One stumbling block in the way of so many non-Christians is that they say they are revolted and kept at arm’s length by the separatist and exclusive habits and practices of those who profess to have the faith they want.
Many of these Christians are kind, moral and upstanding, and they are calling for others to come out from amongst the people of the world to separate from an adulterous generation. I know, those are heavy words. Really it just means that the world is sinful and fallen away from God and only focuses on inward desires of the flesh.
You have heard this call. It is when you hear this call that something which you know to be true and noble in you rises. You have felt what your generation is crying out for. It is the union of your spirit with the fatherly love of the one Holy God. You acknowledge the power of that cry in your own heart. You want to feel with all men, and for all men. If you need a faith at all, it is one which shall meet that cry, which shall teach you how all men are bound together; not how some may be separated from the rest.
You will not be false to your generation. You will have no faith at all, or a faith for all mankind. Keep to that; take nothing less than that; only look again and see whether that is not just what Christ offers you.
Again, I urge you not to look at His followers, real or professing, look at Him, look at His life.
Was He exclusive? Did ever man or woman come near to Him and He turned them away? Did He not go amongst all races, into every neighborhood? Did He not go to the houses of great men and rulers; of Pharisees, of poor men, of politicians? Did He not frequent the temple, the marketplace, the synagogue, the seashore, the hillside, the haunts of outcasts and harlots? Was He not found at feasts and at funerals?
I know how deeply many of you feel and mourn over the miseries and disorder of the United States and the world—how you long to do something towards lightening ever so small a part of those miseries, rescuing ever so small a corner of the earth from that disorder. I know well how earnestly many of you are working in one way or another for your country and your friends. I know what high hopes many of you have for the future of the world and the destiny of man. I say, mourn on, work on; abate not one ounce of any hope you have ever had for the world or for man.
Your hopes, be they what they may, have never been high enough—your work never earnest enough. But I ask you whether your hopes and your work have not been marred again and again, whether you have not been thrown back again and again into listlessness and hopelessness, by failures of one kind or another, whether you have not felt that those failures have been caused more or less by your own uncertainty, by your having had to work and fight without a leader, with comrades to whom you were bound only by chance, to journey without any clear knowledge of the road you were going, or where it led to?
At such times have you not longed for light and guidance? What would you have not given for a well of light and hope and strength, springing up within you and renewing your powers and energies? What would you not have given for the inward certainty that the road you were travelling was the right one, however you might stumble on it; that the line of battle in which you stood was the line for all true men, and was marching break at the point which had been given you to hold, whatever might become of you?
Well, be sure that light and guidance, that renewal of strength and hope, that certainty as to your side and your road, you are meant to have; they have been prepared, and are ready, for every man of you, whenever you will take them. The longings for them are whispered in your hearts by the Leader, whose cross, never turned back, ever triumphing more and more over all principalities and powers of evil, blazes far ahead in the van of our battles. He has been called the Captain of our Salvation, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb who was slain for the world; He has told us his name, the Son of God and the Son of Man; He has claimed to be the redeemer, deliverer, leader of mankind.
My younger brothers, I am not speaking to you the words of enthusiasm or excitement, but the words of sober every-day knowledge and certainty. I tell you that all the miseries of the United States and of other lands consist simply in this and in nothing else, that we men, made in the image of God, made to know him, to be one with him in His Son, will not confess that Son our Lord and Brother, to be the Son of God and Son of man, the living Head of our race and of each one of us.
I tell you that if we would confess him and lay hold of him and let him enter in and rule and guide us and the world, instead of trying to rule and guide ourselves and the world without him, we should see and know that the kingdom of God is just as much about us now as it will ever be. I tell you that we should see all sorrow and misery melting away and drawn up from this fair world of God’s like mountain mist before the July sun.
This passage was adapted from a book by Thoams Hughes written in the 1800s