The beauty of righteousness, and how in the long run it is infinitely better to live the humble Christian life—that comes home to every man. But the danger is that we are deceived into thinking that in that very wave of emotion or remorse or high longing there is saving grace and power. I come into church and the music and architecture and ordered worship lift and purify my thoughts. The strains of old hymns awaken echoes in the depths of my heart. I give assent to the sublime truths of the gospel as they are read and spoken, and I go from that religious exercise feeling better, thinking more about God, and having a greater desire to strip my soul of meanness and envy and hatred and greed and pride and jealousy and self-worship.
Be not deceived. Balaam felt that way and gave utterance for all others who have felt that way—in words of music and beauty and grace. But how did Balaam die? He died just as he had lived—not as he had wished to die—an enemy of God. Oh, remember it is possible to have noble ambitions and heavenly aspirations and to agree to sublime truths—and yet to live, and, in the end, die unreconciled to God!