For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.…
The word "thought" is used here objectively. It expresses a result and not a process.
I. ILLUSTRATION. Here we need only contrast the human with the Divine style of thinking. Observe some particulars: —
1. Creation. The visible creation that surrounds us on every side and spreads away into immensity beyond us, is only an embodied thought of the infinite, uncreated Intelligence. Tell me if it be at all like one of man's thoughts. Equip man with omnipotence, and set him to create a universe — and would it resemble the universe as it is? By no means!
(1) Man's universe would be absolutely consolidated. Into one immense continent would all these world-islands be cast, and all tribes and types of life inhabit it as a common dwelling! His agonizing regret this day is that he cannot fling the line of a mighty telegraph from star to star, and thus, even in face of the immutable ordinances of heaven, gather these isolated islands of life into one vast virtual consolidation!
(2) A universe projected by man would be motionless and steadfast. We build our homes, not on the waters, that they may be locomotive, but on the shore, that they may be fixed. But God's universe is in everlasting motion. Or, descending from the survey of a universe of worlds to consider the economy of a single world, even with greater force shall we feel the same truth. Such a world as this no wise man would have created. He would have filled up the ocean with plough-ground, and sloped the mountains gently for vineyards, and covered with rich verdure the sands of the wilderness. And the waters would have brought forth after their kind only beautiful things, and every creature moving in the forests would have been musical and fair; and the sky would have been without cloud on its rich blue, and the year without winter or storm in its long summer of loveliness.
2. Providence. And whether we regard the entire economy of providence as a stupendous whole, or each successive development in its separation, the same truth will be manifest. Man certainly would have ordered the whole thing differently. Instead of those mysterious periods of slowly ascending, he would have rounded earth into beauty at first as a home for immortals, and breathed Divine life into man made in God's image. Place at the head of human affairs an omnipotent philanthropist, and how soon would every dark thing be swept from a groaning creation. How the captive would leap from his chain, and the conqueror lay off his mail, and the cries of violence cease, and the rod of the oppressor be broken! How these dark places of cruelty would be irradiated with heavenly light, and Christianity, borne as on angel-wings, circle the round world!
1. Our first remark is addressed to this very class who reject the Bible because to their finitude it seems either unwise or incomprehensible. The poor erring creature of an hour, who cannot build a hovel that will not leak, nor weave a perfect garment to cover him, he — wonderful man that he is — would lift his thoughts into brotherhood with God's thoughts, and adjust the complicate sublimities of revelation by the square and the line of his insignificant faculties! Why, the sceptic should begin further back and earlier with his scepticism, as his arguments lie as strongly against creation and providence.
2. Within our own time a new philosophy hath invaded the Church of Christ, with its watchwords "spiritual insight," and "the moral reason,' and "intuitional capacity," setting itself to overthrow the indispensable condition .of all true piety — the entire, unquestioning, adoring submission alike of life, and conscience, and intellect unto God. And while the Church receives not this philosophy formally — for this were openly to deny the faith — yet, under its insidious and malign influence, there has come to pass a setting up within Zion of our own intellectual and moral judgments as critic and arbiter of the great doctrines of revelation. Doctrines that are profound or mysterious, if not openly rejected, are at least modified to square with our philosophy. And the positive declarations of God are lowered to the comprehension of our natural reason. We are as yet learners in God's school-room, not advisers in His council-chamber! We shall understand things better by and by, when eternity flings its full light on the page of our scholarship! But until then humility is the apt temper of a learner. And faith, not comprehension, the great law of the scholarship! Till then ours must be the submission of an infantile mind to an infinite Intelligence — the trust of a short-sighted child in an all-seeing Father.
3. But the thought under consideration applies as well to the phenomena of Christianity as to its facts. Take, for example, its gradual increase and development. The characteristic of the age is impatience of anything but a demonstrative and headlong progress. Tell me where, either in creation or providence, God thus hurries to conclusions? So far from discouragements in this slow progress of Christianity, we have therein only fuller proof of its Divine orion, nobler prophecy of its ultimate consummation.
4. There is a still more consoling application of this truth to things unseen and eternal — immortality. The grand characteristic and charm of the eternal world is its utter unlikeness to the temporal and earthly.
Parallel VersesKJV: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.