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An Illustration of Backsliding

Hosea 14:4; Colossians 3:3

Preaching Themes: Apostasy, Weakness

Do you remember that fine, athletic young man who was for years among us, and almost envied for his robust health and remarkable vigor? Exertion was to him a pleasure. He rejoiced as a strong man to run a race. Strong as an oak, upright as a palm tree, and comely as a cedar, you had only to see him to admire him.
Alas! we miss him from his usual seat, and his place of daily service knows him no more. He cannot mix in our assemblies, and never will again. He rises very late in the day, and the slightest motion is labor to him; he has a horrible deep-seated cough, and he is reduced to a skeleton. His cheeks are sunken; there is a peculiar brightness of the eye; but, with the exception of that, there is nothing about him that reminds you of what he was. And if you should take a stranger to see him, you would say, “You cannot imagine what that young man used to be.” His mother weeps to think that this is her son, once the image of manly power. It pains her inmost heart to know that this is certainly her boy, her once strong and healthy boy.
Yet he is not dead. No, but it is grievous to see how near death he has come, and with what difficulty he breathes, how weak are his lips, how languid is his pulse, how small his appetite! The strong man is now weaker than a little child. In fact, man as he is, his father has to take him in his arms and carry him up and down stairs, for he cannot otherwise come out of his chamber.
Here is a sadly truthful picture of what a Christian may become in spirit. He may suffer spiritual consumption, and decline from weakness to weakness until life barely retains its hold. He shall not die, for his life is hid with Christ in God, but he may gradually backslide until he is weak as water, and full of doubts and fears and a thousand ills


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