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THE HIGH AND LOFTY ONE.
“For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose
name is holy, I dwell in the high ard holy place, with him also that is of a contrite, and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."-Is, lvii. 15.
WERE we desirous of getting an extensive view of the country, or of the ocean, we would ascend to the summit of some lofty mountain ; but where shall we get a view of Jehovah, the great I AM, who fills heaven and earth? Think of the greatness of God, the condescension of God, and the object in view.
The greatness of God-He is “the high and lofty one." The ancient heathens placed some of their gods so high as to believe that they did not condescend to notice the affairs of men, and that these affairs were under the management of inferior deities; but though the God of the Bible is the most exalted Being in the universe, He regards the falling of a sparrow, and looks with interest on the humble heart. “ He inhabiteth eternity.” Eternity is the dwelling-place of God, and of holy beings. His house is the eternal heavens. There He dwells, where no eye of mortal could gaze, where no sinful being could enter, where there is no succession of years, where time past, present, and future, is unknown, and where all is an eternal now. “ His name is holy."
THE HIGH AND LOFTY ONE.
He is so holy that He cannot look upon sin. There is no sin in His nature, no sin in His laws, no sin in His administrations, and no sin in His actions. If we could hear the harmony of heaven, and listen to the song of its jubilant hosts, that song would celebrate the holiness of God. " Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” “I dwell in the high and holy place.” This is heaven, the dwelling-place of Jehovah. Heaven is always represented as high above the earth, as a holy place prepared for a holy people, and as the peculiar residence of Jehovah. Think of its grandeur; its foundations and walls, are precious stones, its gates are pearls, its streets are shining gold, its citizens are innumerable, its employments are lofty songs, and its enjoyments are endless. If such is Christ's Father's house, who would not be ambitious of dwelling in one of its mansions ? The condescension of God—“With Him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Jehovah dwelt symbolically with the Israelites in all their journeyings through the wilderness, in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, and He also dwelt symbolically with His people in the cloud of glory above the ark, in the tabernacle, and in the temple. But Jehovah now only dwells with His people by the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit. What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ?” The inhabitation of the Spirit enlightens the mind, renews the will, comforts the heart, and prepares for heaven. The contrite and the humble only, enjoy this privilege. The contrite are borne down with a sense of their sins, and their unworthiness, their guilt crushes them to the dust, but God sends His Spirit to raise up, and to heal their wounded spirits. The humble have also a deep sense of their unworthiness, and while the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a proud heart, He delights to dwell in a humble one.
The object in view—“To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The people of God, through carelessness and worldliness, often resemble plants withering under drought and sun. As refreshing rains and genial dews, send new life into such, so God sends new life and comfort into the hearts of the humble and contrite. By greater attention to God's word and ordinances, by a spirit of earnest and persevering prayer, and by the example of other Christians, God imparts new vigour to our hearts. The sad heart is comforted, the torn heart is healed, the cold heart is revived, and the dead heart is re-animated with new life. This result is certain, because it is twice mentioned, and it shall be abiding, because “the tabernacle of God is with men."
THE TRIAL OF ABRAHAM. “ By faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac.”_Heb. xi. 17.
ABRAHAM is remarkable as the head of the Jewish people, their earthly father as well as the father of the faithful. Let us think of his trial, his obedience, his victim, and his faith.
His trial.- God commanded him to offer in sacrifice his only son Isaac.
- Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get the into the land of Moriah ; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Every word of this command must have been a dagger to his heart. Can this, he might well exclaim, be the voice of God ? Does He not command me to act contrary to His own law, “ Thou shalt not kill ?” Is it not revolting to human nature ? Shall a father slay his own son, his only son, and that son greatly beloved ? What a strange command, without reason assigned or motive urged ? Is it not directly contrary to a sure promise previously given to me, “ In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” and is it possible that God can contradict himself? Would not compliance with such a command prove overwhelming to Sarah ? How could she bear the loss of her darling Isaac ? Would not the heathen around shudder at the transaction, and blaspheme God and cause Him
and His people to be reproached among the nations ? These were Abraham's difficulties in this great trial, and though the command he had received from God was a new thing in them, and must have pierced his soul with bitter anguish, yet he was sure it was the voice of God, and, faithful to his God, he must obey. His obedience. It was prompt.
" And Abraham rose up early in the morning.” He had no doubt that the command was from God, and therefore he resolved to obey, whatever might be the consequences. He knew that the authority of God must not be resisted, and therefore he was early at work making the necessary preparations for sacrificing his son.
It was prudent. He did not make known his intentions to Sarah, lest they should be frustrated ; neither did he give any information to the servants, yea, it is believed that Isaac himself was kept in the dark, till ar the scene of the sacrifice. It was persevering. For three long days Abraham travelled to the place appointed, without wavering in his purpose or turning aside. The touching question of Isaac did not, even for a moment, shake his resolution, “ Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering ?” What a noble hero was Abraham! How strong his faith in the great God! “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”