Three Great Facts.
Brief Notes of an Address.
First.----Whenever man has been placed in responsibility, he has failed. There are innumerable proofs to be found in Scripture.
In Eden.----Man preferred the Devil's lie to simple dependence on God, and was driven out of the garden.
Noah.----Brought. safely into a purified world after the destruction of the old; so far forgot himself as to become shamefully intoxicated.
Israel.----Early in their wilderness experience, displaced Jehovah for a golden calf, and finally so completely forsook God that they were unable to recognize their Messiah when He appeared.
The Priesthood.----Strange fire offered by Nadab and Abihu.
The Kingdom.----Solomon, the greatest and wisest of the kings----representing the kingdom in its palmiest days----in later life married "strange wives," and gave way to idolatry. One indirect consequence was the division of the kingdom.
The Church.----Greater privileges than any at previous time, yet she too has failed. While yet in its infancy, we find covetousness----the sin of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts v.); "Murmurings" (Acts vi.); "Grievous wolves," and "Perverse men" (Acts xx.); and in Rev. ii. and iii., the Lord's own censure for sin allowed in various forms.
Second.----God never restores a fallen witness; never puts a new piece on an old garment, but in grace introduces something better.
Man has failed in every position of responsibility----The Cross ends the career of the first man, and the God-Man rises from the dead; is invested with all power and authority. He only is "The Faithful and True Witness," having entirely fulfilled every stewardship, and discharged every responsibility.
Third.----In all ages, whatever the condition of God's people, as a whole, it has been the privilege of the individual believer to enjoy the highest communion possible in the age in which he lived. As for instance:----
Exodus xxxii.----Describes the apostacy of Israel. Whatever Moses thoughts may have been when he looked upon it, one thing was certain. He knew Jehovah and a calf could not be in the same place, and consequently the Tabernacle was pitched "Outside the camp," and there all who had hearts for God went. Moses had God's approval at least, for we read, "God talked with Moses face to face as a friend." The greater the ruin of the body corporate, the more urgent reason for personal devotedness. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2 Tim. Ii. 19). Though a regiment is cut down to a man, yet if he grasp the colours, the honour of the regiment is saved.
I Kings xviii.----By raising the altar of twelve stones, Elijah took Divine ground, even though a single man is against 800 false prophets. Under Ahab and Jezebel, every thing was depression; the ten tribes and the two were at variance, but it must be the whole truth or none. God's fire showed His approbation.
2 Kings xxiii.----Describes the state of affairs when Josiah became King. Imagine Solomon, the man who wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastics, and the Song of Songs, the builder of these abominations. A good man is not always a good lead to follow. Josiah might have thought, "Can I, a youth, do anything at such a time; can I set myself against the wisdom of Solomon?'' Why, they will say, "I have more wisdom than my fathers; surely what Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah left standing, I should leave undone." Thus, he might have reasoned, but it mattered not to him, who originated the evil, or who allowed it to pass; it was not a question of Josiah or Solomon, but of truth and error. What made all the hubbub in chap. xxii?
It was the finding of the Book of the Law.----It's first effect was to humble himself for his own sin, in being so long in the dark, then he had to endeavour to set others right.
To-day the book, though in the hands of all, is "lost” by the "right to private judgment," as it is called; we have no "right" but to obey.
"Feed My Sheep"