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tempted and fallen are often unable to tell how it was done.
Why did you go there?” or, “ Why did you do it?" Oh, so many, many times do we hear the answer: “ I do not know.” A friend once showed me a little iron safe in which he kept his valuable papers. This safe had a very ingenious lock; the combinations were such, and the mechanism so wonderful, that it was capable of three hundred thousand combinations.
Why and how are sane men and women overcome ? They were met at a certain place, under peculiar circumstances; met by several—a word, a smile, an argument, a pressure of the hand. How was it done? They do not know. Somehow the attack came in a way which rendered them helpless to resist. One effort failed a dozen failed; but as often as it failed the Expert changed the combination, until the door yielded, and an entrance into the citadel of Mansoul was effected. Three hundred thousand combinations.
The spy has information from within; and, therefore, the most dangerous man in the army. Satan, by his supernatural powers directing his practice and experience for several millenniums, is a crafty, sagacious spy, acquainted with all the weaknesses and emotions of the human heart. Who is equal to such an enemy? Contending alone, no one on this sinburdened footstool.
THE QUACK DOCTOR “ Having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”—2 Timothy iii. 5.
We do not agree with some late views of the nature of sin—that it is a physical and mental disorder : the resultant of heredity, food, soil, climate and social environment. If the root of the difficulty springs from these primary causes, the whole problem of evil could be wiped out in one generation by the application of sanitary laws and social betterment. In the Bible sin is known by several disease terms, but always such diseases as were incurable by any treatment known in those days: leprosy, born blind, deadly poison, paralytic, etc. Sin is a disease, and the whole man, body, mind, and spirit, is more or less affected therefrom; but it is, in particular, a soul malady, going deeper than human remedies can reach, whether social or medicinal.
To cure this soul disease the race has sought eagerly from the day Cain and Abel built their altars. All the ramifications of civilization have had one all-absorbing desire: a readjustment of something fundamentally wrong within. This fight for an atonement with the Creator has been a long, heart-sore pilgrimage; it has painted the blackest pages of history and committed the bloodiest crimes. This human drama has been enacted in tragedy and tears. Why is it so? Because deeper than any other heart-throb is the consciousness of personal uncleanness, and the bitter anguish it has caused.
The dead civilizations, on their monuments and mausoleums, have left behind, carved indelibly, one story-whether on the banks of the Nile, the Areopagus of Greece, or the land of the Montezumas—it is the story of feeling in the dark after God. They had the disease and sought for a remedy. From the days of the astrologers and soothsayers, anxious souls have been victimized by every fad, fake and fanaticism in their search for relief. The venders of pulverized snake skins and lizard tongues, in their day, found as willing a patronage as the cultured proprietors of sanitariums to-day. The long-haired man on a goods box can do a flourishing business, if he has the gift of gab to convince the crowd his stuff will cure.
The quack doctor does not handle a variety of medicine; he knows just enough of anatomy and materia medica to make his speech sound scholarlybut his remedy, costing less than the price of one visit from a physician, will cure all the ills of the human body. Like De Soto, we are seeking the fountain of perennial youth—the elixir of life.
Just as the disease of the body and a passion to live open wide the door to charlatans, fakirs, and “ healers ” claiming powers direct from Gabriel to Beelzebub, so the disease of the soul, and a hunger for eternal life—" deep calling unto deep”_has opened the door of the heart to the religious doctor with his cure-all prescriptions. Out from unknown
depths comes the yearning for readjustment and reconciliation with God.
No being, beside the Godhead, is more familiar with the secret hopes and impulses of the soul-than Satan. The long-haired quack on the street, bawling his "junk,” is not half so anxious to defraud the crowd as Satan is to prescribe remedies that will not cure. His chief aspiration is to flood the land with bogus treatments which not only fail to cure, but they preëmpt the disease-infected spots so as to prevent the introduction of the genuine remedy.
The quack doctor is, no doubt, pleased when an imaginary cure has been wrought by his wares; but Satan is filled with wrath if some of his formulas strike deeper than he anticipated, and a soul emerges from darkness unto light. This, however, does not often occur; he is too cunning to advertise to a hungry, sin-sick world that which will bring permanent relief.
The beating of tom-toms by an upper Congo medicine man to drive away evil spirits has about the same efficacy as much that may be found in the esthetic circles of the world's religiosity. “A form of godliness," be it ever so beautiful and orderly, which does not seek and obtain the inner power is just another way of beating tom-toms.
We look with compassion upon the poor benighted heathen woman who trots around the temple of her god one hundred times on a moonlight night; but how much improvement over her plan of salvation do we find in the blaze of twentieth century Christian enlightenment, if our religion consists of just“ doing something," rather than having faith in a power that saves through the impartation of the Holy Ghost? At no time in the history of the Church have we done so many things as we are doing now—all good; but observe: the Church and the world go hand in hand. It is a rare exception when an essential difference can be seen in the life and business methods of the professor and nonprofessor. They will have a form of godliness," says Paul, “ but deny the power.”
It was not a dream or hallucination which took the rich and poor, in the long ago, out from the world and caused them to give up even their lives cheerfully; it was an application of the power. They had tested the fountain opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanness.'
« Oh, that fountain deep and wide,
Flowing from the wounded side,
power to save ;
In the multitude of pretenses, makeshifts : forms, ceremonies, chantings, genuflections, ordinances, will worship, self-righteousness, “wondrous works," — “ form of godliness "-who is responsible? It is the great Quack Doctor that is deceiving the world; those who will not be dragged into sin and ruin he surfeits their lives with a “form of godliness, but deny the power” plan of salvation.