The Certainty of Victory
“Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” –II. Kings, 6:16
It is remarkable how frequently words similar to these of the text, “Fear not,” are used in the Bible. The church has always been in the minority, the opposition is numerous and powerful, so that such words have been often addressed to God’s people for their comfort and strength.
Christ frequently used the expression in talking to His disciples. When brought before kings and governors for my sake “fear not.” When cast out of the synagogue “fear not.” When they would kill the body “fear them not.” Once, through a storm at night, He walked over the waves to them as they toiled at their oars exhausted and terrified, and said the old, soothing words, “fear not.”
Here again in the text is the expression. The Syrian army had surrounded a city of Israel with horses and chariots. The servant of Elisha was appalled at the sight, and cried out, Alas! master, what shall we do? The prophet, all unmoved at the spectacle of the Syrian hosts and his servant’s terror, said in reply, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Then he prayed the Lord to open his servant’s eyes, and at once the man was astounded to see that the mountain on which he and his master stood was “full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
There are two ways of looking at Christ’s cause on earth: There is a purely physical glance and there is a spiritual look. There is a hasty, superficial way of viewing the great struggle going on which leaves the observer terrified; and a calm, faith-piercing, God-anointed gaze that faces things as they are, the victory that is bound to be, and fills the gazer with perfect confidence and joy. This fleshly look perceives the Syrian army, the horses and chariots, and gives up; but the spiritual look takes note that God also has an army close by, that the horses and chariots are of fire and not flesh, and that the heavenly battalions so outnumber the other side that a whole army is sent to surround a single servant of God!
There has been and still is fear with many regarding the great conflict going on. They think there is cause for anxiety and alarm. May the Lord send upon such people the vision of Elisha. May they see what he saw, and what is as true today as then, “that they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Let us look calmly at the matter and see who are against us and who are for us, and be done with our heaven-dishonoring fears forever. We notice:
1. THOSE THAT ARE AGAINST US.
And first we would mention Satan. Who is he? Men have so exalted him in their minds that one would suppose he was another God. In the might which they in their fancy have clothed him, one would judge he was all but infinite in power and resources, and could never be conquered. But the facts in the case are that he is simply a creature; a great being, doubtless, but still a creature, and so, infinitely less than the Creator. Then he is a fallen creature, which places him on the road to a certain coming overwhelming defeat. Then, Christ has already repeatedly conquered him, and, wonder upon wonders! we are told that if we resist him he will flee from us!
He seems to have under him a large body of evil fallen angels like himself; but again we remember the teaching of the Bible that the number of angels who kept not their high estate were much smaller than those who abided; that already they have sustained a crushing reverse in being driven out of heaven, and, in common with their leader, seem to be in terror of being sent down into the Pit, begging Christ not to do it, while, at the simple command of Jesus to “Come out of him,” we see ten thousand of them pouring like a black Niagara out of the demoniac of Gadara. As you consider these facts hastily mentioned, it seems you would breathe more easily in regard to the Satanic side of the opposition.
Then we glance at prominent infidels. Suppose you segregate them and examining them thus one by one, your fear is certain to go down and your hope and confidence to rise.
You have heard of Tom Paine. To get your eyes thoroughly opened to the utter moral weakness of the man, read Richard Watson’s description of his life in his Apology for the Bible. Read there how he defrauded the English government, betrayed a trust when he was a secretary in one of the committees of our Congress, and broke the hearts of two women who had the misfortune to be his wives. Read of his drunkenness for years, and see why it was this man fought Christ and why we need not be alarmed at his writings.
In like manner take up Gibbons, Hobbes, Hume and others, and the life and last sayings of these men will show us that they will never be able to keep the Gospel from filling the earth. Many have been alarmed over the influence of Ingersoll. But if God had the least fear of him He would kill him and take him out of the way. He came several years ago to St. Louis, and some of us hardly knew when he arrived or when he left. There was not a Bible given up nor a prayer less prayed. The crowd who went out to listen to him were those who desired to hear him prove that that world did not exist to which they had every reason to suppose they were going. I could but contrast his resultless visit with the work of an Evangelist who went to a town in Kentucky and in a week’s time, playing cards were seen torn up in every direction while the receipts of the saloons fell from five hundred dollars a day to eighteen.
Next we enumerate what are called wicked men. But in their study we soon observe that comparatively few are desperately wicked in their lives. Many are sick of sin. Many had Christian mothers and God is using their memory and influence more than others think. Many are praying secretly, and through the Gospel and agencies like sickness, sorrow, disappointment and death, all sanctified by grace, the Lord is continually thinning their ranks.
In addition to all this we look at wickedness itself in its manifold forms and expressions, and it is evident that we are contemplating a mob rather than an organized opposition. There seems to be no concert of action, no recognition of a general leader and ruler. The “Man of Sin” whoever he is, has not yet arisen to sway all the elements of evil in a body against God and His beloved city. We can count thousands of councils, conferences, synods, assemblies and conventions of the Christian church against a few of these slimly attended anti-Christ, anti-religious gatherings. You see we still outnumber them, and then our horses and chariots are of fire!
Besides this what has the side of sin to offer to its followers? It has no possession in Eternity. It does not own the planet on which we see it today. God simply tolerates its presence for awhile. It has no world in the universe it can call its own. There is a world somewhere in outer darkness which is set aside for the final abode of wickedness, but it is simply a penitentiary and not a place of light and beauty. It is for confinement, not enjoyment. Sin has absolutely nothing to offer in Eternity but misery, and only a fitful, feverish and short-lived delusion in time. I marvel that it can command a following of thinking people. And the truth is they do not think, but go recklessly into ruin and spend Eternity in thinking.
The matter is well described in a conversation held once between two parties. An unconverted young man said he wished he had a great fortune.
“What would you do if you had it?” asked an elderly Christian.
“Oh,” he replied, “I would have a beautiful house and grounds the first thing.”
“I would fill my house with books, paintings and musical instruments.”
“I would live in a whirl of pleasure with my friends.”
“I would go sight-seeing and travel around the world.”
“Oh–I would settle down in my home after awhile and enjoy myself.”
“Well–I don’t know exactly–but I expect I would finally grow old.”
“Well, what then?” said the man of God to the young man who began to wear a puzzled look.
“I suppose,” the young man answered gloomily, “I would have to die like other people.”
“And what then?” said the old Christian with solemn look and still more solemn tone.
This last question was never answered. It was a home thrust indeed. What could he say. How impossible to expect any good or blessedness in the great eternity beyond when the life on earth had been spent in sin and for self and away from God. Reason and revelation alike agree in preventing a man from expecting good after such a life. So at its close the man stands fearfully peering out into the shadows of the limitless future beyond the grave, and to the question “what then?”–can say nothing, and can feel nothing but a dreadful inward foreboding which is itself the shadow of the approaching clouds of wrath and endless ruin. Sin has nothing to offer its followers in eternity but an everlasting penitentiary. This fact itself must at last awaken the deluded millions and turn them to Christ and holiness and heaven.
I mention one other element of opposition against us; and strange to say it is found in the church itself. It is made up of unconverted and backslidden people who make a startling percentage of the membership of every religious denomination.
With spirituality never possessed, or once had but now lost, we have a body in our midst who actually hinder the work and spread of the Gospel at home or in foreign lands, more than the open and armed foes of earth and hell.
With little or no religious experience, their highest conception of Christian work is seen in the church supper, and general entertainment and amusement plan. They believe in a church kitchen but not in the class meeting. They know nothing of their church doctrines, and to them a clear cut sermon on regeneration, its duties and privileges is as distasteful as one on sanctification. In fact, when the text is preached from “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin,” they think that what is called a “holiness sermon” has been delivered to them. Silent at experience meetings, with little or no missionary spirit, with decided longings and relish for certain places of worldly amusements, such people constitute a dead weight in the race of the church, and a marvelous clog and hindrance to all movements on a deeply spiritual line. It is an experience not to be forgotten to preach to such people and see no answering gleam in the eye or light in the face. Ezekiel called it a valley filled with skeletons, and Solomon said it was “a congregation of the dead.” The very thought of marshaling such a body in aggressive warfare against sin and worldliness is felt to be simply absurd and impossible; and the result is the sight of preachers paralyzed in faith and hope looking for two hours every Sunday into the face of a congregation of the dead.
2. THOSE THAT ARE WITH US.
First, I notice that Nature is on our side.
Men do not realize it, and sinners do not stop to think of it, but the earth is simply a platform erected by the Lord for the achievement of His plan in the salvation of men. It stands by the Lord and for the Lord. One day he will knock it down. Meantime it is His and as a matter of course and of fact Nature is in sympathy with Him. The stars in their courses fight for His people, the mud in the Red Sea causes the wheels of Pharaohs chariots to drive heavily, while the Jews go through easily. These facts are realized by individuals as well as Nations. The sun, moon, stars, clouds, winds and all seem to be against the soul that is doing wrong; they are in sympathy with God.
Then Nature is obedient to God. Let a sinner try to manage it and see what will be the result. If any notice is taken at all of the puny effort, the winds and waves would say Paul I know and Cephas I know, and God I know, but who are ye; and they would leap on him and tare him. But let the Lord speak, and the oceans roll over the submerged world; the Red Sea covers the Egyptian army; Vesuvius buries Pompeii and Herculaneum in ashes and lava; Sodom and Gomorrah are burned with fire from the skies and sleep today with the Dead Sea over them as a winding sheet.
Death is on our side.
It is a grisly ally but a most important one, and it is always on God’s side. It is God’s servant and not the devil’s nor man’s. This moment if God was the least alarmed at the combinations against His Son and Church He could still every heart beat and take the breath from every nostril. The fact that he does not thus slay his enemies shows that He is not afraid of them. He could stop the workings of the laws of birth, but he allows human beings to be born and live on because he is not the slightest alarmed over what they may write and say and do.
Still He uses death in the settling of this world’s rebellion. He swept away the anti-deluvian wickedness by a sudden calamity that made men rush to the trees and hills and mountains. All but eight faithful souls perished in the world of waters that tossed their triumphant billows over every home, city and country, and going over the tallest mountains showed what God could do with men in the way of death when he wanted to.
In the “Tribulation” that is yet to come, the Bible tells us that one third of the race will go down in the frightful wars and calamities of that time. This doomed third will be those who have resisted and hated Him.
Even now death is busy working out some of the dark problems of sin for God. Death is today creeping along the veins of Robert Ingersoll, he will soon be gone with all his blasphemies and false teachings. Death is stealing toward the heart of all the gamblers, liars, adulterers, and Sabbath breakers in the world. They are going on in their mad course, but death is silently stealing up through abused nerves and vitiated blood, and outraged powers. They will all go. A whole generation of them will be gone in the next generation. An army of evil doers will be marched through the portals of the grave into eternity to come back and defile this world no more. A new and better generation will arise to take its place, and so it will be repeated until the glorious dawn of the Millennium.
The funeral is a great factor with God in the moral progress of the world. He had to bury all that came out of Egypt with Moses before He could bring their children into Canaan. He still has to do this. We have cases in the church today that are as stubborn, rebellious and difficult to manage as the Jews who vexed and resisted God in the Wilderness. We have men in the pew and pulpit who are keeping a better state of things out of the church, preventing revivals and actually blocking up the way of God to the hearts and lives of the people. They will have to be buried and God will do it. Many of them say they are God’s people. Many of them are. But with their prejudices, animosities, desire to rule, habits of life, and heart backslidings they cannot keep up with the procession that God is bringing into Canaan. They will have to be buried and another and more spiritual band will take their place in the ranks of Israel. Death is on God’s side.
Conscience is on our side.
There is a power in the human breast that is the representative of God. In its normal state it speaks for God and against evil. As has been said by another, “it makes cowards of us all.” It turns the rustling of a leaf into the steps of coming judgment. It makes one imagine that each eye that is turned steadily upon him, knows the guilty secret of his life, and causes the simplest and most innocent of speeches to pierce like daggers to the soul.
Conscience is the ventriloquism of heaven. Suppose one side in a war could throw their united voice into the camp of the enemy. What a power that would be. Well, this is what God can and does do. He projects His voice in the form of conscience into the heart of every sinner. He tells him what sin is; He tells him he is a sinner, a hell-bound and hell-deserving sinner. He tells him of the lost world, its dreadfulness, its torment and its hopelessness.
What a power all this is. If one will give the matter a little thought he will see that the force of this inward voice and monitor keeps wicked men quiet and peaceable who otherwise would not be so. It prevents many dreadful crimes, for even sinners are afraid of conscience, and is an additional fact of protection for our property and lives. Truly the wheels of the chariots of sin draw heavily when conscience is uplifting its voice. It is an uphill work indeed, and men have to goad the mind, and fire the body with stimulants to perform certain deeds of evil.
I have been often struck with the upright position of men when they are in discharge of proper acts, and the stealthy crouching and bent attitudes of the thief, burglar and assassin. Conscience gives them much trouble. The mud seems deep in the Red Sea. Angels are on our side.
That we may know what an element of strength is with us, suppose we count the holy unfallen beings. Have you noticed that when the Bible speaks of them it is not with an enumeration of units, but such words as “thousands” and “hosts,” “a multitude of the heavenly host,” etc. This is all deeply significant. Then notice their strength. The Bible says they excel in strength. The stone of Christ’s sepulcher that a band of women could not stir, an angel with the greatest ease rolled away. One of them, we are told in Holy Writ, killed one hundred and eighty thousand men in a single night. We are told that they love to do God’s bidding. In a flash they rush to fulfill His command. Christ said He could summon a legion to His help if He desired.
The Scripture shows one standing in the sun; another poised with one foot on the sea and another on the land, and with uplifted voice crying that Time shall be no more. They will be in great numbers at the Judgment, as the officers of God’s power, and are seen gathering the elect from the four quarters of the earth at the morning of the Resurrection.
If we could have our eyes open to behold beings in the spiritual world we would see hundreds of angels flashing like meteors through the air in the service of God, and some doubtless at this very moment hovering over us in this building. How glad I am that such glorious and powerful beings are with us in the great struggle going on all over the world.
The Redeemed are on our side.
We mean those consciously saved by the blood of Christ. Part of this host are on earth, and it is a numerous and powerful following. You may say they are in the minority, that the unconverted greatly outnumber them. My reply is that there are two ways of counting, the world’s way and God’s way. The world estimates by heads, the Lord by character. So counting in one way the world is ahead of us, and in another way we outnumber the world.
God has a blessing for His people that when they possess, He says Himself that one can chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight. Moreover men have repeatedly seen the workings of this strange heavenly arithmetic, where one man is equal to a thousand and two to ten thousand. They saw it in the apostles case, who could not be stopped by the ecclesiastical and civil forces of the world. They saw it in Luther’s case who wrought a victory for heaven in the face of millions of opposers. They saw the same thing with Wesley who was more than a match in his Gospel career for magistrates, ministers and roaring mobs who tried in vain to arrest his pen, silence his tongue, and prevent the achievements and victories of his consecrated life.
Similar victories are being won in this very age all around us by individuals filled with the Holy Ghost and who are continually seen to be more than a match for howling devils and opposing men. Let a man feel he is right, God telling him so, and filling him with His Spirit and who can withstand him. I would rather fight a circular saw in full motion or meet a locomotive thundering down upon me on the railway track than such a fire-baptized, heaven-anointed and God-sent man. In the first case my body only would suffer; but in the last, body, soul and life would go down together before God’s servant and messenger.
Have you noticed how one determined man will go through a vast crowd of men? Everybody seems to give way to his persistent push and shove. Redemption puts just such a moving force in the soul. Sinners move about with occasional spasmodic performances, but the holy and fully redeemed man is fairly driven along by the mighty divine power that throbs and flows and boils in him.
The papers told us several years since of an Evangelist holding a meeting in a New Jersey town, and at the end of a month every saloon had been closed in the place, and most of their owners had joined the church and were saved men. What is that but a repetition of what God said that one could chase a thousand. Who can doubt the issue of the great fight going on in the world when God’s soldiers have such power!
Then there are the Redeemed in Heaven. They have been crossing over for thousands of years since the first one righteous Abel went up. By this time they must constitute an exceedingly great army. In fact John, who had a view of them from the island of Patmos said they could not be numbered. I do not know what part they take in the battlefields of earth now, perhaps none, but then I do know that at the close of time they are going to be turned loose on this world. Jesus, by and by, will be seen descending the steeps of the skies above us at the head of the White Horse Cavalry of Heaven, the Ransomed of the glory world. John, in one of the closing chapters of Revelation, gives a wonderful picture of this irresistible and victorious charge on the astonished nations.
I tell you brethren that the more I count up the forces in God’s army, the more I feel that I would not be on the other side for reward or pay of any kind. Think of it; all the good and true and pure of earth and heaven are of the Christian side. Can you doubt the issue of the conflict?
The Truth is on our side.
This we all know is an invincible power in itself. It is bound to win. Owing to its nature, it causes the bitterest opposition, and, owing to the moral freedom of men and the dense spiritual ignorance in the human race since the Fall, it takes time for truth to triumph; but the victory is always certain to come.
This is so of every kind of truth. It is so of deeds involved in darkness, that sooner or later become known. It is so of human lives; the facts concerning them always come to the light, though there may be long delay. It is so of scientific truth, no matter how the first discovery is ridiculed and opposed. The fact itself will not go down under laughter and denial, but pushes its way onward and upward until the world is compelled to give it recognition and place.
So it is with the great truths of salvation. They are not only thoughts and acts of God, but eternal facts and principles. They cannot be displaced; they constitute a part of the moral universe, and we spiritually exist because they exist. The happiness and well-being of God’s intellectual and moral creatures depend on the great facts of the atonement, repentance, faith, justification, regeneration and sanctification. They will not down at man’s bidding, and they cannot be downed.
“Truth crushed to earth will rise again, The eternal years of God are hers.”
Gamaliel’s advice to the Sanhedrin thoroughly describes it: “If this counsel or work be of men it will come to naught; but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
Finally, God is on our side.
I sometimes wonder how a man could consent to be on the side against God for a single minute. The thought to me would be unspeakably alarming and paralyzing that my hand and life was opposed to Him who wheels the worlds in mid-air, who has all power, who never had a beginning and can never have an ending. The very thought of such an opponent ought to be sufficient to make any and all throw down their arms of rebellion and cry for mercy. It is said of Nabal that when he heard that David was approaching with six hundred men to slay him, his heart sank within him and he became as a stone. He died with terror. But what is David to Him who has the armies of heaven and forces of eternity at His back? Who could not only roll the oceans over us, but could scorch us with heat, burn us up with subterranean fires, or knock this world to pieces at a blow and let us fall forever through the dead, black infinite space that underlies creation.
It was this very thought of the overwhelming greatness of God that, bore down upon and seemed to utterly bewilder and overwhelm a man. He was a fugitive, and trying to escape from the hands of justice. He seemed perfectly confused. With ample opportunity to regain his freedom, he ran this way and that, and, falling down helplessly at the foot of a large oak, and was recaptured. His explanation was, “I thought every tree was Almighty God.”
With these and other facts before us I ask two questions; one is, what can a man do against God?
The Lord has anticipated this question and answered it so thoroughly in the Bible and in daily life that the wildest hope of human opposition must die. The facts loom up everywhere as regard man’s impotency. In vain men tried to roll back the billows of the Flood, and equally in vain was their endeavor to build a tower to reach heaven. They could not keep Christ in the tomb although it was sealed with the signets of Roman power, and guarded by a company of soldiers. They could not prevent the Holy Spirit from falling on the Day of Pentecost although the State and Church alike ignored and despised the gathering in the Upper Room. They could not keep the disciples from preaching, nor the truth from spreading nor the people from being saved. If a prophet or disciple was slain, another took his place. If a king with his penknife cut out a part of the Holy Scripture, God had it immediately rewritten and reread to the people. If Christians were slain in great numbers, a greater number immediately sprang up to take their place, so that the saying was born that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church.
Men can do nothing against God. It would be easier for a baby to stop the rush of an avalanche, than for sinful men to keep the Holy Ghost from falling on the souls of believers. It would be easier for any of us to stand out some night and stop the stars in their march through the great voids of space above us, than to arrest the sweep of God’s blessed truth through this world. It would be easier for us to prevent the sun from rising tomorrow morning than to keep Christ from returning through the air to this world to judge the nations, reward His people and carry them home with Him to the skies.
Oh I am so glad that men can do nothing against God. They cannot reach Him on His throne, He is so far away. They cannot kill Him for he is eternal as well as omnipotent. If they burn His Bible the truth is still left in the necessities, cravings and dependencies of human nature and in the commensurate supply of grace in Jesus Christ. If they kill His people He will raise them again. They cannot put a stop to the proceedings of the Day of Judgment, nor put out the fires of hell, nor affect in the slightest possible degree the light, glory and joys of heaven.
The other question is in itself full of comfort and reassuring power; what can God do with men?
The answer from the Bible and life says anything and everything. He had only to look out of a cloud at the Egyptians in the Red Sea when at once they became troubled and perplexed while their chariot wheels sank in the mire. He simply spoke to the ground and it opened like a vast mouth and swallowed up the wicked men who had defied Him and his servant Moses. He commissioned the limb of a tree to capture the fiery Absalom, bade some beams of light knock the persecuting Saul on the ground, and sent a few worms to eat and destroy the tyrant Herod. He took the color out of the cheek and strength from the knee of a powerful king by the sight of one of His fingers writing on the wall; and to the rich man boasting of his plenty and coming years of selfish enjoyment He said, “thou fool,” and swept him with a mere breath from his vast possessions to be a pauper in the other world forever.
If a spiritual history of this world could be written about the present times, it would be found to read like events narrated in the Bible, and God seen to be busy pulling down, setting up, overturning, overthrowing and having His way with men and devils just the same as ever. What the combined nations of Europe could not do against Napoleon, God did with a soft, noiseless white army of the sky, called snow, which he sent into Russia to meet and overcome the army of the man of ungovernable ambition. The victory at Waterloo was not so much due to Wellington and the arrival of Blucher, as to a heavy rain that prevented certain heavy artillery and thirty thousand men from coming to the relief of the man whom God had determined to humble, and did it with snow and mud.
It is in the power of God today to take the fight out of the strongest of his human enemies with a few bereavements and losses, or by a steady physical pain of a few hours. I have repeatedly seen the hardest of sinners pull down the flag of rebellion, and cry for mercy after an hour or so of crushing sorrow or terrible physical pain.
Now, then, this God is on our side, fighting with us and for us. All wise, all powerful and present everywhere, who can withstand Him, and what can there be but certain victory. He is defending His truth and taking care of His people. The Ark is sure to reach Jerusalem because God is with it and bringing it up.
One of the wonderful evidences of his infinite superiority in this great contest, is that He takes the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. A set of fire baptized fishermen of Galilee are made to overthrow the powerful religions of the world. A band of “Sanctified Cobblers,” as Sydney Smith called Wesley’s preachers, rolled a wave of salvation to the ends of the earth, and it is still rolling. A man who has never known the colleges is used to bring thousands and tens of thousands of people to God, from the days of John the Baptist, to well known Evangelists of the present time.
Again He makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and uses the blunders of devils and men to spread His cause. Herod’s persecution of the disciples and driving them from Jerusalem, simply scattered the holy fire. The martyrdom of thousands of Christians in the first centuries taught the world how Christ followers could die, and how the Lord could so sustain them as they burned at the stake or sank under the sword, that they passed away with shining faces and shouts of joy and victory.
Unto this day all the opposition and persecution that has raged against the doctrines and people of God has advanced the cause of Heaven, and made the Truth fairly fly, when before that time it had been merely walking or even standing still.
As far as I can see Christianity did not die with the murdered Huguenots, and was not hurt when the Puritans were driven from England to the wilds of America. God wanted religious people to settle the new continent, and so let persecution furnish the settlers. The doctrine of justification of faith continued to flourish, no matter how Luther was lied against and driven about over the country. The great Wesleyan revival of pardon and holiness was not checked because the founder of the Methodist church was mobbed in nearly every town and forbidden to preach by the clergymen in almost every parish.
I knew of a preacher who was persecuted out of a State, and, thus driven out, came to a city where he led a man into the light of full salvation, who took the truth and swept it into thirty-three States of the Union.
A lady full of the Holy Ghost was so misunderstood by her pastor and fellow members that she was arraigned and tried in the church for heresy. Quite a large concourse of people came to see her expelled, and were prepared to endorse and approve the sentence. But when they saw her shining face, heard her gentle speech and felt her beautiful Christlike spirit, conviction struck into their hearts, and a number were led to seek and soon after obtained the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, the very religious experience for which the lady I speak of was tried.
In one of our Western States a number of churches were locked against the preaching of full salvation, the complete purification of the heart by faith in Christ. At once God whispered to a rich man, “Give thirty tents to my people.” And lo! thousands listened to the truth who would not and could not have heard it in the smaller quarters that were locked against the proclamation of a full Gospel.
Christianity driven in the first century to upper rooms, private homes and in the fields; the wonderful revival of last century forced into foundries and mines, into streets and fields; and the spectacle today of full salvation preached in court houses, school houses, opera houses and theatres, under tents and brush arbors, and in the open fields–is the same vision. The dream, O King, is the same. The key to the strange opposition is found in the carnal mind. While the announcement from heaven is that victory is certain to come in spite of everything and everybody.
Just as triumph came in the first century and in the eighteenth, so will it come in the nineteenth and twentieth and all the centuries until Jesus comes. God is determined that men shall know what the Gospel teaches, and what Christ can do for the soul. In spite of the hate of hell, and rage of men, and the resistance of formal and backslidden churches; in spite of ignorance and prejudice, the wagging of tongues and movement of pens, the power of State and legislation of ecclesiastical assemblies, God is resolved that the world shall hear of a free salvation and the church of a full salvation; that Jesus died not only to save men from hell, but from sin; that He not only can pardon, but can sanctify the soul and keep the soul from falling, not simply for a day but for all time.
Of course if God determines on this, it shall be done. Men will hear a Gospel that is Good News indeed. As they hear they will believe, and as they believe they will receive, and Salvation will cover the earth like another deluge in which the nations shall go under, and the highest mountain of human opposition will be submerged.
Finally our perfect confidence in the certainty of victory is seen in the fact that prophecy has already described the end, the overthrow of Satan and sin, and the complete triumph of Christ and His Church.
The official bulletin of the last battle has been indited and published by the Lord Himself. It appears in its completest form in the Book of Revelation. Not an important feature of the disaster and defeat of Sin is omitted, and not a fact of the Divine triumph is overlooked. The Devil and the Beast with the False Prophet are all cast into Hell. The nations that forgot God, go down into the Pit. All liars, drunkards, idolaters, adulterers and whosoever refused the cleansing blood of Christ are shut out of the City of God. Not a vestige or sign of the Great Rebellion is left to sadden and trouble the Universe. It is all destroyed or banished into outer darkness.
As for the Victory, it is described in figures that are gigantic and overwhelming to the mind. The Son of God is seen with many crowns on his head; His followers ride on white horses splashed with blood; the city of God all ablaze with glory is beheld descending the skies; the people of God are caught up in the air to meet the Lord; the Judgment throne is set; Sin banished; the Devil is chained in hell; Holiness is everywhere; Heaven is open, and an Eternity of joy unrolls before the enraptured vision.
Think of the moral effect of a bulletin published and put in the hands of an earthly army before the battle. In it appeared all the incidents of the great victory that was to be won and the overwhelming defeat of the other side. Suppose the side to be conquered could also read the same report. Who could doubt the issue of the conflict. One side would go into the battle flushed with the certainty of the coming victory, and would sweep the field with irresistible power from the beginning; while the other body of troops would be like Saul gloomy with the prophecy of approaching death, and like him would simply go forth to be hewn down and die on the field of battle.
We have the Bulletin published about the issue of this great War of the Universe, which has already penetrated into three worlds, and may have gone into more than we dream of.
The Bible, the bulletin of heaven, says we shall conquer. It says: “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” It declares that sinners shall be saved or banished. Devils will fear, fly, and be put in chains. Sin shall end. Death will cease. All tears shall be wiped away from all faces. The world shall be purified. There shall be a new Heaven and a new Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Jesus shall reign. God will be all and in all, and Heaven everywhere.
How can hope sink, and faith waver, and labor cease, with such a victory ahead of us? Soldiers and followers of Christ! fall into line, wave the red and white banners of justification and holiness, shout the name of Jesus as the real battle cry of the Church, and charge in an unbroken body upon the dark ranks of sin and hell.
Hear it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it! Sickness, Sorrow, Death and Sin shall leave this world. Men shall be saved in countless millions, nations shall be born in a day, continents will wheel into line, Paradise will be restored, and Jesus will appear in the clouds coming for us, to be with us and reign over us forever. Amen.