The emptiness of the ‘enchanted places’
‘O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.’ Psalm 43:3
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Ecclesiastes 2:1–11
Here we observe what is implied: a conviction of the emptiness and vanity of the present state. This world and all that is in it may be compared to what some writers have fancied of enchanted places. It has been supposed that by the power of a sorcerer people have been surprised with fine sights, noble buildings, pleasant gardens, entertained with music and feasting, till by and by the charm has been broke; all these gay things have vanished, and they have found themselves disappointed and alone. Such an enchantment is the world. Such a magician is the devil. He deceives the sight and stupefies the mind of sinners. They think themselves in a world of delights. They propose nothing but pleasure and joy. They look no farther than the present life. But when the Word of God comes powerfully to the heart, then the enchantment is broke—all those fine things are gone at one. The soul is like a hungry man that has been dreaming of eating, and now it awakes and finds itself empty. Then it sees and feels this cannot be its rest. It can no longer feed upon the wind. It wants something more substantial. How have I been seeking the living among the dead, expecting to enjoy peace and happiness in a state of sin and misery! But now I see I never can be happy unless the mighty God vouchsafes to be my portion—not until I arrive at his heavenly hill, the place of his holiness. No happiness for me till guilt is pardoned, sin subdued and Satan trampled under my feet.
Blinded in youth by Satan’s arts,
But while he listens with surprise,
The world to our unpractised hearts,
The charm dissolves, the vision dies,
A flattering prospect bows;
’Twas but enchanted ground;
Our fancy forms a thousand schemes,
Thus if the Lord our spirits touch,
Of gay delights, and golden dreams,
The world, which promised us so much,
And undisturbed repose.
A wilderness is found.
SERMON: PSALM 43:3 [2/5]