Mixed Principles

C. H. Mackintosh.

There is nothing more damaging to the cause of Christ or to the souls of His people than association with men of mixed principles. It is very much more dangerous than having to do with open and avowed enemies. Satan knows this well, and hence his constant effort to lead the Lord's people to link themselves with those who are only half and half; or, on the other hand, to introduce spurious materials-false professors, into the midst of those who are seeking, in any measure, to pursue a path of separation from the world. We have repeated allusions to this special character of evil, in the New Testament. We have it both prophetically in the Gospels, and historically in the: Acts and in the Epistles. Thus we have the tares and the leaven in Matthew 13. Then in the Acts we find persons attaching themselves to the assembly who were like the "mixed multitude" of Numbers 11. And, finally, we have apostolic reference to spurious materials introduced by the enemy for the purpose of corrupting the testimony and subverting the souls of God's people. Thus the apostle Paul speaks of "false brethren unawares brought in." (Gal. 2:4) Jude also speaks of "certain men crept in unawares." Verse 4.

From all this we learn the urgent need of vigilance on the part of God's people; and not only of vigilance, but also of absolute dependence upon the Lord, who alone can preserve them from the entrance in of false materials, and keep them free from all contact with men of mixed principles and doubtful character. "the mixed multitude" is sure to "fall a lusting," and the people of God are in imminent danger of being drawn away from their proper simplicity, and of growing weary of the heavenly manna — their proper food. What is needed is, plain decision for Christ; thorough devotedness to Him and to His cause. Where a company Of believers are enabled to go on in whole-heartedness for Christ and in marked separation from this present world, there is not so much danger of persons of equivocal character seeking a place among them; though doubtless Satan will always seek to mar the testimony by the introduction of hypocrites. Such persons do obtain an entrance, and then by their evil ways bring reproach on the Lord's name. Satan knew full well what he was doing, when he led the mixed multitude to attach themselves to the congregation of Israel. It was not all at once that the effect of this admixture was made manifest. The people had come forth with a high hand; they had passed through the Red Sea, and raised the song of victory on its banks. All looked bright and promising; but "the mixed multitude" were there, notwithstanding, and the effect of their presence was very speedily made apparent.

Thus it is ever, in the history of God's people. We may notice, in those great spiritual movements which have taken place from age to age, certain elements of decay which, at the first, were hidden from view by the flowing tide of grace and energy; but when that tide began to ebb, then those elements made their appearance.

This is very serious, and calls for much holy watchfulness. It applies to individuals just as forcibly as to the people of God collectively. In our early moments, our young days, when zeal and freshness characterised us, the spring tide of grace rose so blessedly that many things were allowed to escape unjudged, which were, in reality, seeds flung into the ground by the enemy's hand, and which, in due season, are sure to germinate and fructify. Hence it follows that both assemblies of Christians and individual Christians should ever be on the watch tower — ever keeping jealous guard lest the enemy gain an advantage in this matter. Where the heart is true to Christ, all is sure to come right in the end. Our God is so gracious, He takes care of us and preserves us from a thousand snares. May we learn to trust him and to praise Him! C. H. M.