Novelties in Religion and Their End
2 Samuel 6:3
And they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio…

The ark is taken from its resting place amid the reverent joy of the assembly, and placed upon a vehicle specially manufactured for the transit, while "Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart."

I. The fact that the ark was placed upon a new cart shows how, IN THE DESIRE TO SERVE GOD, EVEN A GOOD MAN MAY ERR. It is a fact substantiated by experience, and supported by the voice of history, that man at his best is but an erring creature. His folly is often exhibited in his best moments. At his highest point of wisdom — loftiest step of knowledge. — his feebleness of judgment and folly are displayed. The claim to infallibility is but the ambition of the child — the blundering of the blind. Would it not be a wonderful improvement on the old style of things to have a new cart? Will it not harmonise with the new order established? Pay no attention to that worn-out, obsolete plan of carrying the ark; abandon the old poles and have a "new cart." It will save the shoulders of the Levites; it will be a new feature in its way; it will be admired for its construction, and commended for the use to which it will be devoted. And so we reason in our work for God. Antiquity gains no reverence from us. The old poles with which our fathers did their work are considered out of date and useless, and we drag out our "new cart" on every occasion when our labour is required. Starting some fresh thing, inventing some novelty, forgetting all the while that God's way is best.

II. SEE THE EXTENT TO WHICH NOVELTY IS TOLERATED IN RELIGION, The old charge against the Athenians is still true of many in modern times. Novelty secures admiration wherever it is found. Have a new cart, and the world will stop and stare. Affect originality, even if it be a spurious thing, and you may speak to listening ears. Stop not to ask questions about propriety; pay no respect to the past; be extravagant and sensational, and you will gather a crowd. We have grown liberal all at once. God's commandments are without authority in this age; you may be religious in whatever way is most appropriate. By all means have a cart. If you find yourself in doubt as to the Saviour's Divinity, you can have an Unitarian cart; if you think the mode of Nonconformist worship too dull, and that more aesthetic beauty is desirable in the service then have a Ritualistic cart; if you have any scruples about the immortality of your soul, then have the Annihilationist cart; if you admire religion being "done by attorney," then have a Roman Catholic cart; if you think the Church should be a club, where everything may be believed and everything denied, then have a Broad Church cart. Get rid of the old poles; "new carts" are the fashion of this novelty-loving age. Let all the old-fashioned things rot. Reform your plans, improve your methods, tax your inventive genius, produce a "new cart." Oh! how fond we are of novelties! The last new thing is the best. The last new creed; the latest criticism on " supernatural religion;" the last utterance of the scientist; the last sceptical theory from, the professor; these are the things that win admiration. But give me religion without these inventions. Let it be pure and simple, without any man-made additions — the old ark borne by the consecrated poles. Take away those mocking substitutes. "For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

III. SEE THE RUINOUS CONSEQUENCES OF NOVELTIES IN RELIGION. They set out with the cart but soon disasters befel it on the road; and Uzzah, lifting his hand to steady the falling ark, was stricken dead at its wheels. That put an end to the "new cart " system with David. It taught him a lesson he never forgot. Never after that did he order another. He went back immediately to the forsaken poles. Let us keep to God's way in religion, and while the spirit of the age is clamorous for something new, let us stand by the old, and revere the ark.

(W. J. Hall.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

WEB: They set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.

The Return of the Ark
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