(From “The Hour of Silence” 1899)
At first I content myself with walking in the counsel of the wicked. It is an occasional companionship. It is a meeting only now and again. For a little while I am with them, and then some better influence calls me away…
a remembrance of my mother’s prayers,
a sentence in a letter from a friend,
a verse of Scripture shot suddenly into my mind.
But by and by I am found standing in the way of sinners. They have gained a greater power over me, and a completer fascination. I have learned to love them too well. I linger much longer in their society, and it is hard for me to tear myself from them. The poison is working, the leaven is spreading — my condition is more fixed and more hopeless by far!
And, at last, where do you see me? I am sitting in the seat of the scornful. I am at home among those who laugh at God and Christ and Heaven and Hell. You cannot see any difference between me and them. I have joined their ranks. I am one of their number. Their resorts are mine;
their sneers and sarcasms are mine;
their seared conscience and withered heart are mine!
Oh dreary ending of a dreary journey!
As I would escape that lowest depth of all — let me not look over the precipice, nor set my feet on the fatal slope.
Blessed is the man who says, “I will not!” to the first allurements of sin.
Blessed is the man who will not so much as walk in the Enchanted Ground.