21 July 2013

The unequal yoke

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Sword and the Trowel, December, 1901, "Unequally yoked together."
"Having these cases coming immediately under my own eye, or brought before me...and all of them having turned out badly..."

I recollect a young woman coming to ask my advice about marrying an unconverted man. I soon saw that she had made up her mind—as they mostly do in such cases,—what she was going to do. What is the use of asking advice when you have made up your mind as to your own course of action?

However, she said that, such was her influence over the young man in question, that she felt certain of bringing him to the Saviour. She has not done so, but he has been the means of our losing her from church-fellowship, and I do not know where she is now. I remember that I said to her, “Well, if you believe what you say to be true, I will tell you what to do; go home, and try this little experiment."

"When the young man comes to see you, climb on the top of the kitchen table, and try to pull him up, and tell him to see if he can pull you down. If you succeed in pulling him on to the top of the table in spite of all his exertions to drag you down, I think you may safely marry him.” Why, the result always is, and always must be, that the one who is down pulls the other down; at least, I have always found it so, and I have the painful knowledge of many such cases.

Do not you run such a risk, my young friend, or you will bitterly repent of it. Even when young women marry young men who are members of the church, it is not always that they make a happy match, for there are men who even become members of a Christian church for the very purpose of winning the heart and hand of another of the members.

It is a most grievous thing, and a shameful sin; and I am sorry to have to say that it has been done sometimes even here. Take care, young friends, and older ones, too, that you keep your eyes open; and if the man, who desires to be your lover, is not a lover of the Lord, do not give your heart to him; and, my brother, if that young woman, to whom you are being attracted, does not love the Lord, let her find somebody else who will be more suited to her present condition than you are.

I am sure that this warning ought to be laid to heart by all of you who are true Christians. If you are a hypocrite, you can get on very well with an unconverted partner in life; but if you are a genuine child of God, and you sin in this way, depend upon it that you will get a whipping from your Heavenly Father.

The best thing that can come of such unequal yoking together will be grievous to your own soul, and dishonouring to your Lord and Saviour.

Remember how the apostle warns us against all wrong association with the ungodly: “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”


VesselOfWrath said...

Wow. This hurts to read. I want to print up reams of flyers with the text of this page and just dump them on college campuses everywhere.

HUMAN LOVE IS NOT ULTIMATE. Even at its very best it can't fix everything, can't justify everything. You know that. If you're a single young person reading this, hear me: If you marry outside the Lord, you may EASILY find yourself in a position where you can't grow toward God without wrecking a "nice", "decent", "good" family situation. You will find yourself in the position of, at best, being the "scandalon" for your spouse and kids, or at worst, living as a hypocrite.

Yeah, I know, you love that unbeliever. She or he is the best thing ever-- decent, kind, caring, smart. Everything you want to be. Well, show the depth of your love by RUNNING THE OTHER WAY. Tell her why. Better now than decades later when you owe her every temporal happiness you can think of.

Yeah, there's the danger that he or she will turn out to be some kind of worldly, dissipated good-for-nothing, beset by some annoying or even dangerous sin. But there's a worse possibility: she'll be perfect, or close to it. You won't be able to justify annoying her with the gospel. His or her witness against Christianity will be so compelling that you'll feel like a mean-spirited jerk talking about Jesus. (So exclusive! So close-minded!)

But maybe there's no point harping on this. No one who's prepared to make this kind of decision ever thinks that their beloved unbeliever could be anything but a blessing through and through. You've already decided that this person must be "close to God's heart" or something, whatever they might profess with their mouth. I know I was weak in faith when I walked this road two decades ago, and if I've had any growth in my faith ever since, it's been glacial and always painful to me and my wife.

But you think your results will vary. And neither I nor Spurgeon nor Paul's epistles will be able to convince you different. I'm praying for you, kid. Don't be like me.

DJP said...

Can form a matching set with this.

Kerry James Allen said...

Two articles on something unequal equals a matching set. Sweet!

As an aside, I know a believer who married an unbelieving guy (and knew she shouldn't have), and her final meal shared with him found him choking to death on a piece of steak that she cooked him.

I would say a life of singleness would be an easier cross to bear than that.

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3