By E.L. Bevir
A servant of the Lord, no longer with us, once said "infatuation precedes destruction"; (See J. G. Bellett, in his beautiful Introduction to Isaiah, p. 21.) it was no doubt true of the Jewish nation in their treatment of Messiah before Titus was sent to demolish their city, and I believe it to be true, in every time, in the ways of God with men.
The antediluvians were infatuated-- morally blinded; so far as I can understand they were so intent upon living on the earth that the preacher of righteousness could get no true hearing; yet surely the very state of things must have been enough to make them attentive, yet they allowed the flood to come upon them. Intent upon life (Luke 17: 27), death surprised them, and they were all drowned.
It is well to notice that pursuit of wealth and a disturbed state of society may co-exist; so now in this present age (1 Thess. 5: 3). The Jews in Jeremiah's day were infatuated. Their pretensions were unparalleled, and their blindness inconceivable (see Jer. 18: 12); and the fall of Jerusalem involved both the prophets who so blindly affirmed security and the unfortunate people who listened to them.
Insolent pride had taken possession of Judah, and she fell in the very midst of it.
It appears to me that the whole of Christendom, on a larger scale, will be thoroughly infatuated just before the final catastrophe of the age; I mean that sudden destruction which shall come upon the allied forces of the Beast, and upon the whole earth.
The inspired page predicts that there will be no repentance even in the very midst of judgments, but daring revolt and defiance of God to the very end.
But do we not see a strange infatuation in many cases just before a moral judgment from God falls upon those blinded by it? I mean by a moral judgment the intervention of divine power in such a manner as to manifest, even before the tribunal of Christ, the utter vanity of their pretensions.
The signs of infatuation I think are much the same in all ages, and the chief one of all is that of pride which goes before a fall; a spirit which pretends to know everything, which refuses to be taught, and will not even bear a remonstrance. It is a state of soul bordering upon judicial blindness, and very different from the assurance of faith which is always accompanied by the fear of God.
Since Christianity has been upon earth I think that whenever ecclesiastical power has asserted itself upon human principles, when there has been the assumption of certain grand truths of the church of God, and the attempt to monopolise them, then infatuation has set in, and judgment has followed.
It will be said: "You refer to Rome". No doubt Rome is infatuated, and will be judged and destroyed; but I refer to every attempt by proud man to exalt himself by claiming ecclesiastical power which is not his. I believe we might find many instances of this without going to the Vatican, nor can we be too anxious, whilst owning the grand truths of the assembly of God, to be kept from any assumption of power and infallibility which is not ours.
The Lord is with those who seek to be humbly faithful to Him, the Head of the church, and He is their wisdom; power to stand true to Him and serve Him too is found in Him alone.
He will not fail us; but the spirit that accompanies such a walk will be rather that of the broken and contrite order, which is precious to God. Ignorance and presumption with a display of religious zeal are the marks of infatuation, and no doubt characterize man's religion in the age in which we are living as in every other age.
May there be that humility which can proceed only from a true walk with the Lord; and may we be kept from every effort to glorify that man who was set aside in the cross, whilst retaining the precious truths which are ours in Christ.
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light!
- E. L. B.