A Quenchless Fire

Ps. 7:11.---' A God that hath indignation every day.'

Our sacred fire does not burn every day. It burns only intermittently. It has occasional flares, when it leaps up with fierce intensity, but it soon dies down and smolders, or goes quite out. It is like a bonfire of tarred wood; it has a spasm of fervency, but no steady and continual glow. When the revelation of some moral outrage first appears we burn with hot antagonism. But if the outrage continues, and we become accustomed to its presence, our healthy indignation begins to subside. Our very familiarity with an evil is apt to damp our fires. The very evil which kindles our anger smothers it by its continuance.

All of which means that there comes a stage when our holiness ceases to be shocked at the presence of the unholy. Our holiness is not healthy enough, and therefore not sensitive enough, to retain its power of repulsion. It does not posses a glorious sense of offence. It is not strong enough to maintain its distance. What it first loathed it now tolerates, and it is almost inevitable that when we tolerate a wrong we begin to fraternize with it. In this realm the absence of antagonism means the birth of fellowship. Friendly messages pas between the trenches and we begin to cherish what we were intended to destroy. Our very presence, which should have consumed the evil, quickens it, just as a congenial climate fosters some deadly plague.

If you are impious enough to tolerate darkness, you will get ever more darkness to tolerate; and at that inevitable stage of the account [inevitable in all such accounts] when actual light or else destruction is the alternative, you will call to the heavens and the Earth for light, and none will come.

Now God's holiness is altogether different. His indignation never burns low in the presence of wrong. When iniquity raises its head His light is always lightning. 'Out of the throne proceeded lightnings! God's holiness never becomes so lukewarm as to be amiable to seemingly small revolts. 'Whosoever shall break one of the least of these commandments!' It is jealous for fidelity in small affairs. It is angry with the infidelity that shows its face in the apparent trifle. And why? Because the spirit of outrageous sin can enter the sacred circle through a neglected scruple. The burglar can get into the house through a little small opening. Smallpox may be spread by a penny as well as a hundred dollar bill. And it is little use our working up indignation against mighty epidemics if we are coldly negligent about the single germs. But this also is one of our dangers. Our fires blaze in crises, but they do not burn against the smaller things which make them. Our indignation does not burn every day either against great wrongs which have become familiar, or against the lesser wrongs which are the breeding ground of more sensational sins. 'God hath indignation every day!' In the presence of wrong God is always aflame. 'Our God is a consuming fire.' He will not parley with sin, but He will burn it in unquenchable fire.

It is this, you will observe, which is avouched of Him, or blessed Lord Jesus, namely, that He hated wickedness; it was not merely that He kept Himself aloof from it, passed it by, had nothing to do with it; but that He hated it. His whole moral nature was in active and continual warfare with it. 'Get thee behind Me, Satan,' uttered once to the adversary in the wilderness, was the voice of His heart at every instant, was the keynote to which His whole life was set. The zeal of His Father's house consumed Him, so that, twice, He had driven out the profane intruders from the Temple of His Father, yet the spirit which dictated these outbreaks of holy zeal was the spirit in which His whole life was lived, His whole ministry was accomplished. Ever near to His heart was the holy indignation which he felt at the dishonor done to His Father's name; the holy hatred which he felt, not of the world, for that was the object of His tenderest pity, but of the pollutions of the world, in the midst of which He was moving; and in His entire exemption from which pollutions He was 'separate from sinners,' though united to them in everything besides.

If we would share God's holy fire, we must share His holiness. If we would share His holiness, we must be partakers of His love and grace. To be greatly angry we must have the power to greatly love. 'He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.'

In Christ, timothy. maranatha