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3. The subject shows us, that all impenitent sinners, old and young, are in a criminal, dangerous state. Such possess a heart which is infinitely hateful in the sight of God. They are the willing servants of sin, and live in the open violation of a command which we have shown to be the most reasonable ; a command which must be obeyed, or the sinner must be an outcast from the favour of God forever. And all this time he is exposed to death, which will close his period of probation and fix his state for eternity. Who can describe the danger of his situation? It is indescribable ! yet O how insensible are sinners of this.
ISAIAH, vi, 5.
Then said I, 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.
In these solemn words, spoken on such a solemn occasion, there are several things worthy of particular notice.
1. The opinion which the prophet entertained of himself, an undone creature, justly exposed to the anger and wrath of this great and terrible God. “Wo is me, for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips.” The expression implies a deep, affecting sense of the wickedness of the human heart, and the great criminality and danger of sinning against a God of such glory and terrible majesty.
2. The words express his opinion of the human heart in general. He considered himself in a guilty and undone state, and awfully exposed, because he was
a man of unclean lips; and he saw this to be true of others, hence he says, “I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” His confession amounts to this; man is in a dreadfully guilty and dangerous state. I am a poor miserable sinner myself, and dwell among a multitude as guilty and undone as I am.
3. The words show us the cause of this exclamation, or confession of the prophet. The reason why his heart was so much affected, and his conscience so particularly oppressed with a sense and conviction of his own sinfulness, and the sinfulness and undone condition of others, at this particular time, because he then had an extraordinary sight of what God is, of his greatness, excellency and glory, “Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” This made him cry out, “wo is me, for I am undone." 4. It is worthy of notice, that the person
who made the confession in the text, was the prophet Isaiah, a holy man of God. One of the most devout, faithful, humble men that ever lived. Yet this man, when he had a discovery of the divine glory, had also a deep conviction of his own vileness. The words, in this connexion, present us with this doctrine, That saints increase in a sense of their own vileness in proportion to the clearness of their discoveries of the divine excelleney and glory. In other words, the clearer the discoveries are, which saints have of the divine character, the clearer and deeper sense will they have of their own vileness. Their sense of sin in general, and of their own sinfulness in particular, will be answerable to their sense, and conviction of the majesty and glory of God. In this doctrine, two things are taken for granted. First, that true saints have discoveries of the divine glory. They have all“ seen the King in his beauty.” They have not only seen God exhibited in creation and providence; not only have they correct speculative views of him, as the Jews, who, our Saviour says, 66 had both seen and hated both him and his Father; but they have had their hearts affected with a sense of the excellency of the divine character. This excellency Moses saw, in answer to his prayer, that “God would show him his glory.” A portion of the same divine excellency all pious men must see in God. This appears from the words of the Apostle, “but we all with open face, beholding, as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image." This sense of the excellency and glory of God, which, in scripture, is called beholding the glory of God, is something peculiar to saints; and it is common to them, and to them. only. The impenitent see it not, as is asserted by the Apostle, “The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not."
Here the awful fact is asserted; and he, immediately after, shows the reason why believers do see the excellency and glory of God. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Here you will observe that the heart is the seat of this . blindness of unbelievers; and God by shining into the heart, removes this blindness, and “gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. It is therefore
evident, that the godly have a discovery of the excellency of the divine perfections; and it is also evident that the “natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
The second thing taken for granted, in the doctrine, is that all true saints have a heart affecting sense of
of sin in general, and of their own sinfulness in particular.
It is manifest from immumerable scripture exam. ples, that religion does not destroy a conviction of sin, nor in any degree take away a sense of ill desert. The true penitent does not consider himself innocent in con-sequence of pardon. Though he considers himself absolved from the just punishment of his sins, he sees himself deserving still, in point of justice, the wrath of God. Pardon removes a criminal's danger, but not his ill desert. This is agreeable to the common sense of mankind. If a person convicted of murder, upon the fullest testimony, should, after condemnation, be pardoned by his prince, his pardon would save him from death, but none would suppose that the pardon took away. his ill desert. It would still remain true, that he, in strict justice, deserved to die, just as much as before he was pardoned. Thus inspired saints have viewed themselves in relation to God. This is evident from their declarations and confessions recorded in scripture. “ If thou, Lord, should mark iniquity, O Lord, who could stand ?” This sentiment of David is not peculiar to him, but pervades the inspired writers, and is deeply incorporated with their prayers,