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The Boasting Axe
What would be the result if we had amongst us through and through a most hearty and loyal and loving reception of the great doctrine of Divine sovereignty, the great doctrine that all things are settled and decreed and arranged.
I. If we could really believe these elementary truths we should have a great unit in society. Man did not make society, and man cannot destroy it; man did not make mystery, and man cannot solve it, unless by God's enlightenment and special permission.
Out of this acceptance of the Divine sovereignty comes a grand religious brotherhood, as well as a deep satisfaction and noble peace. God did it all.
II. We must have a sceptre, a throne, a king. We as Christian students and believers have accepted the idea that God reigns, and by God we mean the loving, personal, redeeming God, the God incarnate in Christ Jesus, the God of Bethlehem, of Calvary, and of Olivet; the priest God, who loved us, who gave His Son to save us. That is what we believe; and, believing that, out of it comes a whole philosophy of daily life, of social responsibility, and of all manner of well-regulated and harmonic action. Now which is the greater for we must have great and small; these distinctions are not of our own making which is the greater, I will ask you, the man who wrote the book being Paradise Lost or Homer's Iliad the man who wrote the book or the man who bound it? I wonder if you could constitute yourselves into a committee and appoint a sub-committee in order to return an answer to that inquiry? Which had the greater mind, judging both men from the evidence that is accessible? The one man wrote the book, the other man bound it; the book has achieved universal and imperishable fame, and the bookbinder has been paid. Which is the greater? oh, tell me! the picture or the frame-maker? If I could invite you to a grand exhibition of all the paintings of the year, and if I could also ask you to attend a complete exhibition of all the frames that have been made during the year, to which exhibition would you go? But is not one man as good as another? Why not go and see the frames? they are all gilt, and they are all shapely, and they are all made by very expert and efficient workmen; now will you go to see the pictures or the frames? I need not wait more than one moment; you have answered before the question was put. There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding. You want the pictures, the genius, the flame pentecostal, the mystery of harmony, perspective, colour, the silent oratorio.
Let us beware of second causes in providence, let us beware of second causes in religion, and let us beware of second causes in destiny; and let us accept the old, old doctrine of the sovereignty of God, and when we are in darkness let us seek the altar, the Cross, and pray.
References. X. 15. S. Martin, Sermons, p. 85. X. 17. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah, p. 55. X. 20-23. V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah, p. 84.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter