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Consider How Undesirable You Are in People’s Sight

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Those Who Began the Heavenly Trade But Have Backslidden

Advice: Be Deeply Affected by Your Evil Condition

Consider How Undesirable You Are in People’s Sight}

Backsliders are undesirable in the eyes of people also. Who cares to deal with bankrupt merchants or keep company with spendthrifts who have wasted their estates and have come to nothing? No more do gracious souls care for interactions with backsliders. Decayed professors are as broken vessels in whom there is no pleasure, and as a withered hand or broken bone in the body that has lost both its usefulness and beauty. A bankrupt trader in religion is not valued by anybody; people of the world cannot endure him because he has been seemingly godly, and saints cannot love1274 him because he does not really have God’s grace. Some, as Absalom when hung by the head in the tree (2 Samuel 18:9),1275 are stuck between Heaven and earth as unworthy of either. In the same manner that a person stuck fast in a narrow place can go neither forward nor backward, the backslider cannot go far enough forward to keep up with the ungodly, nor go back to fill his place with the pious. The saints reject him and the wicked will not receive him. A withered, decayed soul is in such a pitiful case that he has no attractiveness in him for which he might be desired.

1274Cannot love here refers to brotherly fellowship, not the selfless love due to all, including enemies.

1275Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going” (2 Samuel 18:9 NASB).

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