The Bible Proof Of Inbred Sin V
“The Double Mind”
Inbred sin is seen again in James iv. 8: “Purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
The apostle is writing to Christians, as we have shown in the foregoing chapter by the terms “brethren,” “beloved brethren,” and other expressions still more striking where the Word is said to be “engrafted,” and that they have been “begotten by the Word.”
It is true that the apostle indulges in some strong terms of rebuke, that if taken as a true description of the people rebuked, would seem incompatible with the Christian life, and that instead here would be not a Church, but a body of great sinners that James was after. But a little study brings light, and saves us from this mistake.
For instance, the word “curse,” found in chapter iii. 9, 10, means in the original “scold.” The “lusts” that he speaks of is translated in the margin “pleasures.” The adultery that he inveighs against in chapter iv. 4 is, as he explains himself, “the friendship of the world.”
About these very things God’s people have to be warned from the pulpit today. We all know many excellent Church people who “scold,” indulge in “pleasures” not spiritual, and who seem to have a decided friendliness to the world. They are to be found on boards of stewards, and a good many other Boards. They lead in good works in the Church, and they lead in works that are not so good. They entertain the bishops and other prominent personages at Conference. They are regarded as leading people in the Church, and have great influence in high quarters. What James said nearly two thousand years ago to people in the Church could be said to many today.
This is not all, for even now in our times we have only to look to see the different treatment paid in Church to the brother of low degree, and to the man with “gay apparel” and with a “gold ring.” It is curious to notice the sensation even among preachers and the rising up and offering of chairs to a man of wealth or authority who comes in late and disturbs scores of people by his late coming. The author has seen not less than four chairs offered to one of these prominent late comers; while the spectacle of four or five men in front all beckoning at once to some unseen man in the rear of the house is a sight never to be forgotten, while it throws a strong side light on James ii. 3, where he says: “Ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place.”
A newspaper reporter in one of our largest cities disguised himself, and on two Sabbaths tested the sentiment of a number of the Churches in regard to the humble and poor, by presenting himself to the ushers in very plain attire. The report of his experience in various of these prominent Churches made very interesting reading. At some he was received with kindness, but at others he was plainly shown that he was not wanted. One usher kept him standing at the foot of the aisle in doubt as to whether he would give him a seat or not, when suddenly a young couple richly dressed appeared on the scene. Immediately the usher became a vision of smiles and was transformed into a bundle of springs as he escorted the gorgeous pair to a front seat. But the instant he returned to that problem in plain attire at the foot of the aisle his brow became cloudy. He had begun to resume his scrutiny of the apparent tramp, when the disguised reporter said to him that he believed he would not take a seat, but had concluded to go to the hospital. Whereupon the usher with great cordiality told him that he thought that was the best place for him. All this happened in a leading Church in one of our greatest cities.
In a word, the Epistle of James is not out of date, and its incisive utterances are still needed in the Churches. There is not a thing denounced by James in his Epistle but the author of this book has seen in the Churches of our day and country.
Yet these people were “brethren” and “beloved brethren” and had been “begotten by the Word,” and the Word was “engrafted” in them.
The trouble in their case was that the double mind was left.
Who is the double minded man? We all know who the single-minded man is. Every sinner is single minded. He has but one mind, and that is to do wrong. There is no desire to please God. He is a unit in the endeavor to please himself and do wrong.
But under the preaching of the word he becomes convicted, is converted, has the mind of Christ imparted to him, and from that moment becomes a two-minded man.
Every regenerated man has the double mind. We do not mean anything offensive here. We do not say that he is a hypocrite, but there are two minds in him, and he himself recognizes and deplores the fact of two forces, laws, or minds warring in him, the one spiritual and the other carnal.
If he would come to God according to divine direction, the Lord would sanctify him, and take or burn out the carnal mind; and leave him with the one mind, that of Christ, and so he would become single-minded for God, as he had once been for sin and Satan. But he, for various reasons, will not come; and so has in him the consciousness, regenerated as he is, of the evil residue, the besetment, the remainder of iniquity, the flesh, the old man, or the double mind. Many regenerated people keep this double-mindedness down, and live very beautiful lives. Others grow heartsick and discouraged over the frequent internal strife and uprisings, and finally almost cease to struggle against it. So we see some converted people drifting into just such lives as brought out the sharp reprimands of James upon the Church in the first century.
The feeling with many is that this dark something can never be taken out; and so, in despair, such individuals sink into a gross form of religious living, thinking that the only Saviour for them is death. Such people finally accept a kind of double life, and know what it is to have two tongues and two faces. In leaving the house in the morning they first take off the home face and hang it up on a nail behind the hall door, and at the same time put on the street face; and, after fitting it, sally forth. What pleasant manners and smiles now are seen as they pass down the street with greetings, bows, and nice speeches to all whom they meet. After some hours they return; and on getting inside the hall door they remove the street face, hang it up on a nail, take down the home face; and, directing the scowling look down the hall, cry out, “Isn’t dinner ready yet?” with an angry intonation that brings the stony look up into the wife’s face, and causes the children to glide away into distant corners.
There are less offensive manifestations of the double mind, but they are not the less convincing. What makes the regenerated man say that he is “glad to see you” when in his heart he is not? How can we reconcile the cordial greeting extended to the incoming visitor, “Well, it has been an age since you were here,” with the remark made to a member of the family after the party is gone, “I hope that she will never come again; what a bore!” If this is not a double mind, then what is it?
Here are several ladies rocking together in the parlor of one of the group. One of these ladies knows that she ought to leave, that husband and children are expecting her, that home duties await her; yet still she lingers, rocking. Why this tarrying? Because she dreads the rising up of the other mind of her friends after she has gone. She knows that they are going to “jump on her” as soon as she leaves, and she does not want them to do it. She is well pleased with the present mind turned upon her, but it is the other mind that she dreads, and which she knows will begin operating the instant that she leaves. And yet all these ladies belong to the same church, and all are members of the Ladies’ Aid Society.
Here are eight or ten preachers at Conference in a conversational ring. As they talk they punch their walking sticks or umbrellas into the soft ground. Now and then a big guffaw breaks forth. It is growing late, and it is time for them to go to their boarding places, that they may return to evening service; but each one shows a reluctance to leave the talking, laughing circle. What is the matter?
The answer is, they dread the double mind in each other. While they are all good and true men, they secretly fear each others’ tongues. They do not want to be criticised and discussed by the brethren who are now so hearty and cordial. They do not want the double mind to be turned on them in faultfinding and judgment of the work done on circuit or district. Each one of the ring wants to leave; but if he does, the others will tell how he failed on the station, or that he was not the financier or revivalist or pastor that was expected, or that he does not make a good presiding elder, etc.
Truly there is not the slightest difficulty in finding proofs of the double mind in the regenerated man. It is almost equal to the discovery of two men in the individual in the two ways of looking, talking, and acting.
Who has not seen the mirth quickly suppressed at the approach of the unconscious victim that has been conversationally impaled in his absence? Who believes the blessed Christ would do such a thing? If a Christian is guilty here, then is there another mind and spirit in the Christian that is not of Jesus, and we are brought face to face with the double mind.
A preacher visited another in his private room at a hotel during a gracious revival on the holiness line. He knelt down and asked the brother upon whom he called to pray for him, and wept through the entire prayer. He said he wanted the blessing of entire sanctification. A few months afterwards this same man, in a preachers’ meeting composed of men unfriendly to the doctrine of a second work of grace, put himself promptly in line with them and ridiculed without mercy the preacher whom he had requested to pray for him, that he might secure the blessing.
“Purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
A prominent minister in the Church wrote a commendation of a certain book written by a preacher. He said in the puff that” it was the best book of the kind that had been written in the last ten years.” Here comes now the point: there had been no book of that kind published in ten years!
The preacher went off quite exhilarated with the notice, and the prominent minister chuckled with his family and friends about the adroit sentence. The adroit sentence was simply the outcropping of the double mind! The day came when the preacher found out the secret sarcasm; and so, as Revelation says, the little book that was first like honey to the taste became afterwards quite bitter.
But what shall we say more? Time would fail to tell of the Judge and Doctor and Colonel and Major and all the other living proofs and illustrations in the land of the double mind.
It is here in our midst, alas for it! But it can be taken out by divine power. Thank God for that! So we live and breathe and hope again.