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appear, tears will disappear. There shall be no more sorrow, nor crying, nor weeping; for all the former things have passed away. Grey hairs are, no doubt, picturesque; and poets may so represent them, but it is the picturesqueness, notwithstanding, of death. The autumn tints are very beautiful, and poets may sing them; but they are the evidences of approaching decay. Nature tries to gild what sin has left as the evidence of its presence, but it is in vain. No decay, no death, no disease, was meant to be originally; and they are now because sin has entered, and death by sin. Everywhere there is the evidence of this. One almost wonders that a human being can deny the Fall. I cannot see wisdom-I cannot see common sense—in any other conclusion, than that the picture in Genesis is the portrait of actual fact. There is not a home that has not its shadow; there is not a heart that has not its hidden griefs; there is not a frame — the healthiest on earth — that is not penetrated by many a pang
" There is no flock, however tended,
But one dead lamb is there;
But hath one vacant chair.
“ The air is full of farewells of the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted."
And what does this prove but that sin hath entered, and death by sin ? In that day, when holiness shall be stamped upon all created things—and the whole of this world, with its moral, its social, its physical, its animate and inanimate life, shall have engraved upon it, “Holiness to the Lord” – Paradise shall return in richer beauty than the Paradise that Adam lost. The trees of every forest, like harp-strings swept by the wind, shall chant God's praise, as “Holiness to the Lord;" the rivers as they roll sparkling to the sea, and the waves of the ocean as they beat upon a thousand shores, shall sing, “Holiness to the Lord;" the flowers of every place, and of every season of the year, shall exhale their fragrance as their best tribute, “Holiness to the Lord :" the desert and the wilderness shall lay aside their sorrowful apparel, and put on more than the glory of Eden, holiness to him that reconsecrates them again: the springs of earth shall leap up and welcome the light of that better Sun. Language shall no more be the vehicle of falsehood, but of truth; music shall no more be a plaything, but the solemn and grand expression of God's praise; poetry shall no more gild a lie, but be devoted to God's glory; and all that man is, and all that is around man, and all that man knows, shall receive its consecration, “Holiness to the Lord.”
Let us look forward with joyous hope, with holy and exulting expectancy, to a day when all wrongs shall be righted; when the lost and severed shall meet again, and creation be restored to more than its first beauty; and man, who has wept, and mourned, and suffered, and died for six thousand years, shall suffer, and mourn, and die no more.
Are we individually now-not yet in fact, but in destiny—“Holiness to the Lord ?” Is it our desire to be set apart to him, and for him, and for his glory? Do we attach any meaning to the text, “Whether ye eat, or drink, do all to the glory” — that is, receive all as engraven with “Holiness to the Lord ?” What is your name? “ Christian.” And what is meant by “Christian ?” A consecrated person. It is not the minister that is set apart only; it is the people also. When you are baptized as children, you are outwardly set apart, but no more; but when the Holy Spirit regenerates your heart, you are inwardly set apart with “Holiness to the Lord.” Do you then seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness — not only, but chiefly? Religion is not the only thing; trade, profession, are also duties; and what we ask men to do is, not to make religion, worship, the Bible, the only things; but to make them the dominant, the leading, the governing things. We do not ask you to cease to be men, in order to become Christians; but to be Christian men, and to feel that your destiny, as it ought to be your aspiration in the present, is “Holiness to the Lord.”
But you cannot consecrate yourselves. The high priest could not consecrate himself; he needed to be consecrated by the mysterious and inimitable oil, that it was death for any man to make, or even to try to imitate; you need to be consecrated by an unction from the Holy One. The Holy Spirit is the Anointer, the Consecrator of the people of God: he engraves the signet of the heart with the inscription, “Holiness to the Lord.” Justified by Christ, we may be consecrated by his Holy Spirit. Purchased by Christ's blood, we are to be set apart by Christ's Spirit. The blood of Christ is on the believer, that he may be redeemed from the curse; the unction of the Spirit is in the believer, that he may be “Holiness to the Lord;" Christ's righteousness your title before the Lord; holiness to the Lord your consecration for his service, and to his praise and glory.
Are we thus justified ? are we thus consecrated ? Let us seek to aspire to this. Let us pray that we may rise to a right apprehension of our grandeur, not by nature, but by grace; and of our destiny in that day, the first beams of which begin to sprinkle the distant east, giving token of its speedy approach, when the very bells of the horses, and the humblest vessels in the humblest household, shall be “Holiness to the Lord.”
One song employs all nations, and all cry,
See Salem built, the city of our God !