And what will you do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will you flee for help?…
The principal word in this short question seems, by its very sound, to bring before the mind indistinctly, a vision of something great and magnificent, yet unsubstantial and vain. When we bring our thoughts upon it more distinctly, we recognise it as the most conspicuous favourite term of heathenism. We mean a heathenism of all times and countries; that action and passion of the human mind, by which notions and feelings of greatness, transcendent value, have been attached to certain things of but imaginary worth; which things have been coveted, adored, toiled for, fought for, lived for, died for — as glory. "Glory," therefore, has been the name of vanity turned into a god. And how vast the dominion of this idolatrous delusion! What it consists of — the world's glory — is readily apprehended. That a man be conspicuous among and above his fellow mortals; be much observed, admired, even envied as being that which they cannot be.
I. Where will ye LEAVE your glory? It is, then, after all, not really united to the man. He expends the ardour of his soul to combine it with his being — to make it his very substance — but it is extraneous still! He may have to go where it will not accompany him.
II. And WHERE will they leave their glory? Where, that it can in any sense continue to be theirs — theirs, for any beneficial or gratifying effect to them? What will it be to them how it falls to other mortals? Nothing is more mournful than parting with what is passionately loved, under a perfect certainty of possessing it no more.
III. As the concluding part of these meditations, let us briefly APPLY THEM TO SEVERAL OF THE FORMS OF THIS WORLD'S GLORY. There is presented a Christian, a heavenly, an eternal glory. When the lovers of glory are invited to this, and scorn it, and reject it, what is it that they take?
1. The most common form of the idolised thing is — what may be called the material splendour of life; that which immediately strikes the senses. But they must leave their glory.
2. It is, in part, a different and additional form of the world's glory, when we mention elevated rank in society. All know how vehemently coveted and envied is this glory, — how elated, for the most part, the possessors of it feel. But the thought of leaving it! With what a grim and ghostly aspect this thought must appear, when it will sometimes intrude!
3. The possession of power is perhaps the idol supreme; to have at control, and in complete subjection, the action and the condition of numbers of mankind; to see the crowd, whether in heart obsequious or rebellious, practically awed, submissive, obedient. But it is not that voice that is long to command!
4. We might have named martial glory, — the object of the most ardent aspiration, and of the most pernicious idolatry. There is often an utter delusion in this expectation.
5. In the last place might be named intellectual glory, — that of knowledge, talent, and great mental performance. If, in that passion for renown, you have exerted great powers of mind to do fatal mischief — to overwhelm truth — to corrupt the morals — to explode religion — to degrade the glory of the Redeemer — what then? If you can, in that world, have any vital sympathy with your fame, your influence remaining in this, the consequence would but be a quick continual succession of direful shocks, conveyed to your living spirit from what your works are doing here. Contrast with all them forms of folly, the predominant aim of a Christian — which is "glory" still; but a glory which he will not have to leave; a glory accumulating for him in the world to which he is going.
Parallel VersesKJV: And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?