A religion, which is based upon, sustained, and maintained simply by excitement, instead of doctrinal truth, will necessarily be very flimsy and unsubstantial, and will yield very speedily to the crush of opposition or to the crumbling hand of time
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”- 2 Timothy 1:9.
IF we would influence thoughtful persons it must be by solid arguments. Shallow minds may be wrought upon by mere warmth of emotion and force of excitement, but the more valuable part of the community must be dealt with in quite another manner. When the apostle Paul was desirous to influence his son in the faith, Timothy, who was a diligent and earnest student and a man of gifts as well as of grace, he did not attempt to affect him by mere appeals to his feelings, but felt that the most effectual way to act upon him was to remind him of solid doctrinal truth which he knew him to have believed. This is a lesson for the ministry at large. Certain earnest preachers are incessantly exciting the people, and but seldom if ever instructing them; they carry much fire and very little light. God forbid that we should say a word against appealing to the feelings; this is most needful in its place, but then there is a due proportion to be observed in it. A religion, which is based upon, sustained, and maintained simply by excitement, will necessarily be very flimsy and unsubstantial, and will yield very speedily to the crush of opposition or to the crumbling hand of time. The preacher may touch the feelings by rousing appeals, as the harper touches the harp strings; he will be very foolish if he should neglect so ready and admirable an instrument; but still as he is dealing with reasonable creatures, he must not forget to enlighten the intellect and instruct the understanding. And how can he appeal to the understanding better than by presenting to it the truth which the Holy Ghost teacheth? Scriptural doctrine must furnish us with powerful motives to urge upon the minds of Christians. It seems to me that if we could by some unreasoning impulse move you to a certain course of action it might be well in its way, but it would be unsafe and untrustworthy, for you would be equally open to be moved in an opposite direction by other persons more skillful in such operations; but if God enables us by his Spirit to influence your minds by solid truth and substantial argument, you will then move with a constancy of power which nothing can turn aside. The feather flies in the wind, but it has no inherent power to move, and consequently when the gale is over it falls to the ground-such is the religion of excitement; but the eagle has life within itself, and its wings bear it aloft and onward whether the breeze favors it or no-such is religion, when sustained by a conviction of the truth. The well-taught man in Christ Jesus stands firm where the uninstructed infant would fall or be carried away. “Be not carried about with every wind of doctrine,” says the apostle, and those are least likely to be so carried who are well established in the truth as it is in Jesus.
Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866