by George H. Morrison

The Smoke in the Temple
George H. Morrison
Isaiah 6:1, 4

A few words will make plain to us the circumstances of this vision; it is one of the memorable visions of the world. It happened in the year when King Uzziah died, a year never to be forgotten by the prophet. It is such things that give our truest reckoning; we do not reckon by the first of January. We reckon by the year when sorrow came, or when love came caroling across the heather. The years we date by are not the years of months; they are the years of certain great experiences, when we met somebody when we first did something, when somebody who was everybody died.

In such an hour when his heart was heavy, Isaiah went into the temple. It is the fitting place for every man to go to in the season when the deeps are broken up. There are people who cannot bring themselves to church in the period of an overmastering sorrow. They stay at home, shun the sanctuary, and nurse their lonely misery in solitude. But if there is ever a time in human life not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, it is just the season when the grave is open. Then is there new meaning in the prayers; then is the music charged with new significance. Then in the commonplaces of the preacher is there something fresh and wonderful and personal. So true is it that we "aye get what we bring," that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that we only hear, in this strange world of voices, things which the spirit is attuned to hear. The Lord is in His holy temple, says the psalmist. He was there from the very hour when it was built. He was there when the leaves were green upon the trees and when the land of Judah was in the grip of winter. But even an Isaiah could not see Him in His sovereignty and in His glory until the year that King Uzziah died.

I mention that as a lesson had in passing, but to me there is another lesson here. "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord," and then immediately the house was filled ...

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