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  • THE BACKSLIDER IN HEART - D
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    10. The backslider in heart will be full of his own troubles. God is against him, and he is against himself. He is not at peace with God, with himself, with the Church, nor with the world. He has no inward rest. Conscience condemns him. God condemns him. All that know his state condemn him.

    "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21). There is no position in time or space in which he can be at rest.

    11. The backslider in heart will be full of his own cares. He has turned back to selfishness. He counts himself and his possessions as his own. He has everything to care for. He will not hold himself and his possessions as belonging to God, and lay aside the responsibility of taking care of himself and all that he possesses. He does not, will not, cast his cares upon the Lord, but undertakes to manage everything for himself, and in his own wisdom, and for his own ends. Consequently, his cares will be multiplied, and come upon him like a deluge.

    12. The backslider in heart will be full of his own perplexities. Having forsaken God, having fallen into the darkness of his own folly, he will be filled with perplexities and doubts in regard to what course he shall pursue to accomplish his selfish ends. He is not walking with, but contrary to God. Hence, the providence of God will constantly cross his path, and baffle all his schemes. God will frown darkness upon his path, and take pains to confound his projects, and blow his schemes to the winds.

    13. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own anxieties. He will be anxious about himself, about his business, about his reputation, about everything. He has taken all these things out of the hands of God, and claims them and treats them as his own. Hence, having faith in God no longer, and being unable to control events, he must of necessity be filled with anxieties with regard to the future. These anxieties are the inevitable result of his madness and folly in forsaking God.

    14. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own disappointments.

    Having forsaken God, and taken the attitude of self-will, God will inevitably disappoint him as he pursues his selfish ends. He will frame his ways to please himself, without consulting God. Of course God will frame his ways so as to disappoint him. Determined to have his own way, he will be greatly disappointed if his plans are frustrated; yet the certain course of events under the government of God must of necessity bring him a series of disappointments.

    15. The backslider in heart must be full of his own losses. He regards his possessions as his own, his time as his own, his influence as his own, his reputation as his own. The loss of any of these, he accounts as his own loss. Having forsaken God, and being unable to control the events upon which the continuance of those things is conditioned, he will find himself suffering losses on every side. He loses his peace. He loses his property.

    He loses much of his time. He loses his Christian reputation. He loses his Christian influence, and if he persists he loses his soul.

    16. The backslider in heart will be full of his own crosses. All religious duty will be irksome, and, therefore, a cross to him. His state of mind will make multitudes of things crosses that in a Christian state of mind would have been pleasant in a high degree. Having lost all heart in religion, the performance of all religious duty is a cross to his feelings. There is no help for him, unless he returns to God. The whole course of Divine providence will run across his path, and his whole life will be a series of crosses and trials. He cannot have his own way. He cannot gratify himself by accomplishing his own wishes and desires. He may beat and dash himself against the everlasting rocks of God's will and God's way, but break through and carry all before him he cannot. He must be crossed and recrossed, and crossed again, until he will fall into the Divine order, and sink into the will of God.

    17. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own tempers. Having forsaken God, he will be sure to have much to irritate him. In a backslidden state, he cannot possess his soul in patience. The vexations of his backslidden life will make him nervous and irritable; his temper will become explosive and uncontrollable.

    18. The backslider in heart will be full of his own disgraces. He is a professor of religion. The eyes of the world are upon him, and all his inconsistencies, worldly- mindedness, follies, bad tempers, and hateful words and deeds, disgrace him in the estimation of all men who know him.

    19. The backslider in heart will be full of his own delusions. Having an evil eye, his whole body will be full of darkness. He will almost certainly fall into delusions in regard to doctrines and in regard to practices. Wandering on in darkness, as he does, he will, very likely, swallow the grossest delusions. Spiritism, Mormonism, Universalism, and every other ism that is wide from the truth, will be very likely to gain possession of him. Who has not observed this of backsliders in heart?

    20. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own bondage. His profession of religion brings him into bondage to the Church. He has no heart to consult the interests of the Church, or to labor for its up-building, and yet he is under covenant obligation to do so, and his reputation is at stake. He must do something to sustain religious institutions, but to do so is a bondage. If he does it, it is because he must, and not because he may.

    Again, he is in bondage to God. If he performs any duty that he calls religious, it is rather as a slave than as a freeman. He serves from fear or hope, just like a slave, and not from love. A gain, he is in bondage to his own conscience. To avoid conviction and remorse, he will do or omit many things, but it is all with reluctance, and not at all of his own cordial goodwill.

    21. The backslider in heart is full of his own self condemnation. Having enjoyed the love of God, and forsaken Him, he feels condemned for everything. If he attempts religious duty, he knows there is no heart in it, and hence condemns himself. If he neglects religious duty, he of course condemns himself. If he reads his Bible, it condemns him. If he does not read it, he feels condemned. If he goes to religious meetings, they condemn him; and if he stays away, he is condemned also. If he prays in secret, in his family, or in public, he knows he is not sincere, and feels condemned.

    If he neglects or refuses to pray, he feels condemned. Everything condemns him. His conscience is up in arms against him, and the thunders and lightnings of condemnation follow him, where ever he goes.

    V. HOW TO RECOVER FROM A STATE OF BACKSLIDING.

    1. Remember whence you are fallen. Take up the question at once, and deliberately contrast your present state with that in which you walked with God.

    2. Take home the conviction of your true position. No longer delay to understand the exact situation between God and your soul.

    3. Repent at once, and do your first works over again.

    4. Do not attempt to get back, by reforming your mere outside conduct.

    Begin with your heart, and at once set yourself right with God.

    5. Do not act like a more convicted sinner, and attempt to recommend yourself to God by any unrepentant works or prayers. Do not think that you must "reform, and make yourself better" before you can come to Christ, but understand distinctly, that coming to Christ, alone, can make you better. However much distressed you may feel, know for a certainty that until you repent and accept His will, unconditionally, you are no better, but are constantly growing worse. Until you throw yourself upon His sovereign mercy, and thus return to God, He will accept nothing at your hands.

    6. Do not imagine yourself to be in a justified state, for you know you are not. Your conscience condemns you, and you know that God ought to condemn you, and if He justified you in your present state, your conscience could not justify Him. Come, then, to Christ at once, like a guilty, condemned sinner, as you are; own up, and take all the shame and blame to yourself, and believe that nevertheless all your wanderings from God, He loves you still - that He has loved you with an everlasting love, and, therefore, with loving- kindness is drawing you.

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