If confessors, reformers, martyrs, and covenanters had been recreant to the name and faith of Jesus, where would have been the churches of today? Must we not play the man as they did? If we do not, are we not censuring our fathers? It is very pretty, is it not, to read of Luther and his brave deeds? Of course, everybody admires Luther! Yes, yes; but you do not want anyone else to do the same today.
When you go to the Zoological Gardens you all admire the bear; but how would you like a bear at home, or a bear wandering loose about the streets? You tell me that it would be unbearable, and no doubt you are right. So, we admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago; the past ages are a sort of bear-pit or iron cage for him; but such a man today is a nuisance, and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one.
Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and their compeers had said, “The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our nightcaps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.” Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all.
These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on. Note what we owe them, and let us pay to our sons the debt we owe our fathers. It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision in needed. Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it. The faith I hold bears upon it marks of the blood of my ancestors.
C. H. Spurgeon, Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon