by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage
Solomon's Song 3:6

The architecture of the smoke is wondrous, whether God
with His finger curves it into a cloud or rounds it
into a dome, or points it into a spire, or spreads it
in a wing, or, as in the text, hoists it in a pillar.
Watch it winding up from the country farmhouse in the
early morning, showing that the pastoral industries
have begun; or, see it ascending from the chimneys of
the city, telling of the homes fed, the factories
turning out valuable fabrics, the printing-presses
preparing book and newspaper, and all the ten thousand
wheels of work in motion. On a clear day this vapor
spoken of mounts with such buoyancy, and spreads such
a delicate veil across the sky, and traces such
graceful lines of circle and semicircle, and waves and
tosses and sinks and soars and scatters with such
affluence of shape and color and suggestiveness that,
if you have never noticed it, you are like a man who
has all his life lived in Paris and yet never seen the
Luxembourg, or all his life in Rome and never seen the
Vatican, or all his life at Lockport and never seen
Niagara. Forty-four times the Bible speaks of the
smoke, and it is about time that somebody preached a
sermon recognizing this strange, weird, beautiful,
elastic, charming, terrific and fascinating vapor.
Across the Bible sky floats the smoke of Sinai, the
smoke of Sodom, the smoke of Ai, the smoke of the pit,
the smoke of the volcanic hills when God touches them,
and in my text the glorious Church of God coming up
out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke.

In the first place, these pillars of smoke in my text
indicate the suffering the Church of God has endured.
What do I mean by the Church? I mean not a building,
not a sect, but those who, in all ages, and all lands,
and of all beliefs, love God, and are trying to do
right. For many centuries the heavens have been black
with the smoke of martyrd ...

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