by James Smith, The Pleading Savior, 1861
I do not pray that you should take them out of the world but that you should keep them from the evil. John 17:15
We may be in the world — and not be injured by it.
The world is the field in which we are to labor for Christ. Here we are to . . .
plough up the fallow ground,
sow the good seed, and
reclaim the waste places for Jesus.
The world is the battleground on which we are to . . .
fight the good fight of faith,
overcome Satan, and
crucify the old man.
The world is the ocean over which we are to sail to the port of glory; and it befits us to look well to . . .
the vessel in which we sail,
the captain who commands it,
the pilot who steers it, and
the compass by which it is steered so that we may . . .
avoid the rocks and quicksands,
outlive the storms and tempests,
and cast anchor within the veil!
The world is the school in which we are to learn . . .
the evil of sin,
the power of corruption,
the craft of Satan,
the preciousness of Christ,
the value of Heaven, and
the importance and worth of God’s promises.
The world is the hospital in which we are under the Spirit’s treatment, in order that we may be restored to health, and prepared to enjoy our Father’s eternal house and home.
We should, therefore, rather pray to be kept from evil than to be removed out of the world. We may be useful, very useful in it, and useful in a way in which we cannot be in Heaven. Here, we can . . .
visit the sick for Jesus,
clothe the naked for Jesus,
feed the hungry for Jesus,
relieve the widow and fatherless for Jesus,
and teach the ignorant for Jesus and thus feed, clothe, visit, relieve and teach Jesus Himself in doing so; for He has said, “Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these My brethren you did it unto Me!”
Let us not, therefore, be anxious . . .
to leave the field of labor until our work is done;
or to get out the battle until the victory is gained;
or to leave school until our education is complete;
or to be discharged from the hospital until we are perfectly cured!