Some will tell us plainly that there is no reward to run for, that our religion is all a mistake, that the pleasures of this world are the only things worth seeking, that there are delights of the flesh and the lusts thereof, and that we should do well to enjoy them. We shall meet the Atheist with his sneer and with his ringing laugh. We shall meet with all kinds of persons who will to our faces tell us to turn back, for there is no heaven, there is no Christ, or, if there be, it is not worth our while to take so much trouble to find him. Take heed of these people.
Meet them face to face with dauntless courage. Mind not their sneers. If they persecute you only, reckon this to be an honour to you, for what is persecution but the tribute which wickedness pays to righteousness, and what is it, indeed, but the recognition of the seed of the woman when the seed of the serpent would fain bite his heel? But the Apostle does not warn you so much against those people who openly come to you in this way. He knows that you will be on the alert against them. He gives a special warning against some others who would beguile you; that is to say, who will try to turn you out of the right road, but who will not tell you that they mean to do so.
They pretend that they are going to show you something that you knew not before, some improvement upon what you have hitherto learned. In Paul's day there were some who took off the attention of the Christian from the worship of God to the worship of angels. "Angels," said they, "these are holy beings; they keep watch over you; you should speak of them with great respect"; and then when they grew bolder, they said, "You should ask their protection"; and then after a little while they said, "You should worship them; you should make them intermediate intercessors"; and so, step by step, they went on and established an old heresy which lasted for many years in the Christian church, and which is not dead even now, and thus the worship of angels crept in.