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THE NINTH HARMONY
THAT INTEGRAL VISION
The 9th island -
ISAIAH'S INTEGRAL AND ARRESTING VISION
The captivating explosions in Isaiah, continually coming like ever new flowers jauntily rushing into existence in Spring-time, some younger, some growing, some now mature, in an interlocking wonder like a meadow full of irrepressible blooms, all healthy, all vigorous, all in one season and place, yet in varied stages of exuberance: these are like a celestially conveyed garden. You are in it, and once within, cannot cease to wander in its borders, seeing the streams and little slopes, the sudden drops at other points, the perspectives now higher, now less and more detailed, so that you realise that this part of the country is of a special kind, so integral in its interrelationships but on this earth, it reminds one of a blessed marriage, a blissful family on perpetual picnic, or indeed, an athletic body in which all the parts are brought to a wonder of integration which is matched by a massive performance, for all that he says comes to pass to the most remote detail.
There is never any feeling of constraint, but a certain delicious naturalness pervades the supernaturally imparted whole, like a child at play; yet it is far more than that, it is God at work with His love and energy, now this way, now that, now to this extent, now to that, now in sudden energy as in jumping, taking you far from where you were, now slowly and in absorbing detail outlining in more thematic splendour what He has been saying.
It is very like the Psalms of David, its shades and brilliances, its tendernesses and its sublimities, its practicalities and its celestial awareness poured out like perfume, and yet as we proceed, we become aware of the genre of perfumes more and more, always one, never predictable, always wonderful, unhastened, hallowed, as integral as tears, whether of joy or sorrow, as deep as death, as high as life. As Christ cited from early and later parts of it, the prophet Isaiah (as in John 12), so it is like pointing out different parts of the human body on a wall chart, on display for students.
Indeed it would be well to hear those
words of Christ, for the seamless way in which the Lord proceeds from the
diversities in Isaiah to those of His own, in perfect concord with His own
varied ways, yet always stable and integral, reminds one of the prophet Isaiah,
in his early measure, before Him.
But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
'Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?'
"Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.'
"These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
"Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the
Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the
for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
"Then Jesus cried out and said,
'He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.
And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.
I have come as a light into the world,
that whoever believes in Me
should not abide in darkness.
"And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him;
for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me,
and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -
the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
For I have not spoken on My own authority;
but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command,
what I should say and what I should speak.
And I know that His command is everlasting life.
"Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."
Here is the same flourish of what is a perpetual emphasis on faith (notable in Isaiah 7!) with its hopeful horizons and the summary horror if it should be neglected in disbelief, the same efflorescence of tenderness, the same inflexible attestation of authority (as in Isaiah 8:20), and the same emphasis on judgment, all in one arena, and here on one occasion.
It was the spirit of Christ who gave the earlier prophets their words (I Peter 1:10-12, cf. II Peter 1:18-20). When Christ came, the same tendency for pearls of great and exquisite, yet tiny beauty (as in the Sermon on the Mount, Isaiah 1, 7, 54:11ff., 63:1ff., 66:1-2), together with amplification in the same sense of togetherness (as in Matthew 23-24, John 6, Isaiah 28-29, 59, 66), is to be found; but it is consummated with the personal presence of the now personally present Author of what had come before, which after all, was from the spirit of Christ as Peter declares.
It was indeed as easy for the Jewish people to forget the ways in which their prophets had had their words tested, words which, had they fallen would have meant death (Deuteronomy 13, 18), had shown the power of God, as for England to forget Dunkirk, or Australia, Gallipoli, or El Alamein. Whether for or against God, they were a people in an aura which would not remove itself, words thundering into action both in the near and long terms, underlined with tragedy when as often they neglected them, or superb in performance when unlike Ahaz (Isaiah 7), but more like Hezekiah (Isaiah 37ff.), they heeded.
The following cited sites are too large to include in one chapter, and as current, serve well our purpose, so merely the hyperlinks below are provided.
From Licence for Liberty Excursion,
Excursion ... esp. *4
Journey to God or Fantasy's Flight to the Infernal Ch. 8 esp. at 'Sam'.
Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 4,
COMFORT 7 and
Divine Agenda Ch. 5
No Thanks for Angst! ... Ch. 3