Archives For ~ William Curtis Stiles

“You are too apt to feel that your religious experience must be the same as others have; but where will you find analogies for this? Certainly not in nature. God’s works do not come from his handle like coins from the mint. It seems as if it were a necessity that each one should be in some sort distinct from every alike; no two buds on one bush have the same unfolding nor do they seek to have.

I heard one man say to another: Did you have such awful feelings as you describe? I never had any such feelings; and I am afraid I am not a Christian. The other man says: You say that the moment you thought of religion you broke out into rupture; but I did not. I was two months without the dawn of the light, and I fear I am not a Christian. Each thinks he is not a Christian because he did not feel as the others did, one . . . because he did not feel joyous, the other . . . because he did not feel bad.”

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me

Men who neglect Christ and try to win heaven through moralities are like sailors at sea in a storm, who pull some at the bowsprit and some at the mainmast, but never touch the helm. You will never head for a safe harbor until you take your stand at the wheel.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me

Seldom is the head right when the heart is amiss. A rotten heart will be ever and anon sending up evil thoughts into the mind, as marshy and fenny grounds do foggy mists into the air, that both darken and corrupt it. As a man’s taste, when some malignant humor affects the organ, savoreth nothing aright, but deems sweet things bitter and sour things pleasant, so, where any domineering lust has made itself master of the heart, it will so blind and corrupt the judgement that it shall not be able to discern good from evil, or truth from falsehood.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

But when you said to me, “I’m not good enough,” you had some belief or idea that some one, perhaps, some one a great deal better than you, could be “good enough” to be a Christian. You may even feel that you can and may, sometime, get to be good enough yourself. It is this notion first that I wish to drive out of your mind. Consider! Are not all reason and all Scripture against that notion? Jesus nowhere teaches us that we can be his disciples on account of being good. He often says if we have become his disciples we must and shall do good works. But you will search the Scriptures in vain seeking to find any endorsement of the idea that Jesus calls men to him or receives them because they are good. And it is easy to see that if he requires anything, he requires perfection; in order to be good enough, you must be perfect. But, even then, that does not make you a disciple.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

For certainly we must all admit the truth of what the sinner declares. He is not good enough to be saved. Certainly not. He is not good enough to come to Christ. Certainly not. We have read in the worthlessness of goodness as a ground of salvation. But you will make no mistake, unbeliever, if you continue to emphasize this statement. Reiterate it and believe it. Neither you nor any other mortal has ever been good enough to be a Christian. It is nothing new you are saying. You make bad logic of the case, but the case itself is just as you state it. No! You are not good enough. What is more and more fatal, you never will be. In the full sense of the word SALVATION no man ever yet, anywhere on earth or in heaven, was ever good enough to gain salvation. So let it stand, I cannot dispute you.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

It is a study full of sad and mysterious interest to inspect the psychological involutions of an unbeliever. Hudibras contains a verse to which my mind frequently reverts when I think of the shiftings of the carnal mind. It describes the motions of a serpent:

“He wired in and out,
And left the gazer still in doubt
Whether the snake that made the track
Was going in or coming back.”

Some feeling like that which arises upon seeing these writhings affects me when I cast up the excuses of men for not being saved. With seemingly utter unconsciousness, I find the sinner on both sides of the same question. It is difficult to pin him to one spot. In one breath he will exploit his moral standing, in the next he will declare he is not good enough to be a Christian. When I try to make him feel his sins in order to bring him to the Saviour, he urges them himself as a reason why he will not come.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

It is the immediate duty of every soul that has ever heard of Jesus Christ to accept him and become a Christian. It is, however, to be admitted that there is much more chance for error, and confusion. It is a very sad reflection upon Christian teaching that any one should honestly be confused in finding the way into a Christian life. Yet such is the vagueness and complexity of much of our teaching, that many have come to think that entrance upon a Christian life is difficult, and hard to be accomplished. Somewhat of this has come from the confusing of Christian experience after one has become a Christian, with no requirements in order to become one. Much more has the way been made obscure by not attending to the source of our knowledge, the Word of God.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

They (the scriptures) are sufficiently plain in all things necessary to faith . . . otherwise they could not be useful, for a rule that is not plain to us in those things in which it is necessary for us to be directed by it, is of no use to us . . . and it is every man’s fault if he be ignorant of anything necessary for him to believe or do in order to his eternal happiness.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

Christ promoted peace by giving us assurance that a line of communication can be established between the Father above and the child below. And who will measure the consolation that has been brought to troubled hearts by the hour of prayer?

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)

Who is wiser for the wisdom of the hour?

The good old paths are good enough for me.

The fathers walked to heaven in them, and we

By following meekly where they trod, may reach

The home they found. There will be mysteries,

Let those who like bother their head with them.

~ William Curtis Stiles, Excuse Me (1898)