They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD…
1. Most exactly have the figures which the Holy Spirit condescended to apply to Himself been fulfilled in the course of the dispensation; nay, even to this day. His operation has been calm, equable, gradual, far-spreading, overtaking, intimate, irresistible. What is so awfully silent, so mighty, so inevitable, so encompassing as a flood of water? Such was the power of the Spirit in the beginning, when He vouchsafed to descend as an invisible wind, as an outpoured flood. Thus He changed the whole face of the world. The ark of God moved upon the face of the waters.
2. And what the power of the Spirit has been in the world at large, that it is also in every human heart to which it comes.
(1) Any spirit which professes to come to us alone, and not to others, which makes no claim of having moved the body of the Church at all times and places, is not of God, but a private spirit of error.
(2) Vehemence, tumult, confusion, are no attributes of that benignant flood with which God has replenished the earth. That flood of grace is sedate, majestic, gentle in its operation.
(3) The Divine baptism, wherewith God visits us, penetrates through our whole soul and body. It leaves no part of us uncleansed, unsanctified. It claims the whole man for God. Any spirit which is content with what is short of this, which does not lead us to utter self-surrender and devotion, is not from God.
3. The heart of every Christian ought to represent in miniature the Catholic Church, since one Spirit makes both the whole Church and every member of it to be His temple. As He makes the Church one, which, left to itself, would separate into many parts, so He makes the soul one, in spite of its various affections and faculties, and its contradictory aims.
(J. H. Newman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.