In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
I. "I saw the Lord," etc. 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distant hills which bounded it have seemed, you knew not why, to limit and contract the view; and then a veil has been withdrawn, and new hills, not looking as if they belonged to this earth, yet giving another character to all that does belong to it, have unfolded themselves before you.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.
II. "Above the throne stood the seraphim," etc. The sense of awe increasing with the clearness and purity of a spirit, and with the nearness of its approach to God; the face being veiled which receives its light from Him, and most covets to behold Him; the absence of all wish to display their own perfections in spirits that are perfect; the freedom and willingness to go anywhere, to do any errands of mercy,—these are some of the more obvious thoughts which the study of this vision suggests.
III. The vision reaches its highest point in the cry, Holy, holy, holy. It is the holiness of God which the seraphim proclaim, that which cannot be represented to the eye, that of which descriptions and symbols offer no image. It was this which led the prophet to say, "Woe is me! for I am undone."
IV. The live coal on the altar is a substance dead and cold in itself, which has been kindled from above, and therefore is capable of imparting life and warmth. That warmth and life, communicated to the prophet, take away his iniquity and purge his sin.
V. "Here am I; send me." The mighty change which has been wrought in him is soon apparent. He is sure that God cares for Israelites, and has a message to them; he is sure that a man is to be the bearer of that message. The new fire which has entered into him makes him ready to offer himself as that man.
VI. The most awful lesson which Isaiah had to teach his people was that God's own ordinances, the regular sequence of sovereigns, the duties and symbols of the temple, were contributing to make their eyes dim, and their ears deaf, and their hearts fat. They were seeing all the outward tokens of an invisible King, but they perceived not Him.
VII. "Yet in it shall be a tenth." The nation will be preserved; the remnant, the tenth, would be a pledge and witness of its preservation. Their preservation would prove that the nation was a sacred and immortal thing, because the holy seed was in the midst of it, because it did not derive its life or its unity from this or that believing man, or from a multitude of believing men; but from Him in whom they believed; from that Divine King who lived, though king Uzziah and all other kings died,—nay, though the whole land should seem to die.
F. D. Maurice, Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament, p. 218.
Reference: Isaiah 6:1.—J. W. Lance, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 244.
Isaiah 6:1-2I. The spiritual or angelic life on earth consists not only of devotion. The seraph himself, though indeed the spirit of adoration is upon him always, is not always engaged in direct acts of praise. "With twain he did fly," speed forth, like lightning, upon the errands on which God sends him. There is a deep-seated necessity for work in the constitution of our nature. One of the greatest thinkers of antiquity defined happiness to be "an energy of the soul." The reason why activity fails in numberless instances to secure happiness is that it is separated from God, that it is not in His service and interests.
II. There is a contemplative element in the service of the seraphim—their activity is fed from the springs of their devotion. And so it must be with God's human servants. The activity which flows from ambition, the diligence which is purely mechanical and the result of habit, is not angelic diligence and activity. To attempt to lead the spiritual life without devotion is even a greater mistake than to go apart from our duties in order to lead it. Our flying on God's errands will be an unhallowed flight, if we do not first secretly adore Him in our hearts.
E. M. Goulburn, Thoughts on Personal Religion, p. 30.
Isaiah 6:1-3We have here in this wondrous vision the proper inauguration of the great evangelical prophet to his future work.
I. First, he gives the date of the vision. "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord." What would he say but this: "In the year when the crowned monarch of the earth went down into the dust and darkness of the tomb, and all the pomp and pageantry which had surrounded him for a little while dissolved and disappeared, I saw another king, even the King Immortal, sitting upon His throne, which is forever and ever"? 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!
II. What is the first impression which this glorious vision makes upon the prophet? His first cry is not that of exultation and delight, but rather of consternation and dismay. "Woe is me! for I am undone." He who had uttered this cry was one who had kept himself from his iniquity, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience; and yet in that terrible light he saw and avowed himself as a man undone, saw stains in himself which he had not imagined before, discovered impurities which he had not dreamt of before, saw his own sin and his people's sin, till that mighty cry of anguish was wrung from him. Yet that moment, with all its dreadfulness, was a passage into a true life.
III. Observe the manner in which 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. It is quite another thing with the power of sin. In the subduing of the power of sin we must be fellow-workers with God; all the faculties of our renewed nature will need to be strained to the uttermost.
IV. Behold the joyful readiness with which the prophet now offers himself for the service of His God. "Here am I; send me." He stops not to inquire whereunto the Lord would send him, to undertake what painful labour, to drink what cup of suffering, to be baptized with what baptism of blood. Be the task what it may, he is ready for it.
R. C. Trench, Sermons New and Old, p. 98 (see also Sermons Preached in Ireland, p. 166).
References: Isaiah 6:1-3.—M. Nicholson, Communion with Heaven, p. 57; R. W. Forrest, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 492. Isaiah 6:1-4.—Homilist, Excelsior series, vol. ii., p. 347.
Isaiah 6:1-8I. Consider what the prophet saw. He sees Jehovah as Ruler, Governor, King; He is upon a throne, high and lifted up. It is the throne of absolute sovereignty: of resistless, questionless supremacy over all. 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 friendly communion. His train, the skirts of His wondrous garment of light and love, filled the temple. Above, or upon, that train 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. With this great sight voice and movement are joined. A voice of adoring awe fills the august temple with the echoing sound. The voice occasions commotion, excitement, shaken door-posts, the smoke of the glorious cloudy fire filling all the house.
II. How the prophet felt. It is a thorough prostration. He falls on his face as one dead. He cannot stand that Divine presence—that living, personal, Divine presence—abruptly confronting him in the inmost shrine of the Lord's sanctuary, and the sanctuary of his own heart. What the Lord really is, thus flashing on his conscience, shows him what he is himself. Undone! unclean! Unclean in the very sphere and line of living in which I ought to be most scrupulously clean!
III. How the prophet's case was met. There, full in his view, is an altar with its sacrifice; present to him then, though future; with a living coal from that living altar, the blessed Spirit touches him at the very point of his deepest self-despair. And the effect is as immediate as the touch. Nothing comes in between. Enough that there are, on the one side, the unclean lips, and on the other the live coal from off the altar. To the one let the other be applied, graciously, effectually, by the sevenfold, myriadfold, agency of the Spirit who is ever before the throne on high. The prophet asks nothing more. He hears the voice, as of Him who said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."
IV. The subsequent offer and command. Two things are noticeable here: the grace of God in allowing the prophet, thus exercised, to be a volunteer for service; and 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."
R. S. Candlish, Sermons, p. 86.
References: Isaiah 6:1-8.—H. F. Burder, Sermons, p. 115; S. Cox, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., pp. 18, 21. Isaiah 6:1-10.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xii., p. 283. Isaiah 6:1-11.—Ibid., vol. iv;, p. 274.
Isaiah 6:2Is it not strange, that of those parts of an angel's figure, which seem as if they were made only for action, four out of six are used for an entirely different purpose? It is to teach us, that it is not every power which we have—and which we might think given us for public service, and for the outer life—which is really intended by God for that use. Never think that large faculties are fitted only for large enterprises, and that all your endowments are to be spent on that which is to meet the general eye. Remember that of six wings an angel uses only two to fly with.
I. "With twain he covered his face." Similarly did Abraham, when he talked with God; and Moses in the bush, and Elijah and John. For the face is the expression of a man. His intellect, his heart, are there, and therefore the "covering of the face" is the confession of the weakness and unworthiness of the mind. It is the acknowledgment of the infinite distance of God. It is the sense of His exceeding glory.
II. "And with twain he covered his feet." In order, I suppose, that his very form and motion might not be seen; and therefore it is mentioned before the flight. He did not set out until, as far as possible, himself was concealed. There shall be simply the fact of a mission, and the message; so that if an angel were to bring God's embassy to you, you would not see the angel.
III. "And with twain he did fly." We are taught that angels are always interchanging some nearer worship, or some further ministry. An angel's being gives four parts to humility, and two to service. Be it with us the same. All life, humility and service; but still to humility the largest share.
IV. Why is an angel so very humble? (1) An angel is very great, and therefore he grows humble. (2) An angel is always conversant with the great things of God. (3) An angel knows and is sure that he is loved.
V. Why could an angel fly so well? (1) Because he rests. (2) Because he is disencumbered of self.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 4th series, p. 34.
References: Isaiah 6:2.—W. G. Forbes, Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iii., p. 239. Isaiah 6:2, Isaiah 6:3.—B. Lambert, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 168.
Isaiah 6:2-4I. The seraphim, or burning ones—these strange mystic creatures whom Isaiah beheld hovering above Jehovah's throne, and whose resounding cries pierced his soul. The first thing that strikes us is their redundance of wings. They each had six, only two of which were used for flying; the others, with which they shrouded their faces and their feet, were, apparently, quite superfluous. Was it not sheer waste to be possessing wings that were merely employed as covering, and never spread for flight? And yet, perhaps, without this shrouding of their faces and their feet, they might not have answered so well high Heaven's purposes, might not have swept abroad with such undivided intentness, and such entire abandonment on their Divine errands.
We meet sometimes with these seemingly wasted wings in men, in the form of powers or capabilities, knowledges or skills, for the exercise of which there is no scope or opportunity in their lot, which they are not called on or able to apply. And yet a gift or capacity for which our position affords no adequate application may, nevertheless, be a secret serviceable force in us, rendering us all the wiser or mightier in the position that is below our abilities. We may be moving there more beautifully and more sufficiently on account of the wings that hang motionless.
II. Look at the apparent contradiction here between the covered faces of the seraphim and their loud temple-shaking shouts. Fancy the posts of the Lord's house quivering, and the prophet's heart stirred to its depths beneath the cries of those whose heads were bowed and hid behind their wings! Here to me, however, is an image or adumbration of much truth. Great, penetrating, and inspiring utterances, like the utterances of the seraphim of Isaiah's vision, are they not always connected with some deep, still inwardness, with some profound withdrawal and retirement of soul? Is it not always from such as have held their breath that they come? from such as have brooded oft in solitude and sighed, being burdened?
III. Notice the unintentional, unpurposed effect produced by the seraphim; the much commotion they created without in the least aiming at or meaning it. Earnestness and enthusiasm in a cause will generally effect more than it seeks or thinks of.
IV. In the composition of the seraphim we may see imaged three things, which are always involved in real greatness of character, without which no real nobility is attained. (1) "They covered their faces"—it was the expression of humility. (2) "They covered their feet"—it was theirs to fly, and they would not be tempted to walk. Devotion to some chosen life-purpose involves always some resolute self-limiting in relation to things lawful enough, but not expedient, and always impels to it. (3) "With twain they did fly"—swift, so swift to execute the errands of Jehovah; and faithful velocity, instantaneous and vivid movement in obedience to the voice of the Lord within you,—this is the third of the three essentials to real greatness of character and nobility of life which Isaiah's seraphim suggest.
S. A. Tipple, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 24.
Isaiah 6:3I. The vision of God is the call of the prophet. Nowhere is the thought presented to us in the Bible with more moving force than in the 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 man and the unchanging love of God. Isaiah, a layman, was, it appears, in the temple court, and he saw in a trance the way into the holiest place laid open. He beheld not the glory resting upon the symbolic ark, but the Lord sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up; not the carved figures of angels, but the seraphim standing with outstretched wings, ready for swift service; not the vapour of earthly incense, but the cloud of smoke which witnessed to the majesty which it hid. This opening of "the eyes of his heart" was God's gift, God's call to him. For an eternal moment Isaiah's senses were unsealed. He saw that which is, and not that which appears when we recall what Judaism was at the time,—local, rigid, exclusive. We can at once understand that such a vision, such a revelation taken into the soul, was for Isaiah an illumination of the world. He could at last see all creation in its true nature through the light of God. 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."
II. As the vision of God is the call of the prophet, so it is this vision which the prophet has to proclaim and to interpret to his fellow-men, not as an intellectual theory, but as an inspiration of life. The prophet's teaching must be the translation of his experience. He bears witness of that which he has seen. His words, are not an echo, but a living testimony. The heart alone can speak to the heart. But he who has beheld the least fragment of the Divine glory, he who has spelt out in letters of light on the face of the world one syllable of the Triune Name, will have a confidence and a power which nothing else can bring. Only let him trust what he has seen, and it will become to him a guiding star till he rests in the unveiled presence of Christ.
III. The vision of God is also the chastening of the prophet. And 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 of today are fitted to create or deepen. For our strengthening and for our purifying, we must seek for ourselves, and 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 content to measure by our feeble powers; the sense of the majesty of Him before whom the angels veil their faces.
B. F. Westcott, Christus Consummator, p. 163.
I. Two of the Divine attributes form the theme of the seraphs' hymn: God's holiness as inherent in Himself; His glory as manifested in the earth. Holiness, the first of these, denotes, fundamentally, a state of freedom from all imperfection, specially from all moral imperfection; a state, moreover, realised with such intensity as to imply not only the absence of evil, but antagonism to it. It is more than goodness, more than purity, more than righteousness; it embraces all these in their ideal completeness, but it expresses besides the recoil from everything which is their opposite.
II. But not only does the seraphic hymn celebrate the Divine nature in its own transcendent purity and perfection, it celebrates it as it is manifested in the material world: "the fulness of the whole earth is His glory." By "glory" we mean the outward show or state attendant upon dignity or rank. The glory, then, of which Isaiah speaks, is the outward expression of the Divine nature. Pictured as visible splendour, it may impress the eye of flesh; but any other worthy manifestation of the being of God may be not less truly termed His glory. It is more than the particular attribute of power or wisdom; it is the entire fulness of the Godhead, visible to the eye of faith, if not to the eye of sense, in the concrete works of nature, arresting the spectator and claiming from him the tribute of praise and homage.
III. Wherein does the world so reflect the being of God as to be the expression of His glory? It is visible (1) in the fact, as such, of creation; (2) in the means by which an abode has been prepared for the reception of life and intelligence, and the majestic scale upon which the process has been conceived and carried out; (3) in the rare and subtle mechanism which sustains the world in every part, and the intrinsic adequacy and beauty of the results.
IV. Can we trace any evidence of the moral character of God, or is the earth full merely of the tokens of His power? It is difficult to think that we are mistaken in tracing it in the constitution of human nature, in the affections and aspirations which it displays, in the conditions upon which social life is observed to depend. He who has inspired human nature with true impulses of justice and generosity, of sympathy and love, with admiration for the heroic and noble, with scorn for the ignoble and the mean, cannot but be possessed of a kindred character Himself. Though the rays are broken and the image is obscured, the moral glory of the Creator shines in the world; it is reflected in the verdict of the individual conscience; it is latent in the ethical sanctions upon which the permanence and welfare of society depends.
S. R. Driver, The Anglican Pulpit of To-Day, p. 456.
References: Isaiah 6:3.—B. F. Westcott, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 363; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. viii., p. 336, and vol. xviii., p. 280; F. Godet, Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 110; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity Sunday, p. 364; J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. vi., p. 362. Isaiah 6:4.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii., p. 33.
Isaiah 6:5The vision of Isaiah is a true symbol of the soul's progress.
I. The first stage of the vision is the revelation of God in His glory and in His holiness. The spiritual being of man truly begins when he has seen God. This vision of God must be a moral vision, that is, the apprehension of God as a King and Lawgiver, and therefore, as in relation to ourselves, our duty, and our affection. There is no true vision of God which embraces the entire vision of man until the eye of the spirit has been opened, and we gaze at God, not an idea or a fancy, but a Being great, majestic, holy, sitting upon a throne with law and claim even upon ourselves.
II. The second stage of the vision is the effect of this revelation upon the heart of the prophet. The sight of God is followed by the consciousness of personal sin. The claim of God is seen in the kingship which the throne symbolises. To know God is also to know duty, and to know duty is to know failure and disobedience, and the miserable deflections from duty which mock our human lives.
III. The next change of the vision is the purifying act of the seraph, who flies with a coal from the altar, and touches the lips of the penitent prophet. And here we recognise the sanctifying of the aroused soul by a relation to sacrifice; the confession of previous guilt is followed by the removal of the sin through a Divine act. (1) To the consciously guilty, there is a means of forgiveness. (2) The coal is from the altar. The purification is associated with sacrifice, and the means of that purifying follows and depends upon the burnt offering. Does not this point us to the grand Christian doctrine that sin is taken from the confessing soul by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God?
IV. The last change in the vision is the reply of the sanctified spirit to the requirement of God; and this points to the further stage of spiritual growth, that which follows upon the reception of saving power—acceptance and obedience to the Divine will.
L. D. Bevan, Penny Pulpit, No. 364.
Reference: Isaiah 6:5.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 280.
Isaiah 6:5-8These verses teach us the essentials of true worship and of acceptable approach to God. And they seem to indicate these essentials as threefold, involving:—
I. A sense of personal wretchedness. To worship truly, there must be a sense of our own nothingness and need. The sense of wretchedness is first induced by the contemplation of the holiness and majesty of God. It is relieved by the condescension and mercy of the King. He is not only holy. "Mercy and truth meet together; righteousness and peace embrace each other;" and in that embrace the man who is undone is folded, and invited to bring forth his offering.
II. A sense of pardon. "Our God is a consuming fire," and our first contemplation of Him thus is one which appals and overcomes us. But a little further prostration before the Holy One shows that the fire is a purging fire, not to consume the man, but only to erase the confessed uncleanness from his lips. With the anointing of the holy fire on the lip, there comes the new life into the heart, and now the mortal may mingle his praises with the seraphim themselves.
III. But worship is not complete without service. To the ascription of the heart and lip there must be added the alacrity and obedience of the life. There was service for the seraphim: to fly with the live coal. And there is service for the seer: to fly with the living message. "Here am I; send me." Here is the alacrity of obedience. There is no curious inquiry about the nature of the service. The man becomes as winged as the seraph.
A. Mursell, Lights and Landmarks, p. 72.
References: Isaiah 6:5-8.—H. T. Edwards, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 353. Isaiah 6:6-7.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages from the Prophets, vol. i., p. 17.
Isaiah 6:6-8There must be a relation between prayer and action: between prayer, which is the soul of the inward life; and action, which is the substance of the outward.
I. Prayer is the preparation for action. What prayer is to preaching, that is action to prayer, its end and goal. That sermon is successful which makes men pray; that prayer is successful which makes men act. (1) It is necessary to remember that action has a spiritual field as well as an outward. There is an action of the soul, which is the highest of all practical workings. That living energy of conscious and fervent love—love to God, and love to man—which goes forth in holy aspirations, charitable feelings, and benevolent designs, is action, and the noblest action. (2) Prayer, which is the arming of the soul, must have respect to the items of the conflict even more than to the sum. The prayer which would affect action must be minute and detailed, as well as earnest.
II. Action is the working out of prayer. Even as the prophet, when the live coal had touched his lips, purging iniquity, heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" and answered, "Here am I; send me," so will the man of prayer, and the man to whom Christ is all, go forth in the spirit of prayer and in the strength of faith, to do the work of God, inward and outward, in his vocation. (1) In prayer he has received power; (2) he has anticipated trial; (3) he acts in the spirit of prayer; (4) he looks forward to the prayer of evening. The prospect of prayer is powerful with him, like its retrospect. He would fain be able to close the day, not in depression, but in thankfulness; not as a vanquished man, but as one who has done all and stands.
C. J. Vaughan, Voices of the Prophets, p. 194.
Isaiah 6:8I. God often chooses marked seasons for His greatest self-manifestations; makes individual souls associate eventful days with their own more personal history. It was so with Isaiah. In that memorable year, naturally speaking, he himself was to see God.
II. It is the sight of the King which works conviction. One half-hour of Divine communion, one resolute determined entering of the Holy of Holies, that we may see the Lord seated upon His throne, and the holy angels veiling face and feet as they sing His praise, will do more for us in the wholesome work of self-abasement and self-abhorrence, because it will bring us into the light which alone makes manifest, and show us, in the very act of condemning, the beauty of the holiness which condemns.
III. Yet even the sense of sin might paralyse being alone. The man who is to do God's work must not only see himself in God's light, but see also how the light which exposes is a light also to purify and to transform. There is an altar of Divine sacrifice kindled from heaven—it stands not within, but in front of the Divine dwelling—and each coal of it is for the purging of the conscience. God sends His messenger to fetch from that altar—which is, being interpreted, the Cross of Jesus—a live coal to touch the unclean lips, and take away the iniquity which would else preclude the service.
IV. God asks, Whom shall I send? God wants a person. He cannot send a thing, nor a machine, nor a sound,—no, nor even a book. God wants us not to aid Him in guiding the stars in their courses, or in giving growth to the vegetable or life to the animal. For us, God's business is with human lives, human souls. That which God has in view, that which God is perpetually taking counsel upon, is the welfare, the happiness, and, if either have been disturbed, then the restoration, the rectification, the redemption, the salvation, of the lives which He created, of the souls which He has made. When He says, Whom shall I send? He inquires, in other words, Who among the living will lend a hand to this work? Be jealous to be the one sent.
C. J. Vaughan, Half-Hours in the Temple Church, p. 177.
References: Isaiah 6:8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 687, and vol. xxiii., No. 1351; A. Maclaren, Old Testament Outlines, p. 169.
Isaiah 6:8-10I. This, in all seeming, was the thankless office to which Isaiah was called, to be heard, to be listened to, by some with contempt, by others with seeming respect, and to leave things in the main worse than he found them. His office was towards those, in part at least, who were ever hearing, never doing, and so never understanding. The more they heard and saw, the farther they were from understanding, from being converted, from the reach of healing. And what said the prophet? Contrary as the sentence must have been to all the yearnings of his soul, crushing to his hopes, he knew that it must be just, because "the Judge of the whole world" must do right. He intercedes, but only by these three words: "Lord, how long?" This question implied a hope that there would be an end; the answer "until" implied that there would be an end.
II. Where there is desolation for the sake of God, there is also consolation. Isaiah had not seen the Beatific Vision. Not with his bodily eyes did he behold God, nor with his bodily ears did he hear His words; but to his inward sight did God disclose some likeness, whereby he should understand the nature of the Divine Essence, how God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in-exists in Himself; although the Beatific Vision, as He is, was reserved for the life to come. So God prepared him to be—above all others, even of the goodly company of the prophets—the evangelic prophet, in that he had seen the glory of the Lord. This, then, is ever his consolation, this his joy in trouble, this his life in death. The surges of this world, higher and higher as they rose, only bore his soul upward toward his God. He, too, was a man of longing. In the darkness of the world God ever brings this light before him,—his darkest visions are the dawn-streaks of the brightest light.
E. B. Pusey, Lenten Sermons, p. 466.
References: Isaiah 6:8-13.—S. Cox, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 217. Isaiah 6:9.—J. Budgen, Parochial Sermons, vol. ii., p. 48. Isaiah 6:9, Isaiah 6:10.—M. Nicholson, Redeeming the Time, p. 125; E. W. Shalders, Expositor, 1st series, vol. vii., p. 471. Isaiah 6:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii.,. No. 121. 6—P. Thomson, Expositor, 1st series, vol. xl., p. 119. Isaiah 7:6.—E. H. Plumptre, Ibid., 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 236. Isaiah 7:9.—I. Williams, Sermons on the Epistles and Gospels, vol. ii., p. 353.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Then said I, 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: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.