You sometimes hear it said of certain noted men that if they had only died at this or that point in their great career it would have been far better for their fame. If Arnold had died at Quebec, or Saratoga; if David had died when he brought the Ark to Jerusalem; if Solomon had died when the Temple was finished. So we are tempted to say in the case of Gideon. If Gideon had only died on the field of that grand victory over Midian, then his name would have come down to us without a stain. But God knows best. You can never tell by the brightness of the dawn or the noontide how the evening of the day will be. The brightest sun may go down in a dark and clouded sky.
The soul of man is like a ship that has started for its port across the seas, and on the way has been boarded by pirates who have locked the truth below, or thrown it overboard, and taken possession of the vessel. This is the gospel description of human nature. Is it false or is it true? It must be true, for wherever we open a book of history, wherever we look into the record of humanity, we find the mark and the trail of these evil passions.