“Find me the abode of the Church of God and I can smell the furnace not far off.
Show me the follower of the God of Abraham and I shall soon find the host of enemies ready for the attack.
Up till the days of the Saviour the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, not only from its friends who would take it, but from those enemies who world assault it.
From the blood of Abel down to the blood of Zecharias the son of Barachias, the pathway of the Church hath been a blood-besprinkled time.
Since that day, what tongue can tell the sufferings of the people of God?
Find the Church of Christ wherever you will, and you shall find her scorned and despised of man.
Everywhere from the first day until now, it is not respectable to be a follower of Christ. If we follow Christ fully and faithfully before God, it is not equitable and praiseworthy before men.
Since Christ became martyr as well as Redeemer, has there been a season in which God’s people have not somewhere or other been made to feel that they are not of the world, and that the world does not love them because they are not of the world?
The pathway of the Church, then, has been one of fire and flame. As it has been so with the Church, we may suspect there is some reason for it, and that reason has to be found in the great fact that the Church is in an enemy’s country.
She is not among her friends, she is a pilgrim and a stranger upon the earth. She is a bird that has lost her place, and all the birds round about her are against her, because she is a speckled one and belongs not to the common flock.
True Christians are aliens, foreigners, men that speak another speech, men who are actuated by different motives, men who live for different ends, who are governed by different maxima from the rest of the men of this world, therefore it is that their pathway must be one of trial and opposition.
All things the Christian teaches are so dead against the pleasures of the worldling and his gain, that it is no wonder he opposes us.
Men hate the gospel because the gospel does not like them.
That Church is never true to her Christ, nor true to herself which does not draw upon herself the hatred of ungodly men, by a faithful testimony against their sins.
“The path of sorrow and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.”
I tell you again, if there be any pathway in which there be not fire, tremble, but if your lot be hard, thank God for it. If your sufferings be great, bless the Lord for them, and if the difficulties in your pathway be many, surmount them by faith, but let them not cast you down.
Your trials having worked patience and experience, shall make you rich. Your temptations have taught you your weakness, and shown you where your strength lieth, shall make you strong.”