How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.…
I. THE PROPHETS REPRESENTATION OF MAN. "Gold." "Fine Gold."
1. A thing becomes valuable in proportion as it is so regarded. Gold in itself is useless; it is but as the dust which clings to our feet. But men have come to attach an importance to it, and hence it has become valuable. So man will be valuable or otherwise, just in proportion to our idea of him. God regards man as possessed of an interminable life; as worthy of minute providential inspection; as worth the great redemptive scheme; as fit for a home in heaven.
2. A thing is valuable in proportion to what it can accomplish. Gold can do much. It can make railways all over the world; tunnel the mightiest mountain; fix telegraphy to the most distant countries. What has man done? Measured the mightiest mountain; analysed the floating atmosphere; sounded the deep sea. What has man done? Let Bacon answer as he reveals the laws and operations of the human mind; Luther as he dispels mediaeval ignorance; Clarkson as he pleads for the slave. What has man done? Let Elijah speak as he mounts up to God; Paul as he hears things which human speech cannot reveal; John as he sees celestial visions on Patmos; the humanity of Christ as it pleads in heaven. How great is man! He can partake of God's nature; assist in God's work; share God's glory.
II. THE STATE WHICH THE PROPHET LAMENTS. The gold has become dim. Humanity has lost its lustre. This manifested in —
1. A cruel neglect of parental duty (vers. 3, 4). Physical neglect is treated as a crime. Our moral sense loathes the man who withholds from his child its proper education. But spiritual neglect is far more criminal than either physical or intellectual. Parents, won't you spread your wings of faith and prayer, and bear your children up to God?
2. A sad prevalence of spiritual poverty. Those who once fed on dainties are desolate and perishing, But why this spiritual want? Is there no bread? Jesus gives the answer, "I am the bread of life." Listen! "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink."
3. A fearful prostitution of powers and privileges. Minds which might have rivalled angels sunk below the brute. Hearts which might have throbbed with love to God cherishing hatred.
III. THE CAUSES LEADING TO THIS DIMNESS.
1. Inward listlessness. We are easily moved along by the crowd of evil tendencies within.
2. Influence of example. The liar helps somebody to tell lies; the drunkard helps others on to ruin; the dishonest man leads some one else to cheat.
3. The force of habit. He who once yields to temptation finds it more difficult to withstand the next attack.
Parallel VersesKJV: How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.