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“ inheritance of the saints in light." Every man's own conscience must decide, how far this is his character and experience ; and every one must be left to apply the subject to his own case, for conviction, admonition, or encouragement.
And may the Lord himself enable us to attend to these things, according to their immense and eternal importance ; and teach us so to “ number our
days, that we may apply our hearts unto wis“ dom.” Amen.
ISAIAH. VI. 548.
Then said 1, Wo is me, for I am undone! because
I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.-Then flew one of the Seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar ; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.
When Isaiah had already been employed a considerable time in the prophetical office, he was greatly disconcerted by a remarkable vision, which he records in the chapter before us.-We ought not to imagine that things outwardly exist, as they appeared to the minds of the prophets, when their senses were closed during the visions of the Almighty ; but that they were impressed with such representations, as were suited to convey the intended instruction. The scene of the present emblematic discoveries was laid at the temple; every intervening veil was apparently removed ; the most holy place was made manifest ; and JEHOVAH was seen in glory above the mercy-seat, as
a throne high and lifted up, and his train (or the skirts of his robes) “ filled the temple.” This description evidently leads the mind to the idea of one in human form ; and St. John instructs us, that the prophet at this time saw “ the glory “ of Christ and spake of him."! For indeed the glory of God is especially made known, not only to the church on earth, but also to the hosts in heaven, by the person and redemption of Emmanuel.2
Above the other worshippers, and nearest to the throne, “ stood the seraphim,” the most exalted of the angelic host, who glow with love and zeal like a flame of fire. These, in other respects appearing in human form, had “ each six wings;" with two of which “ they covered their faces,” in token of the profound reverence with which they contemplated the majesty of the Lord, before whose uncreated glories their derived excellencies were eclipsed, and disappeared : with two of them “ they “ covered their feet,” as conscious that their services, though perfectly undefiled with sin, were not worthy to be noticed by the infinite and eternal God: and with their other two wings “ they “ did fly;” an emblem of the celerity, alacrity, and delight, with which they execute the mandates of their Creator. At the same time they sang aloud, in responsive strains, “ Holy, holy, holy is “the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his
glory." Entirely filled with admiration of the divine majesty and holiness ; they had no leisure
" John xii. 41. * Psal. civ. 4.
* 2 Cor. iv. 6. Eph. iii. 10. 1 Pet. i. 12.
to reflect with complacency on their own endowments, or to panegyrize one another. Such employments they leave to us poor sinful mortals, who, amidst the obscurity of our fallen state, unaccustomed to contemplate any thing more splendid than the accomplishments of our fellow-sinners, are apt to shine in our own eyes, or in those of each other, like glow-worms during the darkness of the night. But these bright seraphs, satisfied with the love of God, desire no other commendation: and are wholly taken up in adoring the glorious holiness of JEHOVAH.
The threefold ascription of holiness to the Lord of hosts, has generally been considered as an intimation of a Trinity of persons in the Godhead, and a reference to the glory of the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost, displayed in the salvation of sinners. While this song of praise was re-echoed by the 'seraphim, the pillars shook at every response; and smoke, or darkness, filled the whole temple, as when it was first dedicated by Solomon. The effect which this awful scene had upon the mind of the prophet is described in the words of the text, and the interesting passage may suggest the following subjects for our consideration :
I. The causes of the prophet's distress and alarm:
II. The peculiar nature and tendency of it:
III. The relief and encouragement which he received: and,
IV. The effects produced on his disposition and conduct.
Matt. xxviü. 18—20. Rev. iv. 8.
I. The causes of the prophet's distress and alarm.
It appears, at the first glance, that Isaiah was greatly disconcerted and humbled by the scene which he had been contemplating. Indeed suitable views of the divine majesty and glory always produce proportionable humility; and by this touch-stone spiritual illumination may be distinguished from that “ knowledge which puffeth up.” When Job, to whose eminent piety the Lord himself had born decided testimony, had been so carried away in the warmth of controversy, as to use irreverent language concerning the dispensations of providence, he was convinced of his presumption, and awed into submission, by discoveries of the divine majesty; and exclaimed, “ Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee: I “ will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have “ I spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice, but “I will proceed no further.” And again, “I have “ heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now “ mine eye
seeth thee; wherefore, I abhor myself, " and repent in dust and ashes.” He seemed to himself to be of some consequence, while disputing with his friends, and vindicating himself from their unjust charge of hypocrisy: but, when Jehovah spake to him from the whirlwind, he shrunk as it were into nothing, and his self-importance was changed into self-abhorrence. In like manner, when Peter saw a little of the Saviour's power and authority, in the draught of fishes which had been brought to his net, he fell down at his feet, and said, “ Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O « Lord.”