All the activities of a new convert’s life must be captured and controlled in the interest of his new career. His body as well as his soul must be held to the new consecration. The full seven days of his weekly life must be “seized and sanctified; home life hallowed; business plans and social relations; literary tastes and life aims, all stamped for Christ.” Among these secular relationships and agencies are sure to lurk the young convert’s greatest perils. Covetousness, lust, ambition, love of fashion, and fear of men linger among them. All these hide themselves here, and the pastor must find them and make the young Christian face them and fight them. And this fighting is not done by hand-to-hand conflict but by a wise preoccupation with the exposed places. We must defeat opportunity through occupation. Thus we shall foil temptation. We are to mortify the flesh through the Spirit. To keep one’s gaze away from the vile syren, one must fix it on the stars. Cultivating the love of holiness, he soon loathes sin. If he looks at sin that he may learn to loathe, his eye is first fascinated, then his heart, and soon he comes to delight in that which he should despise. This law of preoccupation holds good everywhere. Wise mothers use it in the government of children; true teachers use it in the training of pupils; philanthropists use it in reforming the fallen; and wise pastors use it in folding and leading their flock. Therefore, we must get young converts to delight in whatever things are true, whether in religion or secular life. We are to induce them to put their whole lives on the altar of the Church of God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth and which promotes a godliness that “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” We are to introduce them by way of the cross to the eternal cosmos. The love of the true, the beautiful, and the good is what will draw young converts away from dance, theater, and card tables. Scolding will accomplish nothing. Dogmatic denunciation aggravates the evil. They are to be charmed with the love of Christ, with literature, with science, with art, with education, with wise and helpful conversation, with broad and true views of God and his universe, and with the destiny for which he is schooling the royal souls who serve him.
By J. H. VINCENT
Updated 2023 Nathan Zipfel