These are some of the dark ugly faces peering into ours. But there’s another face among them. It is a very bright face, with eyes all aglow, and features all shining with light. It is the face of victory over every danger and difficulty that threatens. Many believe that the emergency will be met. The victory will surely be achieved. But the fact to mark keenly, just now, is that it will be achieved only by a vigorous, masterful gripping of the present pressing emergency.
Ah! God, may Thy Church—we men who make Thy Church, who are Thy Church—may we see the emergency, and be gripped by it; for Jesus’ sake; aye, for men’s sake; for the Church’s sake; for our own sake; in Jesus’ great name.
The Past Failure
Some of God’s Failures.
Where the Reproach of Failure Lies.
The Church Mission.
“Christ also Waits.”
The Past Failure
<u>Some of God’s Failures.</u>
God fails, sometimes. That is to say, the plan He has made and set His heart upon fails.
Eden was God’s plan for man. A weedless, thornless, world-garden of great beauty and fruitfulness; a man and woman living together in sweet purity and strong self-mastery; their children growing up in such an atmosphere, trained for the highest and best; the earth with all its wondrous forces developed and mastered by man; full comradeship and partnership between man and all the living creation, beast and bird; and in the midst of all God Himself walking and working in closest touch with man in all his enterprises—that was God’s Eden plan for man. But it failed.
The Israel plan was a failure, too. The main purpose of Israel being made God’s peculiar people has failed up to the present hour. That plan originally was a simple shepherd people, living on the soil close to nature. They were to be, not a democracy ruled by the direct vote of the people in all things; nor a republic ruled by the vote of selected representatives; nor yet a kingdom ruled over by the will of an autocrat; but something quite distinct from all of these, what men have been pleased to call a theocracy.
That is to say, God Himself was to be their ruler in a very real, practical sense, directing and working with them in the working out of all their national life. They were to combine all the best in each of these forms of government, with a something added, not in any of them as men know them.
They were to be wholly unlike the other nations, utterly unambitious politically, neither exciting war upon themselves by others nor ever making war upon others. Their great mission was to be a teacher-nation to all the earth, teaching the great spiritual truths; and, better yet, embodying these truths in their personal and national life.
But the plan failed. The glitter of the other nations turned them aside from God’s plan. They set up a kingdom, “like all the nations,” very much like them.