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Where Art Thou?
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Backslidden, Sad Indications Of The State.

TITLE: Where Art Thou?

We once knew a lady who had a son, that as a lad possessed the best of morals and the most attractive of manners. Several years later he fell into the daily company of boys who were his inferiors in every respect. In a single year they hoodlumized him!

When still later we saw the lad with his animalized face, tobacco and beer habits, foul speech and rude, coarse ways, it was almost impossible to believe that he was the same bright-eyed, clean-lipped being whom we had met in earlier, happier years. His mother, in speaking out her heart agony over the life ruin, sobbed and wrung her hands as she cried, Where is my beautiful boy of whom I was so proud? Where is my little gentleman my little prince? Oh, they have ruined him! And he is gone forever!

This is the kind of heartbreaking cry which God has in the question, Where art thou? when he looks at his soured, embittered, world-captured, sin-stained, backslidden child or servant. Once he was a prince and had power with God and men. Now he is a shorn Samson, fettered and blind, and grinding for the Philistines.

When spiritual energy has subsided into lethargy; and life into death. When love has changed to vinegar and gall. When humility has been swallowed up in arrogance and pride. When false doctrine has relegated the great saving truths of Christianity to the rear. When tongues speaking gibberish and nothing that the world or church can understand, are placed above the loving unctuous speech given in holiness, and which operates to the conviction of the sinner and to the edifying and strengthening of believers when these things take place, it is time for Gods telegrams to arrive to all such with the old question, Where art thou?

In a certain church the pastor delivered so many messages from Heaven to the congregation bearing the purport of the divine words, Where art thou? that the Board of Stewards petitioned the Bishop to remove the messenger. They evidently wanted a man to fill their pulpit who was not in touch with the skies, and whom the Lord did not use. They got him and were delighted with him.

In a camp meeting held by one of our evangelists, five grave sins and neglects of duty prevailed in the audience. He handed out as many telegrams from God to his backslidden people calling attention to their wrongdoing and lack of doing. Some stormed, some raged, some abused the preacher, and others retaliated by staying away from a meeting where such dispatches came from the skies, and God had servants faithful enough to deliver them. Every one of the pulpit telegrams seemed to have the dark, sad query in it, Where art thou? And without exception they all seemed to disturb and even infuriate.

Some years back, a preacher filled with the Spirit, and holding up the Blood of Christ, witnessed a mighty revival; one that among other things closed fourteen saloons, while thirteen of the fourteen saloon-keepers were converted.

After this came a fork in the road, and he took the wrong course. Today he denies the Divinity of the Son of God, is spiritually dried up and powerless, and has gone to lecturing for a living. He could easily say God not only answers me no more, but uses me no more. He is but a shadow and wreck of his former self. And now as he stands on a platform talking platitudes and making shekels from his unspiritual, inoffensive deliverances, the old question, Where art thou? brings the light of revelation to his case, and the blackness of condemnation as well.

We have known men who at one time of their Christian lives were humble, sweet, prayerful and unctuous. In later years we found them completely changed, bitter, faultfinding, censorious, abusive and slanderous. We have felt that if the question came rushing from heaven to them, as they now pose as preachers, teachers, critics and judges of the church and its entire membership, lay and clerical, it would bring not only an overwhelming confusion to them, but a complete silencing and an utter life and character overthrow. Perhaps they would fall down dead before the question, as Ananias and Sapphira sank lifeless on the floor, when a similar query came to them from the Holy One through the lips of the Apostle.

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