He is a mighty God. Have Him on your side, and you need not fear earth or hell. He can ride down all your spiritual foes. He is mighty to overthrow your enemies. He is mighty to save your soul. Ay, He is a loving God. He will put the arms of His love around about your neck. He will bring you close to His heart and shelter you from the storm. In times of trouble He will put upon your soul the balm of precious promises. He will lead you all through the vale of tears trustfully and happily, and then at last take you to dwell in His presence, where there is fullness of joy, and at His right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore. Oh, compared with such a wise God, such a mighty God, such a loving God, what are all the images under the camel’s saddle in the tent of Rachel?
There is a verse in Revelation that presents a nauseated Christ: “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
After we have been taking a long walk on a summer day, or been on a hunting chase, a draught of cold water exhilarates. On the other hand, after standing or walking in the cold air and being chilled, hot water, mingled with some beverage, brings life and comfort to the whole body; but tepid water, neither hot nor cold, is nauseating.
Now, Christ says that a church of that temperature acts on him as an emetic: I will spew thee out of my mouth.
The church that is red hot with religious emotion, praying, singing, working, Christ having taken full possession of the membership, must be to God satisfactory.
On the other hand, a frozen church may have its uses. The minister reads elegant essays, and improves the session or the vestry in rhetorical composition. The music is artistic and improves the ear of the people, so that they can better appreciate concert and opera.
The position of such a church is profitable to the book-binder who furnishes the covers to the liturgy, and the dry-goods merchants who supply the silks, and the clothiers who furnish the broadcloth. Such a church is good for the business world, makes trade lively and increases the demand for fineries of all sorts, for a luxurious religion demands furs and coats, and gaiters to match. Christ says he gets along with a church, cold or hot.
But an unmitigated nuisance to God and man is a half-and-half church, with piety tepid. The pulpit in such a church makes more of orthodoxy than it does of Christ. It is immense on definitions. It treats of justification and sanctification as though they were two corpses to be dissected. Its sermons all have a black morocco cover, which some affectionate sister gave the pastor before he was married, to wrap his discourse in, lest it get mussed in the dust of the pulpit. Its gestures are methodical, as though the man were ever conscious that they had been decreed from all eternity, and he were afraid of interfering with the decree by his own free agency.