Notes of an Address on Matthew 11:26

Matthew 11:26  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
It is a very solemn consideration, that the evil of man has brought out the good that is in God. If man had not been so wicked and daring as he is, we should have never known the riches of the grace of God. Nor can there be anything more remarkable. Man would like to believe if he could—(and how many do believe)—that he is progressive, that he is making great improvements morally, that by the help of education and a little bit of religion he is ameliorating society; and, further, that the case becomes better for himself, for his soul, with God.
It is all a delusion. I do not deny that there are improvements externally. It is pleasant enough to travel by railway as compared with the old coach, and we get news by the telegraph rapidly, and there may be many other things of a similar kind, where man makes certain discoveries, and I think there is hardly a limit to be put to what man may thus find out, because God set him at the head of everything here below. Man is by God's own appointment to have dominion of this earth. But how does he use it? There is nothing more certain than that at this present moment, the heart of man shows its alienation from God in a clearer way than ever before.
There have been times of great outbursts of evil. In the eighteenth century there was a most alarming amount of infidelity; and there have been times when infidelity has raged over a certain portion of our own country—not merely France or Germany. But there never was a time when so many people claiming to be Christians denied the inspiration of Scripture. And it is not only little portions here and there, but whole books are treated as if they are merely a collection of men's ideas, or perhaps even old women's fables. It is not now among ruffians as it was at the end of the eighteenth century when it broke out. The men who then assailed the Bible were men of no character whatever. They had generally lost their position in this world by their folly and sin, and they were at war with everybody, complaining of how they had been used, and they turned their bad spirit to attack the Bible.
But for the most part this was met, by almost every person who bore the name of the Lord Jesus, as an insult, as a piece of wickedness, and altogether inexcusable. Now, even in my lifetime, the change has been enormous. I remember the time as a lad when, if persons were supposed to be infidels nobody liked to walk the same side of the street with them. Now you can hardly go into a railway carriage and say a word about the scriptures but there will be a burst of disapproval and an attack against the word of God. You may say that this is among the ignorant. It is not so. It is not confined to them. I admit that there are persons uninstructed who assault the scriptures.
But the terrible feature is that it runs through all classes of society. It is as rampant among the great people as it is among the little people, and it is particularly marked among those who are accounted clergymen or ministers, or whatever they call themselves. They are men who are now more particularly devoted to pulling the Bible to pieces. It is not only the Old Testament, Genesis and Daniel, and the other parts of the Old Testament, but now the Gospels are supposed to be obsolete. I do not speak about the Revelation. It is natural that people of that temperament should hate the Book of Revelation. Shall I tell you why? Because it is the great book that pronounces their doom. You cannot expect them to be at peace with a book that declares that inextinguishable everlasting fire which God prepared for the devil and his angels is to be shared by every despiser of God's word, by every rejecter of Jesus. The higher they are, the nearer they approach to believers, the more guilty are they in the sight of God.
People talk about men in North Africa or Central Asia as being so particularly in want of the truth. They want the truth in this city, they want the truth in London. They want the truth in every part of Great Britain. I need not refer to Ireland. But the best parts of Great Britain are against the Bible. There it is that this terrible distemper is raging, and there never was a more dangerous one. No doubt superstition is very bad. Worship of angels, worship of the virgin Mary, worship of saints, worship of the sign of the cross, worship of bread in the Eucharist as if it contained the Lord!
Where is this done? Is it merely among Romanists? Is it not among men who inherit the possession and enjoy the revenues of the Reformed Church? It is not merely among what is called the Established Church that we see this romanizing; it is equally among Dissenters, or, as they now call themselves, Free Churchmen. But they are becoming more and more enslaved to infidelity, unless they are taking the opposite line of superstition. They reject the cross and spurn the word of God. They deny that this Book is His word. They think there may be some words of God in it. There may be words of God in one of their sermons, in a sermon written by the most unbelieving of them. But what is the great object of all their preaching and teaching and of their writings? Is it not to undermine not only the revelation of God, but particularly of God's own self, as manifested in the Lord Jesus?
Now, the Lord Jesus does bring man to a point, because He must be either his Savior or his Judge. No man can ever escape it. Men may now think they have done with Him, but when the hour of death comes their eyes will open in that place of torment. They will then know otherwise when it is too late! alas! alas! too late!!
God is publishing His salvation which Christ has procured by His death and resurrection. He came for that purpose. The day is coming when the King shall have His own, when He will be the one King, supreme King of all the earth. Scripture is perfectly plain about it, and the scripture cannot be broken. But reigning over man is not all. He will bless all the earth, for indeed the earth groans; but the day is coming when the earth will rejoice. Both are figures, but they are intelligent and intelligible figures. Every one can understand that the earth does not give her increase, but by and by it will be under the command of Him who made it and all will be changed—death, and barrenness and all the other effects of the fall of man shall fly away. He who died and rose, who suffered for sins, but therein glorified God perfectly; He who shall deliver the earth from all hindrances, will also bless it in a way it has never been blessed, not even when it came fresh from the hand of the Creator, because that was liable to pass away in a moment. But when the Lord Jesus takes up the universe, how blessed will be His reign. And it will be for a longer time than many suppose—it will be a prelude to eternity, when everything will be established to God's glory, and the blessing of those that are no longer liable to death, and are then in the risen state forever. In the last hour all in the risen state will be there that they may endure the just reward of their deeds.
Beloved friends, you are destined to be there—every one in this hall and in every other—for everlasting blessedness with Christ, or everlasting banishment from His presence! Which is it to be? Everything turns upon Christ, because He is the Truth; because He is the Way, the Truth, and the
Life—consequently, He puts you to the test. If you do not care for your soul, if you have no sense of wrong and of your sins, if you care not for God, you prove it by indifference to Christ. You can easily tell, therefore, whether you are a sinner going straight to destruction—everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, or whether you have turned from your own evil life and ruined nature to the only One that can help you.
(To be continued)