THE HEART OF MAN 9.

In this backslidden condition, self-righteousness may have ensneard the imagination of this backslider, causing him to pray thus with himself: “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are” (Luke 18:11). He has returned to the ways of the world and is lost just like the heart which never accepted Christ.
Jesus, the Shepherd, observes this heart with great concern. He is out in the storms of life seeking this sheep. He has counted his sheep at eventide and one has not come home. His love is not to be quieted. He pleads, “Come back, I have shed my blood for thee!”
The cross has become an offence, and self is no longer denied. The ways of the children of God and their fellowship seem narrow minded and of little value. Yet “the Spirit and the Bride say come” (Revelation 22:17). The chastensing hand of God is felt in many ways but self-pity has taken the place of a godly sorrow for sin, Self-justification and excuses have replaced justification by faith in Jesus Christ.
False and unconverted shepherds lull this heart in to contentment and consolation, and it is not willing to be delivered from those sins it has again come to enjoy.
The unclean spirit which had gone out has come returning to its house.”Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Luke 11:26).
Oh, how wretched and pitiful is this condition! Even the sinful pleasures he once enjoyed no longer bring satisfaction. But the grace of God is still calling to repentance.
Oh, backslider! Say in your heart, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee” (Luke 15:18). Hasten, for today is the day of salvation; harden not your heart. “It is a fearful thing to fall in to the hands of the living Gods” (Hebrews 10:31). Do not continue to reject the mercy of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Hasten to accept the offer of salvation while the door of mercy is open.

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