I. Never was there a grander epitaph than this.—There are visions which are but worthless dreams—the wild flight of an unbridled brain; and there are those, like the night thoughts of Daniel, which bring revelations of the Divine. All Nature shows visions of God. These are witnessed by the wise man and the fool, and possibly by the unobservant cattle of the fields. And the true difference of men is not in giving all things names—which is science; but in discerning their import and understanding them as the visions of God. In the speculations of human thought and the manifold love of the human heart there are visions of God. A philosophy which fails to apprehend that is but vain deceit. The Holy Spirit is promised to those who believe in the Son of God as the great Revealer. It is His work to give understanding of the visions of God.
II. God has not shut the door of the Temple of Nature, locking Himself out, and lost the key.—He dwells therein not entirely concealed. The Great Teacher has told us that it needs purity of heart to see God. Through the disease of sin multitudes are Deity-blind. Hence the counsel of our Lord, bidding us to seek from Him eye-salve that we may see. To the pure soul there is constantly the vision of God, and to the wise soul there is given the understanding of that vision. And this is the noblest attainment of his faculties possible to man.
‘A strongly religious man, like Zechariah, may exert a most salutary influence on public affairs. By all means get your “visions of God”; but be equally careful to link them with practical service, influence, and advice. Emerson talks of hitching our wagon to a star. Even a wagon will move swiftly then! How much blessing would come to the world, if those who have visions of the Unseen and Eternal would give them practical exemplification! The vision-seer is apt to become visionary; the so-called practical man is apt to look only earthward. There should be a combination of these two attitudes. Raphael’s Transfiguration picture combines the glory on the mountain-top with the miracle on the demoniac child.’