Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1922)
-iTPjw - r r'rwrjrijfw;"
VOL. 22, NO. 5
thought, in language, in illustration, in poetic
beauty and in fervent eloquence it challenges
comparison. Viowed purely from a literary
standpoint, and entirely apart from the inspired
truth that it contains and the wonderful vision
which it records, it is a marvel of excellence.
And yet, thero are those who, unable to ap
preciate its sublimity, laboriously search through
it with microscopic scrutiny to find some phrase
upon which to hang an indictment of Its verac
ity. They are like one who, ignoring the beauty
and tho fragranco of the flowers in a garden,
would oxhaust his enthusiasm on a weed.
Fortunately, tho great majority of Bible read
ers onjoy tho good, tho true, and tho beauti
ful, and to them Isaiah is a continuing delight.
ISAIAH'S ALL ENCOMPASSING VISION
Isaiah differs from tho other prophets whose
words are recorded in holy writ. He was not
called from the plow as Elisha was, neither was
ho a herdsman like Amos, nor yet did he burst
forth from obscurity liko Elijah. Wo know tho
name of this prophet's father, but nothing more,
Tho Bible commentators, reasoning from the
quality of his speech and from his familiarity
with the court think that he must have had in
his youth all the advantages that his generation
Like tho othor prophets, ho fitted into his
time; and yet, unlike the most of them, his
vision took in all tho future. He had tho
prophet's primary virtue; ho believed in God.
Tho God whom Isaiah worshipped united in him
self all the qualities that a supreme being could
possess, and possessed them to a supreme de
gree. The Jehovah of Isaiah was infinite in
power, infinite in intelligence, and infinite in
love. Ho could plan all that His heart desired
and carry out the plan.
Isaiah was loyal to his race; ho was a child
of Abraham and had on his heart the destiny of
Israel. Bolieving in the justice of God, he was
distressed by the sins that must bring retribu-v
tion; his was tho love that sought to guard his
people against tho consequences of sin by plead
ing" against transgressions. Trusting in God and
in God's power to deliver, he warned against al
liances that would link his race with those who,
by their conduct, invited tho wrath of God.
ISAIAH FORETELLS THE SAVIOUR
While Isaiah did not ignore tho age in which
he lived, his eyes were on the days to come when
a "chosen people" would see a Messiah one of
the seed of Abraham who would save His peo
ple from their sins and lead them into the land
of which the "promised land1' that they knew
was but a promise.
Listening heavenward, he heard the song that
startled the shepherds at Bethlehem and, peer
ing through the darkness of seven centuries, he
saw light that shone from Calvary.
Prophecy has been described as "history writ
ton in advance." Isaiah recorded centuries be
forehand, and in minute detail as well as in ma
jestic outline, tho sufferings of the Saviour, the
sayings of the Saviour's time. The salvation
that Ho bought with His blood and the vicarious
character of the atonement are fully set forth
and the completeness of His sacrifice is accur
The lesson begins with tho call that came to
Isaiah in a vision. In the presence of the
seraphims he was ovorwolmed with a conscious
ness of his sinfulness, an attitude essential to
tho beginning of a great enterprise by a servant
"HERE AM I; SEND ME"
Isaiah's eyes were opened to his own sins and
to the sinfulness of those about him. As lone
as he was indifferent to his own acts, he was
satisfied with his companionship; when his eyes
boheld his own shortcomings he became aware
of the shortcomings of his associates.
Isaiah's conversion was as sudden as Paul's,
and as complete. When by repentance he had
qualified himself to answer the call, the call
The manner of its coming has given to reli
gionists a very striking phrase, "a living coal
from off the altar." One of the seraphim "hav
ing a live coal in his hand, which -ho had taken
with tho tongs from off the altar," flew to Isaiah
and touched his mouth with it, saying as he did
so, "Lo, this hath touohed thy lips; and thine
iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."
First, repentance; then forgiveness and' then
the call. Isaiah heard the call of the Lord
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us7"
Isaiah, no longer abashed by the consciousness
of sins unforgiven, was ready to bring forth
works meet for repentance "Here am I- send
r " ?. ?aJ?X sa.w'j. J& '"'- '--; .
imf Knt forth In the Word of God. has such pow
er to transform weakness Into strength?
CHRISTIANITY "LOOKS UP"
I asked a Japanese boy who was old enough to
understand both religions to give me his idea of
the difference between Buddhism anil Chris
tianity. He promptly replied, "Buddh'sm looks
down, Clnistianity looks up." It is a very prac
tical dist'netion and one of tremendous, import
ance. Buddhism is purely a religion of works, and
one can understand how it could supplant
Hinduism, which is woven about the doctrine
known as the transmigration of the soul. The
spirit that wanders aimlessly through myriad ex
istences sometimes in an animal and sometimes
in a human being wearies of the monotony of
endless change. Buddhism furnished to the
Hindu a ray of hope the promise that conscious
existonco can be brought to an end. Budda
taught that after the spirit has committed un
numbered sins it can turn about and do good
with tho assurance that when, in an indefinite
number of future existences, it has done enough
good to outweigh the sins committed it can
escape from the tortures of life by being ab
sorbed into tho spirit of the universe.
Isaiah enjoyed a religion that required no
wandering through a labyrinth of lives in order
to reach a haven of rest. It only required a
moment of repentance and another moment for
forgiveness, and then the light of a new life
burst upon him, with the glory of 'God's service
within his reach. The past was blotted out; the
future was bright with hope.
Isaiah answered, "Here am I; send me." Here
we have a child-like faith and just such a vol
unteering for a task as every parent under
stands. The methods of the mind may be la
borious, but the methods of the heart are
simple. The mind calculates with care; the
heart "trusts and obeys."
A PRACTICAL LESSON
The lesson for today is a very practical one.
A religious life begins in the humility that
comes with consciousness of sin "God4 be mer
ciful to me a sinner." Forgiveness follows, and
with it the dawn of a new day "Though your
sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow; though they be red like crimson, thev
shall be as wool."
Then the heart, open to divine suggestion,
hears the call to service and answers, "Here am
I; send me."
From that time on life is an ascent, but
strength is promised with every new difficulty
and joy is assured as duties, revealed from day
to day, are performed. May we all, old and
young, have the spirit of consecration embodied
in the song:
Tni"1!11 S, Wuere you want me t0 so dear Lord;
1. 11 be what you want me to be; I'll say what
wantTS'do0"8' Lrd; rU'd0 what you
HOW PEACE WILL
COME TO THE WORLD
By WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
BIBLE TEXT LESSON FOR MAY 7
(Isaiah ii: 2-4; xi: 1-9)
And it shall come'to pass in tho nt rinc i .
the mountain of the Lord's houkn 1 i i ys' P'r
llshed in the top of the mountains an aihSn CStab"
528? if0"6 tJl h,Us; and atfonndsS1a1i,b,ie0-
lets ".rfenounTainoftheS T
house of tho God of Jacob; and ho win t2u tho
of his ways, and we will walk in i,Yi U foach Us
out of Zion shall ffo forth thelnw np?iths: for
of the Lord from Jerusalem. the word
And ho shall judge amonir fhr nntu , .
rebuko many people: and thovh?s,i an.d 8ha
swords into plowshare?, and thMr1Lbcat the,r
pruninghooks: nation In a?" not lift 8prs lnto
against nation, neither shall they "earnwa?
And the spirit of the Lord shYiirL0 hIs roota'
the spirit of wisdom and Sndorstincieni Hpon hlm.
of counsel and might, the sDlrft o?dr& ithie spIrlt
of tho fear of the Lord; P of lcnowledge and
And shall make him of quick urwin,.0-i.
tho fear of tho Lord: and o sUi r,nfStn,(llne !
the sight of his eyes neither ienUU(1S0 after
hearing of his ears: "tIl"r leprovo after the
But with righteousness shall hr , ,,
An .JBhteousncss shall be the girdle f i,i . ,
And the cow and the bear shall tnn.i. .-.
ones shall lie down together; and tho Tin!!"
eat straw like the ox. v tnc llon shall
And the Bucking child shall play on tho yi
the asp, and the weaned child shall pm ; hi e J
on the cockatrice's den. pul nls hand
They shall not hurt nor destroy in nil ,. L .
mountain: for the earth shall be full of IL .My
edge of the Lord, as the waters cove? the set
Do you long for world peace? Do you nnv
for it, strivo fo,r it? Would you know how JK
love and justice is to come?
Then turn to Isaiah. He was preeminently th?
prophet of peace, and in the two extracts from
his great jook which we shall consider today ho
brings his Wonderful gift of imagery to bear
upon 'this subject of supreme importance to the
These extracts are from the Second and
Eleventh Ghapters. I shall take the liberty of
transposing the quotation and refer to the sec
ond quotation iirst.
Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Messiah
He is to be of the seed of Abraham and a de
scendant of Jesse and David. "And the spirit
of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel
and might, the spirit of knowledge and of tho
fear of the Lord." The word "spirit" is hero
used four times and to this spirit is linked "the
fear of the Lord."
We often hear the critics of the Bible finding
jfault with the word "fear." We are told that
it is a narrow religion that teaches fear; that
love should be a sufficient inducement to righte
ousness. Strange that the worshippers of nature
should overlook the fact that fear is written
upon every page of nature's book.
"THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM"
Fire is essential to human life, and yet we
fear fire. We are afraid to thrust a hand into
the fire or to. allow lire to escape from man's
The air is necessary to life, and yet we fear tho
air when the wind raises to a certain velocity.
The air in the form of a cyclone or hurricane is
as destructive as fire unconfined.
And. so with water. It is the daily need of
every living thing-, and yet it may take our
lives when it comOs in the form of a flood or
we go into it beyond our depth.
Why not bring an' indictment against nature
for exciting fear? .Why should the very things
that sustain life and giv us the physical pleas
ures that we know become so deadly when their
wrath is aroused? .
The God of nature is to be feared as well as
loved "the fear of the Lord is the beginning
of wisdom." Only the foolish find fault with
fear as a restraining agency. The fear of God
holds us in check until we reach a paint where
our "delight is in the law of the Lord."
Isaiah has the Messiah delighting "in the fear
of the Lord." Obedience comes before the
knowledge: the child learns to obey before it
knows the reason why. Is not the difference be
tween man and the Heavenly Father as great
as the difference between the parent and the
"A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM"
The coming Messiah was not to be dependent
upon the avenues of information upon which
ordinary mortals have to rely. A human judge
learns by sight and by ear, but the Messiah
could not be dependent upon seeming things. "He
shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears."
He would have an insight into the truth, even
the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding and
of knowledge. He would judge the poor with
righteousness and "reprove with equity for the
meek of the earth'
Throughout history the righteous judge has
been described as the one who does justice to the
poor. It was one of tho proofs that Christ gave
of His Messiahship -"the poor have the gospel
preached to them."
The prophet's description of the completeness
of the peace that was to come leaves nothing to
be imagined. Even the animals are to be
purged of the savagery that dominates their
world. The wolf shall djell with "the lamb and
the leopard shall lie down with the kid:" the
calf and the young lion and the fatling shall be
companions; "and a little child shall lead them.
one of the wonderful sentences that Isalaii
coined for the world.
Probably no one save Christ has ever so ex
alted the child, although throughout the ages
child leadership has been an outstanding fact.
A child's tiny-hands, before they can lift a
featherweight, bring two hearts nearer together,
and its presence sobers the thoughtless ami
makes them-begin to plan for .life a real thing.
4 4 ,
,. '-. ,
Powered by Open ONI