HEN we were in Venice we purchased a few curiosities, and finding them burdensome, we thought of sending them home by one of the English vessels lying in the Canal. We went out in a gondola with our box, and having asked for the captain of one of the vessels, we put to him the question, “Will you take a box for us to London, and what is the charge?” His reply was very ready, “I can’t say till I know what’s in it, for I don’t want to get into trouble.” A very common sense answer indeed; we admired its caution and honesty.
What a pity that men do not exercise as much care in spiritual matters, as to what they will receive or reject. Dear reader, in these times there are thousands of bad books published, and herds of bad teachers sent forth to deceive the unwary; you must be on your guard, lest you be led into error. Take nothing for granted, enquire into things for yourself, and try every new doctrine, and professedly old doctrine too, by the Word of God. You may take contraband goods on board before you are aware of it; keep both eyes open, watch and examine, and when a thing is pressed upon you, find out what’s in it. Do not believe all a man says because he is a clergyman, or eloquent, or learned, or even because he is kind and generous. Bring all to the bar of Holy Scripture, and if they cannot stand the test, receive them not, whatever their bold pretences.
But reader, is your own present religion good for anything? Do you know what’s in it, and what it is made of? May it not be mischievous and false? Search thyself, and do not take a hope into thy soul till thou knowest what it is made of. The devil and his allies will try to trick you into carrying their wares, but be warned in time, and reject their vile devices. The finished work of Jesus received by faith, is “a good hope through grace,” and there is no other. Hast thou it? or art thou foolishly looking to another? The Lord lead you away from all else to Jesus. Whatever may be the ground of trust which men may offer you, take care to KNOW WHAT’S IN IT before you accept it.
by C. H. Spurgeon