The Sight Which Stirred The Apostle Paul
Adapted from a Sermon by J.C. Ryle
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. (17) So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Acts 17:16-17
We live in a small city, with its share of bricks and mortar but still close to forests and meadows and green fields. You may one day find yourself in a large metropolis or perhaps you have some relative or friend living there now, about whom you naturally feel a deep interest. In either case, our verses of Scripture this morning demand your best attention. Give me that attention for a few short minutes while I try to show you the lessons, which the passage contains.
You see face to face in the verses before you no common city and no common man.
The city is the famous Athens—Athens, renowned to this very day for its statesmen, philosophers, historians, poets, painters, and architects,—Athens, the center of ancient Greece, as ancient Greece was the center of the heathen world.
The man is the great Apostle of the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul—the Apostle Paul, the most hard working and successful Minister and Missionary the world has ever seen—the Apostle Paul, who by his pen has left a deeper mark on mankind than any man, except his Divine Master.
Athens and the Apostle Paul—the great servant of Christ, and the great stronghold of old heathenism,—are brought face to face before us. The result is told us: the interview is carefully described. The subject, I venture to think, is eminently suited to the times in which we live, and to the circumstances of many a city dweller in the present day.
I ask you to observe three things in this passage:—
I. What the Apostle Paul SAW at Athens.
II. What the Apostle Paul FELT at Athens.
III. What the Apostle Paul DID at Athens.
I. First, then, What did the Apostle Paul SEE at Athens?
The answer of the text is clear and unmistakable. He saw a “city … full of idols.” Idols met his eyes in every street. The temples of idol gods and goddesses occupied every prominent position. A vast system of idol-worship overspread the whole place, and thrust itself everywhere he looked.
And yet consider that this city was probably the most favourable specimen of a heathen city which the Apostle Paul could have seen. In proportion to its size it very likely contained the most learned, civilized, philosophical, highly educated, artistic, intellectual population on the face of the earth. But what was it from a religious point of view? The city of wise men like Socrates and Plato and Sophocles,—the city of mind, and intellect, and art, and taste,—this city was “full of idols.”
If the true God was unknown at Athens, what must He have been in the darker places of the earth? If the eye of Greece was so spiritually dim, what must have been the condition of such places as Babylon, Ephesus, Tyre, Corinth, and even of Rome? If men were so far gone from the light in a green tree, what must they have been in the dry?
Now, what will we say to these things? What are the conclusions to which they irresistibly draw us?
i) Ought we not to learn, for one thing, the absolute need of a Divine revelation, and of teaching from heaven?
Leave man without a Bible, and he will have a religion of some kind, for human nature, corrupt as it is, must have a God. But it will be a religion without light, or peace, or hope. “The world”, says the Apostle, “did not know God through wisdom.” (1 Cor. 1:21) Old Athens is a standing lesson which we will do well to observe. It is vain to suppose that nature, without the help of revelation, will ever lead fallen man to nature’s God. Without a Bible, the Athenian bowed down to wood and stones, and worshipped the work of his own hands. Place a heathen philosopher,—a Stoic or an Epicurean,—by the side of an open grave, and ask him about a world to come, and he could have told you nothing certain, adequate, or peace-giving.
ii) Ought we not to learn, for another thing, that the highest intellectual training is no security against utter darkness in religion?
We cannot doubt that mind and reason were highly educated at Athens, if anywhere in the heathen world. The students of Greek philosophy were not unlearned and ignorant men. They were well-versed in logic, ethics, rhetoric, history, and poetry. But all this mental discipline did not prevent their city being a city wholly given to idolatry. And are we to be told in the twenty first century, that reading, writing, mathematics, history, languages, and science, without a knowledge of the Scriptures, are sufficient to constitute education? It is shallow and empty education if it is without Christ.
It may please some men to idolize intellectual power, and to speak highly of the debt which the world owes to the Greek mind. One thing, at any rate, is abundantly clear. Without the knowledge which the Holy Spirit revealed to the Hebrew nation, old Greece would have left the world buried in dark idolatry. A follower of Socrates or Plato might have talked well and eloquently on many subjects, but he never could have answered the jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) He could never have said in his last hour, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)
iii) Ought we not to learn, in the third place, that the highest excellence in the material arts is no guarantee against the grossest superstition?
The perfection of Athenian architecture and sculpture is a great and undeniable fact. The eyes of the Apostle Paul at Athens undoubtedly beheld many beautiful things there. And yet the men who conceived and executed the splendid buildings of Athens were utterly ignorant of the one true God.
The world today is practically drunk with self-conceit about its so-called progress in science and technology. Men talk and write of science and technology, as if nothing were impossible. But let it never be forgotten that the greatest advancement in these skills is consistent with a state of spiritual death in religion. Athens, the city of great architects and sculptors was a “city … full of idols.” An Athenian architect might have designed a matchless tomb, but he could not have wiped a single tear from a mourner’s eye.
These things ought not to be forgotten. They ought to be carefully pondered. They suit the times in which we live. We live in a sceptical and an unbelieving age. Truth and value of revelation are all but ignored. “Is not reason alone sufficient?”—“Is the Bible really needed to make men wise for salvation?”—“Does man not have a light within able to guide him to truth and God?”—Such are the thoughts which prevail in our day. Such are the speculations which disquiet many unstable minds.
One plain answer is an appeal to facts. The remains of heathen Egypt, Greece, and Rome will speak for us. They are preserved by God’s providence to this very day as monuments of what intellect and reason can do without revelation. The minds which designed the Parthenon, or Colosseum were not the minds of fools. The builders who executed their designs did better and more lasting work than any contractor can do in modern times. And yet in religion these men were darkness itself. (Eph 5:8) The sight which the Apostle Paul saw at Athens is an unanswerable proof that man knows nothing which can do his soul good without a Divine revelation.
II. I ask you to notice, in the second place, what the Apostle Paul FELT at Athens.
He saw “that the city was full of idols.” How did the sight affect him? What did he feel?
It is interesting to notice how the same sight affects different people. Place two people on the same spot; let them stand side by side; let them see the same things. The emotions produced in the one man will often be wholly different from those produced in the other. The thoughts which will be wakened up and brought to light will often be as far apart as the east is from the west.
A mere artist visiting Athens for the first time would doubtless have been absorbed in the beauty of its buildings. A statesman or orator would have called up the memory of Pericles or Demosthenes. A literary man would have thought of Thucydides and Sophocles and Plato. A merchant would have gazed on the Piræus, its harbour, and the sea.
But an Apostle of Christ had far higher thoughts. One thing, above all others, swallowed up his attention, and made everything else look small. That one thing was the spiritual condition of the Athenian people, the state of their souls. The great Apostle of the Gentiles was eminently a man of one thing, Like his Divine Master, he was always thinking of his “Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49.) He stood at Athens, and thought of nothing so much as Athenian souls. Like Moses, Phinehas, and Elijah, “his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.”
Of all sights on earth none is so apt to arouse thought in a reflecting mind, as the sight of a great city. The non-stop activity and interaction between people which a city naturally produces seems to feed on itself.
It is the city
- where evil of every kind is most rapidly conceived, sown, ripened, and brought to maturity;
- where the young man leaving home, and launching into life, becomes soonest hardened, and conscience-seared by daily familiarity with the sight of sin;
- where sensuality, intemperance, and worldly amusements of the worst kind, flourish, and find a friendly atmosphere.
- where ungodliness and irreligion meet with the greatest encouragement, and the unhappy neglecter of all means of grace, can fortify himself behind the example of others, and enjoy the miserable comfort of feeling that “he does not stand alone!”
It is the city which is the centre of all national business: the banks, the courts of law, the Stock-exchange, the Parliament or Assembly, are all bound up with the city.
It is the city which, by magnetic influence, draws together the fashion of the land, and gives tone to the tastes and ways of society.
It is the city which practically controls the destiny of a nation. Scattered millions, in rural districts, without regular interaction or contact, are powerless before the thousands who dwell side by side and exchange thoughts every day. It is the cities which govern a land.
Who could not look down on Toronto or New York or London without some emotion, and not reflect that he sees the heart whose pulsations are felt over whole nations. And is it any wonder that the sight of Athens stirred the spirit of such a man as the great Apostle of the Gentiles? No, it was just the sight which was likely to move the heart of the converted man of Tarsus, the man who wrote the Epistle to the Romans, and had seen Jesus Christ face to face.
He was stirred with holy compassion. It moved his heart to see so many thousands perishing for lack of knowledge, without God, without Christ, having no hope, travelling in the broad road which leads to destruction.
He was stirred with holy sorrow. It moved his heart to see so much talent misapplied. Here were hands capable of excellent works, and minds capable of noble conceptions. And yet the God who gave life and breath and power was not glorified.
He was stirred with holy indignation against sin and the devil. He saw the god of this world blinding the eyes of multitudes of his fellow-men, and leading them captive at his will. He saw the natural corruption of man infecting the population of a vast city like one common disease, and an utter absence of any spiritual medicine, antidote, or remedy.
He was stirred with holy zeal for his Master’s glory. He saw the “strong man armed” keeping a house which was not lawfully his, and shutting out the rightful owner. He saw his Divine Master unknown and unrecognised by His own creatures, and idols receiving the homage due to the King of kings.
And these feelings which stirred the Apostle are a leading characteristic of a man born of the Spirit. Do you know anything of them? Where there is true grace there will always be honest concern for the souls of others. Where there is true sonship to God there will always be zeal for the Father’s glory. It is written of the ungodly, that they not only commit things worthy of death, but also “give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32.) It may be said with equal truth of the godly, that they not only mourn over sin in their own hearts, but mourn over sin in others.
Hear what is written of Lot in Sodom: “He was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds.” (2 Peter 2:8.) Hear what is written of David: “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136.) Hear what is written of the godly in Ezekiel’s time: they “sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in” the city (Ezek. 9:4.) Hear what is written of our Lord and Saviour Himself: “when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it.” (Luke 19:41.)
Surely it can be considered one of the first principles of Biblical religion, that anyone who can witness sin without feeling sadness does not have the mind of the Christ. This is one of those things in which the children of God stand apart, and are different from the children of the devil.
It is a sad fact that we are surrounded today by a generation of men who look at heathenism, infidelity, and irreligion with apathy, coolness, and indifference. They take no interest at all in Evangelistic work. They treat all religious outreach almost with undisguised contempt. They seem to think that every man will be saved by his own law or sect, if he is only sincere; and that one religion is as good as another, if those who profess it are only earnest.
But this is utterly opposed to the Apostle Paul. See the mighty model of a Christian Missionary walking the streets of Athens, with his “spirit … provoked within him ” at the sight of a “city … full of idols.” Should we not feel the same about the idolatry of China and India, or about the idolatry in Canada, and right here in Ottawa?
Have 2000 years made any difference in the nature of God, the necessities of fallen man, the sinfulness of idol worship, and the duty of Christians? The eternal principles of the New Testament are written clearly, plainly, and unmistakably. So long as the Bible is the Bible, charity to souls is one of the first of Christian graces, and it is a solemn duty to feel for the souls of the heathen, and of all unconverted people. He who knows nothing of this feeling has yet to begin on the Christian path. He who despises this feeling is not a successor of the Apostle Paul, but a follower of him who said, “am I my brother's keeper?” (Gen 4:9)—even of Cain.
III. I ask you to observe, in the last place, what the Apostle Paul DID at Athens.
What he saw you have heard; what he felt you have been told; but how did he act?
He did something. He was not the man to stand still in the face of a city full of idols. He might have reasoned with himself that he stood alone,—that he was a Jew by birth,—that he was a stranger in a strange land,—that he had to oppose the rooted prejudices and old associations of learned men,—that to attack the old religion of a whole city was to ask for trouble,—that the doctrines of the Gospel were little likely to be effective on minds steeped in Greek philosophy.
But none of these thoughts seem to have crossed the mind of the Apostle Paul. He saw souls perishing; he felt that life was short, and time passing away; he had confidence in the power of his Master’s message to meet every man’s soul; he had received mercy himself, and could not remain silent. He acted at once; and what his hand found to do, he did with his might.
And he did what he did with holy wisdom, as well as holy boldness. At once, alone, he began with forceful arguments, and did not wait for companions and helpers. But he began with great skill, and in a way most likely to obtain a footing for the Gospel.
First, we are told, he disputed “with the Jews” in the synagogue, and the “devout persons” or proselytes who attended the Jewish worship. Afterwards he “reasoned,” or held discussions, “in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” He advanced step by step like an experienced general. Here, as elsewhere, the Apostle Paul is a model to us: he combined fiery zeal and boldness with shrewd tact and sanctified common sense.
But what did the Apostle teach? What was the grand subject which he argued, and reasoned out, and discussed, both with Jew and Greek, in synagogue and street? That he exposed the folly of idolatry to the ignorant multitudes,—that he showed the true nature of God to the worshippers of images made with hands,—that he asserted the nearness of God to us all,—and the certainty of a solemn reckoning with God at the judgment day, to Epicureans and Stoics; these are facts which we have, fully recorded in his address in Athens.
But is there nothing more than this to be learnt about the Apostle’s dealings with the idolatrous city? Is there nothing more distinctive and peculiar to Christianity which the Apostle Paul brought forward in that Greek city? There is indeed more. There is a sentence in the 18th verse of the chapter we are looking at, which ought to be written in letters of gold. We are told there that one thing which arrested the attention of the Athenians was the fact that the Apostle Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection.”
Jesus and the resurrection! What a depth of instruction that one sentence contains! What a complete summary of the Christian faith might be drawn from those words! And no doubt, they are only meant to be a summary. The very Apostle who a few days after went to Corinth, and “decided to know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” or the doctrine of the cross, would not keep back the cross from Athenian ears. No “Jesus and the resurrection” is a sentence which stands for the whole Gospel. The Founder’s name, and one of the foundation facts of the Gospel, stand before us as a summary of the whole of Christianity.
What, then, does this sentence mean? What are we to understand the Apostle Paul preached?
(a) the Apostle Paul at Athens preached the person of the Lord Jesus,—His divinity, His incarnation, His mission into the world to save sinners, His life, and death, and ascension up to heaven, His character, His teaching, His amazing love to the souls of men.
(b) the Apostle Paul at Athens preached the work of the Lord Jesus,—His sacrifice on the cross, His paying for our sins, His substitution as the just for the unjust, the full redemption He has purchased for all, and especially effective for all who believe, the complete victory He has obtained for lost man over sin, death, and hell.
(c) the Apostle Paul at Athens preached the offices of the Lord Jesus,—as the one Mediator between God and all mankind, as the great Physician for all sin-sick souls, as the Rest-giver and Peace-maker for all heavy-laden hearts, as the Friend of the friendless, the High Priest and Advocate of all who commit their souls into His hands, the Ransom-payer of captives, the Light and Guide of all who are wandering from God.
(d) the Apostle Paul at Athens preached the terms which the Lord Jesus had commanded His servants to proclaim to all the world;—His readiness and willingness to immediately receive the chief of sinners; His ability to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him; the full, present, and immediate forgiveness which He offers to all who believe; the complete cleansing in His blood for all manner of sin; faith, or simple trust of heart, the one thing required of all who feel their sins and desire to be saved; entire justification without works, or doing, or deeds of the law for all who believe.
(e) Last, but not least, the Apostle Paul preached at Athens the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He preached it as the miraculous fact on which Jesus Himself staked the whole credibility of His mission, and as a fact proved by such abounding evidence that no objector of miracles has ever yet honestly dared to meet.—He preached it as a fact, which was the very top-stone of the whole work of redemption, proving that what Christ undertook He fully accomplished, that the ransom was accepted, the atonement completed, and the prison doors thrown open forever.—He preached it as a fact, proving beyond doubt the possibility and certainty of our own resurrection in the flesh, and settling forever the great question, “Can God raise the dead?”
These things and many like them doubtless the Apostle Paul preached at Athens. What Paul preached in one place, surely he preached in another. The Holy Spirit describes the substance of his preaching in that rich sentence, “Jesus and the resurrection.”
The same Holy Spirit has told us fully how he handled these subjects at Antioch in Pisidia, at Philippi, at Corinth, and Ephesus. The Acts and the Epistles speak out on this point with no uncertain sound. And so “Jesus and the resurrection” stands for—Jesus and the redemption He effected by His death and rising from the grave, His atoning blood, His cross, His substitution, His mediation, His triumphant entrance into heaven, and the consequent full and complete salvation of all sinners who believe in Him. This is the doctrine the Apostle Paul preached. This is the work the Apostle Paul did when he was at Athens.
And, is there nothing for us to learn from these doings of the great Apostle of the Gentiles? Here are, briefly, some of the deeply important lessons which we ought to ponder.
(a) Learn, for one thing, a doctrinal lesson from the Apostle Paul’s doings at Athens. The grand subject of our teaching in every place ought to be Jesus Christ. However learned or however unlearned, however privileged or however humble our audience, Christ crucified—Christ rising, interceding, redeeming, pardoning, receiving, saving—Christ must be the grand theme of our teaching. We will never improve on this Gospel. We will never find any other subject which will do so much good. We must sow as the Apostle Paul sowed, if we would reap as the Apostle Paul reaped.
(b) Learn, for another thing, a practical lesson from the Apostle Paul’s doings at Athens. We must never be afraid to stand alone and be solitary witnesses for Christ, if need be,—alone in a vast ungodly city, in our own land,—alone in Ottawa, in Montreal, in Toronto,—alone in London, or New York, or Beijing,—it does not matter. We need not be silent, if God’s truth is on our side. One Paul at Athens, one Athanasius against the world, one Luther at Worms,—these should be our guideposts. God sees not as man sees. We must not stand still to count heads and number the people. One man, with Christ in his heart and the Bible in his hands, is stronger than a myriad of idolaters.
(c) Again, learn the necessity, of asserting boldly the supernatural element as an essential part of the Christian religion. Unbelievers and sceptics abound in these days, who reject the miracles of the Bible, and are always trying to throw them overboard as useless lumber, or to prove by clever explanations that they are fables and no miracles at all.
Let us never be afraid to resist such teaching steadily, and to take our stand by the side of the Apostle Paul. Like him, let us point to the resurrection of Christ, and confidently challenge all fair and reasonable men to refute the evidence by which it is supported. The enemies of supernatural religion never have refuted that evidence, and they never will.
(d) Learn, for one thing more, a lesson of encouragement to faith from the Apostle Paul’s doings at Athens. If we preach the Gospel, we may preach with perfect confidence that it will do good. That solitary Jew of Tarsus who stood up alone on Mars’ Hill appeared at the time to do little or nothing. He passed on his way and seemed to have been a failure. The Stoics and Epicureans probably laughed and sneered as if they owned the day.
But that solitary Jew was lighting a candle that has never since been put out. The Word that he proclaimed in Athens grew and multiplied and became a great tree. That little leaven ultimately leavened the whole of Greece. The Gospel that Paul preached triumphed over idolatry. The empty Parthenon stands to this day, a proof that Athenian theology is dead and gone. If we sow good seed, we may sow it in tears, but we shall yet “come home with shouts of joy” (Psalm 126:6) bringing our sheaves with us.
As we draw towards a conclusion. Let us pass from the consideration of what the Apostle Paul saw, and felt, and did at Athens to some important practical points. The question is “What ought we to see, and feel, and do?”
(1) First, what ought we to see?
We live in an age of sight-seeing and excitement. The world is mad after running to and fro, and the increase of knowledge. The wealth, the arts, the inventions of man are continually in the news. Thousands and tens of thousands are annually rushing about and gazing at the work of men’s hands.
But ought not the Christian to look at the map of the world? Ought not the man who believes the Bible to gaze with solemn thoughts on the vast globe and ponder what darkness has overwhelmed it? Ought not our eyes to look at the fact that most of the population of the earth is ignorant of God and Christ, and sitting still in sin and idolatry?
The eyes of God see these things, and our eyes ought to see them too.
(2) Second, what ought we to feel?
Our hearts, if they are right in the sight of God, ought to be affected by the sight of irreligion and heathenism. Many indeed are the feelings which the state of the world ought to call up in our hearts.
Thankfulness we ought to feel for our own countless privileges. Little indeed do the bulk of the Western world know how much they owe to Christianity. Well would it be for some if they could be compelled to dwell for a few weeks every year in a land that has never known true Christianity.
Compassion we ought to feel when we think of the wretched state of unconverted souls, and the misery of all men and women who live and die without Christ. There is no poverty like this poverty! No disease like this disease! No slavery like this slavery! No death like this—death in idolatry, irreligion, and sin! Well may we ask ourselves, “Where is the mind of Christ?” if we do not feel for the lost. It may be boldly laid down, as a great principle, that the Christianity which does not make a man feel for the state of unconverted people is not the Christianity which came down from heaven 2000 years ago, and is described in the New Testament. It is a mere empty name. It is not the Christianity of the Apostle Paul.
(3) Finally, what ought we to do?
This, after all, is the point which ought to occupy us. Seeing and feeling are well; but doing is the life of religion. Passive impressions which do not lend to action have a tendency to harden the conscience, and do us positive harm. What ought we to do? We ought to do much more than we have ever done yet. We might all probably do more.
Need we stand still and be ashamed of the weapons of our warfare? Is the Gospel, the old Evangelical creed, inadequate for the needs of our day? No, we have no cause to be ashamed of the Gospel at all. It is not worn out. It is not weak. It is not behind the times. We need nothing new, nothing added to the Gospel, nothing taken away. We need nothing but “the old paths”—the old truths fully, boldly, warmly proclaimed. Only preach the Gospel fully, the same Gospel which the Apostle Paul preached, and it is still “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” (Rom 1:16) and nothing else called religion has any real power at all.
Need we stand still and be ashamed of the results of preaching the Gospel? Will we hang down our heads, and complain that “the faith … once … delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) has lost its power, and does no good? We have no reason to be ashamed at all. It can be safely stated that no religious teaching on earth can point to any results worth mentioning except that which is called doctrinal, dogmatic theology. If the question, “What is truth?” is to be solved by reference to results and fruits, the religion of the New Testament has no cause to be ashamed.
Let it be our desire that by God’s help, we may do more in the time to come. Let us open our eyes more, and see what we can do.
Let us open our hearts more, and feel. Let us stir up ourselves to do more work—by self-denying gifts, by zealous co-operation, by bold advocacy, by fervent prayer. Let us do something worthy of our cause. The cause for which Jesus left heaven and came down to earth deserves the best that we can do.
And now, as we close I will return to the thought with which we began. Your lot is indeed cast in a city, not a large metropolis but still a city. And so accept the parting words of advice which I am about to offer. Give me your best attention while I speak to you about your soul.
Remember that you are placed in a position of peculiar spiritual danger.
From the days of Babel downwards, wherever Adam’s children have been assembled in large numbers, they have always drawn one another to the utmost limits of sin and wickedness. The great towns have always been Satan’s seat. It is the town where the young man sees abounding examples of ungodliness; and, if he is determined to live in sin, will always find plenty of companions.
It is the town where the movie theatre and the casino, and the pub, are continually crowded. It is the town where the love of money, or the love of amusement, or the love of entertainment, or the love of sensual indulgence, lead captive myriads of slaves. It is the town where a man will always find hundreds to encourage him in not going to church, despising the means of grace, neglecting the Bible, leaving off the habit of prayer.
Carefully consider these things. You ought to be aware of this danger. Feel your weakness and sinfulness. Flee to Christ, and commit your soul to His keeping. Ask Him to hold you up, and you will be safe. Stand on your guard. Resist the devil. Watch and pray.
And, be of good courage, and never give way to the despairing thought that it is impossible to serve Christ in a city. Think rather that with God nothing is impossible. Think of the long list of witnesses who have carried the cross, and been faithful to death in the midst of the greatest temptations. Think of Daniel in Babylon and of the saints in Nero’s household at Rome. Think of the multitudes of believers at Corinth and Ephesus and Antioch in the days of the apostles. It is not place but grace that makes the Christian. The holiest and most useful servants of God who have ever lived were not hermits in the wilderness, but dwellers in towns.
Let us remember these things, and take courage. Your lot may be cast in a city like Athens, “full of idols.” You may have to stand alone in the office, the place of business, or the shop. But you are not really alone, if Christ is with you. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Be bold, thorough, decided, and patient.
The day will come when you will find that even in a great city a man may be a happy, useful Christian, loved by God and a blessing to others.