And then there are some mighty bad dangers on the other side -- our
side. If it be true that every generation needs
the Gospel, it is just as true that every generation of Christians needs to give
the Gospel. It is the very life of a Christian to give himself out in earnest service for others. The man who is failing there has started on the down grade in his Christian life. If we lose the spirit of |go| we have lost the very Christian spirit itself. A disobedient church will become a dead church. It will die of heart failure.
It was John's Man with eyes of searching flame, and tongue of keen-edged sword, and feet that had been through the fire, who said to a Christian church, |I will move thy candlestick out of its place except thou change thy ways.| The candlestick isn't the light. It holds the light. The Church's great mission is to be the world's light-holder.
But unsnuffed candles and cobwebby window-panes seem to have been in evidence sometimes. The Christian Church in some lands has plainly lost its privilege of service, and lost its life, too. The old organizations are kept up, but all life has gone. There's a grave danger threatening the American Church and the British Church just at this present time.
Long years ago, in the days before steam navigation, an ocean vessel came from a long sea voyage, up St. George's Channel, headed for Liverpool. When the pilot was taken on board, he cried abruptly to the captain, |What do you mean? You've let her drift off toward the Welsh coast, toward the shallows. Muster the crew.| The crew was quickly mustered, and the pilot told the danger in a few short words, and then said sharply, |Boys, it's death or deep water, hoist the mains'l!| And only by dint of hardest work was the ship saved.
If I could get the ear of the Church to-day, I would, as a great kindness to it, cry out with all the earnestness of soul I could command, |It's death or deep water; deep water in this holy service of world-winning, or death from foundering.|