May 26, 2011
The word sovereign has been used for centuries. Only today is there a frontal attack in an effort to redefine the word, changing its use as heavenly into a satanic usage. Is it not far better to look the true condition of things straight in the face? Would not analogy, even in the absence of direct and positive proof, lead us to expect failure under this present economy as well as under all the others before?
It is of the greatest importance for the servant of Christ in all ages to have a clear, deep, abiding, influential sense of his position, his path, his portion and his prospects, a divinely wrought apprehension of the ground which he is called to occupy, the sphere of action which is thrown open to him, the divine provision made for his comfort and encouragement and strength and guidance, and the brilliant hopes held out to him. There is considerable danger of our being allured into a mere region of theory and speculation, of opinion and sentiment, of dogmas and principles. The freshness of first love is frequently lost by contact with the men and things of what may be called “the secular world.” The lovely freshness of early personal Christianity is often destroyed by a wrong use of the secular machinery, if we may be allowed to use such a term. A true sovereign is a child of God through Jesus Christ.
In the kingdom of nature, it frequently happens that some stray seed has dropped into the ground, taken root and sprung up into a tender plant. The hand of man had nothing to do with it. God planted it, watered it and made it grow. He assigned it its position, gave it its strength and covered it with beautiful freshness. By and by, man intruded upon its solitude and transplanted it to his own artificial enclosure, there to wither and droop. Thus it is too often with the plants of God's spiritual kingdom. They are often injured by man's rude hand. They would be far better if left to the sole management of the Hand that planted them. Young Christians frequently suffer immensely from not being left to the exclusive training of the Holy Spirit and the exclusive teaching of Holy Scripture. Human management is almost sure to stunt the growth of God's spiritual plants. It is not that God may not use men as His instruments in watering, culturing and caring for His precious plants. He assuredly may and does, but then, it is God's culture and care, not man's. This makes all the difference. The Sovereign is God's plant. The seed which produced him was divine. It was directed and planted by God's own hand, and that same hand must be allowed to train it.
The American is looked at in his original constitutional order and glory. It is there viewed as “possessor of God given inalienable right “ resting in “the pillar and ground of the truth.” As defined by the constitution, its office holders, its functions and its responsibilities are there minutely and formally described. The American is instructed as to the mode in which he is to conduct himself in the midst of such a hallowed and dignified sphere.
But now, we have something quite different. The scene is entirely changed. The republic now a democracy, is here contemplated in its ruin. The Republic as an economy set up on the earth, had like every other economy, utterly failed. Man fails in everything. He failed amid the beauty and order of Paradise. He failed in that favored land “that flowed with milk and honey, the glory of all lands.” He failed amid the rare privileges of the gospel dispensation, and he will fail amid the bright beams of millennial glory.
The American now weeps over the ruins of that once beautiful structure. He is glad to have even one sympathizing bosom into which to pour his sorrows. All around him, so far as man was concerned, looked gloomy and dark. All is strongly marked. “Perilous times” are anticipated. “A form of godliness without the power,” the mantle of profession thrown over the grossest abominations of the human heart , men not able to endure sound doctrine, heaping to themselves politicians after their own lusts, having itching ears which must needs be tickled by the fabulous and baseless absurdities of the human mind. Such are the features of this administration. Who can fail to notice them? Who can fail to see that our lot is cast in the very midst of the evils and dangers here contemplated? Is it not well to have a clear perception of these things? Why should we desire to blind our eyes to the truth? Why deceive ourselves with vain dreams of increasing light and spiritual prosperity?
Why should we imagine that man under this administration would prove any better than man under all the dispensations which have gone before. Let us ponder these things and let us seek by the grace of God the divine provisions for “perilous times.”
“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience..,” Here we have something above and beyond everything secular, something which one must have, and which will stand good though America were in ruins around him. This connects the soul immediately with Christ in the power of a link which must of necessity be prior to all secular associations, however important they may be, a link which shall endure when all earthly associations shall have been dissolved forever. We get to Christ first, and then to the constitutional America. George Washington had this faith dwelling in him before ever he entered the American Presidency. He was connected with the God of the house previous to his manifested association with the office.
It is well to be clear as to this. We must never surrender the intense individuality. We must carry it with us through all the scenes and circumstances, the links and associations of our Christian life and service. We must not traffic in mere secular position or build upon secular machinery or be borne up by a routine of duty, or cling to the worthless props of sectarian sympathy preference. Let us cultivate those fresh, vivid and powerful affections which were created in our heart when first we knew the Lord. Let the beautiful blossom of our spring-time be succeeded, not by barrenness and sterility, but by those mellow clusters which spring from realized connection with the root.
Too often it is otherwise. Too often the earnest, zealous, simple-hearted young Sovereign is lost in the bigoted, narrow-minded member of a sect, or the intolerant defender of some peculiar opinion. The freshness, softness, simplicity, tenderness and earnest affection of our young days are rarely carried forward into the advanced stages of vigorous manhood and mature old age. Very frequently, one finds a depth of tone, a richness of experience, of moral elevation in the early stages of the Sovereign life which too soon gives place to a chilling formalism in one's personal ways, or a mere energy in the defense of some barren system of thought. Did not many of our forefathers realize, “They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (Ps. 42: 14).
“Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” We suffer materially by allowing what is called political fellowship to interfere with our personal connection and communion with Christ. We are far too prone to substitute fellowship with man for fellowship with God, to walk in the footsteps of our fellow, rather than in the footsteps of Christ , to look around rather than upward for sympathy, support and encouragement. “It endures as seeing Him who is invisible.”
These are not the fruits of “divine faith.” Quite the opposite. That faith is as blooming and vigorous amid the solitudes of a desert as in the bosom of an assembly. Its immediate, all-engrossing business is with God Himself. “It endures as seeing Him who is invisible.” It fixes its earnest gaze upon things unseen and eternal. “It enters into that within the veil.” It lives amid the unseen realities of an eternal world. Having conducted the soul to the feet of Jesus, there to get a full and final forgiveness of all its sins through His most precious blood, it bears it majestically onward through all the windings and labyrinths of desert life, and enables it to bask in the bright beams of millennial glory.
No one can ever get on without divine faith, let the times be peaceful or perilous, easy or difficult, rough or smooth, dark or bright. If a man be destitute of this faith, deeply implanted and diligently cultivated in him, he must sooner or later break down. He may be urged on for a time by the impulses of surrounding circumstances and their influence. He may be propped up and borne along by his co-secularist. He may float down along the stream of religious profession. But most assuredly, if he be not possessed of “divine faith,” the time is rapidly approaching when it will be all over with him forever. The “perilous times” will soon rise to a head. Then will come the awful crisis of judgment, from which none can escape except the happy possessors of “divine faith.”
“And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2: 9). In the midst of all the “trouble,” the “hardness,” the “striving about words,” the “profane and vain babblings,” How precious to fall back upon God's sure foundation. The soul that is built upon this is able to resist the rapidly rising tide of evil, is divinely furnished for the most appalling times. There is a fine moral link between the divine faith in the heart of man and the sure foundation laid by the hand of God. All may go to ruin. America may go to pieces and all who love America may have to sit down and weep over its ruins, but there stands that imperishable foundation laid by God's own hand, against which the surging tide of error and evil may roll with all its fury and have no effect, except to prove the eternal stability of that Rock and of all who are built thereon. “The man of God” is not left to drink of the muddy streams that flow along the channel of human tradition. It teaches us that the more vividly we enter into the glories of heaven, the more faithfully shall we discharge the functions of earth. The more we realize the nearness of eternity, the more effectively shall we order the things of time. The “Holy Spirit” is on earth in His temple in the sovereign believers heart. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.