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"Keep Thyself Pure"

"Because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12).

The words quoted above are taken from our Lord's Olivet discourse (Matt. 24). In reply to the query of His apostles, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world (age)?", He outlined for them some prominent features of the fearful days which would immediately precede His return to earth as Son of Man, and indicated that they would be days of unprecedented wickedness.

In our understanding of the sequence of endtime events foretold in the prophetic word, the rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:17) will take place before the conditions described by our Lord will reach their climax. But that is not to say that we may not recognize in the present trend of world events the shape of things to come.

Who has not felt the chill of the wind which blows in the face of the Christian these perilous days? Sin everywhere vaunts itself. Eye and ear, mind and heart, are continuously assailed by works of darkness. Language is debased. In ordinary conversation, and in the media, words formerly used to describe Christian virtues are being tainted with double meaning and applied to immoral practices. Christian morality is derided and sensuality glamorized. The prayer of the psalmist,

"Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth;

For the faithful fail from among the children of men" (12:1)

was never more relevant than it is today.

The Christian disciple should not underrate the danger of these subtle onslaughts on his spiritual sensitivity. Unless he is watchful he may wither imperceptibly until he becomes almost indistinguishable "from men of the world, whose portion is in this life" (Psa. 17:14). His daily seasons of prayer and meditation on God's word must be maintained at all costs. But he should not despair at the strength of the forces ranged against him: "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world", wrote the beloved disciple (1 John 4:4). "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever", and He is "enough the mind and heart to fill".

There is another important divine provision designed to protect the Christian from discouragement and declension "till He come". We refer to the precious ordinance of the Breaking of the Bread which our beloved Lord bequeathed to His disciples in the Upper Room on the night of His betrayal, of which He said, "This do in remembrance of Me". The importance and meaning of this simple rite have been emphasized in the helpful series of articles which have appeared in this magazine in recent months under the title, "The Remembrance". We direct the attention of readers to the article on page 84 of our present issue. The series will be completed in a closing review next month, if the Lord will. The ordinance provides a weekly opportunity to focus our hearts and minds on our adorable Redeemer, to feast on His love to be strengthened in His grace.

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews was concerned lest his readers should cast away the boldness which had enabled them to endure and gladly suffer reproach for the sake of the Name. In his warnings against possible spiritual declension he felt impelled to include this exhortation:

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day drawing nigh" (10:25).

We need that exhortation, too!

Occult dabbling

It has been brought to our notice that a five-day exhibition is to be staged at London's Olympia in September next under the name, World Festival of Mind and Body. It will deal with witchcraft and spiritualism and many other aspects of the occult. This is yet another "sign of the times". Needless to say, unhealthy curiosity should not tempt any of our readers to view this 'exhibition'. And Christian teachers should warn of the terrible hazards of such satanic activity.

"Turn ye not unto... the wizards; seek them not out, ... I am the LORD your God" (Lev. 19:31).