then I will try to urge you and assist you to destroy it.
5. You have a good reason to hate all evil; a greater reason than the most injured man could ever advance for the hatred of his enemies. Consider what evil has already done to you. Oh! what a world of mischief sin has brought into your heart! Sin blinded your eyes, so that you could not see the beauty of the Saviour; it thrust its finger into your ears, so that you could not hear the sweet invitations of Jesus: sin turned your feet into the way of evil, and filled your hands with filthiness; no, worse than that, sin poured poison into the very fountain of your being; it tainted your heart and made it “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Oh! what a creature you were when sin had done its utmost with you, before Divine grace began to mend you! You were an heir of wrath even as others; you “ran with the crowd to do evil;” your mouth was an “open sepulchre;” you flattered with your tongue, and there is nothing that can be said about your fellow creatures living in sin, that could not be said about you. You must plead guilty to the charge, “such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Oh! you have a good cause for hating sin when you look back to the rock from where you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from where you were dug. Such mischief did evil do to you that your soul would have been everlastingly lost, had not omnipotent love interfered to redeem you. Christian, hate evil. It has been your murderer; it has put its dagger into your heart; it has thrust poison into your mouth; it has done to you all the mischief that hell itself could do—mischief which would have been your eternal undoing, had not the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ prevented it. You have a good reason, then, to hate sin.
6. Again, Christian, hate evil, for it would be unbecoming if you did not when you consider your position in life. A Christian belongs to the royal blood of the universe. Beggars’ children may run around in the street with unkempt hair and shoeless feet; but should princes of the blood revel in uncleanness? We do not expect to see monarchs’ children clothed in rags; we do not expect to see them rolling themselves in the mire of the streets. And you, Christian, you are one of God’s aristocracy, a prince of the blood of heaven, a friend of angels, yes, and a friend of God. You have a good reason to hate all evil. Why, man, you are a Nazarite, dedicated to God. Now, the Nazarite was forbidden from drinking wine, indeed, he was not even to eat grapes, nor might he taste as much as the bark of the vine, or anything whatever that grew upon it; he must neither touch nor handle it, or else he would be defiled. So is it with you; you are the Lord’s Nazarite, set apart for himself. Avoid, then, every false way. Let the appearance of evil be kept from you: it is beneath your dignity to indulge in the sins which disgrace other men. You are not such as they are; you are of a nobler race; you have sprung from the loins of the Son of God: is he not your everlasting Father, even he who is the Prince of Peace? I beseech you, never demean your royal lineage, nor let your holy ancestry be stained. You are a peculiar people, a royal generation; then why should you stain your garments in the dust? “You who love the Lord, hate evil.”
7. Again, you have a good reason to hate sin, because it weakens you. Go when you have committed a folly, retire to your bedroom and fall upon your knees in prayer. Before the sin was committed, your prayer reached the ear of God and the blessings came down swiftly as the lightning flash; but now your knees are weak, your heart refuses to desire, and your tongue refuses to express the faint desires you strive to reach. You attempt, but you fail; you groan, but heaven is shut up against your cry; you weep, but your tear does not penetrate in order to obtain an answer from the heart of God. There you are; you bring your needs before the throne, and you carry them away again. Prayer becomes a painful duty instead of a most gracious and excellent privilege. This is the result of sin. “Sin will make you stop praying, or else praying will make you stop sinning.” Oh! you can never be strong in sin and strong in prayer. As long as you indulge in lust, or sin, or debauchery of any kind, your power in prayer is gone, and your lips are shut when you attempt to approach your God. Or if you will, try another exercise: after committing a sin, go into the world and try to do good. Why, man, you cannot do it; you have lost the power to cleanse others when you are impure yourself. What! can I with filthy fingers wash the face of others? Shall I attempt to plough another man’s field while my own is lying fallow, and the tall, rank thistle and weed are spreading all over it? I am powerless to do good until I have first cleansed my own vessel and made that pure. An unholy minister must be an unsuccessful one, and an unholy Christian must be an unfruitful one. Unless you desire to have your sinews loosed, to have the marrow of your bones scorched from you; unless you wish that the sap of your being should be dried up, I beseech you, hate sin, for sin can debilitate and weaken you so much that your life shall drag along in a miserable existence, the very skeleton of a soul instead of flourishing in the ways of your God. “You who love the Lord, hate evil.”
8. In the next place, you will find it extremely useful if, in order to get rid of sin, you are not content with merely restraining it, but always seeking to have it taken completely away by the Holy Spirit. You know, mere moralists restrain their sins, like a river that has locks and dikes: the water is kept from flowing, but then it gradually swells upward and upward, until by and by it overflows with terrible fury. Now, do not be content with mere restraining grace; that will never purge you, for the sin may be there though it does not break out. Pray to God that your sin may be taken away, and that though the remnant and the root of it remain, though the channel is there, yet the stream may be dried up like the stream of the Euphrates before the presence of the Lord your God.
9. Again, you have good reason to hate evil, for if you indulge in it you will have to suffer for it. God will never kill his children; he has put his sword away; he sheathed that once for all in the heart of Christ, but he has a rod, and sometimes he lays that rod on with a very heavy hand, and makes the whole body to tingle. The Lord will not be angry with his people so as to cast them off, but he will be so angry with them that they shall have to cry, “Heal the bones that you have broken, and restore my soul. Oh Lord my God.” Ah! you who have ever backslidden, you know what it is to be well scourged; for when Christ’s sheep run away from the shepherd he will not let them perish, but he will often allow the black dog to bring them back in his mouth; he will allow grievous trouble and sharp affliction to lay hold upon them, so that they are cast down almost to the gates of hell. A Christian shall never be destroyed, but he shall almost be destroyed; his life shall not totally fail him, but he shall be so beaten and bruised that he shall scarcely know whether he has any life left in him at all. Hate sin, oh Christian, unless you desire trouble. If you wish to spread thorns on your path and put nettles in your death pillow, then live in sin; but if you wish to dwell in the heavenly places, hearing the everlasting chimes of Paradise ringing in your own heart, then walk in all the ways of holiness even to the end. Christian man, hate evil.
10. So far, I have only addressed you selfishly; I have shown you how evil may harm you; now I will address you with another argument. Christian, hate evil; hate it in yourself, because evil in you will harm others. What harm the sin of a Christian does to the children of God! The sharpest trials God’s church has ever had, have come from her own sons and daughters. I see her, I see her with her clothes ripped and defiled; I see her hands all bleeding, and her back scarred. Oh church of the living God, you fairest among women, how are you wounded! Where have you received these wounds? Has the infidel spit in your face and reviled you? Has the Arian torn your clothes? Has the Socinian cast filth upon the whiteness of your apparel? Who has wounded your hands, and who has scarred your back? Has this been done by the impious and profane? “No,” she says, “these are the wounds I have received in the house of my friends. Against my enemies I wear a secret armour, but my friends penetrate within it, and cut me to the very quick.” The bishops of God’s church, the professed leaders of the Lord’s hosts, the pretended followers of the Redeemer, have done more damage to the church than all the church’s enemies. If the church were not a divine thing, protected by God, she must have ceased to exist, merely through the failure and iniquity of her own professed friends. I do not wonder that the church of God survived martyrdom and death; but I do marvel that she has survived the unfaithfulness of her own children, and the cruel backsliding of her own members. Oh Christians, you do not know how you cause God’s name to be blasphemed, how you stain his church, and bring dishonour upon her escutcheon, (shield with a coat of arms) when you indulge in sin. “You who love the Lord, hate evil”
11. Again, hate it not only for the church’s sake, but for the poor sinner’s sake. How many sinners every year are driven away from all thought of religion by the inconsistency of professors! And have you ever noticed how the world always delights to chronicle the inconsistency of a professor? I saw only yesterday an account in the paper of a wretch who had committed lust, and it was said that “he had a very sanctified appearance.” Indeed, I thought, that is the way the press always likes to speak; but I very much question whether there are many editors that know what a sanctified appearance means; at least they will have to look for a long time among their own profession before they find many who have much sanctification. However, the reporter put it down that the man had “a sanctified appearance;” and of course it was intended as a slam against all those who make a profession of religion, by making others believe that this man was a professor too. And really the world has had some grave cause for it, for we have seen professing Christians in these days that are an utter disgrace to Christianity, and there are things done in the name of Jesus Christ that it would be a shame to do in the name of Beelzebub. There are things done, too, by those who are accounted members of the church of our Lord Jesus, I think, so shameful that Pandemonium1 itself would scarcely allow them. The world has had much cause to complain about the church; oh children of God, be careful. The world has a lynx eye: it will see your faults; it will be impossible to hide them; and it will magnify your faults. It will slander you if you have none; give it at least no ground to work upon; “let your garments be always white;” walk in the fear of the Lord, and let this be your daily prayer, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.”
12. Once more: I have one more argument that I think must touch your hearts and make you hate evil. You have a friend, the best friend you ever had. I know him, and have loved him, and he has loved me. There was a day, as I took my daily walk, when I came close to a place for ever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this friend my best, my only friend, murdered. I stooped down in horror and looked at him. He was foully murdered. I saw that his hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and his feet had been torn with the same. There was misery in his dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger; his back was red with bloody scourges, and his brow had a circle of wounds around it: clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns. I shuddered, for I had known this friend very well. He never had a fault; he was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy. Who could have injured him? For he never injured any man: all his life long he “went about doing good;” he had healed the sick, he had fed the hungry, he had raised the dead: for which of these works did they kill him? He had never breathed out anything else but love. And as I looked into the poor sorrowful face so full of agony and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been such a vile wretch to pierce hands like his. I said within myself, “Where do these traitors live? Where can they live? Who are these who could have killed such a one as this?” Had they murdered an oppressor we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy, it might have been his just desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition, we would have said, “Bury his corpse: justice has at last given him his due.” But when you were killed, my best, my only beloved, where were the traitors living? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death. If there are torments that I can devise, surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy; what revenge I felt! If I might only find these murderers what would I do with them! And as I looked upon that corpse I heard a footstep, and wondered where it came from. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand. It was dark, and I groped around to find him. I found that somehow or other wherever I put my hand I could not find him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go. At last I put my hand upon my heart. “I have you now,” I said; for lo! he was in my own heart; the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul. Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harbouring the murderer; and I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over his corpse and sung that plaintive hymn:
‘Tis you my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were:
Each of my crimes became a nail
And unbelief the spear.
Revenge! revenge! You who fear the Lord, and love his name, take vengeance on your sins, and hate all evil.
13. Now, my beloved, my next endeavour must be to urge you to put your sins to death. What shall be done in order that you and I may get rid of our sins? There is the axe of the law; shall we bring that out and kill our sins with it? Alas! they will never die under the blow of Moses.
Law and terrors do but harden,
All the while they work alone.
I have often striven to overcome sin by the thought of the punishment attached to it; but I have very seldom found myself in a frame of mind in which my heart would accept that reason. I believe that to the most of us the terrors of the law, although they ought to be exceedingly terrible, have very little power to check us from sin. I read a story the other day which showed me, if nothing else, the utter powerlessness of terror for curbing the heart from sin. It is pretended by some that it is necessary that men who commit murder should be capitally executed in order to deter others from crime. There is not, however I believe, the shadow of a hope that the execution of a murderer will ever produce any such effect. Three traitors were once executed in this country—Thistlewood2 was one of them,—and when the executioner struck off the head of the first man and held it up, saying, “this is the head of a traitor,” there was a shudder running through the multitude, a chill, cold feeling which was perceptible even by the executioner. When he killed the next man, and held up the head in like manner, it was evidently looked upon with intense curiosity and awe, but with nothing like so much thrilling caution as the first. And strange to say, when the third head was struck off, the man was about to hold it up, but he let it drop, and the crowd with one voice cried, “Aha! butter fingers!” and laughed. Would you have supposed that an English crowd, on seeing a poor man die, could have become so hardened in so short a time, as actually to have made a joke about such an incident? Yet so it is; law and terrors never do and never will produce any other effect than to drive men to sin and make them think lightly of it. I would not, therefore, advise a Christian, if he wishes to be rid of his sins, to indulge continually in the thought of the punishment; but let him adopt a better method: let him go and sit down at the cross of Christ, and endeavour to draw evangelical repentance from the atonement which Christ has offered for our guilt. I know of no cure for sin in a Christian like abundant communication with the Lord Jesus. Spend much time with him, and it is impossible for you to spend much time with sin. What! my Lord Jesus, can I sit at the foot of that accursed tree, and see your blood flowing for my guilt, and after that indulge in transgression? Yes, I may do it, for I am vile enough for anything; but still this shall be the great clog upon the wheel of my sin, and this shall repress my lust the most of all,—the thought that Jesus Christ has lived and died for me.
14. Again, if you wish to check sin, endeavour to shed as much light as you can upon it. The housewife, when she is busy around her house, with curtains drawn, she may have dusted all the tables, and think everything looks clean; but she opens a little corner of the window, and in streams a ray of light, in which ten thousand grains of dust are dancing up and down. “Ah!” she thinks, “my room is not as clean as I thought it was; here is dust where I thought there was none.” Now, endeavour to get, not the flickering candle of your own judgment, but the sunlight of the Holy Spirit, streaming upon your heart, and it will help you to detect your sin—and detection of sin is halfway towards its cure. Look thoroughly at your transgressions and endeavour to discover them.
15. Yet another thing, when you have fallen into one sin make confession of it, and let that lead you to search for all the rest. David, you know, never wrote so abject a confession as he did after he had committed one act of sin; then he was led to search his heart, and find out all the rest of his iniquities, and he made a complete confession of them all. When you see one sin, be quite sure there is a host there, for they always hunt in packs; and take care when you discharge your confession against one, that there is enough powder and shot in your confession to wound all your sins and send them limping away. Be not content with overcoming one sin or one transgression, but labour to get rid of all of them.
16. Again, there are many sins by which you will be enticed unless you always take care to strip sin of its disguises. Sin will sometimes come to you, wrapped up in a Babylonian garment, like Achan’s wedge: pull off the covering and you will discover its iniquity. It will sometimes come to you like the iniquity of King Saul, under the form of a sacrifice; strip it and discover that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Alas! sin is like Jezebel; it attires its head and paints its face and appears lovely to us; unmask it, see its vileness, discover its filthiness, disdain the profit with which it gilds itself, take away the applause with which it endeavours to plume itself, and let it stand in all its naked deformity, and then you will not be so likely to fall into it.
17. Once again. Try always, when your mind is in a sanctified state, to estimate the weight of the evil of sin. When you are in a sinful state you will not feel the weight of the evil. A man who dives into the water may have a thousand tons of water above his head, and not feel the weight because the water is all around him; but take him out of the water, and if you put half a tubful on his head, it presses him down. Now, while you indulge in sin, you will not feel its weight; but when you are finished sinning, after it is over, and the Spirit has applied the blood of sprinkling for your forgiveness, and the sanctifying work of the Spirit has begun to restore you, then labour to realise the enormity of your guilt, and by so doing you will be helped to hate it and to overcome it.
18. With regard to some sins, if you wish to avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except by Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Flee, flee, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and flee, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attacks you, shut your eye and cover your ear, and get away, get away from it; for you are only safe when you are beyond sight and earshot. “You who love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves.
19. Once again, you who love the Lord, if you wish to keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves for a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go out for the day’s duties. We are never safe except when we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, no matter who he is or what he does, though he is renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old Master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when you unlock your heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.” Take care of that. It is only by the Spirit that you can be preserved from sin.
20. Above all, let us add, avoid all preachers who endeavour in any way to palliate sin; avoid all experiences and books of experience that give you a way of ignoring the fact that the sin of God’s people is a vile thing. I know some folks who talk about their sins as if they were proud of them; they speak of their falls, and their backslidings, and transgressions, as if they were blessed experiences: like the dog that had a bell around his neck because he was dangerous; they are proud of that very thing which is their shame. Remember, a nettle is bad anywhere, but it is never so bad as in a flower garden, and sin is bad anywhere, but never so hateful as in a Christian. If as you are going home today you see a boy breaking windows, very likely you will speak to him; but if it is your own boy you will severely chastise him as sure as he is your own son. So likewise does God deal with his people. When sinners do mischief he rebukes them; when his people do the same he strikes them. He will not pass over sin in his own children at any time; it shall never go unchastened. You who fear the Lord never palliate sin, for God will not do so; he hates it with perfect hatred.
21. II. My second point is, HATE SIN IN OTHERS. Note it, do not hate others, but hate sin in others. Since we have only a few minutes left I will occupy them with only one or two practical remarks.
22. If you hate sin in others, it will be necessary for you never in anyway to approve of it. There is many a Christian who does more mischief than he knows of by a smile. You have heard a young man telling a story of some of his pranks; perhaps it has been in a railway carriage, and he has been very witty, and you have smiled at him. He knows you, and he seems to think he has done a brave thing—did not he make a Christian man smile at his sins? You have sometimes heard loose, lewd conversation proceeding from ungodly men, and you have not liked it; it has grated upon your ears; but you have sat very quietly, and others have said, “Ah, well, he was still enough; he was sucking it in, and it was clear he liked it.” Thus it was stamped at once with the seal of your approbation. Now, never let sin have your approval. Wherever you are, let it be known that you not only cannot endure it, but that you positively hate it. Do not let people say, “Well, I do not think he likes it;” but let them know you hate it, that you are absolutely angry with it, that you cannot smile at it, but feel your anger rise at the very mention of such shameful things. In the last century it used to be even fashionable and honourable to commit sins, which are now looked upon with scorn; and in another hundred years, some things that are done today will be discovered to be desperately vile, and we shall look upon them with disdain also. Christian, I say, never stamp another man’s sins with approval.
23. Again, whenever you are called upon to do it—and that will be very often—take care to let your sentiments with regard to sin come out. Sinful silence may make you a partaker in a sinner’s evil ways. If I saw a man breaking into a house, and I were going by late in the evening, if I passed by very quietly, knowing that he was doing wrong, and did not raise the alarm, I think I would be an accomplice in the crime. And so, if you are sitting in company where there is evil speaking, or where Christ is blasphemed, if you do not say a word for your Master, you are committing sin in your silence, you are an accomplice in the iniquity. Speak up for your Lord and Master. What if you should get upbraided for it and be called a Puritan? It is a grand name. What if some should say, you are too precise? There is good need that some should be too precise where a great many are far too lax; or if they should never welcome you into their company again, it will be a great gain to be excluded. What if they should speak evil of you? Do you not know that you are to rejoice in that day when they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for Christ’s namesake? Always by your speaking boldly, let sin be put to shame.
24. Then again, when you see evil in anyone, always try, if you see the slightest hope of doing good, for an opportunity of telling him privately about it. I have heard of a gentleman who was swearing, and a godly man who stood by, instead of upbraiding him for it, publicly said, “Sir, I wish to speak to you for a moment.” “Well,” said the gentleman, “you had better come into the coffee room.” They went accordingly; and the godly man said to the other, “My dear friend, I noticed that you took the name of God in vain. I know you will excuse my mentioning it. I did not say a word about it when others could hear; but really it is a great sin, and no profit can come from it. Could you not avoid it in future?” The rebuke was thankfully received; the gentleman bowed his acknowledgments; he confessed that it was the fault of his early education, and he trusted that the rebuke might do him good. Do you not think that very often we lose an opportunity of showing our hatred of evil by not endeavouring privately to speak to those whom we discover indulging in sin? Never let slip an opportunity of having a shot at the devil, whenever you find it; always blast him whenever you see him. If you cannot do it in public, yet if you see a man doing evil, rebuke him in private for his sin.
25. And another thing—if you hate evil, do not get into it yourself, because it is of no use your talking to others about evil unless your own life is blameless. Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones. Get out of your own glass house, and then throw as many as you like. Speak to other people, when you have first of all endeavoured to set your own life according to the standard of the Gospel.
26. And now, beloved fellowmen, all of you who love the Saviour, are exhorted this morning to hate evil; and I will just enlarge once more upon this exhortation. Join heart and hand in the hatred of evil, with all men who seek to put it down. Wherever you see a society endeavouring to do good, encourage it. Let this be your doctrine—preach nothing up but Christ, and nothing down but evil. Help all those who are for the spread of the Redeemer’s kingdom. There is nothing else that can put evil away so quickly as the proclamation of right. Help the minister of the Gospel; pray for him; hold up his hands; endeavour to strengthen him. As for yourself, become a tract distributor, a Sunday School teacher, or a village preacher. Show your hatred of evil by active efforts in putting it down. Distribute Bibles, scatter the Word of God over the land. Send your missionaries to foreign places and let them penetrate the dens and alleys of London. Go among the rags and filth of our own population, and seek to bring some one or two of the Lord’s precious jewels who are hidden in the dunghills of the metropolis. Thus, let the Lord Jesus Christ by your means get the victory, and let the evil of this world be cast out. How shall that be done, except by the combined exertions of all Christ’s church? In these days we have a great many men to fight Christ’s battles, if they would only fight. Our churches are increasing at a great rate. There are an immense number of Christians alive now; but I think I would rather have the one hundred and twenty men who were in the upper chamber on the day of Pentecost, than I would have the whole lot of you. I do think those one hundred and twenty men had more blood in them, more divine Christian blood and zeal, than as many millions of such poor creatures as we are. Why, in those days every member of the church was a missionary. The women did not preach, it is true; but they did what is better than preaching, they lived out the Gospel; and all the men had something to say. They did not leave it as you do to your minister, serving God by proxy; they did not set deacons up, and leave them to do all God’s work while they folded their arms. Oh! no; all Christ’s soldiers went to battle. There was no conscripting one or two of them, and then leaving the others to stay at home and share the spoil. No; every one fought, and great was the victory. Now, beloved Christians, all of you, be doing it, and always be doing it. Oh Spirit of the living God, descend on every heart, and bid every one of your soldiers take his sword in his hand, and go immediately up to the victory. For when Zion’s children shall feel their individual responsibility, then shall come the day of her triumph. Then shall the walls of Jericho fall flat to the ground, and every soldier of the living God shall be crowned a conqueror. “You who love the Lord, hate evil,” now and for ever.