But must there be extravagances? Sometimes charity for impulsive and demonstrative “brethren and sisters”—old brethren and sisters who have borne the burden and the heat of the day—will justify their old-fashioned ways, uncomfortable as they are. Once, it was the only way. It was the way in which the Lord first came to them and to their neighbors. And the Lord’s first coming did so much for them that they will never forget it. And these modes are almost as sacred to them as sacraments. Innocent, simple old souls, they believe in love, repentance, salvation, and the witness of the Spirit, and they really want “liberty” in these days of bondage to formality. They want to “witness for Christ.” They want to live out their old vows, live on in their old ways, and die in the joy of their new birth. Shall we silence them? Shall we try to smooth and tone them down into perfect harmony with our more elegant and dignified notions? Who will answer? It is, however, a fact that there are ministers and others with great sympathy and reverence for old age and the usefulness of old saints who do not like to rebuke or wound them.
Then there are those who come to the altar or enter the inquiry, meeting broken souls as a result of sin. They are wild with grief. Despair settles over them. They have sinned. This is a fact. There is no dream about it. They are great sinners—very great sinners. They have been sinners for years. They have fought against conscience, against the Spirit of God, and against the memory of a mother long since gone home to glory. And now the decision has been made. If there is mercy for them, they mean to have it. Well, let them groan and pray. Will you stop them lest they offend the proprieties? Will you silence the mother who pleads for her child’s life because it is not “ladylike” to be so demonstrative? And when peace comes and the grace of God falls like a shower in a season of drought, and when they shout for joy, will you bid them be still?
By J. H. VINCENT
Updated 2023 Nathan Zipfel