THE BACKSLIDDEN HEART AND ITS END
This heart is of tragedy. Gradually, through the deceitfulness of Satan, sin, unconcern, and neglet have come back and the gentle graces of the indwelling Spirit have begun to depart. satan and his wicked spirits, kept out by the presence of God, are coming back in their evil forms and ways. This heart is beginning to turn from the Savior, and is leaving the eternal promises of God once claimed for its own.
Faithful obedience and diligent watching would have kept this Christian in his new life. Even now his spiritual brethren are pleading with him through admonitions.
“Awake thou that sleepest” (Ephesians 5:14), is the call given by the Holy Spirit again and again, but the backsliding heart slumbers on.
Satan’s hand has grasped the cradle, rocking to sleep this child of God with the intent that he should never awaken. Through the cares of life or the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of daily prayer, or ceasing to feed on the Word of God, the tempter has been able to enter with empty and deluding promises.
At first the outwards form of Christian life is maintained. The backslider goes to church, comments on the Scriptures, kneels in empty prayer, and leaves a testimony. Gradually and surely the foul sins of pride and neglet are hardening this heart. Worldly friends are preferred; and glitter and vanity of entertainments and sensuality cause the head to turn. Foolish and immoral conversation and joking become more prevalent. The conscience, once clear, has been seared and its reproving voice is hardly heard, opening the door for the enjoyments of sin. Bitterness, envy, offence, and unforgiveness again rule the thoughts, giving evidence to the rising of the pride as a dominating spirit. The former lusts and carnal living offer themselves and slowly enter this heart, once clean and pure.