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To See the End (14 of 23)
Series: The Hope of the Gospel
Acts that to the eye seem sudden would often be found-if we knew everything-to have been long in secret preparation. Europe was startled not long ago by the announcement that in Turkey one of the wickedest and most reactionary of despotisms had been displaced by a constitutional government. The change was so sudden and unexpected that we rubbed our eyes when we saw the astonishing headlines in our newspapers. We could scarcely believe the evidence of our own senses. And yet though the Turkish Revolution startled all Europe by its suddenness, it really was not sudden at all. Behind the Revolution lay years of quiet and persistent propaganda by the Young Turks and the Reform Committees. The explosion that actually shatters the rock and hurls it from its place is the work of a moment; but underground and out of sight men have been for days, and perhaps for weeks, drilling and boring in preparation for it. These cataclysms and catastrophes that startle us by their seeming suddenness have oftentimes a history. If we could only trace their causes we should find they are not nearly so sudden as they seem. The conversion of Saul, for instance, was from one point of view amazingly sudden and unexpected-it was so startlingly sudden that the Christians could not persuade themselves it had actually taken place. But was it really as sudden as it looked? The vision on the way to Damascus was the explosion that laid Saul's Pharisaism in ruins; but who can read the seventh of Romans, with its story of spiritual conflict, with its record of Saul's discovery of the inability of the Law to bring him the righteousness he craved for, without seeing that God had been for years laying the train-preparing Saul for the mighty change? It is very much like that with Peter's fall. From one point of view it is sudden, unexpected, startling. Peter was the last man we should have thought of as likely to betr ...
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