Isaiah 6:6
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
Sermons
An Anticipation of the IncarnationT. Allen, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Christian MissionsRichard Knill.Isaiah 6:1-13
Gain Through LossJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Government Human and DivineR. Winter, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah a Typical ProphetJ. G. Rogers, B. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's CallHomiletic MagazineIsaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionT. Allen, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionHomilistIsaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionJ. Parsons.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionR. S. Candlish, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionR. Brodie, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionG. Cron, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's VisionAbp. Trench.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's Vision in the TempleG. T. Perks, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's Vision of Christ's GloryJ. J. Bonar.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's Vision of GodF. D. Maurice, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's Vision of GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah's Vision of God's GloryJ. Summerfield, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Preparation for the Lord's WorkJ. Sherwood.Isaiah 6:1-13
Realising GodT. Allen, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
Removing the VeilJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Seeing GodAmory H. Bradford, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Circumstances of the VisionW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Command and Encouragement to Communicate the GospelW. Ellis.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Compensations of LifeJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Dead King; the Living GodIsaiah 6:1-13
The Elevating Presence of GodF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Empty Throne FilledA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Enthroned LordJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Idea of GodJames Stalker, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Inaugural Vision of IsaiahA. B. Davidson, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Making of a ProphetProf. W. G. Elmslie, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Material Fleeting: the Spiritual EnduringJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Prophet's Call and ConsecrationE. Johnson Isaiah 6:1-13
The Rectal and Mediatorial Dominion of GodW. M. Bunting.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Story of the Prophet's Call -- Why Inserted HereProf . S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Symbolism of Isaiah's VisionJ. Matthews.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Three-Fold VisionU. R. Thomas, B. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Trinity in UnityR. W. Forrest, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Triune Name a Call, a Message, a ChasteningB. F. Westcott, D. D.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Uzziahs of History and the LordJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
The VisionSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 6:1-13
The Vision of GodW. Clarkson B. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Uzziah and Isaiah: George Iii and John WesleyB. Hellier.Isaiah 6:1-13
Vision and ServiceJ. Matthews.Isaiah 6:1-13
Why Did Isaiah Publish This Account of His CallP. Thomson, M. A.Isaiah 6:1-13
Spiritual AgitationW. Clarkson Isaiah 6:5-7
A Vision of God HumblesJoseph Parker, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
Consciousness of SinD. M. Mclntyre.Isaiah 6:5-8
Fear, as a Preparation for DutyC. S. Robinson, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
God's Holiness, a Revelation of SinA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
In the TempleJ. M. Gibbon.Isaiah 6:5-8
Isaiah's PurificationH. Woodcock.Isaiah 6:5-8
Isaiah's True CharacterS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
Isaiah's VisionW. M. Punshon, LL. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
Jonathan Edwards' ConversionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
No Heaven Possible to the Uncleansed ManW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Isaiah 6:5-8
Personal Responsibility of Man as the Possessor of SpeechArchbishop Thomson.Isaiah 6:5-8
Self-Humbling a Preparation for ServiceIsaiah 6:5-8
Self-Revelation a Preparation for Great UsefulnessF. Sessions.Isaiah 6:5-8
Sin and its CureW. Baxendale.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Essentials of True WorshipA. Mursell.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Holy One the PurifierW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Making of a ProphetA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Moral History of a Rising SoulHomilistIsaiah 6:5-8
The Sense of SinIsaiah 6:5-8
The Thought of God in the HeartA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Three Thens of Isaiah's Temple VisionIsaiah 6:5-8
The True Messenger of GodH. C. Williams.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Views of the Glory of Christ Which Produce Humiliation and PenitenceJ. Erskine, D. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Vision of IsaiahH. Melvill, B. D.Isaiah 6:5-8
The Vision of the KingH. T. Edwards, M. A.Isaiah 6:5-8
A Live CoalP. Thomson, M. A.Isaiah 6:6-7
Another Inward VisionF. Sessions.Isaiah 6:6-7
Christ Symbolised by FireB. F. Westcott, D. D.Isaiah 6:6-7
Divine Endowment the Proof of Divine Forgiveness and AcceptanceR. Tuck Isaiah 6:6, 7
Holiness and ServiceIsaiah 6:6-7
John Woolman's ExperienceF. Sessions.Isaiah 6:6-7
Sin and God's Treatment of ItC. S. Robinson, D. D.Isaiah 6:6-7
Stephen GrelletF. Sessions.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Ceremony of PurificationProf. J. Skinner, D. D.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Holy Spirit as FireC. Vitringa.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Hot StoneP. Thomson, M. A.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Live Coal from the AltarT. R. Redwar, M. A.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Peace of Forgiveness in ChristendomCanon Body, D. D.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Peace of Forgiveness in JudaismCanon Body, D. D.Isaiah 6:6-7
The Symbolic Act of the AngelP. Thomson, M. A.Isaiah 6:6-7


What occurred must be explained in connection with the vision. One of those seraphim who stood, with poised wings, ready for an instant and unquestioning obedience, at the bidding of the King flew down, having taken a live coat from the sublime altar which formed part of the vision, and with it touched the mouth of the prophet, speaking also words of gracious assurance. This touch of the mouth of the prophet was the symbol of the endowment of speaking power; and with it may be compared the gift of tongues made to the early Christian Church. We note -

I. THE ENDOWED ONES MUST BE THE FORGIVEN. It scarcely needed the seraph's words to carry home this assurance. Illustrate by the gift of the Holy Ghost - recognized in the possession of some special talent - to the early believers. It was the seal of their forgiveness. Compare the case of fretful and desponding Elijah. The assurance that his sin was forgiven came in the renewal of his prophetic commission.

II. THE ENDOWED ONES MUST BE THE ACCEPTED. God would not honor with a place of service for hint those who were not in gracious relations with him. We may recognize that God uses all men, "making even the wrath of man praise him, and restraining the remainder of wrath;" but so far as his redemption work is concerned, in all its many branches, the possession of special gifts may be recognized as proof of God's acceptance and appointment. It shows that God has chosen and approves the workman. Isaiah was rightly cheered by such an endowment, or re-endowment, to prophetic work.

III. THE ENDOWED ONES RESPOND BY SELF-CONSECRATION. When the joy of for-Ripeness and acceptance comes, and the solemnity of a Divine trust rests on a man, if he be a good man, he can but watch for the Divine voice saying, "Whom shall I send?" and at once and heartily respond, "Here am I; send me." Compare the hesitation of Moses to take up the trust God would commit to him, and his grieving God by a hesitation that was based on a false humility; and see the words Eli put on the lips of young Samuel: "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." - R.T.









Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand.
These words seem to address themselves in the way of encouragement and consolation —

I. TO THE MINISTERS OF THE WORD SPECIALLY. Like Isaiah they feel the importance of the work to which they are called, and their inability to discharge aright the commission with which they are entrusted. The more they contemplate the holiness of Jehovah, the purity and excellency of His Word, the distance between God and the sinner, the awful majesty of the Almighty, and the ineffable glory in which He is enshrined, the more they perceive their own unworthiness, and grieve over the sinfulness which adheres to them. They feel their shortcoming, and are disposed to say with the prophet, "Woe is me!" etc. But they have consolation. The coal from the altar, when brought in contact with the prophet's lips, purged his sin, cleansed his iniquity, and fitted him for the work to which he was Divinely called.

II. TO BELIEVERS GENERALLY. Not only to the prophet of old, nor yet to the minister of the Gospel, but to every child of Adam, is there need for cleansing of sin in order to effect reconciliation, and make him a child of God.

(T. R. Redwar, M. A.)

It shows that contact with the fire of the Divine holiness is not necessarily destructive even to man. It is possible to "dwell with devouring fire."

(Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)

What was the meaning of this to Isaiah? If I am not mistaken, it is this: Up to this time all that system of sacred rites to which he had yielded all perfunctory obedience had been to him but as dead ceremonies, but now he sees that each of them is a living thing instinct with Divine life and power; each a splendid sacrament of grace to him who in conscious spiritual need will approach not it, but the God of Israel in and through it. And he realises how that, sinner as he is, he is by the providence of God in the midst of a great and glorious spiritual system in which his craving for peace is met, and where the Divine absolution is brought home to him.

(Canon Body, D. D.)

What is it that gives to this great system of Christendom the peace-giving power that by the confession of nineteen centuries it has? It is this. Behind all the ministries of the Church, vocal and sacramental, lies the pleading Priest, at the golden altar in heaven, forever present and pleading before the Father the consummated sacrifice of Calvary. That sacrifice takes the form of a great offering of propitiation. And it is this that lies behind all the Church's rites, the powerful pleading by the living Christ of the death died on Calvary, through which pleading comes the living power of the Holy Ghost into the Divine society, holding her in her weird, mysterious life, through which pleading simple rites are Divinely efficacious, through which pleading the coal becomes the coal that burns with living fire. And it is in the midst of this wondrous system of sacred ministries that the blessed Jesus applies to each the peace of reconciliation.

(Canon Body, D. D.)

Fire is something pure, burning, purifying; it lays hold of, penetrates, and, as it were, converts into its own substance whatever is susceptible of its action, thus hallowing the gifts laid on the altar. All these are the attributes of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to purge and illuminate man, to excite him to the love of God, to affect him with zeal for His glory, to arouse him from sloth to fervour, to inflame him with courage and constancy, with energy and devotion of all his powers to the cause of God, and to enable him to make supplications to God according to His will. And in this place fire signifies the spirit of prophecy, which spirit, like fire, sanctifies men in a peculiar manner to this great work, kindles, inflames, makes them glow with zeal; and, what is true in itself and specially applicable here, converts them into seraphs.

(C. Vitringa.)

The rendering of the A.V., "a live coal," i.e., a burning log (for of course in those days the fuel was wood), is totally wrong, and, indeed, the conception is too grotesque to be for a moment entertained.

(P. Thomson, M. A.)

A stone kept in all ancient Oriental households as a means of applying heat to household purposes. In order to bake cakes (1 Kings 19:6, "cake baked on the hot stones"), or to roast flesh, the stone was first heated in the fire, and the wet dough or the flesh spread out upon it, the stones as they grew cold being exchanged for hot ones fresh from the fire. To boil milk, the hot stone was plunged into it when contained in the leathern skin that served alike as cauldron and pitcher. In short, the heated stone was a primitive means of applying fire wherever fire was needed. The prophet, carrying the similitude of an earthly household into the heavenly palace, assumes the presence of such an utensil on the hearth, which here, of course, must be conceived as an altar on the model of God's earthly dwelling place.

(P. Thomson, M. A.)

This would, perhaps, be quite intelligible to the contemporaries of the prophet; but it is undoubtedly very obscure to us. The act is intended to shadow forth in some way the cleansing of the prophet from sin; but what is the connection between such cleansing and the touching of Isaiah's lips with the stone heated on the altar fire? The stone is a means of applying fire; when, therefore, it is brought to the lips of the prophet, it is the same as if the whole altar fire had been brought there; and that again is the same as if the prophet's "unclean lips" had been laid on the altar. The everyday use of the stone would at once suggest this to the mind of Isaiah's hearers. The angel's act, therefore, is as much as to say: "Lo, I lay thy sinfulness on the altar fire; and thou art cleansed from sin thereby." But how should laying on the altar cleanse from sin? To lay on the altar is to give up to God — to make wholly His. Here, then, the angel says to Isaiah in substance this: "Thy sin-defiled nature ('lips') I lay on God's altar. I make it all His again. The uncleanness of thy nature consisted in its opposition to God, for all sin is selfish action, as opposed to action for God, and now all the opposition of thy nature to God is taken away. Thy nature is, by this act, devoted wholly to God. By Divine power thou hast been suddenly, miraculously, turned into one from whom all selfish thoughts and words and deeds are taken away, into one whose every thought and desire is toward God; into one wholly consecrated and devoted to God; and therefore into one wholly pure." All this is done only in symbol, of course; not in reality. What the prophet receives is in truth only God's twice-repeated assurance that He looks on the prophet as one thus cleansed and devoted; that He overlooks the prophet's past sins; that He imputes to him the purity of consecration; or, in short, that God pardons and forgives him. The essential core of the idea of forgiveness, in the New Testament as well as in the Old, is just this, that God treats guilty but penitent men as if they were not guilty, with a view to freeing them from their guilt and making them righteous. Isaiah conceives of His forgiveness under forms familiar to his time. He, a sinful man, is laid on the altar of God, and made wholly clean in God's sight, whatever the imperfections that may still cling to his nature, whatever selfishness or self-will may still mar his reconciliation to the will of God. Of course, however, the change of will does not long continue merely imaginary, or in symbol only; for, in all time, God's treatment of men as if their wills were devoted to Him, God's loving forgiveness of men's sins, has been the chief means of subduing man's will to Him in actual fact.

(P. Thomson, M. A.)

A traditional saying attributed to our Lord — "He that is near Me is near fire."

(B. F. Westcott, D. D.)

Had the prophet need of a coal? Oh, then. grant for me a whole globe of fire, to remove my impurity and make me a fit messenger to Thy people.

( Bernard.)

No intelligent man can read the entire Bible without discovering four things —

1. That God considers sin a positive element in human affairs, to be talked about and dealt with as a fact.

2. That sin is the one abominable thing God says He hates, and will heavily punish.

3. That every sin is inherent in some personal factor.

4. That Almighty God Himself has provided a way by which every sinner can be relieved from the penalty of his transgressions, and graciously restored to holiness.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

That eminently holy man, "Saint John Woolman," as the poet Whittier called him, who struck the first blow against domestic slavery in America, notwithstanding the Divine illuminations he had been blessed with in early boyhood, had to pass through an analogous baptism ere he was able to follow the Master's call into public service. "I sought deserts and lonely places, and there with tears did confess my sins to God, and humbly craved His help. And I may say with reverence, He was near me in my troubles, and in these times of humiliation opened my ears to discipline. From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding under it, sprang a lively operative desire for the good of others. All the faithful are not called to the public ministry; but whoever are, are called to minister of that which they have tasted and handled spiritually."

(F. Sessions.)

Of all the men of recent generations, Stephen Grellet, the French refugee nobleman, seems to have come nearest to the ancient Hebrew "evangelical" prophet, and to the apostles of Christ. Pope, emperors, kings, and princes were the objects of his solicitude, and to these exalted personages he was permitted access, and personally delivered messages from God, as straightforward and cogent as those he gave to the veriest offscourings of the slums and purlieus of European cities, or to the formalists of Catholic and Protestant creeds. "One evening, as I was walking in the fields alone [this was when he was twenty-two years of age], my mind being under no kind of religious concern, nor in the least excited by anything I had heard or thought of, I was suddenly arrested by what seemed to be an awful voice, proclaiming the words Eternity, Eternity, Eternity! It reached my soul, — my whole man shook, — it brought me, like Saul, to the ground. The great depravity and sinfulness of my heart were set open before me, and the gulf of everlasting destruction to which I was verging." In this state he remained for many days, till it pleased God to deliver him, not by the agency of a hot stone brought by a winged angel from a visible altar, but by that of some loving sentences spoken by a lady preacher from England who was visiting the American home of the exile. "No strength to withstand the Divine visitation was left in me. Oh, what sweetness did I then feel! It was indeed a memorable day. I was like one introduced into a new world; the creation and all things around me bore a different aspect, — my heart flowed with love to all." From that "awful day," as he calls it, deep convictions laid hold of his mind, which, as he cherished them, led him to a full surrender, and a willingness to devote himself to the life of an ambassador of Christ to the rulers and peoples of the world.

(F. Sessions.)

He tells us that once again an inward vision came to him. It was during a period of silent worship among the members of the religious body to which this quondam disciple of Voltaire had joined himself. He was here granted such a view and sense of his sinful nature, though he was at that time a converted man, that he was like one crushed under millstones. "My misery was great, and my cry was not unlike that of Isaiah, Woe is me, for I am undone!" Then there came to him a revelation of perfect salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

(F. Sessions.)

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