I. A LESSON FROM HISTORY. -- "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord." The King of Judah was dead, but the King of Saints lives for ever. Whatever changes go on, whatever crown shifts to another head, GOD remains the same. In no battle is our General slain. In no national disgrace is He humbled. Uzziah had died a leper, his brilliant history ended in disgrace. Not so with Him whom we delight to honour. Of Him it is more true than of anyone else, "The path of THE JUST shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
II. A LESSON IN WORSHIP. -- We see how the angels behave when in God's house. "Covered his face." Contrast this with the way the average church-goer acts. To look at the listless faces, the slovenly way in which men and women pray, the want of reverence, often in choirs, and sometimes in pulpits, makes us think there must be either a want of intellect or a lack of faith. If these people believe there is a God, how limited their power to conceive what He is like! But, knowing many of them to be shrewd in business or personal matters, we are led to think there is often more infidelity in places of worship than is thought for. The conduct of the Seraphims makes us blush for many services we have attended. If the thoughts of our hearts were spoken during our prayers, what a revelation there would be! Let us not forget that they are taken down, and are already in print, ready for the day of trial, when the books shall be opened!
III. A LESSON IN MORALS. -- Words defile us! "I am a man of unclean lips." And it is a question if even swearing defiles a man's mouth more than words of prayer which are not meant. Would not any one of us rather be abused than cajoled? Who likes to think that men are lying when they praise us? Must we not pray for a watch to be set on our lips? If there could be a physical effect caused, as there is a moral, would not there be a sad disfigurement? Men and women with lips blacker than coal! It is a wise prayer, "Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord." Deceit, flattery, formalism in prayer are abominable to God. It would be well if, when in church or chapel, we could see it in plain letters, "The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain."
IV. -- A LESSON IN GRACE. -- Sin may be forgiven and guilt removed, and this to the certain knowledge of the penitent. One of the devil's lies is that either you are too wicked to be saved, or, if saved, you cannot hope to know it in this life; the one drives men to despair, the other prevents enjoyment of salvation. Isaiah knew that his sins were forgiven, and we have yet to learn that the cross of Jesus has made it less possible for us. It was from the altar the coal came that touched the lips. It is still true that it is sacrifice that takes away guilt. We have an altar, a sacrifice, a benediction such as Isaiah never knew for himself; we understand his sayings as he could not. "By His stripes we are healed." Reader, do you long for pardon, for conscious forgiveness? Wait on the Lord! Think of what He suffered, and why He suffered, and you shall sing with joyous lips --
My pardon I claim,
V. -- A LESSON IN THEOLOGY. -- "I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?' What does this mean? Is it bad grammar or good theology? It sounds like "And God said, Let Us make man in our image?" "And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of Us." In John xii, 40, 41, we find that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Lord who spoke the words we read in verses 9 and 10. In Acts xxviii.25 we are told it was the Holy Ghost who spake by Isaiah. What does this mean but that the Divine Three in One and One in Three was the Lord whom the prophet saw?
VI. -- A LESSON TO WORKERS. -- When iniquity is purged away there is a willingness to be sent on God's errands. The lips that had been touched said, "Here am I, send me." If we are not willing to go, it is because there is still need of cleansing. Let those of us who find our feet slow to move on God's errands come again to the place of burning. We shall do well to say with Charles Wesley, in one of his less known poems --
Ah! woe is me, immerst in sin,
O wouldst Thou teach my lips once more,
CHRISTIAN, YOUR GREATEST DIFFICULTIES