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Spiritual Statuary.

Spiritual Statuary.

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Published by glennpease

Isaiah li, i. "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged."

Isaiah li, i. "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged."

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 16, 2014
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BY THE REV. WILLIAM JAMES ACOMB. Isaiah li, i. "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged." Comparisons are odious ; comparisons are highly profitable. They are odious if prompted by malice or meanness. Permit a homely example. A genius who had risen to a seat in the Commons was reminded by a shallow aristocrat in the lobby that he had formerly been his servant. " Well," retorted the man of talent, " and did I not serve you well ? " Such comparisons are hateful ; but they may also prove beneficial as promoting due humility and appreciative thankfulness. Take the case of Paul, who, though an apostle of very exceptional ability, would remind himself that he was the chief of sinners. As though he had said, " Now, Paul, look unto the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were digged." And it is doubtless serviceable for each of us, however devoted and pure, to be now and then presented with a photograph of our former selves. We can thus see what we should have remained if grace had not elevated and refined us. We can measure our growth and development. We can certainly better understand the obligations arising from improved conditions.
I. Let us note the retrospect that was recommended to this godly remnant of Israel. In all ages have existed those to whom God could thus appeal. Their characteristics are ever the same — viz., the endeavour to live righteously and the instinctive craving for a fuller knowledge of God. Such were here bidden to recall the period when their great father, Abraham, had been separated from heathen surroundings, led, Spiritual Statuary. 141 and instructed by the divine Spirit till worthy of the appellation. Friend of God. The nation had been a stone cut out of the moun-tains without hands and fashioned into something like beauty and grace. Now, what is true in regard to Israel holds good in relation to personal life. With the latter we propose more particularly to deal in this discourse. In regard to individual stones, it would appear that the work of the Divine Statuary is threefold — viz., detachment from the common mass of material ; moulding by religious education and attrition of
association ; vivification of spiritual faculties by the Holy Ghost. These three things may, in measure, be wrought simultaneously; but we will illustrate them respectively. We are, then, originally in the mass, fast in the quarry, incapable of self detachment. A stone has no ability to leap from its place. The quarryman must by pick and gunpowder and hammer set the granite free. There is grace at the outset, either in national or in-dividual life. What hast thou that thou hast not received ? Every Christian is like Ariel in The Tempest, who was liberated from the massive tree where he had been imprisoned by those who hated him. Have we not all felt the bondage of solidarity, the paralysing effect of corporate attraction ? Yea, old Adam is too strong till Divine Grace bring its implements. In a certain sense it may be conceded that all who constitute a Christian community may be said to be quarried or detached. If you look across the world of chicanery, sensuality, and deviltry in general, it will be at once perceptible that one stage, at least, has been accomplished in all of you. All progress and attainment are relative. If we open the Epistles we find that the early churches were aggregates of religionists in various stages of spirituality. Some were addressed as "perfect"; to others Paul had to write, "We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." And yet he speaks of them as called and separate, distinct from the heathendom around.

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