"Backslider!" What an ugly word is this! So ugly that it is usually reserved by us for those who have openly and flagrantly turned back to the world from Christ, but the fact is that the great bulk of Christians are backsliders. Every one of us who ever knew a day of truer single-eyed devotion to Christ than he knows now is a backslider. And that is the reason why spiritual life languishes and the witness for Christ is so dull and feeble, and the need of recovery so insistent.

The church left her first love very early in her history and she has not returned to it. For a while she remained active in service, zealous for sound doctrine, and most rigid as to what she thought were right principles, but the spring of all was wanting, and as the searching eyes of her slighted but faithful Lover penetrated the fair exterior He had to say, "I HAVE AGAINST THEE THAT THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE." O, solemn indictment! most terrible charge for that true Lover to make against the choice of His heart! Did that charge bring the hot blush of shame to the face of the dishonoured church? We cannot say. It may be that some consciences stirred uneasily, and some hearts sighed for the joys that had departed, and some may have sought the feet of Jesus with true repentance. But the bulk passed heedlessly on, caring less and still less for Christ, and giving more and still more room for the world, the flesh and the devil in their councils and hearts, until now, in these awful days, just before the end of her history on earth, she has bolted and barred her doors, and Christ, who died to redeem her, stands outside. Thus did the sacred word foretell the faithless story, and thus has the church fulfilled it to the letter (Rev. 2 and 3).

But stay, it is not our purpose to dwell upon the church's infidelity to her heavenly Bridegroom — we might do that and leave our own lives unaffected — we want, if the Holy Spirit will graciously use our words, to press home upon us all the question as to how we stand in regard to Him today. The failure of the church is no excuse for the failure of the individual, and every Christian heart that is not wholly for Christ is a back-slidden and unfaithful heart, and must face Him as to this either now or at His judgment seat.

He is coming! Coming quickly! But how shall we say, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," if He is not first in our affections? He is coming! Coming quickly! But how shall we greet Him with gladness if we have also slighted Him; and if the world and its honours, or self and its desires have been more to us than the sound of His voice and the experience of His love? Awake, O careless heart, to His claims. REMEMBER FROM WHENCE THOU ART FALLEN, AND REPENT. He has not changed. Blessed be His name!