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Holiness to the Lord.

Holiness to the Lord.

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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 24, 2014
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HOLINESS TO THE LORD. F. D. HUNTINGTON, D.D AND THOU SHALT MAKE A PLATE OF PURE GOLD, AND GRAVE UPON IT, LIKE THE ENGRAVINGS OF A SIGNET, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. — Exod. xxviii. 36. First, an examination of the word Holiness, and its meaning ; then the question, how holiness, the spirit- ual element in character, is gained, — or what is the law of its growth ; and thirdly, the question where it is to be exercised, — or what is the law of its manifestation. How much meaning, after all our abuses of it, clings to one of these old biblical words ! We pervert it, we make false applications of it, we mix it in with the de- ceptions of our current speech, we let it slip into our practice of that terrible social dishonesty which makes so much of our fashionable conversation what an observing satirist once described all language to be, — a contiivance for concealing our thoughts ; and yet, in spite of so many frauds and forgeries upon it, we never wholly sift out the original value. And there are some words which are
 
slower to be vulgarized by these familiarities than others, retaining an awfulness which forbids their desecration, almost like a sanctuary, or a mother's Bible, or a dead child's memory. One of these words is holiness. That HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 89 term carries with it a strict and solitary individuality. Let us keep it, the more reverently and affectionately, for that reason. If any unnatural and artificial associa- tions have crept up about it, by formal usage, let us take it back out of the vocabulary of cant, into the property of common sense. If it sounds somewhat vague and in- definite, let us try to fix upon it an exactor definition. It has a signification altogether its own. We are not likely to hear it where its real sense is wholly out of the speak- er's thoughts. Indeed, it is rather remarkable how many men's lips there are that never can speak it. What spe- cial and sacred grandeur fingers in it, appealing to a fine instinct even in very thoughtless minds, forbidding them to pronounce it ? We all know some men and women
 
by whom it would startle us to hear this word holiness deliberately uttered, and who would themselves find a kind of embarrassment in forcing it from their lipa. Is this because there is a certain spiritual quafity suggested by it which is foreign from their characters, and a shade of religious conviction, to which nothing in their habit of life and feeling answers ? Preparatory to a fresh appreciation of the power and the beauty of holiness, we certainly want a clear under- standing of the thing. Holiness, then, in the first place, is not to be confounded with virtue. Nor is any disparagement cast upon virtue by affirming this distinction. They are names of two things, not one and the same. They do not express the same quality in character. They rest on different capa- cities in human nature, — virtue on the conscience, holi- ness on faith. They are fed firom different fountains, — virtue from moral principle, holiness from communion with God in Christ. They may be guided by different 8*

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