by Charles Spurgeon
(The Following excerpt is taken from “The Broad Wall,” a Sermon of Charles Spurgeon first published in 1911, preached on some unspecified earlier date at least 20 years earlier at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London.)
Satan will tell you that, if you bend a little; and come near to the ungodly, then they also will come a little way to meet you.
Ay, but it is not so. You lose your strength, Christian, the moment you depart from your integrity. What do you think ungodly people say behind your back, if they see you inconsistent to please them? “Oh!” say they, “there is nothing in his religion but vain pretense; the man is not sincere.”Although the world may openly denounce the rigid Puritan, it secretly admires him. When the big heart of the world speaks out, it has respect to the man that is sternly honest, and will not yield his principles,—no, not a hair’s breadth.
In such an age as this, when there is so little sound conviction, when principle is cast to the winds, and when a general latitudinarianism, both of thought and of practice, seems to rule the day, it is still the fact that a man who is decided in his belief, speaks his mind boldly, and acts according to his profession, is sure to command the reverence of mankind.
Depend upon it, woman, your husband and your children will respect you none the more because you say, “I will give up some of my Christian privileges,” or, “I will go sometimes with you into that which is sinful.” You cannot help them out of the mire if you go and plunge into the mud yourself. You cannot help to make them clean if you go and blacken your own hands. How can you wash their faces then?
You young man in the shop, and you young woman in the workroom, if you keep yourselves to yourselves in Christ’s name, chaste and pure for Jesus, not laughing at jests which should make you blush, not mixing up with pastimes that are suspicious; but, on the other hand, tenderly jealous of your conscience as one who shrinks from a doubtful thing as a sinful thing, holding sound faith, and being scrupulous of the truth,—if you will so keep yourselves, your company in the midst of others shall be as though an angel shook his wings, and they will say to one another, “Refrain from this or that just now, for So-and-so is here.”
They will fear you, in a certain sense; they will admire you in secret; and who can tell but that, at last, they may come to imitate you?