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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Getting used to the dark by Vance Havner

The same danger exists with regard to worldliness. One may live in a twilight zone, in conditions of low visibility, until he finds the practices of this world less repulsive. He mistakes the stretching of his conscience for the broadening of his mind. He renounces what he calls the “Pharisaism” and “puritanism” of earlier days with a good word for dancing, smoking, and even cocktails now and then.

Instead of passing up Vanity Fair, he spends his vacations there. John Bunyan tells us that his pilgrims were quite a novelty to the worldlings: “And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their .speech; for few could understand what they said. They naturally spoke the language of Canaan; but they that kept the Fair were men of this world. So that from one end of the Fair to the other, they seemed barbarians to each other.” How out of date that sounds! Operators of Vanity Fair would see little difference in the clothes, conversation, and conduct of most professing Christians today. If the proprietors of that Fair beheld the modem church member, especially in the summertime, wearing in public a garb in which he should never have left the house or even come downstairs, they would not seem barbarians to each other! Bunyan’s pilgrims were not getting used to the dark.

Of course we do not get used to it all of a sudden. Alexander Pope described the gradual process:

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,

As to be hated needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Vance Havner, The Best of Vance Havner

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