Isaiah 5:25
Therefore the LORD's anger burns against His people; He has raised His hand against them and struck them; the mountains quaked, and their corpses lay like refuse in the streets. Yet through all this, His anger is not spent, and His hand is still upraised.
The Unappeasable Wrath of JehovahE. Johnson Isaiah 5:25
God's Judgments Through Natural AgenciesR. Tuck Isaiah 5:24, 25
Divine Judgments as Fire and FlameR. Macculloch.Isaiah 5:24-30
Root and BlossomR. Macculloch.Isaiah 5:24-30
Sin and JudgmentJ. Trapp.Isaiah 5:24-30
Sin Brings Judgment in its TrainIsaiah 5:24-30
The Judgments of the LordW. Clarkson Isaiah 5:24-30
The Law and the WordSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 5:24-30
Unfruitfulness: Cause and EffectIsaiah 5:24-30
Universal JudgmentR. Macculloch.Isaiah 5:24-30
Withered RootsSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 5:24-30
A Darkened HeavenIsaiah 5:25-30
God's Anger and its ManifestationH. M. Booth.Isaiah 5:25-30
Hills TremblingR. Macculloch.Isaiah 5:25-30
Horses' Hoofs as FlintProf. J. Skinner, D. D.Isaiah 5:25-30
Prophecy Perpetually FulfilledSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 5:25-30
The Prophecy ExplainedSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 5:25-30

I. "OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE." Whether to burn and destroy the moral refuse of a people, to chasten and refine its remnant and elect, he is revealed as the pure Flame. The Gentiles had a deep sense of the national significance of fire, as the pure element not to be united with aught foreign to itself. In their simple way, the hymns of the Veda to Agni, the god of fire, betray this feeling; and, again, the idea, in Greek and Roman religion, of Hestia or Vesta, on whose altar the fire was kept ever burning, who "refused to wed," whose priestesses must be virgins.

II. WAR THE SCOURGE OF GOD. Deep has been the sense also of this truth. There is an obscure perception in the minds of men that war, with its attendant horrors, comes as a retribution. Attila the Hun was spoken of as the "scourge of God." To have seen a fair city black with smoking ruins, and corpses lying in its streets, is to have read with ineffaceable impressions the lesson that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." There are moments when the solid base of things seems trembling beneath our feet, the "eternal hills" as floors trembling beneath the awful tread of the Eternal as he "cometh to judge the earth."

III. THE DURATION OF PUNISHMENT. It seems as if it could not be exhausted, so vast is the mass of guilt to be purged away. A protracted war, a dragging famine, a prolonged season of ruin, seem, as we say in common speech, "interminable." The broad blue heaven, that seemed in sunny days as a benignant hand outspread above mankind, wears the expression of a stern and relentless frown. Long scores must be followed by long payment. The guilt of centuries cannot be wiped out in a day. Divine judgment may require even the obliteration of a whole people. But the individual may be saved. At no time are Jehovah's "mercies clean forgotten." In the saddest times, the repentant heart pierces through the gloom to the sanctuary and heart of him who slays to make alive, who by means of war reconciles to himself in Christ Jesus. - J.

Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people.
Jehovah is about to bring foreign armies as the instruments of His judgment; the vision of the worst of human calamities — the invasion of a rich, civilised, luxurious nation by overwhelming hordes of barbarians — rises before the prophet: he speaks of them as present, and his words have a terrible force to him who reads them now, while he thinks of their fearful import then. Jehovah has set up a standard to which He is gathering the nations under the Assyrian rule, and the prophet sees them steadily though swiftly coming on in war-like array — bowmen, horses and chariots: they rush to battle with the roar of lions, they seize and hold down their prisoners and their booty with the growl which marks the lion's refusal to give up his prey; they come on like the sea in its rage; and when the helpless in, habitant of Judah turns from this rising tide to the land — his own land — he sees only the darkness of woe; and when he turns again from the earth to look upward he sees only the thick clouds gathering over the heavens above him.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

This is such a picture of "the life of things" that it is equally the description of the same judgment of God in whatever age or to whatever nation occurring. In successive ages it told the Jew of the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Greek and the Roman; to the subject of the Roman Empire it spoke no less clearly of the Goth and the Vandal; the British monk must have recalled it in the days when Gildas learnt its truth from the Dane and the Norman and the Spaniard from the Mohammedan; the Byzantine from Timour "the incarnate wrath of God"; the continental nations from the revolutionary armies and Napoleon; and, in our own day, the people of France from the Germans.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

I. IN GOD'S INFINITE NATURE THERE IS THE QUALITY OF ANGER. It is not a stormy passion, like wrath in sinful man, but the settled, intense, burning antagonism to moral evil which must necessarily exist in one who is infinitely perfect. The man who most nearly resembles God will be "angry and sin not?"

II. GOD'S ANGER MAY BE KINDLED BY THE SPIRIT AND CONDUCT OF HIS PEOPLE. "Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people." Guilt is in proportion to the light and privilege abused.

III. GOD'S ANGER MAY MANIFEST ITSELF IN ACTUAL AND FEARFUL PUNISHMENT. It is an active antagonism to moral evil. "He hath stretched forth His hand against them," etc. The hand of God is the symbol of His mighty power. "It is a fearful thing to fall," etc.

(H. M. Booth.)

(ver. 25): — The words seem to allude to the tremor occasioned by the stroke of the workman's hammer upon some hard body.

(R. Macculloch.)

(ver. 28): — Therefore he will not shrink from riding them on the rocky soil of Palestine, which was extremely unfavourable to the use of horses (Amos 6:12). Similar allusions are frequent in ancient literature, the shoeing of horses being unknown in antiquity.

(Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)

(ver. 30): — It is our wisdom, by keeping a good conscience, to keep all clear between us and heaven, that we may have light from above, when clouds and darkness are round about us.

( M. Henry.).

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord.
Why the narrative of the prophet's call was not, as in the cases of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, allowed to occupy the first place in the book, is a question which cannot be certainly answered. One conjecture is that chaps. 1-5 were placed first for the purpose of preparing the reader of the book for the severity of tone which marks the end of chap. 6, and of acquainting him with the condition of things in Judah which led to such a tone being adopted. Or, again, it is possible that chap. 6 may have been placed so as to follow chaps. 1-5, because, though describing what occurred earlier, it may not have been actually committed to writing till afterwards — perhaps as an introduction to Isaiah 7:1-9:7.

(Prof . S. R. Driver, D. D.)

? — Why was it needful to publish a private transaction between God and Isaiah? The only reason we can conceive of is that the prophet needed to give a justification of his public assumption of prophetic work. And that implies in the community a suspicion of prophetic men, and in the young prophet's mind struggles and hesitation such as we can easily conceive. This picture of his call he holds up half before himself, as the answer to all the timid fears of his own heart, and half before his countrymen, as his reply to all the objections they might raise against his prophetic commission. This is strongly confirmed when we proceed to look at the message which the prophet is sent to deliver (vers. 9, 10).

(P. Thomson, M. A.)

Let us try, if we can, and present to our imaginations some idea of this extraordinary scene. The shades of evening are closing in, and all is still within the sacred precincts of the temple. The daily ritual has been duly observed, and priests and worshippers have withdrawn from the hallowed fane. The noise and stir of the great city, hard by is subsiding; a solemn hush and stillness pervades the place. One solitary worshipper still lingers within the sacred courts absorbed a reverie of prayer. He is a religions and devout man; probably a member of the school of the prophets, well instructed in the faith of his fathers, and familiar with the sacred ritual of the temple, and the lessons that it inculcated. There he is, looking forward possibly to a prophet's career, yet feeling keenly the responsibilities which it will involve, and perhaps pleading earnestly to be fitted for his mission. He cannot be blind to the unsatisfactory condition of his people. Amidst much outward profession of religiousness and readiness to comply with the ceremonial demands of the faith, he cannot but discern the presence of barren formalism and hypocrisy, and of a latent superstition that might at any moment, were the restraints of authority removed, blossom out into open idolatry. And who shall say what heart searchings may have occupied his own mind as he knelt there in the temple all alone with God. Was he more spiritual than those around him? Was he sufficiently pure and devout to stand up in protest against a nation's sins? One moment all is silence and stillness as he kneels in prayer; the next, and lo! a blaze of glory and a burst of song! Startled and awe-stricken, the lonely worshipper raises his head to find himself confronted with a sublime and dazzling spectacle. His bewildered vision travels up through ranks of light till it finds itself resting for a moment, but only for a moment, on an Object "too august for human gaze." I saw also, the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Around that dread Presence the forms of vast and wondrous intelligences of glory, the attendant ministers of the Majesty Divine, seem bending in adoration, and the voice of their worship falls like the roll of thunder on his ear, shaking the very pillars of the temple porch with its awe-inspiring resonance, as they echo and re-echo with answering acclamations the antiphon of heaven — "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory."

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

Isaiah might probably have said, as St. Paul did on a like occasion, "Whether I was in the body or out of the body I cannot tell," but he would undoubtedly have confirmed the plain meaning of his words that the vision was a reality and a fact.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

There is a variety of opinion among the commentators as to the basis of the symbolism of this vision. Some assert that the imagery by which the prophet sets forth the wealth and splendour of the heavenly kingdom is taken entirely from the scenery and ritual of the temple; that when the worshippers had left, and the sacrifices had been offered, and only a few of the most devout remained for prayer and vigil, Isaiah, lingering with the few, unsatisfied and perplexed, beheld this vision, and consecrated himself to his prophetic activity: In this view the picture presented of the celestial world is the inner features and ritual of the temple idealised and expanded. Dr. Cheyne casts doubt upon this interpretation, and leans to the opinion that not the temple but the palace is the point from which the prophet's inspired imagination takes its departure. The figures, the messengers, and the throne are from the court, not from the temple. It is impossible wholly to accept either of these views. There is no reason why we should not blend both in our exposition of Isaiah's vision. There are certainly some references to the temple in the altar, the purging away of sin, and the smoke-filled house. In the throne and the train filling the temple there are suggestions of the court. As Isaiah was an attendant on both, it is probable that the ideas under which he sets forth the kingship of Christ, as priestly and yet regal, were drawn from his own observation of the centres of government and worship in his own country. Ideas of righteousness, and sympathy, and sacrifice unite in his conception of the invisible kingdom.

(J. Matthews.)

Some of you may have been watching a near and beautiful landscape in the land of mountains and eternal snows, till you have been exhausted by its very richness, and till the distant hills which bounded it have seemed, you knew not why, to limit and contract the view; and then a veil has been withdrawn, and new hills, not looking as if they belonged to this earth, yet giving another character to all that does belong to it, have unfolded them. selves before you. This is a very imperfect likeness of that revelation which must have been made to the inner eye of the prophet, when he saw another throne than the throne of the house of David, another King than Uzziah or Jotham, another train than that of priests or minstrels in the temple, other winged forms than those golden ones which overshadowed the mercy seat.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

contains in brief an outline of his prophetic teaching. The passage besides this has a singular psychological and religious interest of a kind personal to the prophet. It consists of a series of steps, each one of which naturally follows upon the other.

I. There is first A VISION OF THE LORD, THE KING, surprising and majestic, with a singular world of beings and activities around Him (cars. 1-4).

II. THIS VISION OF JEHOVAH REACTS UPON THE MIND OF THE PROPHET and makes him think of himself in relation to this great King, the Holy One, whom he had seen; and one thought succeeds another, so that in a moment he lives a history (vats. 5-7).

III. Having passed through this history, the beginning of which was terror, but the end peace, AN ALTOGETHER NEW SENSATION FILLED HIS MIND, as if the world, which was all disorder and confusion before, and filled with a conflict of tendencies and possibilities, had suddenly, in the light felling on it from the great King whom he had seen, become clear and the meaning of it plain, and also what was his own place in it; and this was accompanied with an irresistible impulse to take his place. This is expressed by saying that he heard the voice of the great Sovereign who had been revealed to him proclaiming that He had need of one to send, to which he replied that he would go.

IV. Finally, there comes THE SERVICE WHICH HE HAS TO PERFORM, which is no other than just to take his place in the midst of that world, the meaning of which his vision of the Sovereign Lord had made clear to him, and state this meaning to men, to hold the mirror up to his time and declare to it its condition sad its tendencies, and what in the hand of the great King, God over all, its issue and the issue of all must be (vers. 8-13).

(A. B. Davidson, D. D.)






(T. Allen, D. D.)

A man's realisation of the character of God does not depend altogether on his religious experience; it depends also on original capacity, temperament, and on suitable physiological conditions both of body and of mind.

(T. Allen, D. D.)

This vision was an anticipation of the Incarnation of our Lord. St. John tells us distinctly that the glory which the prophet saw was the glory of the Redeemer. "No man hath seen God at any time." God is a spiritual being, and therefore He does not appeal to sense. He reveals Himself to faith, to conscience, and to love. But sense is an avenue through which the soul is reached and influenced, and Almighty God, in revealing Himself to man, has not overlooked this constitutional fact. The Incarnation was a tribute of respect paid to our senses. What the prophet saw only in symbol we realise in the form of a glorious historic Presence.

(T. Allen, D. D.)

I. THE PROCESSION OF THE DEAD FROM EARTH BRINGS US FACE TO FACE WITH THE ETERNAL KINGDOM. We cannot look upon any visible forms, and note their changefulness and yet the permanence of the ideas they illustrate, and not infer the existence of the world of thought, and law, and reality from which they proceed. But while all life is based on the unseen, and witnesses to its presence ever, the procession of the generations of men on the earth more powerfully still reveals the higher kingdom. Think of the populations that have lived in this planet, and received their first schooling and drill here. After a brief preparation and teaching in the knowledge of the laws and facts of existence, they depart. The procession into the pale kingdoms is endless and crowded. The majority the other side becomes greater each day. It is impossible to think of that succession and deny the celestial world. The law of continuity suggests a life beyond. The principle which secures the completion of all great work rightly begun, speaks of it. Our sense of the justice at the heart of things assures us of a realm of compensation for unrequited labour and unexplained sorrow. The union with God that begins here must be consummated elsewhere. Such facts as these would be forced upon the thought of Isaiah as all Israel mourned the death of their leader and king.

II. THE SUPREME FACT OF THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM IS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. After John's statement (John 12:41) that Isaiah saw His glory, and spake Of Him, there can be no question with any Christian mind as to the Messianic reference of the manifestation. Isaiah may not have known of the sacrifice and resurrection by which that throne was gained, but the general outlines of the mediatorial kingdom are fully recognised here. "I saw the Lord, high and lifted up." All else in heaven was subordinated to that central fact.

1. The supremacy of our Lord's rule over heaven and earth, over angels, monarchs, events, the great and the little, the present and the future.

2. The absorbing attraction of that rule. For as prophet, and angels, and men, discern the glory of His love, and mercy, and power, they are constrained to praise.

3. The perfect serenity and sufficiency of His rule are indicated here. Beneath is storm and tumult. He sits above the flood.

4. The universality of His rule is clear. His train fills the temple. Those who went before, and those who came after, cried Hosanna!

5. The design of Christ's rule on earth is to bestow pardon and purity.

6. The King who confers cleansing and peace demands service.

7. He does not hesitate to discipline His unfaithful servants until their loyalty is assured.


1. A deep sense of personal sinfulness.

2. A deep sense of insufficiency for the work of God.

3. The vision that humbles, clothes with power, fills with certitude, directs our steps, inspires with invincible heroism, and makes us partakers of its glory and its resources.

(J. Matthews.)

No truth is more familiar than that God cannot be seen by mortal eye. But God has so manifested Himself that we may say, without impropriety or mistake, that we have seen Him. He did so —

I. OCCASIONALLY, BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN ERA. We have illustrations of this in the case of the burning bush (Exodus 3), of Moses on the mount of God (Exodus 34), of Micaiah, the Hebrew prophet (1 Kings 22), and in that before us in the text. In such experiences, each one of which may have been unlike the others, a very special privilege was granted to these men; so special and peculiar that they felt, and had a right to feel, that they stood in the very near presence of the High and Holy One Himself.

II. PERMANENTLY, IN THE TEMPLE. The religion of the people of Israel differed from that of the surrounding nations in that there was not to be found in their sacred places any image or statue or visible representation of God. If any such were found it was a marked violation of law, a distinct apostasy. Only one visible indication of the Divine presence was permitted, and that was as immaterial as it could be, and was only beheld by one man once in the year — the Shechinah in the Holy of holies. Once a year the high priest might use the words of our text; for when he entered within the veil, on the great day of atonement, he stood in the presence of manifested Deity.

III. ONCE FOR ALL IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST. All previous historical manifestations were lost in the presence of the Son of God. He manifested the Divine so that those who saw Him did in truth see God. They saw nothing less than —

1. Divine power, including control over the body and the spirit of man, over the elements of nature, over disease and death.

2. Divine wisdom, reaching to all those truths that concern the nature and will of God, and also the character, life, and destiny of man.

3. Divine purity, shown in an absolutely blameless life.

4. Divine love, shining forth in tender, practical sympathy with men in all their sufferings and sorrows; showing itself in compassion for men in their spiritual destitution (Mark 6:34); culminating in the agony of the garden and the death of the Cross. Well might the Master say that His disciples were privileged beyond kings and prophets, for as they walked with Him they "saw the Lord." Conclusion — We can see God in nature, in history, in the outworkings of His providence, in the human conscience and human spirit. But the way in which to seek His face is by acquainting ourselves with, and uniting ourselves to, Jesus Christ, His Son.

(W. Clarkson B. A.)

I. THE VISION ITSELF. The centre truth is that the Lord of hosts is the King — the King of Israel

II. THE MINISTRATION OF LOSS AND SORROW IN PREPARING THE VISION. If the throne of Israel had not been empty, the prophet would not have seen the throned God in the heavens. And so it "is with all our losses, with all our sorrows, with all our disappointments, with all our pains; they have a mission to reveal to us the throned God.

III. THE TEXT SUGGESTS THE COMPENSATION THAT IS GIVEN FOR ALL LOSSES. The one God will become everything and anything that every man, and each man, requires. He shapes Himself according to our need. The water of life does not disdain to take the form imposed upon it by the vessel into which it is poured. The Jews used to say that the manna in the wilderness tasted to each man as each man desired, of dainties or of sorrows. And the God who comes to us all, comes to us each in the shape that we need; just as He came to Isaiah in the manifestation of His kingly power, because the throne of Judah was vacated. So when our hearts are sore with loss the New Testament manifestation of the King, even Jesus Christ, comes to us and says, "the same is my mother and sister and brother," and his sweet love compensates for the love that can die, and that lass died. When losses come to us He draws near, as durable riches and righteousness. In all our pains He is our anodyne, and in an our griefs He brings the comfort; He is all in all, and each withdrawn gift is compensated, or will be compensated, to each in Him. So let us learn God's purpose in emptying heart and chairs and homes. He empties that He may fill them with Himself.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)


1. The law of belief, or what we may otherwise phrase, the law of intellectual humility. Revelation was never intended to be a revelation to our comprehension or to our reason. The revelation of the Bible is made to faith.

2. The law of evangelical faith.

3. The law of holiness. You will find a great difference between the nature of the obedience which God in the Gospel requires and that which earthly governments require.(1) Earthly governments take cognizance of the outward act, but none at all of the motives, the affections, or the tempers: but God in the Gospel government controls these.(2) Earthly governments are usually backward in interfering with the private arrangements of commercial and domestic life, and with the personal property of their subjects. But Christianity puts everything under law. Its sway is universal, all-pervading, absolute.(3) Earthly governments, earthly systems of ethics, either fail to inculcate, or are at positive variance with, much of the more elevated and spiritual morality of the Bible. The great peculiarity of the government of Jehovah the Saviour in this respect is, that He requires men to be holy and not merely to be moral.

4. The law of disciplinary suffering.


1. It is a spiritual government.

2. It us a mediatorial government — a government, therefore, of mercy.

3. The supremacy of this dominion might be adverted to. It is a "throne high and lifted up" above all the thrones and dynasties of the earth. Let this comfort the people of God.

4. It is eternal.

(W. M. Bunting.)

Israel's king dies, but Israel's God still lives. From the mortality of great and good men we should take occasion, with the eye of faith, to look up to "the King eternal, immortal, invisible."

( M. Henry.)




(R. Winter, D. D.)

Isaiah saw God: do men see Him today? Was He any nearer to Jerusalem than He is to London and New York? Did that old Hebrew possess faculties different from ours?

1. God can be seen and known. He has been seen and known. Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Paul, John — all saw Him. He has been seen and known in all lands and among all religions.

2. What do we mean by seeing and knowing God? A spirit cannot be seen with physical eyes. We mean that we are so convinced of the nearness and reality of God that our thinking and living are all determined by that conviction — so sure of Him that we live as if we saw Him by physical sight.

3. But have not men seen their own imaginings, and thought that those were God! Is not a perfect God the noblest work of man! It has not been proved that any have actually known God. It would, in the nature of things, be impossible to demonstrate that to anyone who did not himself possess the same knowledge; but it has been proved that these whom the world always heeds when they speak concerning other things have believed that they had this knowledge; and that faith has been the inspiration of dauntless heroism, most patient endurance, and most sacrificing service.

4. How is God known! Many answers are given. Probably all are partially correct. As each individual sees natural objects from his own standpoint, so must he approach the highest knowledge. We are not asking whether men have known about God, but whether they have known Him. We know about Caesar, but we do not know him; we about the Mikado of Japan, but we do not know him. Many know about God who show no signs of knowing Him. I think that no one has been able to tell how this knowledge is attained: Some say, "We are conscious of Him"; others, "We see Him with the inner eye"; others, "Reason leads to Him"; and others still, "He is seen and known in the things which are made." But after all, the most that any can say is, "I know Him." Isaiah said, "I saw the Lord," but all is hazy and indistinct when he comes to detail

5. All who have learned to love man in the spirit of Christ never can fail of coming to the knowledge of God, "for whosoever loveth is born of God and knoweth God." Love is the new life; and love secures knowledge.

6. When we want to know about God we stand before the majesty of an ocean in a storm, before the terrible splendour of Alpine crests and glaciers, beneath the host of the heavens that in solemn silence thread the mazes of the sky, and say: "Behold the greatness of God!" We study the movement of history, and see how the dispersion of the Jews sent true spiritual ideas into all lands; how the triumphs of Alexander gave a common language to the world; how the supremacy of Rome made nations one; how the carnival of blood called the "French Revolution" overthrew more abuses than it worked; how the American Civil War ended in the proclamation of freedom, and we say, God is revealing Himself in history. We read the story of the life and death of Jesus, and say, if that is a revelation of God, then He is the One for whom our souls long. But all these revelations may be accepted without personal knowledge. The Father, who is a Spirit, comes to us in spirit; speaks in a still voice in the chambers of memory, conscience, aspiration; and we know Him and yet may not be able to explain "that knowledge to those who do not have it. I know my Father; He knows His child." That is the highest human experience. That is eternal life.

7. If eternal life is not a question of dates, of the succession of months and years, but knowing God, then no question is more imperative than, "Is it possible for me to know Him?" It is a great thing to claim that knowledge. It should never be done irreverently or lightly, but always humbly and with great joy. The mission of the pulpit and the Church is primarily to help men to know God. How, then, may we know Him? However many answers are possible, only one need be given. All who follow Jesus Christ are sure, sooner or later, to realise that, like Him, they, too, are sons of God.

(Amory H. Bradford, D. D.)

1. A king must die! There almost seems to be something incongruous in the very phrase. The very word "king" means power. The king is the man who can — the man who is possessed of ability, dominions, sovereignty; and the shock is almost violent when we are told that the range of kingship is shaped and determined by death. How the one word suffices for all sorts and conditions of men! The registrar deals with us very summarily! We look through his books. His vocabulary is very limited. He has two words, "born" and "died," and between the two he Can fit in all mankind; there is no exception to disturb his little printed form; we all take our place in it, prince and peasant, emperor and slave. And all this irrespective of character.

2. As kings went in those days, Uzziah had proved himself an admirable king, a wise ruler, a good man. He was distinctly a progressive man, a man of action and enterprise. His energies were not absorbed in merely foreign affairs, nor shaped by the lust of mere dominion. He proceeded upon the principle that a successful foreign policy must be based upon a wise domestic policy; that an efficient and stable rulership must begin at home. I like the way in which the chronicler sums up the king's motives and gives us the very spirit of his home policy, "he loved husbandry?" "He loved husbandry," and therefore you find him hedging his people about with security as they go about their daily life. He "digged many wells," he attended to the requirements of irrigation, he laid the hand of protection and favour upon husbandmen and vine dressers, and in every way he showed that he regarded agriculture as the fundamental and primary pursuit of national life. Upon that home policy he built his foreign policy. If you have peace, security, and contentment at the centre it is easier to extend and widen the bounds of your circumference; and with order and prosperity at home, Uzziah was able to enlarge the borders of his empire. He could raise from his devoted people an army of mighty power. The limits of his kingdom were being continually expanded. "His name spread far abroad. He was marvellously helped, till he was strong." Such was the nation's king; loved by all his people, feared by all his foes. Is it, then, any wonder that King Uzziah — skilled organiser in home affairs, subtle strategist in foreign affairs — became the pillar of the nation's hopes, the repository of her trust, the ultimate security of her prosperity and permanence?

3. Now, there is a strange tendency in human nature to deify any person who gives evidence of possessing any kind of extraordinary power. We place them on the heart's throne — the throne on which are centred the soul's hopes and which carries with it the ultimate sovereignty and apportionment of life. Extraordinary power of any kind appeals to the godlike within us, and upon the object evincing the extraordinary power we too often fix our trust. Watch the principle in the narrative before us. Here is Isaiah. Before his call and consecration he had lived on the political plane of life. His thought was ever moving among the forces of diplomacy and statecraft. How intensely absorbed he was in the game of national politics! The national problem was to Isaiah a political problem. The ultimate foundation of national prosperity was stable government. The wise handling of political forces was the one essential for the continuity and grandeur of the nation's life. That was the plane of thought and life on which Isaiah moved, and on that plane he must find his heroes. He found the hero in Uzziah. What then? He had won Isaiah's admiration. Next, he won his confidence, next his love, next his devotion; then Uzziah became Isaiah's god! Uzziah filled the whole of Isaiah's vision. How now did Isaiah's reasoning run? Thus — "What will become of the world when Uzziah dies? When the master of statecraft is gone, in whose hands will the rulership rest? When the political nave is removed, will not all the spokes of the national wheel be thrown into the direst confusion?" That was Isaiah's fear, begotten by his hero worship. Well, Uzziah died. What then! Says Isaiah, "In the year that King Uzziah died" — what? — "All my worst fears were abundantly realised"? No, no! "In the year that King Uzziah died I had my eyes opened; I saw there was a greater, kingdom with a greater King — I saw the Lord." The hero died to reveal the hero's God. What, then, did the revelation do for Isaiah? It gave him an enlarged conception of all things. It gave him a new centre for his thoughts and life. It taught him this, that the ultimate security for all national greatness is not kings and crowns but God. It taught him this, that big armies, and walled cities, and quiet husbandry, and subtle diplomacy, and complex civilisations am not the fundamental forces on which mankind rests. The eternal centre of all true life, the centre which time cannot weaken and which death cannot corrupt, is not diplomacy, but holiness — not Uzziah, but the Lord. The earthly king had come between Isaiah and his God, and it was only when the earthly king was taken away that Isaiah saw the King of kings. "I saw the Lord high and lifted up" — a limited interest replaced by a larger one, a low standard supplanted by a loftier one, a loom monarch stepping aside to reveal the universal King.

4. This teaching has a most pertinent application to the life of today. Which is the most prominent in English national life today — King Uzziah or King Jesus, the representative of diplomacy or the representative of holiness? Which are we most concerned about — the science of politics or the science of holy living? What are the forces on which we are chiefly depending for the continuity of our national supremacy? The eternal forces are not material, but spiritual, proceeding not from the earth, but coming down from heaven. Material forces must be kept secondary, because they are transient; spiritual forces must be primary, because they are eternal. What is the conclusion of the whole matter? Don't let us lay the stress and emphasis of life upon secondary things — not upon Uzziah, but upon the Lord.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

History tells us the stories of nations who have looked no further than King Uzziah, and who have been accustomed to use the temporal and earthly forces which Uzziah represents. And how has it fared with them? Ancient Phoenicia looked no further than King Uzziah. She built her national temple upon the foundation of commerce, and the only binding force among her people was the relationships of trade. Ancient Greece looked no further than King Uzziah. She raised a palatial national structure upon the foundation of literature and art, and the structure was exceeding beautiful, the wonder and admiration of all time. Ancient Rome looked no further than King Uzziah. She raised an apparently solid masonry, compact and massive, upon a political foundation, and all the stones in the building were clamped together by a tie of patriotism, such as the world has elsewhere never known. Now what has become of them — Phoenicia, Greece, and Rome! How has it fared with the nations so constituted, the houses so built? This is the record. They stood for a time, proud, august, radiant with imperial splendour, fair with the smile of fortune, and reflecting the sunny light of the prosperous day. But "the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon" those nations, and they fell, and great was the fall of them! Surely that is a lesson for today, that national foundations must not be laid by Uzziah but by the Lord.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

I spent a little time in the old castle at Stifling, and in one of the rooms of the tower were two curiosities which riveted my attention. In one corner of the room was an old time worn pulpit. It was John Knox's pulpit, the pulpit from which he used to proclaim so faithfully the message of the King: In the opposite corner were a few long spears, much corrupted by rust, found on the field of Banncokburn, which lies just beyond the castle walls. John Knox's pulpit on the one hand, the spears of Bannockburn on the other! One the type of material forces, forces of earth and time; the other the type of spiritual forces, forces of eternity and heaven. The spears, representative of King Uzziah; the pulpit, representative of the Lord. Which symbolises the eternal? The force and influence which radiated from that pulpit will enrich and fashion Scottish character when Bannockburn has become an uninfluential memory, standing, vague and indefinite, on the horizon of a far distant time.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

God puts out our little light that we may see Him the better. When you are looking out of the window at night, gazing towards the sky, you will see the stare more clearly if you put out your gaslight. That is what God has to do for us. He has to put out the secondary lights in order that we may see the eternal light. Uzziah has to die, in order that we may see it is God who lives.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

I know a little cottage which is surrounded by great and. stately trees, clothed with dense and massy foliage. In the summer days, and through all the sunny season, it just nestles in the circle of green, and has no vision of the world beyond. But the winter comes, so cold and keen. It brings its sharp knife of frost, cuts off the leaves, until they fall trembling to the ground. There is nothing left but the bare framework on which summer hung her beauteous growths. Poor little cottage, with the foliage all gone! But is there no compensation? Yes, yea Standing in the cottage in the winter time and looking out of the window, you can see a mansion, which has come into view through the openings left by the fallen leaves. The winter brought the vision of the mansion! My brother, you were surrounded by the summer green of prosperity. It had become your king. There your vision ended. But the Lord wished to give your thought a further reach. He wanted your soul to see "the mansion which the Father hath prepared" for them that love Him. So He took away your little king. He sent the winter and stripped your trees; and "in the year that the little king died you saw the Lord."

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

Homiletic Magazine.
I. THE MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH IT WAS GIVEN A VISION. Why was it recorded? Not to indulge the conceit of the prophet, nor even chiefly to certify him to the Jews; but because of the messages to them which it so vividly conveys, and the representative interest of the experience to all spiritual minds.

II. THE STATE OF MIND THE VISION PRODUCED. (Ver. 5.) Fear, dejection, self-humiliation. Both personally and as representative of the Jewish nation he was convicted of sin. is the invariable result of close intercourse with God. Our inborn sin is brought to light and rebuked. And the more Christlike we are the more will our brothers' sin likewise weigh upon our hearts. It is in this very experience that our preparation for service begins.

III. HOW THIS WAS DEALT WITH. The fact of sinfulness is not denied by Him to whom it is confessed. It is tacitly confirmed by what takes place. Yet how tender and considerate is the silence of the Judge of all the earth! At once He institutes and sets in operation a mediatorial agency. Such guilt and impurity no water can cleanse: fire is needed, fire from the Consuming Fire.


I. Couched first in a universal question, — "Whom shall I send?" etc.

2. After the prophet's response the call is more direct and personal: "Go, and tell this people," etc. the more general call to us consists, as it did to Isaiah, in the sense of our neighbours' need and our own duty with regard to supplying it. But if a Christian It in earnest, and willing to surrender himself to the commandment of his Lord, more specific direction will not be wanting.

V. THE RESPONSE. (Ver. 8) "Then said I, Here am I; send me." A sacrifice and a petition.

(Homiletic Magazine.)


1. His Supreme authority. "Sitting upon a throne, high and lifted ups" He is the high and lofty One. He ruleth over all, matter and mind, the evil and the Good.

2. His magnificent upset. "His train filled the temple." This is an allusion to the flowing robes of Oriental monarchs, which signalise their stately grandeur, What is the costume of the Infinite? "Thou clothest Thyself with light as with a garment." The flowing robes of His majesty filled the temple of immensity.

3. His illustrious attendants. "Above it stood the seraphim." Eastern monarchs had numerous princes and nobles as their attendants; but these fiery ones are the ministers of the eternal King.

4. His absolute holiness. "One cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts." The repetition indicates the intensity of their conviction.


1. Reverential.

2. Alert. They do not move with a tardy reluctance in the service of their Lord; but with wings expanded they stand ever ready to execute His behest.

3. Individual. "One cried unto another." Each was intensely alive to his own responsibility and duty.

4. Harmonious. After the separate cries there was a blending of all in one grand chorus, "The whole earth is full of His glory."

5. Enthusiastic. As the peal of a majestic organ sometimes shakes the cathedral, the voice of one worshipper in heaven is represented as moving the posts of the door. The grand solo sends a tremor through the temple.

III. THE AMAZING CAPACITY OF THE HUMAN SOUL. Isaiah saw all this, not with the outward eye, but with the eye of his mind. Unlike all other creatures on this earth, man has a capacity to see God. He can see God enthroned in the universe.

1. Sin has injured this capacity. Whilst all men have the power to see God, few men do.

2. The Gospel restores this capacity. It opens the spiritual eye, sweeps away the carnal atmosphere, and shows God filling the temple.


(for Trinity Sunday): —

I. AS TO THE UNIVERSAL PREVALENCE OF BELIEF IN THE DOCTRINE. The doctrine of the Trinity has always been one of those things, to use the language of St. Luke, which have been most surely believed among us.

II. THE SCRIPTURAL PROOF OF THE DOCTRINE. It underlies the whole Bible, and is inextricably interwoven with its fabric and its structure.

III. THE NATURE OF THIS DOCTRINE. We grant at once that it is mysterious, and that it is inexplicable. We walk by faith, not by sight. This great doctrine in its inner being is hidden from us; but it presents a countenance to us full of beauty and loveliness, the features of which are discerned by the eye of faith. It is a golden casket, containing a most precious jewel; locked, if you like, which we cannot open, but enriching us nevertheless. It is a song in a strange language, the meaning of it in a great degree unintelligible, but the melody most exquisite. Practical application of the doctrine —

1. It is bound up with our duty to God. We have duties to pay to each of the three Persons if we would perfectly know our glorious God, if we would worthily magnify His holy name.

2. It is bound up with our hope of salvation.

3. It is bound up with the fulness of Gospel blessings. Take the apostolic benediction; what more can you conceive of spiritual life and blessing than is contained within that?

(R. W. Forrest, M. A.)

The communication of the will of God to others is connected with the manifestation of the excellency of all the perfections of the Deity, but appears in the passage before us in more especial relation to the glory of the Divine holiness.

I. THE REVELATION WHICH GOD HAS MADE TO HIS INTELLIGENT CREATURES MANIFESTS HIS SUPREME AND PERFECT HOLINESS. The great lesson which the vision taught was the holiness of Jehovah, and that by the manifestation of this the whole earth was to be filled with His glory. This, if not the source and end, has always formed a part, and has often been preeminent in the manifestations God has made to His intelligent creatures. Although inseparably blended with the infinite benevolence and perfect rectitude, we find this perfection more frequently associated with the name, and employed to qualify the attributes of Jehovah, than any other. The arm of the Lord, the emblem of His power, is called His holy arm; His eyes, emblems of omniscience, the eyes of His holiness; His presence, Holy of holies; His majesty, the throne of His holiness; His name, the holy name; Himself, the Holy One. This is equally applicable to the Father, Holy Father, — the Son, Holy Child, — the Spirit, Holy Ghost. All the manifestations God has ever made of Himself, so far as our limited and imperfect knowledge extends, have been those of His holiness. He is holy in all His works. It was because they beheld a new impress of the moral image of Jehovah that the sons of God shouted together for joy. The Divine holiness was also exhibited, under a new aspect, to all orders intelligent creation, in the contrast between the state of the first human pair and that of fallen spirits. All the manifestations which, since the fall the Divine Being has condescended to make to our race, either of His dominion over the affairs of men, the intimations of His will, or the operations of His grace and Spirit on the soul, have been revelations of the Divine holiness. In the human nature of Christ, the glory of Divine holiness was enshrined in a temple more pure than that in which the Shekinah had appeared; here was an altar that sanctified both the giver and the gift; a sacrifice in which Omniscience saw no imperfection; a Priest who needed not to offer sacrifice for His own sins, for He was holy, harmless, and undefiled. The purity of God had been shown in the creation; in the consequences of the fall: the destruction of the old world; and the giving of the law: but on Calvary, though softened by the veil of humanity through which it was revealed, it beamed forth with an intensity and effulgence which rendered it at once the most stupendous and sublime display of the Divine equity and holiness that ever has, or, we have reason to believe, ever will take place. The design of the sacrifice displays more vividly this glorious perfection. It was not simply to redeem from sin, but to redeem to holiness. The dispensation which terminated with the return of the Redeemer to the bosom of the Father, has been followed by another, less imposing, but equally clear and more extensive, manifestation of the Divine holiness, the descent of the Holy Spirit. The volume of inspiration is a revelation of the Divine holiness; all its precepts and promises are holy. With what superiority in moral excellency does this view of the connection between the diffusion of the Gospel and the glorious holiness of Jehovah invest this sacred cause; what impressive instruction does it impart to all engaged in its varied departments, at home or abroad; and how imperative its requirement, that, on every order of agency in its support, direction, and application, holiness unto the Lord should ever be distinctly inscribed!

II. THE COMMUNICATION TO OTHERS OF THE REVELATION WHICH GOD HAS MADE, IS ENJOINED BY DIVINE AUTHORITY. Whatever motives may engage the people of God to communicate to others what He has revealed to them, the Divine command constitutes the foundation, augments the force of every other, and must give vitality and efficiency to all This commission has been either special or ordinary; but the authority has been the same in all, and the obligation equal.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIVINE WILL, AND EXPERIENCE OF THE DIVINE MERCY, DEMAND AND ENCOURAGE PROMPT AND CHEERFUL OBEDIENCE. This is strongly and beautifully shown in the vision of the prophet. Many of the communications of the Divine will appear to have been preceded by peculiar manifestations of the Divine glory. Thus Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the disciples, after the resurrection, and on the mountain in Galilee; Saul, on his way to Damascus; and the beloved disciple in Patmos, were favoured. This was probably designed to strengthen their minds with vivid and solemn impressions of the greatness and majesty of that God whose message they were to declare, and to encourage their fidelity. It is a humiliating fact, that, with authority equally distinct, motives more numerous and strong, and facilities greater than at any former time, discouragements and difficulties still keep many at home, who ought to be on the broad plains of moral death, pointing the nations to "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world." These difficulties principally arise from the views which are taken of the nature of the work and the qualifications it requires.

1. Physical unfitness.

2. Deficiency of natural or acquired abilities.

3. Moral unfitness.

4. Attachment to home, and the privations and perils of the work.

5. The magnitude and importance of the work.Let us glance at the encouragements to obedience.

1. The dominion and omnipotence of the Redeemer.

2. The grateful import of the message.

3. The measure of success, though not the rule of duty, is cheering.

4. The spirit of the times and the aspect of the world.

(W. Ellis.)

I. ISAIAH'S VISION OF GOD. This was, in all probability, the greatest incident in his whole life, and it left an indelible mark on his thinking, lust as the thinking of St. Paul, and, in fact, his whole activity, sprang out of what happened to him on the way to Damascus. That day he saw God. That is his own account of the matter. Now, as he prophesies through three reigns after the death of Uzziah, Jotham's, Ahaz's, and Hezekiah's, and probably lived sixty years after this date, he must at the time have been a very young man, and I am strongly inclined to think that this was not only the commencement of his activity as a prophet, but the beginning of his own religious life. It was what, in modern language, would be called his conversion. He says that he "saw the Lord," and what better account could anyone give of the crisis by which real religion commences? Before this, Isaiah had heard plenty about God, because he seems to have been the son of a wealthy family living in Jerusalem; but, as another eminent Old Testament writer indicates, there is a vast difference between hearing about God and seeing Him. "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sooth Thee." It is really just the transition from the religion of tradition to the religion of experience. Religion comes to us all first as a tradition. It is the tradition of our home, the tradition of our Church, the tradition of our country, and so on; but as long as it is merely that, it is vague, unreal, and remote. But some day this God of whom we have heard is realised by us to be here; and this Christ, of whom we have heard that He has saved others, comes seeking for entrance into our own soul; and if we let Him in, our religion passes into an entirely new stage. Now, this was what happened to Isaiah.

II. THE EFFECT OF THE VISION ON HIS WORK. One of the seraphim cried to another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory." That is to say, two attributes of God overawed and overwhelmed these supernal beings — His holiness and His omnipotence. The one of these is the inner glory of God; the other is the outer glory. He is holy, holy, holy inwardly — that is perfectly, unspeakably, uncompromisingly holy; and then outwardly, the whole earth is full of His glory; or rather, to put it quite literally, the fulness of the universe — that is to say, all the variety of suns and stars, of heaven and earth, of land and sea — all that is His glory, or the garment by which He is made visible. We are wont in secular things to say that the child is father of the man, and if any man does anything very remarkable in the world it will usually be found that he has seen by the instinct of genius very early what he was intended to do. And this is true of Isaiah in the spiritual sphere. What he saw that day in a moment it took a whole lifetime to write out. Manifold as is the truth in the Book of Isaiah, it may all be deduced from these two things — the holiness of God and the omnipotence of God. The one half of his prophecies may be summed up in this word which I borrow from one part of his writings: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." The book opens with an extraordinary description of the sins of the nation, and this theme occurs all through. And what is all that but just an echo of holy, holy, holy? If God is what the seraphim said that day He was, then sin must be such as Isaiah represents it to be. Then, the other great note of his writings is that which is expressed in the first verse of the opening of the second part of the book: "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God." Isaiah is among all the prophets the prophet of comfort. He was indeed a prophet of calamity, and perhaps in no other book of the Old Testament do we see so clearly as in his the cruel and the irresistible might of the great world monarchs by which the people of that age were surrounded; but mighty as these were, a Mightier was known to Isaiah; One to whom they were just like the dust; One that could call them like dogs to His feet, and wield them as the woodman in the woods wields his axe; and therefore those people whose God is the Lord do not need to fear these great monarchs; let them only trust and hope. That was the Gospel of Isaiah, and who does not see that it is merely an echo of what he heard the seraphim say: "The whole earth is full of His glory." For these two ideas about God, Isaiah has two names that recur all through his writings. To denote the holiness of God, he calls Him the "Holy One of Israel"; and to denote His omnipotence he calls Him the "Lord of hosts."

III. THE EFFECT OF THE VISION ON HIMSELF. The revelation made to him that day about God, namely, that He is the Holy One, had an immediate and transforming effect on himself. My idea is that up to this time Isaiah was a man of the world, perhaps indulging in the vices which the young nobility of Jerusalem of that day were famous for; but now, in a moment, in the light of God, he sees the error of his ways and the putridity of his heart, and hence there bursts from him the exclamation: "Woe 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." You see he felt his sin chiefly on his lips — i.e., it was sins of speech he became conscious of. I should think that few will doubt that when he says, "I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips," he means to refer to a prevalence of profanity amongst his companions. Well, is it not the most natural explanation to believe that he had in his previous life given way to that sin, and now that is the sin that burns in on his conscience? But he learned at this point also something very precious about the holy God. As soon as he had confessed his sin, one of the seraphim, doubtless obeying a secret hint from Jehovah, flew to the altar, and, seizing the tongs, lifted from the altar a hot stone, and laid it on the lips of the prophet — on the place where his sin was. The meaning was that his sin was burned away. And this became to Isaiah the cause of one of the greatest features of his work as a prophet in his subsequent life. There is no writer in the Bible that in language more tender and convincing speaks about God's willingness to forgive. And where did Isaiah learn that! He learnt it that day when the seraph laid the burning stone upon his own lips and burned his sin away. The other half of the revelation, the omnipotence of God, had its immediate practical effect also. But it was the Maker of Isaiah that was playing on his mind on this occasion for His own purpose. He was playing as an artist might play on an exquisite instrument, and in point of fact the mind of Isaiah was one of the most exquisite instruments that have ever existed in this world. There has hardly ever been a mind in this world, in its native structure, so perfect, and the Maker of it was now touching it to splendid issue. He was needing a messenger to that generation, and He had fixed on Isaiah to be His messenger, and He was making him ready. Isaiah had just realised that God was the Omnipotent, to whom all creatures and he himself belonged, and now that the relief and joy of forgiveness were thrilling through him, he realised in a still higher sense he belonged absolutely to the God who had pardoned.

(James Stalker, D. D.)

. — God often prepares His servants for special work by special grace.

I. The views with which this vision furnishes us concerning GOD.

1. His sovereignty.

2. His holiness.

3. His mercy.

II. The views with which this vision furnishes us concerning ANGELS.

1. Their humility.

2. Their obedience.

3. Their devotion.

III. The views with which this vision furnishes us respecting MAN.

1. His sinful condition.

2. His gracious recovery.

3. His exalted calling.

(G. T. Perks, D. D.)



(J. Sherwood.)

I. A VISION OF GOD. This can only come to us in our present state indirectly, parabolically, or as here, symbolically. It will include a conception of God's —

1. Authority: "a throne high and lifted up."

2. Glory: "His train filled the temple."

3. Holiness: seraphic action and seraphic tones proclaimed Him as the Thrice Holy.

II. A vision OF SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE. Just as the prophet came to understand that there was a vast spiritual universe behind and beyond the material, and of which the material was but the hint and type, so must we. He saw in the seraphim a revelation of the existence of spiritual beings.

III. A VISION OF SELF. There is a vision of his —

1. Own individuality. The right use of the pronouns "I" and "me," is a lesson worth learning, he finds.

2. Relationship to others: "I dwell among a people," etc.

3. Sinfulness. To this —

(1)The vision of God as holy;

(2)The vision of spiritual beings as pure; and

(3)The consciousness of his own condition, all contributed.

4. Possible purification. Here we have —

(1)The supernatural means of this purification. "A seraph."

(2)The connection of these means with sacrifice. "From off the altar," etc.

5. Life mission. Here we note —

(1)God's care for the world. It is He who cries "Who will go for us?"

(2)The godly man's response. It is for him eagerly, obediently, loyally to cry, "Here am I, send me." — In Isaiah, in Paul, in every godly man, the vision of God leads to unselfish consecration to the good of others.

(U. R. Thomas, B. A.)


1. Of the Divine supremacy.

2. Of the Divine attendants. Their name signifies "fiery ones." There is a remarkable analogy between what is said here, and what is stated of the mysterious beings in the Book of Revelation — "They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." The holiness of God is the great burthen of the celestial songs.

3. The vision connects holiness with the Divine greatness — "The whole earth is full of His glory." All His creatures speak His praise.

4. A remarkable effect is stated to have been produced by this celebration of the Divine majesty and holiness — "The posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke." This may be intended to show the terrors of the Divine holiness, when it is kindled and brought into exercise by human transgression. Smoke is connected in Scripture with the tokens of rising wrath in the Almighty. (Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 18:7, 8; Revelation 15:8.) And the sequel informs us that He had determined to "waste the cities, and depopulate the habitations, until there should be a great forsaking in the midst of the land." Observe from the vision here granted to the prophet, how necessary it is that those who go out on the work of the Lord should have a vision of His glory and greatness that they may have a proper sense of the work in which they are engaged. How can he speak of the glory of God, who has not seen it? Or how can he speak of the holiness of God, of the terrors of me Almighty, who has himself no true idea of either?

II. THE EFFECT WHICH THIS VISION PRODUCED UPON THE PROPHET'S MIND. "Then said I, Woe is met for I am undone." etc. The vision of the glory of God which he beheld, became the means of filling him with reverence, humility, and fear. The prophet was filled with an awful sense of his own depravity in two respects —

1. As a man. Why are the lips mentioned! Not because the depravity, is merely superficial, or resting on the surface; but because the depravity of the heart rends and rages without, and finds vent in the tongue. The vision of the Divine holiness is the best way of impressing our minds with a sense of our own defects and vileness.

2. As an intended messenger of God. He saw how unworthy he was to receive messages from God and go out to the people. If private Christians should feel their depravity and unworthiness, how much more should those who are ministers. He who has not been humbled under a sense of his own unworthiness before God has no right at all to go out to speak to others.

III. THE SUSTAINING VISITATION WHICH WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE EFFECT PRODUCED. To prevent the prophet from sinking into despair, Divine consolation was given. Notice —

1. The agent sent. "One of the seraphim." These are often employed in messages of goodness to man. Observe his celerity — he "flew." These celestial beings take an especial interest in the fulfilment of the designs of God.

2. The assurance communicated. "Thine iniquity is taken away," etc.

3. The manner in which the assurance is testified. "Then flew one," etc. Fire is symbolical of purity. The Spirit's influence is compared to fire. This transaction signifies —

(1)The purity of the ministry.

(2)The fervour of the ministry.


1. That the messenger who goes out, God sends by His own power.

2. Such messengers are fully devoted to God. They may indeed say "Corban" with respect to all they have. What an honourable work is this! It is also a work of responsibility.

3. The messenger of God must proceed without debate as to the object of his mission.

(J. Parsons.)

The scene is Messianic. Christ is in it.

I. WHAT THE PROPHET SAW AND HEARD. There is no special stress to be laid on the term Lord, as used here. It is not the incommunicable name of essence, Jehovah; but the title of dominion, of mastership and ownership. The awe of His appearance is in the circumstances or surroundings.

1. He is upon a throne, high and lifted up. It is the throne of absolute sovereignty; of resistless, questionless, supremacy over all.

2. He is in the temple, where the throne is the mercy seat, between the cherubim, over the ark of the Covenant, which is the symbol and seal of reconciliation and friendly communion. And He is there in such rich grace and glory that the whole temple is filled with the overflowing robe of His redeeming majesty.

3. Above, or upon, that ample overflowing train of so magnificent a raiment stood the seraphim. These are not, as I take it, angelic or super angelic spirits, but the Divine Spirit Himself, the Holy Ghost; appearing thus in the aspect and attitude of gracious ministry. In that attitude He multiplies Himself, as it were, according to the number and exigencies of the churches and the individuals to whom He has to minister. He takes up, moreover, the position of reverential waiting for His errand, and in an agency manifold, but yet one, readiness to fly to its execution. The cherubim are on almost all hands admitted to be representative emblems of redeemed creation, or of the redeemed Church on earth. And I cannot think it wrong to give to the seraphim in this, the only passage in which the name occurs, a somewhat corresponding character as representative emblems of the active heavenly agency in redemption. Nor is the plural form any objection. I find a similar mode of setting forth the multiform and multifarious agency of the Spirit in the opening salutation of the Apocalypse — "the seven Spirits which are before His throne" (Revelation 1:4). It is the Holy Ghost, waiting to go forth from the Father, to apply and carry forward the threefold work of the Son, as Prophet, Priest, and King; and to do so as if He were becoming seven Spirits in accommodation to the seven churches; as if each church was to have Him as its own; yes, and each believer, too.

4. With this great sight, voice and movement are joined. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory." It is not necessarily the voice of the seraphim, though that is the ordinary I would rather take the words abstractly and indefinitely. There is an antiphonic cry or song. It is not said among whom. Of course, the readiest reference is come seraphim. But the text does not require that; it is literally "this cried to this." And the attendance of an angelic choir, of all hosts of heaven, may be assumed. Assuredly Christ is here. He is here as revealing the Father. And He is here, not merely outwardly, in outward manifestation; but inwardly, in the deepest inward contact and converse of the soul with God.

II. HOW THE PROPHET FELT (ver. 5). It is a thorough prostration.

III. HOW THE PROPHET'S CASE IS MET. Lo! an altar; the altar of propitiation, on which lies the ever freshly bleeding victim. One of the seraphim — the Holy Spirit in one of His varied modes of operation — flies, as if in haste, with what is as good as the entire altar and its sacrifice to apply it all effectually. And the effect is as immediate as the touch. Nothing comes in between. There is no waiting, as for a medicine to work its cure; no bargaining, as if a price were to be paid; no process to be gone through; no preparation to be made.

IV. THE SUBSEQUENT OFFER AND COMMAND (vers. 8, 9). Two things are noticeable here.

1. The grace of God in allowing the prophet, thus exercised, to be a volunteer for service. The Lord might issue a peremptory command. But His servant has the unspeakable privilege of giving himself voluntarily to the Lord who willingly gave Himself for him.

2. The unreservedness of the prophet's volunteering. It is no half. hearted purpose conditional on circumstances; but the full, single-eyed heartiness of one loving much, because forgiven much, that breaks out in the frank, unqualified, unconditional self-enlistment and self-enrolment in the Lord's host, "Here am I, send me." Hence, accordingly, the crowning proof and pledge of his conversion, his cleansing, his revival, his commission. He now learns for the first time, after he has committed himself beyond the possibility of honourable retraction or recall, what is the errand darkly indicated by the heavenly voice, Whom shall I send? At first there may be secretly the feeling that any mission on which such a master may send me must have in it the elements of intrinsic glory and assured triumph. But as it turns out it is far otherwise than that. The case is altogether the reverse. The mission is to be a mission of judgment. But what then? Does the freshly quickened volunteer withdraw his offer? or qualify it? or raise any question at all about it? No; he simply asks one question; a brief one; comprised in three words — "Lord, how long?" It is a question indicating nothing like reluctance or hesitation; no repenting of his offer; no drawing back. For himself he has nothing more to say. It is only in the interest of his people, and out of deepest sympathy with them, that the irrepressible cry of piety and of patriotism bursts from his lips — "Lord, how long? how long?"

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)


1. As seated on a lofty throne.

2. As attended by celestial spirits.

3. As receiving their homage and praise.

(1)The matter of it.

(2)The manner of it.


1. Humility. It is ignorance of God that is the parent of pride. True knowledge of Him tends to humility. Qualities are never seen so clearly as by contrast. The application of a straight rule marks the obliquity of a crooked line.

2. Purification.

3. Self-devotion. As eyes dazzled by the sun see not the glittering of drops of dew upon the earth, so the glory of worldly objects ceases to interest a soul that is taken up with the contemplation of God; while he will be led, by a regard to Him whose word has been the instrument of his purification and encouragement, to devote himself unreservedly to His will.

(R. Brodie, M. A.)

I. The first view of the Divine glory in the text is that of RULE AND DOMINION. The Lord is King — this is the first character under which to approach Him whenever we engage in worship.

II. The second view of the majesty and glory of God is that IN HIS NATURE AND PERFECTION HE IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE.

III. The third view of the Divine Majesty is HOLINESS.


V. The fifth view we have is that of THIS HUMBLE, SILENCED MAN OBTAINING MERCY.

(J. Summerfield, M. A.)

He who "sat upon the throne" Isaiah saw is none other than God Himself. But in his Gospel (John 12:41) John tells us, "these things said Esaias, when he saw Christ's glory, and spake of Him." It is the throne of Jesus. Let us examine the manner in which they who actually saw the vision were affected by it, and this will best show us at once its consummate splendour and the sentiments it should awaken.


1. They were astonished.

2. They were filled with joy. Because God's grace runs in the channel of justice.

3. They celebrate it with songs.

4. They were ready to advance the cause of redemption, for with their wings they were ready to fly.

II. Let us understand from the experience of Isaiah HOW BELIEVERS ARE AFFECTED BY THE VISION OF OUR TEXT.

1. Isaiah was overwhelmed at the first. He sees in himself nothing but the dry stubble of guilt, and in God an insatiable fire, approaching to devour it. He sees no fitness for heaven, either in himself or those he loved.

2. But he is immediately revived.

3. Then called to active duty.

III. We would now consider HOW THE WORLD IS AFFECTED BY THE VISION THAT ISAIAH SAW. Isaiah preaches the Gospel, but his message is rejected. So now.

(J. J. Bonar.)

The Lord is always upon a throne, even when He is nailed to the Cross; this Lord and His throne are inseparable. There are dignitaries that have to study how to keep their thrones; but the Lord and HIS throne are one.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. THE OCCASION OF THE VISION. The emptied throne is the occasion for the manifestation of the true King. God's purpose in all His withdrawals is the same as His purpose in all His gifts, that we may be led to see Him more clearly as the one foundation of all things, the anchor of our lives and the hope and stay of our hearts. The text not only teaches us the purpose of all withdrawals, but comes to us heavy-freighted with the blessed thought that God is able to fill every place that He empties. This King of Judah was followed by another, a decent enough young man in his way, who on the whole went straight and did God's will. But that was no comfort to the prophet's heart. It did not avail to show him a Jotham behind an Uzziah. What he needed, and what you and I need, to fill the empty places in our hearts and lives, is the vision that flamed upon his inward eye; and the conviction that the Lord, the King Himself, had come when the earthly shadow passed away.

II. THE CONTENTS OF THE VISION. The temple here is, of course, not the mere earthly house, but that higher house of the Lord, of which the temple of earth is a shadow. Isaiah's vision was none the less objective, none the less distinguishable from an imagination of his own, none the less manifestly and marvellously, a revelation from God, because if we had been there we should have seen nothing, any more than the Sanhedrim shared in the vision of the opened heavens which gladdened Stephen's dying eyes. Mark, how there is no word of description here of what the prophet saw in the centre of the light. But if we listen to the description given to us, there are two great thoughts in it. "I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up" — the infinite exaltation of that Divine nature which separates Him from all the lowness of creatures, and makes Him the blessed and incomprehensible infinite foundation of good and of blessedness and the source of life. Correspondent and parallel to this thought of the sovereign exaltation is the song that is put into the mouth of the seraphim. The same idea is expressed by "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts," as is expressed by "high and lifted up." The holiness of God means the infinite separation of the infinite nature from the finite creature; and that separation is manifest both in the incomprehensible elevation of His being and in the perfect purity of His nature. But whilst thus a great gulf is fixed between us and Him, and we, like the seraphs, have to veil our faces that we see not, and our feet that we be not seen, there is another side to the thought, "His skirts filled the temple," and that is paralleled with the other number of the seraphs' song, "the whole earth is full of His glory." For the glory of God is the manifestation of His holiness. And just as the trailing skirts of that great robe spread over the whole floor of the temple, so through the whole earth go flashing the manifold manifestations of His glory. These twin thoughts, never to be separated from each other, of the infinite separation and the immeasurable self-communication of our Father-God, are all as true for us today as they ever were. That vision is as possible to us as it was to Isaiah. It was no prerogative of the prophet's office. Our eyes too, if we will, may behold the King in His beauty. It is Christ that explains to us by His Incarnation how it ever came to pass that to man's inward or outward eyes there was granted a manifestation of Deity in the form of humanity as here; and His permanent revelation of God to us puts us more than on a level with any of those of old to whom were granted the foreshadowings of that historical fact of God manifest in the flesh. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

III. THE EFFECTS OF SUCH A VISION ON THE LIFE. A man that sees God will know his own impurity. Where there is a sense of sin roused by the sight of God there will come the fiery coal from the altar that purifies; and where there is a sense of sin, and the taking away of it, by the sacrifice not brought by the prophet, but provided for the prophet by God, there will follow the glad surrender of self for all service, and any mission. "Here am I, send me." So this vision of God is the foundation of all nobleness of life.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

This is not a story of individual experience only. Isaiah was a typical prophet with special duties, and, consequently, with special qualifications for their right discharge. But in many respects he is also representative of the faithful preacher of the Gospel and worker for Christ. In its inspirations, its aims and motives, its responsibilities and difficulties, the prophet's office was like that of Christ's servant everywhere, and from this record we may gather lessons of universal application.

1. The prophet must be a man whose soul is possessed with God, to whom God is a reality, not an abstraction, a living and present Friend, not a distant and unknown Ruler. There must be visions of God in the glory of His holiness as well as in the tenderness of His condescension, or there will be neither desire nor capacity to testify of Him. It is the pure in heart who thus see God, and even as Isaiah needed that the live coal from the altar should touch his lips and he should be cleansed from all iniquity, so must Christ's messenger know for himself the blessedness of that salvation which he preaches to others. This does not supersede the necessity for intellectual qualifications for the work. Impulse, however pure and noble, cannot fit a man for even the humblest work, much less for the noblest, the most difficult, the most responsible of all. God does lay His hands upon some whom the wisdom of this world would pronounce incompetent for the work. As in the case of Bunyan, the working of His grace in the heart may develop gifts of fancy or of eloquence which might else have lain dormant.

2. Of the special gift of inspiration which Isaiah enjoyed suffice it to say that if that is to be reduced to a "genius for righteousness" which he shared in common with the rest of the Jewish race, the unique character and supreme authority of the Bible are gone. Define inspiration how men will, it must, at all events, imply that God revealed His will to these prophets and seers by whom the Sacred Volume was penned, as He did not to the great poets and writers of the world, or this Book has no distinctive value.

3. The prophet must be a consecrated servant — one who lives not to do his own pleasure, but to glorify God.

(J. G. Rogers, B. A.)

1. The experience that made Isaiah a prophet took the form of a vision. It happened in a period of distressing perplexity and gloom. Wrestling passionately with the darkness, craving wistfully for light, the yearning to see God in the man's soul became so intense and sensitive, that the great Heart in heaven answered the longing of the heart on earth, and aspiration leapt into realisation, and faith flashed into vision That sight of God — the living, holy, loving God — made Isaiah a prophet. Preachers and teachers of today! if we are to be prophets, we need lust such a sight of God.

2. The vision of God made Isaiah a prophet; but the immediate result was something different. The first effect of contact with God was to produce in his soul an intolerable sense of sin. Had Isaiah been Pharisee, he would have seized the opportunity of his sudden vicinity to the Almighty to direct the Divine attention to his virtues and superiority over other men. Had he been one of those philosophers in whom the heart has been overlaid by the intellect, he would have calmly proceeded to make observations of the Divine for a new theory of the absolute and unconditioned, in sublime insensibility to the deepest problem of existence, the awful antithesis of human sin and of Divine holiness. Because Isaiah was a good man, his new proximity to God woke within him a crushing horror of defilement and undoneness. And it was so, precisely because, he had never been so near to God before, and had never felt himself of so much importance. Away down here, sinning among his fellow men, the blots and blemishes of his soul seemed of little moment. But up there, in the stainless light of heaven, with God's holy eyes resting on him, every spot of sin within him grew hot and horrible, every defiling stain an insult and a suffering inflicted on the sensitive holiness of God. These two things are linked together, and no man can divorce them — the dignity of humanity and the damnableness of sin.

3. The ethical process by which, in the imagery of the vision, Isaiah's sense of sinfulness came home to him, is finely natural and simple. It was at his lips that the consciousness of his impurity caught him. "I am a man of unclean lips." That, judged by our formulas and standards, might seem a somewhat superficial conviction of sin. We should have expected him to speak of his unclean heart, or the total corruption of his whole nature. But actual conviction of sin is very regardless of our theories, and is as diverse in its manifestations as are the characters and records of men. Sin finds out one man in one place, and another in a quite different spot, and perhaps the experience is most real when it is least theological.

4. Isaiah, in the presence of God, felt within him the pang of that death, which must be the end of unpardoned sin in contact with the Divine holiness. He felt himself as good as dead, yet never in all his life had he so longed to live as now, in sight of God and heaven and holiness. He did not ask to escape. He was too overwhelmed to pray or hope. But to God's heart that cry of despair was an infinitely persuasive ]prayer for mercy. Pagan sages and Christian saints alike unite in proclaiming the overmastering strength of sin.

5. Is there, then, no possibility of recovery? no way of cleansing? One there is, and one alone. Aye, if only God so loves our sin-stained race as that His stainless purity enters really into our humanity, and wrestles with our impurity in a contact that must be suffering to the Divine holiness, and is sin cleansing to us — that were salvation surely; that were redemption. But is it a reality! Jesus Christ has lived, and died, and lives again, and we know that His Holy Spirit dwells in us and in our world. That, and that alone, is salvation; not any theories nor any rites, but God's Holy Spirit given unto us.

6. It was at Isaiah's lips that the sense of sin had stung him, and it was there that he received the cleansing. He, too, might now join in heaven's praise and service; no more an alien, but a member of the celestial choir and a servant of the King. That act of Divine mercy had transformed him.

7. He was a new creature, and instantly the change appeared. The voice of God sounds through the temple, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And the first of all heaven's hosts to offer is Isaiah A moment before, he had shrunk back, crushed and despairing, from God's presence, feeling as if the Divine gaze were death to him. Now he springs forward, invokes God's attention on himself, and before all heaven's tried and trusty messengers proposes himself as God's ambassador. Was. it presumption! was it self-assertion? I think, if ever Isaiah was not thinking of himself at all, and was conscious only of God and goodness and gratitude, it was then, when his heart was running over with wonder, love, and praise for God's unspeakable mercy to him. It was not presumption; it was a true and beautiful instinct that made him yearn with resistless longing to do something for that God who had shown such grace to him.

(Prof. W. G. Elmslie, D. D.)


II. WHAT HE SAID. "Woe," etc.

III. WHAT HE FELT. The assurance of pardon.

IV. WHAT HE HEARD. The pardoned sinner is all ear, all eye. "I heard the voice of the Lord," etc.

V. WHAT HE DID. He made consecration.

(Richard Knill.)

1. Inasmuch as sitting upon a throne implies a human form, we are inclined to agree with those expositors who speak of Isaiah's vision as a vision of Jehovah-Jesus.

2. The vision rebukes those who entertain the notion that, so far as Divine superintendence is concerned, the universe is in a state of orphanage.

3. The vision likewise rebukes those who picture God as absorbed in the contemplation of His own excellence, and as existing in solitary grandeur. God is of a social nature. Like earthly kings He has a court, as much superior to theirs as He is Himself above them.

3. Isaiah's vision further teaches us, that the creatures referred to, and represented by the seraphim, possess such a knowledge of God, are in such sympathy with Him, and have such confidence in Him, that their lives are spent in an element of worship.

4. The vision was designed to qualify Isaiah for the fulfilment of his course as one of the prophets of Judah; and nobly it answered its purpose.

(G. Cron, M. A.)

(for Trinity Sunday): — We have here the proper inauguration of the great evangelical prophet to his future work; and one which, in its essential features, resembles very closely the inauguration which other eminent servants of God, alike under the Old Covenant and under the New, obtained; — Moses (Exodus 3:6); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6-9); Paul; Joshua (Joshua 1:1); Gideon (Judges 6:12-24); Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:3); Peter (Luke 5:4-10). God's messengers go mot until they are sent, and presume not to deliver a message which they have not received directly from the Sender.

1. And, first, he gives the date of the vision. What meaning may there sometimes be in a thing which seems so simple as a date! What significance, what solemnity may it sometimes have, as surely it has here. How simply and yet how grandly are earth and heaven here brought together, and the fleeting phantoms of one set over against the abiding realities of the other.

2. But if God's throne is in heaven, the skirts of His glory reach even to the earth: "His train filled the temple."

3. The glimpse afforded here to the Church of the elder dispensation of that great crowning mystery which the Church of the newer dispensation throughout all the world is celebrating today. In this Trisagion we have, it is true, no more than a glimpse of the mystery; even as in the Old Testament more is nowhere vouchsafed. More, in all likelihood, the Church could not then, nor until it had been thoroughly educated into a confession of the unity of the Godhead, with safety have received; while yet it was a precious confirmation of the faith, when, in a later day, this mystery was fully made known, to discover that the rudiments of it had been laid long before in Scripture.

4. But what is the first impression which this glorious vision makes upon the prophet? His first cry is not of exultation and delight, but rather of consternation and dismay. "Woe is me," etc. Even the heathen, as more than one legend in their mythology declares, could apprehend something of this truth. If Jupiter comes to Semele arrayed in the glories of deity, she perishes, consumed to ashes in a brightness which is more than mortality can bear. So, too, it must have fared with Moses, if to him, still clothed in flesh and blood, that over-bold request of his, "Show me Thy glory," had been conceded; if it had not been answered to him, "Thou canst not see My face; for there shall no man see Me and live." "We shall perish, for we have seen the Lord of hosts," was the ever recurring cry of those saints of old; and even such is the voice of the prophet here.

5. Yet that moment with all its dreadfulness is a passage, in some sense the only passage, into a true life. And such the prophet found it. Observe the manner in which sin, the guilt of sin, is here, as evermore in Holy Scripture, spoken of as taken away by a free act of God, an act of His in which man is passive; in which he has, so to speak, to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; an act to which he can contribute nothing, save indeed only that Divinely awakened hunger of the soul after the benefit which we call faith.

6. Behold in the prophet the fruit of iniquity taken away, and sin purged. Behold the joyful readiness with which he now offers himself for the service of his God.

(Abp. Trench.)

The contemplation of the majesty of God is the source of the largest hope for all His creatures. For beings pure and holy that vision is the call to unfaltering adoration and limitless faith; for men "of unclean lips" — sin-stained, and labouring in a sin-stained world — it is the reassuring call to the prophet's work

I. The vision of God THE CALL OF THE PROPHET.

1. Nowhere is the thought presented to us in the Bible with more moving force than in this record of Isaiah's mission. The very mark of time by which the history is introduced has a pathetic significance. It places together in sharp contrast the hasty presumption of num and the unchanging love of God. The king died an outcast and a leper because he had ventured to take to himself the function of a priest in the house of God; and in close connection with that tragic catastrophe an access to God, far older than that which the successful monarch had prematurely claimed, was foreshown to the prophet in s heavenly figure. Isaiah, a layman, was, it a appears, in the heavenly court, and he saw in a trance the way into the holiest place laid open. The veils were removed from sanctuary and shrine, and he beheld more than met the eyes of the high priest, the one representative of the people, on the one day on which he was admitted, year by year, to the dark chamber which shrouded the Divine presence. For an eternal moment Isaiah's senses were unsealed. He saw that which is and not that which appears. For him the symbol of God dwelling in light unapproachable, was transformed into a personal presence; the chequered scene of human labour and worship was filled with the train of God; the marvels of human skill were instinct with the life of God. The spot which God had chosen was disclosed to his gaze as the centre of the Divine revelation; but, at the same time, he was taught to acknowledge that the Divine presence is not limited by any bounds, or excluded by any blindness, when he heard from the lips of angels that the fulness of the whole earth is His glory. Now, when we recall what Judaism was at the time — local, rigid, exclusive — we can at once understand that such a revelation taken into the soul was for Isaiah an illumination of the world. He could see all creation in its true nature through the light of God. So to have looked upon it was to have gained that which the seer, cleansed by the sacred fire, was constrained to declare. Humbled, and purified in his humiliation, he could have but one answer when the voice of the Lord required a messenger: "Here am I; send me."

2. Isaiah's vision and call are for us also, and they await from us a like response. When he looked upon that august sight, he saw Christ's glory; he saw in figures and far off that which we have been allowed to contemplate more nearly and with the power of closer apprehension. He saw in transitory shadows that which we have received in a historic Presence. By the Incarnation God has entered, and empowered us to feel that He has entered, into fellowship with humanity and men. As often as that truth rises before our eyes, all heaven is indeed rent open, and all earth is displayed as God made it. For us, then, the vision and the call of Isaiah find a fuller form, a more sovereign voice in the Gospel than the Jewish prophet could know

3. What does "the mystery," the revelation "of God, even Christ" (Colossians 2:2), mean, the mystery of which we are ministers and prophets, the mystery which brings the eternal within the forms of time, the mystery which shows to us absolute love made visible in the Incarnate Word? It means that the outward, the transitory, is a yell woven by the necessities of our weakness, which half hides and half reveals the realities with which it corresponds; that the changing forms in which spiritual aspirations are clothed from generation to generation and from life to life, are illuminated, quickened, harmonised in one supreme fact; that beyond the temples in which it is our blessing to worship, and beyond the phrases which it is our joy to affirm, there is an infinite glory which can have no local circumscription, and an infinite Truth which cannot be grasped by any human thought; that man, bruised and burdened by sorrows and sins, was made for God, and that through His holy love he shall not fail of his destiny; that all creation is an expression of God's thought of wisdom brought within the reach of human intelligence; that God's Spirit sent in His Son's name will interpret little by little, as we can read the lesson, all things as contributory to His praise; that we also, compassed with infirmities and burdened with sins, may take, up the song of the redeemed creation, the song of the unfallen angels, and say, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the fulness of the earth is His glory. It means this, and more than this.

II. The vision of God THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHET. It is this vision which the prophet has to proclaim and to interpret to his fellowmen, not as an intellectual theory, but as an inspiration of life. The prophet's teaching must be the translation of his experience. The Gospel of Christ Incarnate, the Gospel of the Holy Trinity in the terms of human life, covers every imaginable part of life to the end of time, and is new now as it has been new in all the past; as it will be new, new in its power and in its meaning, while the world lasts. True it is that such a vision of God — Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier — entering into fellowship with the beings whom He has made, "gathering up all things to Himself," "making peace through the blood of the Cross," shows life to us, as Isaiah saw it, in a most solemn aspect: that it must fill us, as it filled Isaiah, with the sense of our immeasurable unworthiness in the face of Christ's majesty and Christ's love: that it must touch us also with something of a cleansing power. And because it is so we can take heart again. For such emotion, such purification of soul, is the beginning of abiding strength.

III. The vision of God THE CHASTENING OF THE PROPHET. In the fulfilment of our prophetic work we need more than we know the abasing and elevating influences which the vision of Isaiah and the thoughts which it suggests are fitted to create or deepen. In the stress of restless occupation we are tempted to leave too much out of sight the inevitable mysteries of life. We deal lightly with the greatest questions. We are peremptory in defining details of dogma beyond the teaching of Scripture. We are familiar beyond apostolic precedent in our approaches to God. We fashion heavenly things after the fashion of earth. In all these respects then for our strengthening and for our purifying, we must seek for ourselves aria strive to spread about us the sense of the awfulness of being, as those who have seen God at Bethlehem, Calvary, Olivet, and on the throne encircled by a rainbow as an emerald: the sense, vague and imperfect at the best, of the illimitable range of the courses and issues of action; the sense of the untold vastness of that life which we are bold to measure by our feeble powers; the sense of the majesty of Him before whom the angels veil their faces. If we are cast down by the meannesses, the sorrows, the sins of the world, it is because we dwell on some little part of which we see little; but let the thought of God in Christ come in, and we can rest in that holy splendour. At the same time let us not dare to confine at our will the action of the light. It is our own irreparable loss if in our conceptions of doctrine we gain clearness of definition by following out the human conditions of apprehending the Divine, and forget that every outline is the expression in terms of a lower order of that which is many-sided; if in our methods of devotion we single out the human nature of the Lord, or rather the manifestation of His unascended manhood, as the object of our thoughts, and forget that He leads us to the Father; if we rest in things visible and do not rather strive to read ever more clearly the spiritual lessons to which they point; if we concentrate our worship in isolated rites and fail to bear to the world of daily thought and action the teaching and the promises of sacraments.

(B. F. Westcott, D. D.)

John Wesley: — The year in which King Uzziah died must have appeared a very noteworthy one to the Jewish contemporaries of Isaiah, most of whom, in all probability, regarded the death of one king and the accession of another as the most important events which occurred in it. Yet to us, who know that this was the year in which Isaiah was called to the prophetic office, these occurrences shrink into insignificance when compared with the last. named fact, although that would take place without attracting the notice of any one besides the prophet himself...In the year 1738, on May 24th, the prince was born who was afterwards known as George III. The event would soon be proclaimed all through England. On the evening of the same day, in a quiet meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, another event took place, known only to one man: John Wesley "believed to the saving of the soul," and obtained assurance of sins forgiven. In a few years George III will become to all but a few a name, and nothing more; but John Wesley will become more illustrious, and the influence of his work will be more widely felt, as the ages roll on.

(B. Hellier.)

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