Isaiah 33:17
Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and behold a land that stretches afar.
Sermons
Christ Victorious: His People FreeIsaiah 33:17
Christ's Life a PoemStopford A. Brooke, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
Death a Mean, of VisionR. J. Campbell, M. A.Isaiah 33:17
Glances At the FutureU. R. Thomas, B. A.Isaiah 33:17
Heaven AnticipatedLight in the Dwelling.Isaiah 33:17
Is Beauty Ascribed to JehovahH. Crosby, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
Miss Havergal's ExperienceKing's Highway.Isaiah 33:17
Not AllW. Adamson, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
Reverence, a Belief in God's PresenceJ. H. Newman, B. D.Isaiah 33:17
Samuel Rutherford's Dying UtterancesKing's Highway.Isaiah 33:17
Seeing the King in His BeautyH. E. Manning, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
The Beautiful ChristF. W. Farrar, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
The Beautiful GodR. Macculloch.Isaiah 33:17
The Beautiful GodIsaiah 33:17
The Beautiful King and the Far-Off LandF. Ferguson, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
The Blessedness of HeavenB. Beddome, M. A.Isaiah 33:17
The Breadth of the KingdomW. Clarkson Isaiah 33:17
The Delectable MountainIsaiah 33:17
The Distant LandJ. Hoyle.Isaiah 33:17
The Glorious VisionW.M. Statham Isaiah 33:17
The Heavenly King and the Privileges of His SubjectsJohn Overton.Isaiah 33:17
The Jews' Deliverance from the Assyrian InvasionIsaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyF. S. Webster, M. A.Isaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyProf. A. B. Davidson, LL. D.Isaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyIsaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyF. Ferguson, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyThos. Spurgeon.Isaiah 33:17
The King in His BeautyW. Clarkson Isaiah 33:17
The Land that is Very Far OffProf. S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 33:17
Visions of the KingR. Tuck Isaiah 33:17
Dwelling on HighJ. G. Govan.Isaiah 33:16-17
Hidden in the RockJ. R. Miller, D. D.Isaiah 33:16-17
Rest in GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 33:16-17
Sale in the RockWestminster Teacher.Isaiah 33:16-17
The Christian Should be JoyfulIsaiah 33:16-17
The Life of Surrender and TrustG. H. C. Macgregor, M. A.Isaiah 33:16-17
The Reign of HezekiahE. Johnson Isaiah 33:17-24
Amidst all the agitation caused by the invasion of Sennacherib, and his perfidy, "the voices of true prophets were raised with power, pointing to the imperishable elements in the true community, and proclaiming the approach of a great crisis, the crushing weight of which should alight only on the faithless, whether among the Assyrians or in Judah" (Ewald). Here we find a reflection of the excitement of the time.

I. THE GLORY OF THE KING. His beauty is a moral beauty - that of a just rule (Isaiah 32:1); an "ideal beauty - the evidence of God's extraordinary favor." The picture should be compared with that in Psalm 45. The eyes of the people shall see a land of distances. Looking northward and southward, and eastward and westward, the boundaries of the kingdom shall still be extended, far as eye can reach.

II. VANISHED TERRORS. The Assyrian officials who registered the amounts of the tribute, who tested the silver and the gold, who counted the towers of the city about to fall their prey, shall have vanished. The people themselves shall proudly and thankfully number those intact towers (Psalm 48:13). No longer shall the jarring accents of the foreigner's stammering tongue fall upon their ears.

III. THE STRENGTH AND SPLENDOUR OF ZION. Look upon her! Once more the festive throngs shall gather there. Once more she shall be a house of peace, or dwelling of confidence, a quiet resting-place. She had indeed seemed like the tent of wanderers, the pegs ready to be drawn out, the cords to be rent, at the bidding of the conqueror. The people had been threatened with removal (Isaiah 36:17). This fear shall have passed away. The majesty of Jehovah, like an all-protecting regis, terrifying to his enemies, assuring to his friends, shall be revealed in Zion's state. That presence, which is "glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders," shall have returned thither; that right hand, which is glorious in power, shall again have been stretched forth to deliver and to protect. Jehovah, and he alone, is the Defense of Jerusalem. What though she be unlike "populous No, situate among the rivers, with the waters round about it, and the rampart of the sea" (Nahum 3:8), or Babylon, "seated on the waters" (Jeremiah 51:13), - he shall be instead of rivers and canals to his holy city. It is the streams of a spiritual river which "shall make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:4).

IV. THE DIVINE RULER. By him kings reign and princes decreed justice. The earthly king is but representative of him who is enthroned in heaven, the "great King." Hezekiah is but his vicegerent, his inspired servant. The weak political power becomes strong through him. Though Zion be like a dismasted ship, she wilt prevail over the proud, well-rigged ships of her foes. Sin will cease, punishment will be at end, and, with it, bodily suffering and sickness (Isaiah 35:5, 6; Isaiah 65:20; Mark 2:10, 11). "A people, humbled by punishment; penitent and therefore pardoned, will dwell in Jerusalem. The strength of Israel and all its salvation rest upon the forgiveness of its sins."

V. LESSONS.

1. National judgments will only cease with national sins. "Humble repentance is to cure us of our sins and miseries; and there can no cure be wrought unless the plaster be as broad as the sore."

2. The most effectual way to avert national judgments is the way of personal amendment. Particular sins often bring down general judgments. Sin, like a leprosy, begins in a small compass, yet quickly overspreads the whole.

3. The forsaking of sins begets hope in the mercy of God. Because he has promised upon that condition to remove them; because he actually often has so removed them; because, when men are thus humbled, God has attained the end of his judgments (South). - J.







Thine eyes shall see the King in ms beauty.
Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Sennacherib. The relief gained when Hezekiah paid over the three hundred talents of silver and the thirty talents of gold, emptying thereby the royal treasury and stripping the gold from the doors and pillars of the Temple, had not lasted long. Rabshakeh, the chief envoy of Assyria, had been sent with another army to demand the unconditional surrender of the city. A great change, however, had taken place in the spirit and faith of the people. No further mention was made of an alliance with Egypt. The prophet Isaiah, instead of being ridiculed and despised, was at once appealed to by the king, and his counsel followed. Hope and confidence in Jehovah had been restored, and this second attack of the treacherous Assyrian, instead of plunging the nation into despair, seemed rather to rouse them to defiance. It was God's forgiveness which had wrought the change. The departure of the Assyrian, at a time when Jerusalem was absolutely in his power, was a manifest proof of God's forgiving mercy and a striking confirmation of Isaiah's words. So, though the enemy returned, the prophet's encouraging and reassuring messages did not fall upon deaf ears. The chapter opens with a plain forecast of the speedy destruction that should overtake the treacherous spoiler of God's people. Then follows a graphic picture of the disappointment of the ambassadors of peace, and the deserted and downtrodden state of the country districts that had resulted from Sennacherib's breach of the covenant of peace. But from verse 10 to the end the sufficiency of the championship of Jehovah is unfolded, and the chapter closes with promises of victory and pardon, "the lame shall take the prey," "the people shall be forgiven their iniquity." Yes, the presence and leadership of Jehovah would change everything. The glorious Lord would be unto them a place of broad rivers and streams. But as we read these Scriptures, "Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty"; "thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation," we feel that their primary application by no means exhausts their full meaning. A greater than Hezekiah is here. The King in His beauty is for us the very Prince of Peace Himself. Once for our sakes He was covered with shame, mocked and buffeted and handcuffed. Now by faith we see Him crowned with glory and honour, and one day our eyes shall see Him as He is in His beauty. As yet the new Jerusalem is hemmed in by foes. Enemies far more treacherous and destructive than the Assyrians are seeking to enslave and despoil the people of God. But our eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle so peaceful and steadfast that not one of the stakes thereof shall be removed nor any of its cords broken. Yes, the story of the siege of Jerusalem is only a parable of the life of God in the soul of man. "God's forgiveness is much more than a clean slate." It brings His people into the joy and strength of a living union with Himself. It gave new national life to Judah. It gives new spiritual life to the pardoned sinner. Once the Divine forgiveness is realised the whole man is born again. But this does not make us free from temptation. The Assyrians will surely return and menace the city. But the Lord is our sure defence.

1. The beauty of the King passes all man's understanding. There is the beauty of His personal character. It is unfolded to us in the Gospel story. There we see His goodness and truth. His purity is so strong and incandescent with the fire of love that it cannot be marred by the defilements of earth. His sympathy and compassion are so tender and real that the most needy and outcast are attracted to Him. Christ has no beauty in the eyes of the carnal and worldly. He pours contempt on the wisdom of the flesh, the wisdom of this world. Have ye eyes to see the beauty in Jesus? There is the beauty, too, of His perfect sacrifice. This was set forth in the Old Testament Scriptures in the passover lamb, in the brazen serpent, and in all the sacrifices connected with the old covenant. The Lamb without spot or blemish was slain that His atoning blood might cover our sins. The beauty and perfection of the personal character secures the beauty and perfection of the precious sacrifice. Is that blood-stained Cross the most beautiful sight in the world to you? Have you seen the love of God triumphing there over the sin of man, and the Son of God reconciling God and man by the sacrifice of Himself, and laying a righteous foundation for the exercise towards guilty sinners of God's sovereign mercy and grace? But, again, there is the beauty of His perpetual intercession and His abiding presence in our hearts. Christ is no longer on the Cross — He is on the Throne, seated at the right hand of God. From that vantage ground of infinite power and resource He watches all that transpires here below. And He not only watches from a distance, He is with us to save and succour and defend. Have you seen the King in His beauty as He walks with us along life's highway? Or are your eyes still holden?

2. To see the King in His beauty is the essence of all true religion. The world cannot understand the things of God. It cannot receive the Comforter because it seeth Him not. The veil of sense shuts out the glories of the unseen world. Have you seen the Son and believed on Him? Or is there still some veil or prejudice or disobedience upon your heart? Is personal religion still a mystery to you? Does conversion seem to you a strange and doubtful experience? Does the earnestness of some Christians seem altogether extravagant and fanatical? When you have truly seen the King you will find it impossible to exaggerate His beauty, and you will find it equally impossible to set a limit to your obedience. The King must have all. Loyalty cannot measure out its service. It delights in sacrifice. As the veil of sense is penetrated by the vision of faith the victory of life begins. This is the object of all the means of grace. They are to help us to see the King. All life becomes worth living when the humblest duty performed aright may be rewarded with a sight of Him whom you love. This gives new zest to worship. For this we pray and study our Bibles, for this we come to church and join in the Lord's Supper, that we may see the King. This helps us to live a detached and separate life.

(F. S. Webster, M. A.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE KING.

1. The situation of a king is most respectable; he is the head of his people. God is Head of all things; King of kings, and Lord of lords.

2. Kings ought to be wise men, to rule in wisdom. God is all-wise, omniscient.

3. Kings ought to possess power, to be ready to oppose any foe of their people. God is Almighty.

4. Kings should he good men, kind and benevolent. God is good and kind; He feeds, clothes, &c., He is the Fountain of goodness.

5. Kings should be just men, to enforce the laws and punish offenders. God is just, and will not suffer His laws to be infringed, but will punish the guilty.

II. THE EXTENT OF HIS DOMINION.

1. Heaven is His throne; here He manifests His glorious presence; angels, &c., are His servants.

2. Earth is His foot-stool; things animate and inanimate are subject to His control.

3. Hell is His prison, where He confines His foes, and here He is enthroned in vengeance.

4. He has a kingdom among men; this is His universal Church, all who fear God, and work righteousness.

5. He has a kingdom in men; every true believer is a little kingdom in himself, the heart is His throne, and the passions and affections are the subjects.

6. He reigns that He may conquer all, save all.

III. THE PERSONS THIS DECLARATION MAY BE APPLIED TO. "THEY."

1. Those who have an experimental knowledge of the King's favour.

2. Such as feel a profound reverence towards Him.

3. Who love Him, from a sense of His love to them.

4. And obey Him from this principle of love.

IV. WHAT IS IMPLIED BY THE DECLARATION, "They shall see the King."

1. Not with their bodily eye. God is a Spirit.

2. If we could see Him as a Spirit with our bodily eye, yet we could not as God. He is immensity.

3. They shall see Him by the eye of faith — in creation, providence and grace.

(John Overton.)

These words may more immediately refer to the restoration of Hezekiah to his former splendour and dignity, by the destruction of Sennacherib's army, which would establish peace in the land of Judea, and enable the exiles to return home, without fear or danger. But the Holy Spirit in this passage seems also to refer to the initial happiness of all true believers in this world, and their complete felicity in the world to come.

I. THE SOURCES OF HAPPINESS PROVIDED FOR TRUE BELIEVERS. These in general are two —

1. The King in His beauty. All that is to be seen of God with joy and satisfaction, is visible only in the Mediator.

2. The land that is very far off. In the present life our chief happiness arises from hope; hereafter it will consist in vision, and in full fruition. The heavenly glory is here compared to the land of promise, which abounded in population, and yet was so fruitful as to be well able to support all its inhabitants.

(1)It is a land that is very far off from the earth, and farther still from hell.

(2)The views which good people have of the Land of Promise are at present very distant and imperfect.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE SAINTS SHALL ENJOY THE BLISS THAT IS PREPARED FOR THEM. "They shall see and behold it."

1. This may either refer to the partial view which Christians have of future glory upon earth, or to the beatific vision of heaven. We see something of God in the works of creation and providence, and especially in the great work of human redemption. We have also seen the power and glory of God in the sanctuary, in the Word and ordinances, and have sometimes been filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But these views, however refreshing, are not only transient, but very narrow and contracted, in comparison of what they will be hereafter. Then the powers of perception will be raised to the highest pitch, our contracted minds will be enlarged and rendered more retentive, and we shall be able to "gaze in thought on what all thought transcends."

2. The sight which believers have of spiritual objects is essentially different from that of the unregenerate, either in this world or that which is to come.

3. There is an intuitive certainty in the knowledge which Christians have of invisible realities, and which is peculiar to themselves only.

4. A sight of the King in His beauty will be attended with a clearness and a comprehension far surpassing all that we have experienced in the present life.

5. The celestial vision will be ardent and intense.

6. Views of heaven will take place immediately after death, and more fully after the resurrection.

7. There will also be a possessive intuition, or such a sight as includes converse and enjoyment.

8. The vision will be perpetual and without end. There is an entrance into heaven, but no exit out of it.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

There are human lives which are poems, as there are lives which are prose. They give pleasure, as poetry gives it by the expression of the beautiful. Such a life, at its very highest range, was the life of Christ. We seek its poetry to-day, and we weave our thoughts of it round that profound phrase of Milton's, that poetry must be simple, sensuous, and passionate.

I. That which is SIMPLICITY in art is purity in a perfect character. The beauty of Christ's purity was in this —

1. That those who saw it saw in it the glory of moral victory.

2. From this purity, so tried and so victorious, arose two other elements of moral beauty — perfect justice and perfect mercy.

II. The word "SENSUOUSNESS," in Milton's sense of it, was entirely noble in meaning. As the poet produces beautiful work out of the multitudinous world of images and things which he has received, so the exquisiteness of the parables and of the words of Christ, both in form and expression, was the direct result of the knowledge He had gained from the quality of sensibility.

III. The third element of great poetry is PASSION. We may transfer it directly to a character as an element of beauty. It is best defined as the power of intense feeling capable of perfect expression. It was intense feeling of the weakness and sin of man, and intense joy in His Father's power to redeem, which produced the story of the "Prodigal Son," where every word is on fire with tender passion. See how it comes home, even now, to men; see how its profound humanity has made it universal! "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." How that goes home to the deepest want of the race; how deep the passion which generalised that want into a single sentence; how intense, yet how pathetic, the expression of it; how noble the temperance which stayed at the single sentence and felt that it was enough!

(Stopford A. Brooke, D. D.)

The blessed God who infinitely possesses every amiable excellency, and from whom proceeds all that is lovely in the universe, must Himself be adorned with the most exquisite beauty. In Him is concentred the sweetest assemblage of every Divine perfection. In Him, they all shine forth with the brightest lustre, without any superfluity or deficiency. He is consummately righteous, yet full of compassion; He is perfectly holy, yet rich in mercy; He is supreme in majesty, yet infinitely gracious; wisdom, power, and faithfulness, with every glorious attribute that can excite admiration and love, are united in the supreme Lord of heaven and earth. In the various important characters He sustains, He acts with the most endearing condescension and approved fidelity, assiduously performing every office and duty that love can dictate.

(R. Macculloch.)

"Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." Cheyne asserts that this king cannot be Jehovah, for beauty is never ascribed to Him. This is a shallow argument. Can an epithet never be given to God once, but must every epithet be repeated in order to be true? But if one sees Jehovah in Jesus there will be no trouble in finding beauty ascribed to the Messiah, and so to Jehovah Jesus is Jehovah, and we find in the Messiah every form of beauty ascribed to Him in the Canticles, which the Church has always cherished as the song of Christ's love and loveliness to His redeemed people. Again in the forty-fifth Psalm we find the King Messiah described as "fairer than the children of men"; and there is no great difference between assigning beauty to holiness (Psalm 29:2 and Psalms 96:9) and assigning beauty to the holy God. Moreover, in Zechariah 9:17 we find Jehovah thus referred to by the prophet, "How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty." Here the identical word is used (yephi) that is found in our Isaiah text. In this last passage to refer the singular pronoun to God's people when they are spoken of with plural pronouns and verbs in the whole context is hardly a fair way to prove the proposition that beauty is never ascribed to Jehovah, But even if beauty is never ascribed to Jehovah anywhere else, is that a substantial reason why it cannot be here so ascribed?

(H. Crosby, D. D.)

I cannot but regard it as a great misfortune that in all ages the art, the literature, and the worship of the Churches should not only have fallen so far short of the true ideal of our blessed Lord and Master, but should even have gone so far astray in their conceptions of Him. They have represented Him as a partial Christ, whereas He is the universal Christ; as an ecclesiastical Christ, whereas He is a spiritual Christ; as a Christ of gloom and anguish, whereas He is a Christ of love, and joy, and peace in believing; as a dead Christ, whereas He is the risen, the living, the ascended Saviour; as a distant Christ, a Christ who has gone far away into the dim realms of space, whereas He is a present Christ, with us now, with us always, with us individually, with us as a perpetual comforter, a very present help in trouble, with us even to the end of the world; as a Christ of wrath, and vengeance, and dreadfulness, whereas He is loving, tender, and of infinite compassion.

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

The "King" is probably the Messiah "They shall behold a far-stretching land" — Messiah's kingdom is from sea to sea.

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

When the Assyrians had invaded Judea with an immense army, and were about to attack Jerusalem, Rabshakeh was sent with a railing message to the king and his people. When Hezekiah heard of the blasphemies of the proud Assyrian, he rent his clothes and put on sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord, and sent the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth to consult with Isaiah the prophet. The people of Jerusalem, therefore, had seen their king in most mournful array, wearing the garments of sorrow, and the weeds of mourning; they were, however, cheered by the promise that there should be so complete a defeat to Sennacherib, that the king should again adorn himself with the robes of state, and appear with a smiling countenance in all the beauty of joy. Moreover, through the invasion of Sennacherib, the people had not been able to travel; they had been cooped up within the walls of Jerusalem like prisoners. No journeys had been made, either in the direction of Dan or Beersheba, even the nearest villages could not be reached; but the promise is given, that so completely should the country be rid of the enemy, that wayfarers should be able to see the whole of their territory, even that part of the land which was very far off; it should be safe for them to make the longest voyages; they should no longer be afraid of the oppressor, but should find the highways, which once lay waste, to be again open and safe for traffic.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

We have seen our well-beloved Monarch, in the days of His flesh, humiliated and sore vexed; for He was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He whose brightness is as the morning, wore the sackcloth of sorrow as His daily dress; shame was His mantle, and reproach was His vesture. None more afflicted and sorrowful than He. Yet now, inasmuch as He has triumphed over all the powers of darkness upon the bloody tree, our faith beholds our King in His beauty, returning with dyed garments from Edom, robed in the splendour of victory. We also, His joyful subjects who were once shut up and could not come forth, are now possessed of boundless Gospel liberty. Now that we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, we freely possess to its utmost bounds the covenant blessings which He has given to us; and we rejoice that if the land of happiness should sometimes seem to be very far off, it is nevertheless our own, and we shall stand in our lot in the end of the days.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WE HAIL THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR KING.

1. His right to royalty lies in His exalted nature as the Son of God.

2. Jesus has a right to reign because He is the Creator.

3. The Preserver of all men.

4. He governs by virtue of His Headship of the mediatorial kingdom.

5. He has the rights of Divine designation, for God has made Him King.

6. Certain princes have delighted to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in His Church. Now it behoves us, since we thus verbally acknowledge Him to be King, distinctly to understand what this involves.(1) We look upon the Lord Jesus as being to us the fountain of all spiritual legislation. He is a King in His own right — no limited monarch — but an autocrat in the midst of His Church, and in the Church all laws proceed from Christ and Christ only.(2) He alone gives authority to that legislation.(3) He is the Captain in all our warfare.

II. WE DELIGHT TO KNOW THAT OUR KING POSSESSES SUPERLATIVE BEAUTY.

III. THERE ARE SEASONS WHEN WE SEE THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY.

1. We saw Him in that day when He pardoned all our sins.

2. Jesus Christ was in His beauty seen by us more fully, when, after being pardoned, we found how much He had done for us.

3. There are times when, in our contemplations, we see His beauty.

4. It is very probable that we shall have such a sight of our glorious King as we never had before, when we come to die.

IV. THE EXCEEDING GLORY OF THIS SIGHT.

V. THIS SIGHT OF CHRIST EMINENTLY AFFORDS LIBERTY TO THE SOUL.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

These words plainly promise to every follower of Christ, if he shall persevere unto the end, that in the resurrection he shall see the Lord Jesus Christ in His beauty, and in the glory of His kingdom. What, then, is this beauty which shall be revealed to all who attain that world and the resurrection of the holy dead?

I. It would seem to be THE BEAUTY OF HIS HEAVENLY COURT. About Him and before Him are the companies of heaven, the hosts and hierarchies of the blessed, and the saintly multitude of God's new creation. Armies of martyrs, companies of prophets, the majesty of patriarchs, the glory of apostles, each one in the full transfigured beauty of his own perfect spirit, and all revealing the warfare of faith, the triumph of the Church, the power of the Cross, the election of God, — these are the degrees and ascents leading upward to the throne of bliss.

II. But if such be the beauty of the King's court, what is THE BEAUTY OF THE KING HIMSELF? We shall not be dangerously out of the way if we believe that He who is the brightness of His Father's glory and the express image of His person, did take unto Himself our manhood as His revealed presence for ever, in its most perfect image and likeness; that in Him two natures were united, and both were perfect, both were beautiful. There is a beauty we know Him to possess in fulness — the beauty of perfect love. In His face will be revealed all the love of His holy incarnation, of His life of sorrow, of His agony and passion, of His cross and death. The wounds of His hands and feet and of His pierced side are eternal seals and countersigns of the love which has redeemed us for Himself.

1. The King whose beauty is the bliss of heaven is ever drawing and preparing us for His presence by all the mysteries of His Church.

2. By a special and particular discipline, varied and measured for the necessities of every faithful soul, He is making us ready for the vision of His presence.

(H. E. Manning, D. D.)

I. THE SUPREME OBJECT OF VISION. "The King in His beauty."

II. THE ULTIMATE POSSESSION. "The land that is very far off."

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

It is astonishing how much comfort can be packed up in a few words. If one were asked to put into a single sentence the entire body of Scriptural prophecy, of Old and New Testament prophecy combined, he could not easily find a more complete condensation of the whole than in the text. There are two points of view from which we may look at the text.

I. THE OBJECTIVE ASPECT, or the vision as it is set before us; the moral and spiritual ideal yet to be realised.

1. The text is a prediction as to a glorious Person and a far-off land, both of them entirely beyond the calculations of men. "The King in His beauty" is Jesus Christ, The words are striking. It is not exactly the King in His majesty, or grandeur, or glory, or power, but "the King in His beauty." We speak of the good and the beautiful and the true. And there is a singular accordance between those three super-excellent realities. We think of them in connection with the Persons in the Godhead. While it is true that all glory and power of the one aspect of the Divine Being belongs to the other, still we are permitted to make a distinction in our thoughts, and we think of the Father as that One in whom we see pre-eminently the good; and the Son as that One in whom we see specifically the beautiful; and the Spirit as that One in whom we see pre-eminently the true.

2. When we turn our thoughts to the beautiful alone, we are met by this conception — that the beautiful is but another word for the becoming. A beautiful action is an action which it becomes one to do. A beautiful character is one, all the elements of which are in sweet accordance; when part is adapted to part, as the colours of the rainbow blend together; when one line of the form gracefully runs into another; when one sound is the harmonious concomitant and perfect sequel of another — there you have beauty, the beauty as a spirit breathing through the whole and informing all its parts — such a whole that one part may become the other, and pass and repass into the other. The beauty is translucent, elastic, perfect. Now apply this conception to Jesus Christ, and you will see with what amazing propriety the beautiful in Him is the same as the becoming. Consider the harmony of the Divine Being as the eternal source of all the beauty we can ever know. Consider the essential beauty of our human nature as made in the image and after the likeness of God; consider, further, the absolutely harmonious combination and indissoluble union of those two natures in Christ with the amazing self-sacrifice of the Son of God for our redemption, and the adaptation of His work to all the wants of our case, and you have such a conception of the becoming — of all that it becomes both God and man to do — as explains to us the emphasis and the propriety with which Christ is spoken of as "the King in His beauty." No one can be beautiful apart from Him.

3. Society is at present a hideous discord, at least to a very large extent. We cannot say that it is beautiful. But it is not more certain that Jesus Christ is King; it is not more certain that He is the centre of heaven's harmony, than it is certain that the far-off land will yet be brought nigh and made visible upon the earth; and that God's will shall be done upon the earth, even as it is done in heaven.

II. THE SUBJECTIVE ASPECT, or what is implied in seeing the vision, in realising the ideal. The time is coming when every human being shall actually look upon Jesus Christ. But to look is not always to see all that can be seen. To see the King in His beauty implies a deeper seeing than that of merely looking upon Him. It implies a being made like Him. In order to see the kingdom of God, or to enter into it, we must actually be born again. We must ourselves (in other words) be a part of that which we truly see. We shall see Him at last because we shall have been made like Him. It is the pure in heart who see God This seeing of God is our heaven in its highest and most complete form; and it is by faith in Christ that we are brought to this perception. As faith grows and develops, as it passes into the life, it turns the abstract ideal into the concrete reality. On the other hand, the result is certain from the Divine side. It is secured by the fact that the King in His beauty is there. The heavenly Bridegroom is waiting for the perfection of His Bride. And as He waits He works, tie rules over all things for the accomplishment of the Divine purpose. Make, then, the goal of your life quite clear, and lay down all your lines of thought and action directly for that goal. Let us thank God that such is the Christianity of Jesus Christ.

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

1. Though Moses was not permitted to enter the land of promise, he was vouchsafed a sight of it from a distance. We too, though as yet we are not admitted to heavenly glory, yet are given to see much, in preparation for seeing more. Christ dwells among us in His Church really though invisibly, and through its Ordinances fulfils towards us, in a true and sufficient sense, the promise of the text. We are even now permitted to "see the King in His beauty," to "behold the land that is very far off." The words of the Prophet relate to our present state as well as to the state of saints hereafter. Of the future glory it is said by St. John, "They shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads." And of the present, Isaiah himself speaks in passages which may be taken in explanation of the text: "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together"; and again, "They shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God."

2. Such a view is strange to most men; they do not realise the presence of Christ, nor admit the duty of realising it. Even those who are not without habits of seriousness, have almost or quite forgotten the duty. This is plain at once: for, unless they had, they would not be so very deficient in reverence as they are. There are two classes of men who are deficient in awe and fear, and, lamentable to say, taken together, they go far to make up the religious portion of the community. It is not wonderful that sinners should live without the fear of God; but what shall we say of an age or country in which even the more serious classes maintain, or at least act as if they maintained, that "the spirit of God's holy fear" is no part of religion?(1) Those who think that they never were greatly under God's displeasure.(2) Those who think that, though they once were, they are net at all now, for all sin has been forgiven them; — those on the one hand who consider that sin is no great evil in itself, those on the other who consider that it is no great evil in them, because their persons are accepted in Christ for their faith's sake.

(J. H. Newman, B. D.)

The land that is very far off.
"A far-stretching land," i.e., a land no longer "diminished" (to use Sennacherib's own expression) by spoliation or hemmed in by foes.

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

As it is in the margin, "the land of far distances." A land cleared of enemies as far as the eye can reach and the foot carry.

I. THIS WILL APPLY TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, WHICH THE REDEEMED SOUL SHALL POSSESS IN HEAVEN. Here we know but little of the great Father of our spirits. But in heaven we shall know God more fully. Know Him not in His essence, but in the glorified human nature of Christ; in His relation to ourselves and the universe.

II. THIS WILL APPLY TO THE VIEWS WHICH HEAVEN WILL GIVE US OF THE REDEEMING WORK OF CHRIST. At present there are many questions which the devout soul proposes in relation to this mighty work, but no response is given. What disclosures will heaven make on these points!

III. THIS WILL APPLY TO THE EXPLANATIONS WHICH HEAVEN WILL AFFORD OF THE SECRETS OF NATURE. Nature, like the fabled traveller, has given the casket to the highwayman, but kept the jewels. She has given us names, but kept the power.

IV. THIS WILL APPLY TO THE SOLUTION WHICH HEAVEN WILL GIVE OF THE MYSTERIES OF PROVIDENCE.

V. THIS WILL APPLY TO OUR EXPERIENCE OF DIVINE GOODNESS. Here the vessel is narrowed by its conditions. It cannot receive much, it cannot bear much. Here we sip of the river of God, there we shall drink of its fulness.

1. Learn the limitations of this life. We know in part. It doth not yet appear what we shall be.

2. The boundless wisdom and goodness of God. The best things are yet in store.

3. See here the encouragements to a life of faith

(J. Hoyle.)

Do you ask what are the waving outlines of this "land of far distances" that begins directly a man begins to live a Christly life, and that stretches away after death into the Infinite? I answer —

I. UNENDING EXISTENCE.

II. UNDECAYING ACTIVITY. Our work here is bounded by many things.

1. There is the finishing of the enterprise.

2. There is the failure of our powers.

3. There is the ceasing of inclination.Sometimes fuel has not been added to fire of flickering motive; sometimes fellow-workers have been cold, unwelcome, or harshly discouraging; sometimes repeated failure and mocking disappointments have driven a man back from seeking his own higher education or the world's welfare, and "desire ceases," and there is an end of work. But in contrast with all this that is of the earth earthy, the true worker for himself and for others, yearns after and will inherit "a land of far distances." There the work will never be completed, for a universe is the sphere of labour, eternity is the period, and the infinite the problem. Labour — the putting forth of power: sacrificial labour — the putting forth of power in the spirit of the Lamb, who is the central life of the heavenly world; this is the far-reaching hope of every Christly soul. And this without the decay of powers, for then will be fulfilled the promise of perpetual morning dew, immortal youth, a world without pain, and never needing a night. Nor will want of inclination bring these occupations to an end, for there is realised the full power of the quenchless inspiration of love to the Lamb who was slain. So, for our highest, noblest labours, there is a limitless hope.

III. UNFETTERED THOUGHT. For the inquirer this human life is not "a land of far distances." Thinkers often weep in their sense of mental poverty. But we are to believe in the lifting of veil after veil as we go on through the ages, till the fair face of Truth shall be seen in Divinest beauty.

IV. UNBOUNDED AFFECTIONS.

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

I. Our first concern is with THE HISTORICAL SETTING of this verse.

II. THE SPIRITUAL PARALLEL. To see the King, — Jesus, I mean, — is one of the best blessings of His people. There is a further promise, "Thine eyes shall behold the land that is very far off," i.e., "a far-stretching tract of country." We must abide by the metaphor; this stands, I think, for the great multitude of exceeding great and precious privileges which God has given us in Jesus Christ.

III. THE FINAL FULFILMENT OR THIS PROMISE. All the things God's people know on earth are but feeble foretastes of the joys of heaven.

(Thos. Spurgeon.)

It is recorded of the celebrated John Howe, that in his latter days he greatly desired to attain such a knowledge of Christ, and feel such a sense of His love, as might be a foretaste of the joys of heaven. After his death, a paper was found in his Bible recording how God had answered his prayer. One morning (and he noted the day) he awoke, with his eyes swimming with tears, overwhelmed with a sense of God's goodness in shedding down His grace into the hearts of men. He never could forget the joy of these moments: they made him long still more ardently for that heaven which, from his youth, he had panted to behold.

(Light in the Dwelling.)

Some days before he died, he said: "I shall shine, I shall see Him as He is, I shall see Him reign, and all His fair company with Him; and I shall have my large share, my eyes shall see my Redeemer, these very eyes of mine, and no other for me; this may seem a wide word, but it is no fancy or delusion; it is true, it is true; let my Lord's name be exalted, and if He will, let my name be grinded to pieces, that He may be all in all. If He should slay me ten thousand times ten thousand times, I'll trust." One of his friends, Mr. Robert Blair, who stood by, his bed, said to him: "What think ye now of Christ?" To this he replied: I shall live and adore Him; glory, glory, to my Creator, and to my Redeemer for ever; glory shines in Immanuel's land." In the afternoon of the same day he said: "Oh, that all my brethren in the public may know what a Master I have served, and what peace I have this day; I shall sleep in Christ, and when I awake I shall be satisfied with His likeness. This night shall close the door, and put my anchor within the veil, and I shall go away in a sleep by five of the clock in the morning." Words which received their exact fulfilment. His soul was filled with rapture as he lay dying, and he cried, "Oh, for arms to embrace Him! Oh, for a well-tuned harp!" So he passed away, declaring as he went that in the love and presence of his Lord he had found heaven before he entered within the gates.

(King's Highway.)

over": — When a medical man visited a young woman who was on her death-bed, he uttered the common thought of the world when he said to her weeping mother as he grasped her hand, "It will soon be all over with your daughter." She who was about to depart heard the announcement, and, raising herself on her arm, drew aside the curtain, and looking into the face of the doctor with that peculiar look that characterises those who are being loosened from the hither side of existence said, "All over, sir! all over — no, mother, believe him not. When I die, it will not be all over with your daughter, it will only be all beginning. For this present span of existence is not worthy of being compared with the life which shall thrill my whole being in the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and the Lamb."

(W. Adamson, D. D.)

One Sunday morning a friend — a deacon of my church — came to me and said, speaking of his father, a dear old minister and a blind man, "My father can see this morning." "I congratulate you!" I exclaimed; "I am glad and surprised to hear it." "Ah," he replied, "you misunderstand me. My father is dead."

(R. J. Campbell, M. A.)

"How beautiful it is to be with God!" Miss Willard whispered as she died.

A most interesting chapter in the biography describes her visit to Switzerland. On her return home she had typhoid fever, and was laid aside for a long time. This is how she talked of her experience during her illness: F. "Sometimes I could not quite see His face; yet there was His promise, 'I will never leave thee.' I knew He said it, and that He was there." M. "Had you any fear at all to die?" F. "Oh no, not a shadow. It was on the first day of this illness I dictated to Constance, 'Just as Thou wilt, O Master, call!'" M. "Then was it delightful to think you were going home, dear Fan?" F. "No, it was not the idea of going home, but that He was coming for me, and that I should see my King. I never thought of death as going through the dark valley or down to the river; it often seemed to me a going up to the golden gates and lying there in the brightness, just waiting for the gate to open for me." She was brought back, in answer to many prayers, from the gates of the grave.

(King's Highway.)

Then they went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains, which belong to the Lord of the country towards which they were journeying. So they went up the mountains to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains of water. Now there were on the top of these mountains shepherds feeding their flocks. The pilgrims, therefore, went to them and asked: "Whose Delectable Mountains are these? and whose sheep be they that feed on them?" And the shepherds answered "These mountains are Emmanuel's Land: and they are within sight of His city; the sheep are His. 'He laid down His life for them.'" Then said the shepherds one to another, "Let us show the pilgrims the gates to the celestial city, if they have skill to look through our perspective-glass." Then the pilgrims lovingly accepted the motion; so they led them to the top of a hill called Clear, and gave them the glass to look through. Then they tried to look; but the remembrance of the last things that the shepherds had showed them made their hands shake; by means of which impediment they could not look steadily through the glass: yet they thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the glory of the place.

( Bunyans Pilgrim's Progress.)

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