Evening, August 24, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Whenever a fire starts and spreads into the underbrush so that it burns up stacked or standing grain or ruins a field, the person who started the fire must make up for the loss.” — Exodus 22:6
But what restitution can a man make who casts abroad the firebrands of error, or the coals of sexual immorality, and sets men’s souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If indeed such an offender is forgiven, what grief it will cause him as he remembers, since he cannot undo the damage which he has done! A bad example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how much we may have been guilty in the past, and to search whether, even in the present, there may be evil in us which tends to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbors.
The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church. Where converts were multiplied, and God was glorified, jealousy and envy do the devil’s work most effectively. Where the golden grain was being housed, to reward the toil of the great Boaz, the fire of enmity comes in and leaves little else but smoke and a heap of blackness. Woe to those by whom offences come. May they never come through us, for although we cannot make restitution, we shall certainly be the chief sufferers if we are the chief offenders. Those who feed the fire deserve just condemnation, but he who first kindles it is most to blame. Discord usually takes first hold upon the thorns and not the good wheat; it is nurtured among the hypocrites and dishonorable in the church, and away it goes among the righteous, blown by the winds of hell, and no one knows where it may end. Oh Lord and giver of peace, make us peacemakers, and never let us aid and abet the men of strife, or even unintentionally cause the least division among your people.