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Isaiah 45:6-8 - Homilies By W. Clarkson

An old perplexity.

From very ancient times, through very many generations, there has presented itself to the human mind the perplexity which arises from the antagonism of forces. We find everywhere—

I. OPPOSITE ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE . Here are light and darkness, peace and evil ( Isaiah 45:7 ). On the one hand are signs and indications of a marvellous and minute benevolence. In the sea, in the soil, in the forests, in the air, and on the earth; in fish, in insects, in beast, in bird, and, above all, in the life and in the mind of man,—are innumerable, inestimable evidences of Divine beneficence. But, on the other hand, there are drawbacks, there are shadows, there are evils, the number of which we cannot count, and the nature of which it is difficult to exaggerate. Pleasure is matched with pain; joy is followed by sorrow; hope is shadowed by fear; peace is waited upon by strife; life is swallowed up by death.

II. THE PERPLEXITY THUS OCCASIONED . What is the secret of this strange contradiction? What is the explanation of it? Shall we find intellectual rest in dualism ? or shall we fall back upon fate— upon the blind action of unintelligent forces? or may we rise to the belief in one overruling God? Who shall read the riddle of the unintelligible world?

III. THE ARGUMENT FROM THE ISSUE . Go far enough on, and we shall find that which enlightens and relieves us; we must look to "the end of the Lord" ( James 5:11 ). The end of the Lord is found:

1 . In righteousness. ( Isaiah 45:8 .) At last, in the history of men, families, and nations, the pure and just are exalted, while the wicked are consumed and perish.

2 . In salvation. ( Isaiah 45:8 .) To the suffering ones comes rescue from poverty or oppression; to the sinful ones comes redemption from penalty, reinstatement in the home and kingdom of God.

IV. THE SATISFYING TRUTH . After all, only one thing will decide the question—God's revealing Word. It was his declaration through the prophets, "I am the Lord;" "I the Lord have created it." It is the word, the life, the work of Jesus Christ, who reveals to us an ever-present, overruling Father of mankind.—C.

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