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blessed inhabitants of heaven, who once were groaning upon earth, while from the heights of bliss ye look back upon your pilgrimage on earth, and by the light of eternity see their connexion with your present felicity; with what holy wonder do you adore the depths of divine wisdom! with what rapture do you shout, “ He has led us by a right way to the city of everlasting habitation!”

This subject is full of practical instructions; I can however only hint at a few of them.

1. It teaches us the guilt and the ingratitude of believers, when they 'murmur or repine at the dispensations of Providence; when they would prescribe to the Lord methods of acting, and as if they were wiser than he, direct him what mercies to give, and in what manner; and are impatient, instead of humbly adoring, if they cannot tell why they have been visited by this affliction, or deprived of that comfort. Yet, alas! this disposition is but too com

mon; there are few who do not sometimes feel, eyen e if they dare not say, “ I do well to be angry.” Let

1 such remember the solemn words of Job, “ Behold, he taketh away, and who can hinder him? Or who shall say unto him, What doest thou ? Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.” To him

you have committed the everlasting interests of your souls, can you not trust him with your property, your friends, your children? Often after seasons of darkness have you found him interposing for you, and then you acknowledged that he had been leading you to felicity “ by a way you knew not;" why will you not still confide in him, though he hideth himself?


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2. Let this subject make us long for heaven. Here there will ever be darkness ; but there in God's light we shall see light. Then all the mysteries of his providence shall be explained; then the Lord will no longer hide himself from us; but we shall ever bless him as the Saviour God.

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1 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. 2 Above it stood the seraphims : each one had six wings ;

with twain he covered his face, and with twain he co

'vered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy,

is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his

glory 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that

cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Wo is me! for I am undone ; because I

am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of.

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a people of unclean lips : for mine eyes have seen the

King, the Lord of hosts. 6 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 : 7 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. 8 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.

God, the Father of our spirits, has an unlimited power over them. He can present to our minds objects which have no existence in nature, or impress upon our imaginations the images of things which are not present, with as much force and distinctness as though they were actually before our eyes. He frequently acted thus to his prophets and apostles : When they were to undergo some severe trial, or when some great truth was to be announced to the people, he often vouchsafed to his servants some symbolical representation, which was proper to console and instruct them: “ Hear now my words, saith the Lord; if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision.” (Numb. xii. 6.) This mode of communicating the divine will was so usual, that the prophets were for a long time distinguished by the name of


Isaiah, about to announce to the people some severe denunciations, is honoured by a vision that was well adapted to give him exalted ideas of God, and alacrity in the performance of his duty: .We propose, in the ensuing discourse,

I. To explain the several parts of this vision ; and,

II. To show you the practical instructions that are to be derived from it.

Lord God Almighty, who, by the ministry of the seraphim, purified the lips of Isaiah, purify my lips, and instruct me in thy truth! And forbid, gracious Father, that this people, like the nation to which thy prophet was sent, should not understand with their heart, and be converted and healed;" but do thou accompany this address by the power of the Holy Ghost, and in this place manifest that glory of which the earth is full.

I. We are to explain to you the nature and intent of this vision.

Isaiah is placed in vision by the altar of burntofferings, at the entrance of the temple: the veil separating the most holy from the holy place is removed, and God is seen seated upon his throne, above the ark, in the most holy place, appearing as a splendid monarch, whilst the train* of his robe, indicative of the overflowing of his glory, filled the temple.

St. John, in the twelfth chapter of his gospel, and forty-first verse, informs us that the Lord, whom Isaiah here saw, was the eternal Word, the second person of the Most Adorable Trinity, who afterwards became incarnate for our salvation; and through whom the divine glory is especially manifested, not only to men, but also to the angelic hosts.

* Although the word train is equivocal in our language, and might here denote either a train of attendant spirits, or the train of a magnificent robe, yet the original (79590) confines it to the latter sense.


VERSE 2. The prophet proceeds in his description : “ 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 Ay." God is generally represented as attended by crowds of angels. The seraphim who here appear to Isaiah, surrounding the throne of the Most High, constitute one of the chief orders of these blessed spirits. The honourable name which they bear is derived from a word signifying to burn, and denotes the fervour of that zeal for the interests of their Lord, by which they are animated. They appear in human form, except that they have six mystic wings: with twain they cover their faces, not daring to look upon nor able to sustain the flashes of glory and brightness issuing from the throne of God; with twain they cover their feet, in token of their profound reverence for the king of heaven; and with twain they fly with rapidity and joy to execute the orders of God.

VERSE 3. And what is the occupation of these exalted beings, whilst they surround the throne of the Lord ? Are they employed in vain contemplations of their own perfections, or in eulogies on the endowments of each other? No! their thoughts and their praises are all directed towards God; their souls absorbed and lost in considering the immensity and glories of Jehovah, can rest on no other object.

6 And they cried one unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his glory." These words give us an exalted idea of the

. Lord, and were perfectly adapted to that end for which he manifested himself to his prophet. God appeared to Isaiah in order to give him a commission

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