But God's failures are only for a while. They are real. There is the tragic element in them. There is the deep, sad tinge of disappointment running throughout this old Book of God. Yet the failures are only for a time. Sometimes it seems a very long time, especially if you are living through some of it. But the time reaches eagerly to an end. Victory comes. And God's victory will be so great as to make us completely forget the failures that marred the road.
The Eden plan was more than a plan. It was a prophecy of the final outcome. The Book of God begins with failure, but it ends with a glowing picture of great victory, painted with rose colors. Every feature of beauty and of good in Eden has grown greatly in John's Revelation climax. The garden of Genesis becomes a garden-city. All the simplicity and purity of garden life, and all the development and power represented by city life, are brought together. There is now a river of life, and the tree of life has grown into a grove.
And God isn't through with that nation of Israel yet. The Jew can't be lost. In every nation under heaven he can be found to-day, a walking reminder of God's plan. Every Jew, in whatever ghetto he may be found, is an unconscious prophecy of a coming fulfilment of God's purpose. The strange racial immortality of the Jew is a puzzle from every standpoint, except God's. He can't be killed off; though men have never ceased trying to kill him off. The Jew looms up bigger to-day than for many generations.
The present strange restless Jewish longing for national existence again, that will not down, spells out the coming victory of God's plan after centuries of failure. And even though the present tide may run out toward ebb, it will be to gather force for a new and fuller flood. When God's plan works out the world will have a wholly new idea of national life, and of a world-power without army or navy or any show of force, touching all men, and touching them only to bless.
And though King Saul failed, there was already the ruddy David, out among the sheep, waiting the anointing oil, and carrying about in his person his nation's greatest king.
Jesus' Judas failed to realize the promise of his earlier days. He struck the record note for baseness. But Paul was being prepared by blood inheritance and scholarly training. Under the touch of the Master's own hand he became the Church's greatest leader in its life-mission. If Judas struck the lowest note, Paul rang the changes on the highest note of personal loyalty to Jesus and to His world-wide passion and purpose.
And the Church has waked up. I said, you remember, last evening, that if you look over the whole history of the Church since its birthday on Pentecost, you are pained by the sore fact that the chief mission entrusted to it has been for the most part forgotten. There has been more forgetting of it, and neglecting it, than fulfilling it.
Yet always, be it keenly noted, in every generation of these centuries there have been those whose vision of Olivet never dimmed. There have always been those who have tried faithfully to carry out the Church's great mission. The darkest days have never been without some of the brightest light, made all the brighter by the surrounding night.