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SEEING THE UNSEEN.pdf

SEEING THE UNSEEN.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
By John O'Brien Eust, D. D., LL. D.,



"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; bnt the things which are not seen are eternal."— II. Cor. 4 : 18.
By John O'Brien Eust, D. D., LL. D.,



"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; bnt the things which are not seen are eternal."— II. Cor. 4 : 18.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 08, 2013
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SEEING THE UNSEENBy John O'Brien Eust, D. D., LL. D.,"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things whichare not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; bnt the thingswhich are not seen are eternal."— II. Cor. 4 : 18.DOTHAN was a city set on a Mil, whose sloping sides were bro-caded with waving fields andj fringed with green groves. Onemorning the villagers awoke to discover that the city was sur-rounded by Syrian soldiers. Benhadad had come to captureElisha. The prophet's servant runs to him with the alarming newsand exclaims : "Alas, my master, how shall we do ?" The old mansaw something which the young man did not see, and answers withcomposure : "Fear not, for they that are with us are more than theythat are with them." Then he prayed and the young man's eyeswere opened on the spiritual world. Standing between Elisha andhis enemies on the hillsides about that city were "horses andchariots of fire," battalions of armored angels with shields upliftedand swords aflame, ready to move upon that human army at theclarion call of the prophet's prayer. Hear four preliminary re-marks, viz. :{a) There are two worlds. The seen is this present, visible, tan-gible, material world addressing the mind of man through the broadavenues of the bodily senses; apprehended by the cunning intel-lectuality of the eye, the exquisite emotionality of the ear, thesubtle chemistry of taste and smell, and the sensitive mechanism of touch. The unseen is the present, invisible, intangible, spiritualworld, addressing the mind of man through his spiritual faculties ;discovered by the fine perceptions of faith, apprehended by the deep292 THE AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT.intuitions of the soul, and gazed upon through the clear, glorifying
 
vision of Christian hope. These two worlds, the seen and the un-seen, are intertwined like the strands of a rope, cohorts of Syriansthere, legions of angels here; the seen, visible like this audience;the unseen, invisible like that celestial company which has comefrom the courts of glory to worship with us to-day.{!)) Both of these worlds are real. God, and angels, and theunseen universe are vast realities. Because you cannot see a thingis no reason why it does not exist. Faith is the conviction of thereality of the invisible. And this world, and the people, and thingsin it are realities. The idealist who says that matter is a m3^th isas foolish as the materialist who says that there is nothing but mat-ter. Christianity is the champion of reality; it plants its feet onfacts and proclaims the existence of two real worlds, the one seen,the other unseen.(c) AVhile both worlds are real, the unseen is the more im-portant. Angels are of more consequence than Syrians. Thosesoldiers are long since sleeping in the sod beneath the shadow of their shields, but the angels have lived on in undiminished power.When rocky, sea-girt Patmos shall have crumbled into dust, thewhite-towered city which John saw from those lone heights willbe enduring in its glory. God is more sovereign than man. Soulis more important than body, xily eternal life in the skies is of im-mensely more consequence than my temporary tent-life on earth.To admit the reality of these two worlds is to concede superiorityto the unseen.(d) It is a sad fact, however, that the seen, though less im-portant, has more of a mastery over us than the unseen. The visi-ble, tangible, and material influence us more than the invisible, in-tangible, and spiritual. The here and now are more potent thanthe tliere and then. We are more obsequious to soldiers than toangels. In our lone exiles we look more confidently to some Eomeof power for help than to that Holy City of grace above the bluedome of the visible. In our natural state we are the slaves of theinferior. And now the text with trumpet peal calls on us to rev-erence the superior: "Look not at the things which are seen, but
 
SEEING THE UXSEEX. 293at the thin^ which are not seen^'' (II. Cor. 4: 18). This is God'svoice commanding ns to renounce the mastery of the temporal, andto swear allegiance to the eternal. \I. TTHAT AEE SEEX THIXGSSeen things are things which you can see. Bnt this is not theexact description of our text; it says that seen things are tempo-rary. All those things that are ephemeral, which pass away, whichperish, belong to the seen world. Whatever is visible perishes.These things are real and potent while they last; their one con-spicuous, characteristic mark is they do not endnre. If we willsearch the Scriptures, we wiU find that seen things fall into twoclasses, viz. :1. The world, for we read, ^'The world passes awar' (1 John2 : 17). We fearfully reduce the meaning of this term in its Bibleuses. What is the world? There is crowded into this little wordall there is of this present vast visible order of things.(1). What we call nature is only a part of the world. The valleymist lifted by the hands of the morning light, and torn and tossedup into fleecy, vanishing nothingness ; the velvet violet that sleepson the warm breast of some sweet summer day: the aurora's flush,the insubstantial clouds, and the solid mountains — aU these are bomto die; they will pass away, and so they belong to the seen.(2). And then we apply the term world to a certain class of human actions; we call such conduct worldly and such peopleworldlings. In its familiar usage there is a miserable narrowing of the meaning of this term. We commonly apply it to a few unpopu-lar vices. To some people worldliness is restricted to a revolver,rum, a deck of cards, a ball-room, and the theatre. These are bad,desperately bad, but there is other, and perhaps worse, worldlinessfor us to consider. Some people too cold and close for these de-grading pleasures prate about the wickedness of the abandoned,while they themselves are in closer touch with common clay than

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