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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 59 - Hebrews 11:27 - Faith's Vision of an Invisible God Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




Faith's Vision Of An Invisible God.


"Seeing Him who is invisible."-Hebrews 11:27.



     The eye of Moses was the eye of faith. It saw afar off. It saw within the veil. It saw beyond earth's skies. It saw through the mists of the world; through the wisdom of Egypt; through the pleasures of a palace; through the honour of royalty; through the wrath of the king. It pierced through all these. It was like the eye of Isaiah when he saw the glory; like Stephen's, when he saw heaven opened, and the Lord standing; like John's in Patmos, when he saw the Son of man.

     It was what he saw that rendered him impervious to fear, and insensible to the seductions of pleasure and honour. Nothing else but a sight of the invisible could have made Moses the man that he was.

     I. What did he see?-The invisible. The unseen One, and His unseen kingdom. He saw both. The far off; the impalpable; the immaterial, the infinite, the divine he saw these. The King eternal, immortal, and invisible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see. But is not this a contradiction? We answer, No. It looks like one, because it expresses heavenly things in earthly words; and because great thoughts, such as those of God, can only be expressed by apparent contradictions. Moses saw the unseen; and so does every one who walks in his steps.

     II. How did he see it?-By faith. His faith was the evidence of things not seen. It is not the eye of science, or fancy, or genius, that penetrates the unseen; it is the eye of faith. Faith is not like Paul going up to the third heaven; it is not the eagle mounting above the clouds. It is more than these. Faith sits here, in the lowest valleys of earth, and yet sees upward, even to the heaven of heavens. Faith is not transporting the man to some lofty mountain, to see the vast vision from its summit: it is the enabling him to see all that he could see from that summit (and far more), from his closet, or his sick-bed, or his prison-cell. Moses did not need to go out of Egypt to see the Invisible,-he saw Him in Egypt. It was not his leaving Pharaoh's house that enabled him to see it; it was his seeing it that made him leave that house.

     III. What it did for him.-It made him an enduring man,-a man fitted for coping with danger, and terror, and pain, and the anger of this world,-as it did to John Knox: 'I have looked upon the faces of angry men, and not been afraid.' It made him brave Pharaoh's anger, and nerved him for all work and hardship.

     Thus faith operates in many ways upon us,-

     (1.) Upon our souls.-It operates directly upon these,-elevating, expanding, quickening, purifying. The vision of the invisible tells mightily upon our spiritual faculties and feelings. We resemble the things with which we are most conversant: if these be earthly, we become earthly; if these be heavenly, we become heavenly. It exercises transforming influence, molding our inner man, changing us from glory to glory, making our faces shine.

     (2.) Upon our religion.-Often is our religion low and earthly, even when correct and regular. It becomes a routine, a mechanism, a form, an external work, which, instead of connecting us with God, acts as a screen between us and Him. The sight of the unseen God and His kingdom lifts us out of forms and routines. It makes us feel what religion really is,-intercourse with the Unseen. If it is not this, it is nothing; it is mockery. Besides, the vision of the invisible takes away the littleness, the selfishness, the narrowness that attach themselves to our religion. It imparts life; it thaws our frosts; it gives animation and energy to cur prayers and praises.

     (3.) Upon our daily life.-That life is made up of what is secular and what is spiritual. The seeing of the invisible operates on both, fitting for each sphere, with all its duties.

     (a.) The secular.-It tells on our family life and our public life; upon our business; upon our duties as citizens, or neighbors, or relations, or friends. The sight of the invisible quickens and strengthens us in all these.

     (b.) The spiritual.-It tells upon our work as saints and members of Christ's Church; our working in any way for God; the bearing of our testimony; our zeal; our separation from the world.

     Generally, it mellows and molds us. It nerves us for labour, or trial, or sorrow; for crosses and losses; far life and in death. Under the influence of the invisible we are able to do or to endure what otherwise we should certainly sink under.