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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 46

Expositor's Dictionary of TextsExpositor's Dictionary

Verses 1-13

Religious Uses of Memory

Isaiah 46:9

Of all the powers that God has given us, none is more wonderful than memory. For what is memory? It is a twofold power. It is the power that gathers in the past, and crowds into some secret cabinet here the twice ten thousand things that we have learned. And then it is the power that out of that crowded storehouse brings the things forth again, calls them to mind.

I. There is no religion which lays such an emphasis on memory as Christianity. What do we call Christ's sayings? We call them memorable words. The words of Jesus are like the seal upon the wax. Once stamped with th s and memory will bear them to the end. Christ recognized the character of memory in making His words so memorable as that.

II. Now I wish to touch on three great offices of memory in the higher life:

1. It is memory which helps us to consecrate the world. The hallowing of earth is memory's secret. There are villages sweeter than Stratford, and parks more ancient than the parks of Charlcote, but the memories of Shakespeare that cluster there have consecrated these spots for ever.

2. It is an aid to charity. It helps us to understand our friend. It has been said our friends are never ours till we have lost them. It is a strained expression of the certain truth, that of all lights there is none clearer than the light of memory. I cannot judge a man while he is here. Memory redresses things: helps me to see, and know, and understand: lets me do justice to the great, and to the men and women I knew and wronged.

Did you ever regard it as a signal mercy that it is in the light of memory we have to do with Christ? Perhaps you have thought it would be an easier thing to be a Christian if Jesus Christ were here. If I do not know my friend till he is gone, would I have seen the Saviour in a Nazarene? I can look back now. I can appreciate in the light of memory.

3. It helps us to understand ourselves. Only faith and prayer and memory will bring self-knowledge. Faith brings it, for it brings me near to Christ. Prayer brings it, for it shows me what I lack. And memory brings it too.

III. The kind of thing that you remember best is no bad token of the kind of heart you have.

As life advances memory grows richer. Can it be, then, that in the hour of death the memory of the past is blotted out? It is impossible. It is no power extraneous to myself. It is part of this immortal me. And when I wake, freed from this hampering body, enlarged and glorified in every faculty, my memory must share in the full tides of life.

G. H. Morrison, Flood-Tide, p. 1.

References. XLVI. 9. R. Flint, Sermons and Addresses, p. 1. XLVI. 9, 10. J. Martineau, Endeavours After the Christian Life (2nd Series), p. 105. XLVI. 12, 13. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah, p. 332. XLVII. 7. W. R. Huntington, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxiv. 1903, p. 109. XLVII. 14. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 444. XLVIII. Ibid. vol. xl. No. 2379. XLVIII. 6. Newman Smyth, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliii. 1893, p. 248. XLVIII. 8. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii. No. 779. XLVIII. 9-11. Ibid. vol. xviii. No. 1041. XLVIII. 10. Ibid. vol. i. No. 35; vol. xxiv. No. 1430. XLVIII. 16. J. Keble, Miscellaneous Sermons, p. 199. XLVIII. 18. Ibid. vol. xi. No. 610. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah, p. 336. R. F. Horton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxi. 1902, p. 374. A. Raleigh, Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament. J. Keble, Sermons for Advent to Christmas Eve, p. 414. XLIX. 1-23. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvi. No. 2703. XLIX. 2. B. Wilberforce, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. 1894, p. 356. W. A. Gray, The Shadow of the Hand, p. 9. XLIX. 4. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. ii. p. 207. H. Montagu Butler, Harrow School Sermons, p. 308. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. i. pp. 206, 215. J. Keble, Sermons for Advent to Christmas Eve, p. 401. XLIX. 5. Ibid, p. 230. XLIX. 6. J. J. S. Perowne, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lv. 1899, p. 296. XLIX. 8. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 103. XLIX. 8-11. B. Wilberforce, Feeling After Him, p. 82. XLIX. 9. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah XLIX.-LXVI. p. 1. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xli. No. 5397. XLIX. 10. Ibid. vol. xxxvi. No. 2128.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 46". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/isaiah-46.html. 1910.
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