“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the Seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1-5
What an august revelation of the glory of Christ’s Godhead was this which broke upon the view of the lowly prophet! How instructive is each particular of His beatific vision! Mark the profound humility of the seraphim—they veiled with their wings their faces and their feet. They were in the presence of Jesus. They saw the King in His beauty, and covered themselves.
But the effect of this view of our Lord’s divine glory upon the mind of the prophet is still more impressive: “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips…for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” What prostrated his soul thus low in the dust?
What filled him with this self-abasement? What overwhelmed him with this keen sense of his vileness? Oh, it was the unclouded view he had of the essential glory of the Son of God! And thus will it ever be. The beaming forth of Christ’s glory in the soul reveals its hidden evil; the knowledge of this evil lays the believer low before God with the confession, “I abhor myself. Woe is me! for I am undone.”
Beloved, let this truth be ever present to your mind, that as we increasingly see glory in Christ, we shall increasingly see that there is no glory in ourselves. Jesus is the Sun which reveals the pollutions and defilements which are within. The chambers of abomination are all closed until Christ shines in upon the soul. Oh, then it is these deep-seated and long-veiled deformities are revealed; and we, no longer gazing with a complacent eye upon self, sink in the dust before God, overwhelmed with shame, and covered with confusion of face. Holy posture!
Blessed spectacle!—a soul prostrate before the glory of the incarnate God! All high and lofty views of its own false glory annihilated by clear and close views of the true glory of Jesus. As when the sun appears, all the lesser lights vanish into darkness, so when Jesus rises in noontide glory upon the soul, all other glory retires, and He alone fixes the eye and fills the mind. “With twain they covered their faces, and with twain they covered their feet.” Their own perfections and beauty were not to be seen in the presence of the glory of the Lord.
How much more profound should be the humility and self-abasement of man! Have we covered ourselves—not with the pure wings of the holy cherubim, but with sackcloth and ashes before the Lord? Have we sought to veil—not our beauties, for beauty we have none—but our innumerable and flagrant deformities, even the “spots upon our feasts of charity,” the sins of our best and holiest things; and, renouncing all self-glory, have we sunk, as into nothing before God?
Oh, we are yet strangers to the vision of Christ’s glory, if we have not. If the constellation of human gifts and attainments, distinctions and usefulness, on which unsanctified and unmortified self so delights to gaze, have not retired into oblivion, the Sun of Righteousness has yet to rise upon our souls with healing in His wings.