Isaiah 48:6
You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not acknowledge it? From now on I will tell you of new things, hidden things unknown to you.
Sermons
Hidden ThingsW.M. Statham Isaiah 48:6
Things Seen as a WholeN. Smyth, D.D.Isaiah 48:6
Things Worth Heeding Concerning God and ManW. Clarkson Isaiah 48:1-9
Lessons from the Past to the FutureE. Johnson Isaiah 48:1-11


Hidden things. The earth is full of latent forces, These are concealed. Take beat, for instance: how it hides in the secret places more stealthily than the panther! Take electricity: here it is quite close to us - within us; and what a masterful power it is! - how it can rend the rock and lay low the lofty palaces! These are beneficent forces, though, and do their work well, for the security, health, and comfort of man. There are hidden forces that are baneful. The latent seeds of disease lie hidden behind that pearly skin - that pure and radiant complexion. And when we have to speak of sin, what a latent force that is hidden in the breast of a child! - concealing itself under the cloak of outward respectability in manhood, and by its manifestations here and there like the volcano, telling us what depths of evil there are in the human heart, which only Christ and his cross can overcome. Men understand much, but they do not understand themselves.

I. WE HAVE HIDDEN FORCES OF JOY IN US. In a human sense it is so. Look at those children, all eager for their own little possession, their own way; they know not now what love will do: how for that bright little maiden yonder, presently, in a few brief years, one human heart will give up time and thought, and all that earnest love can give! What a force! but hidden yet. So in marriage; that young wife cannot be informed, or instructed, or inspired by others to feel what maternal love is; but when the cry is heard, and a child is born into the world, the latent instinct leaps into life in the heart, and she knows for the first time what that slumbering force really is. So rare are in our souls hidden forces. We have latent faculties of faith in us which the Holy Ghost can call forth, whereby we walk in a new world of wonder and hope and joy in God. We have latent faculties of energy in us which, once awakened, will make us emulate the earnest of every age; and when religion sets a man to work, he finds that there is a joy in service which he was unconscious of before; he discerns that, whilst by love he serves others, he is also with each service opening up new joy-fountains in his own heart.

II. WE HAVE HIDDEN FORCES OF PAIN IN US. We know not what they are, it may be, at present; but we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we shall be a surprise unto ourselves in this respect also.

1. There is the sorrow that hides in love. We know not the measure of love save by loss! Then we know. We are tempted to think in our youth that our older friends are too pensive sometimes, too little open to the all-gladdening influences around them. Alas! we know not the bread they eat. There are forces of memory in their hearts that we cannot see.

2. There is the sorrow that hides in sin. It is so bright-presenced at first, so fascinating, so attractive; speaks in such dulcet tones; no memory at work yet; no consciousness of shame yet; no sense yet of the disturbance that sin works in God's beautifully ordered universe. To-morrow the serpent that hides at the bottom of the cup will have stung!

3. The sorrow that hides in wrong or neglect in relation to others. While they were with us here we did not feel it so much; but now! Oh, the curtain that hides! the silence in which there is no voice! the quivering heart that puts out the untouched hand! Eternal Father, we were not what we wished, or all we wished, to them. But they are gone, and the place which knew them once shall know them no more. Death is not a tidal river; its waters never return.

III. WE HAVE HIDDEN FORCES OF EVIL IN US. Power to sin! Forces which temptation may set fire to, as a spark to the tow! We see this illustrated in nature. The officer who played with his beautiful glossy pair of cub-tigers did not understand his danger till they tasted blood as they licked a little cut in his hand; and then came the surly growl, and with the officer a sword for them or death for himself. We see this in the history of the disciples. How ignorant they were of their own hearts! What latent scepticism in Thomas! what cowardice beneath Peter's enthusiasm! what pride in those who wanted chief places in Christ's kingdom! Ah! yes; but they recovered from their folly. But think of Judas; think of Demas; think of Hymenaeus and Philetus. We see this in the warnings of our Saviour. "Watch and pray." Yes; Mark you, Christ does not say, "Watch and pray in youth," or "in manhood. He says it to us all. He knows the potency of evil, and that there are temptable places in our nature even unto the end. For instance, When every other passion is old, covetousness is young," says the proverb. We must be on our guard till the last hour. Then will come release and victory.

IV. WE HAVE HIDDEN FORCES OF IMMORTALITY WITHIN US. Christ revealed these. He "brought life and immortality to light by the gospel." All men do not equally feel these; but there is a "power of the world to come," which more or less affects everybody. When outward life pleases, and we have vivacities of friendship, extensive and elaborate functions of duty to fulfil; when we are absorbed in the outward life; - we do not always feel the great beatings of the pulses of immortality within us. But in silent meditative hours there comes over us all the consciousness alike of sin and immortality. "How abject, how august, is man!" The great conservative power of religion is the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Let that be ignored or denied, and materialism will make very rapid strides.

1. The sense of immortality alters our estimate of the world. Makes us feel the "tent-like character of our homes. We have here no continuing city, but we seek one to come." We knew that there remaineth a rest, and that affliction is but for a moment.

2. The sense of immortality alters our estimate of friendship. We long, even in that, to lay hold of the everlasting, to link our love with the immortal years - to feel that it is of such a character as to survive in glory. Hidden the force may be, but it is real, and the strongest of all the bulwarks against atheism and materialism. When Christ speaks we feel that he spake with authority. Men trembled before a vision of themselves so searching and severe. Not only the "hidden things "of darkness, however, did he reveal; the bright diamond of the mind flashed forth its beauty in the light of his all-revealing words. "Honour all men," says St. Peter. A beautiful commandment, for the gospel has shown the hidden glory behind the veil of the meanest life. "For I have shown thee hidden things" may therefore suggest to us the reverence which we ought to entertain for the soul. Sin is not a subject for mere scorn; it is a subject for deepest sorrow. "When Jesus came near the city, he beheld it, and wept over it." Something more magnificent than the marble temple filled his vision; he wept over souls where the altar was overthrown and the love of God cast out. Let preachers, teachers, authors, workers in the field of the Lord, realize once more the Divine grandeur of their work. The sublimest creation of this universe is hidden in the heart of man: "God made man in his own image." - W.M.S.









See all this.
The words "See all this," have been rendered by one of the latest commentators, "See it as a whole." This rendering reproduces the prophetic argument. Isaiah had recalled a period of history which, taken as a whole, was a fulfilled word of Jehovah. That completed epoch of history from the predictions of old to the events in which it had issued was to the prophet proof of God's control of human affairs. Any completed historic cycle, taken as a whole, becomes to us significant of God. The evidence of the Divine providence discovers itself when we view things largely, when we see life as a whole. 1. Look at your life in the large relations of it, see it as a whole. This is not the view of life which it is altogether easy for us to take. For we touch life at single points; we receive life moment by moment; and our first views of things are apt to be partial. We ought, in our moral maturity, to fit our daily doings into some large conception of our whole reason for being here in this world. We do not know how to live well, certainly we have not learned to live richly if we have not gained something of the happy art of massing things in nobler groupings; if we cannot hold the little things and daily details of life under some broad, generous conception of our life; very much as from some height we see the several parts of a landscape, not singly, but together, as one wide sunny expanse. 2. That particular thing, for example, for which it may be necessary for you to strive to-morrow in your business, or which it seems desirable to secure for your enjoyment, needs to be sought for, not as though it were the one thing only to be attained, but as a possible part of some greater good in which your life is to find its satisfaction. A man to be successful in any calling must have something of that power of concentration to which Sir Fowell Buxton once attributed his success — "the power of being a whole man to one thing at a time." Nevertheless, that would be an unworthy success which should leave us entirely confined to any single thing. 3. If we desire to possess our friendships well, we must learn this art of seeing things not in their little, often vexatious details, but largely and as wholes. You must take your friend largely for what he is in his entire character, if you would keep your friend. The microscope has its uses; but it was never made for the eye of friendship. 4. Another instance for the application of this text might be found in our habits of regarding our homes. We are to possess the home, not as a good for itself alone, but in its whole social setting, in its relation to the neighbourhood, to the Church of humanity, to the kingdom of heaven, of which it is part and portion. 5. I wish now to go up with this principle to some higher lines of experience, and to observe how this entire earthly life of ours is itself life but in part, and how, if we would live truly, we must learn to see all our life, from the cradle to the grave, as itself but a part of some still larger, better whole for us. If this earthly span of our days be all, what is a human life at its best but as the rainbow which we have seen, one end of it resting upon the depths of the waters, and the other end lost in the cloud, itself as fleeting as the mist upon which for its moment of promise it becomes visible? But here lies the difficulty and the doubt. We have no experience of what lies beyond. Our hand can lay no measuring-rod upon futurity. We have only this present. It is also true, and it is the more important part of the truth, that we have this present only as an incomplete thing, we have this life only as a segment; its present brief span is the are of some curve of larger sweep than we can measure. What its future may be like, we do not know; but we know this present as in itself incomplete and requiring some future completion. "If you ask me, said Savonarola, as he was ready to be borne to the stake, what shall be in general the issue of this struggle, I reply, Victory. If you ask me what shall be the issue in the particular sense, I reply, Death." It was the answer of a seer. Seen in the particular, the issue of life may be death. Seen in the general, seen as a whole, true life is not death, but victory. The Christian faith brings to a man its Gospel of the One sinless Man, who knew whence He came, and whither He went, and whose life was always to Him not an affair of the moment only, but a truth of eternity. Jesus' earthly life was indeed a broken one. In one aspect of it no human life has been left so incomplete as was that life which we can follow for a few brief years of it through these gospels. The verse in the book of Acts, "All the things which Jesus began both to do and to teach," suggests the incompleteness, the utter brokenness of Jesus' earthly life. What work did He live to see completed? what doctrine to finish? His hands did not complete His work of mercy; they were pierced before they had wrought all their possible work of healing. His lips did not finish His teachings; He had many things to say, and He died leaving much unsaid. Into our Lord's Gethsemane may there not have entered the pathos of an unfinished life? Yet He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." He could not have said that had He not looked always upon His life here as part and daily portion of one Divine whole, His sacrifice as something complete in God's eternal purpose; had He not known that His life here, and there, and always, is one life, continuous throughout, on earth and in heaven, one will of the Father — each part of it, whether of humiliation or transfiguration, of suffering or resurrection, partaking of the glory of the perfect whole.

(N. Smyth, D.D.)

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