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devout Simeon, when his eyes first rested on our blessed Lord, may well encourage his believing people now to regard again and again with deep and earnest attention, " Him, whom having not seen we love; and in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

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It is no strange thing for his Church to be in "heaviness through manifold temptations:" but there may be seasons of peculiar trial and deeper depression; and though the great "Light" of the Church may at such a time seem regardless of her trouble, He is only waiting the fit opportunity to be gracious, and when the hour is come, He is ready to arise and shine upon her low estate, and to bring her forth more fresh, strong, and beautiful than before. Not that at any moment he leaves her in entire darkness; the light of his glorious gospel is ever present with her, though her sight is dimmed sometimes to behold it, and there are the words of eternal truth to trust in, declaring, "I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life." In his Word he still shines, and makes it a directing and convincing Light, to discover all things that concern his Church and Himself. There, "The Light which shines out of darkness is ever ready to shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of † John viii. 12.

* 1 Pet. i. 8.

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Jesus Christ. "* The Light or Glory† of Immanuel, as it shines forth in his own divine nature, is too illustrious and dazzling for the intellect of man; as the material sun shines too bright to be looked upon by the human sense, so our souls are much more feeble to gaze spiritually upon the Sun of suns, and the unclouded Light of infinite worlds. It is in his glorious gospel that we are permitted to behold him, and in a holy and spiritual exercise of faith to commune with his divine nature. It is there we see "as in a glass the glory of the Lord,"‡

2 Cor. iv. 6.

"The radical idea of the word which we translate glory, is taken from weight or gravity, and denotes intrinsic, real, and solid splendour. It implies whatever is peculiarly grand, sublime, and magnificent. Thus the soul is called the glory of a man (Ps. xvi. 9), because it is his supreme and more excellent part. The glory of God, likewise, so far as relates to our conceptions of Him, or his manifestation to us, is the particular display and illustration either to our mind or sense, of his own existence and majesty. So Christ is called the Glory of the Father, because, in him, the Father is known and shines conspicuously to our understandings. He that hath seen me, saith Jesus, hath seen the Father.' No man can see Christ aright (which sight is only granted to faith) without seeing him to be One with the Father of lights, participating of his essential and undivided glories. The apostle describing the heavenly rest of believers, taken in the idea of the Hebrew word, which without a periphrasis the Greek could not express, and calls it a 'weight of glory,' and not only this, but labouring, as it were, to communicate the vast idea of the Holy Spirit, he terms it, 'a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' 2 Cor. iv. 17."

2 Cor. iii. 18.

and contemplate the fulness of that Light, whose arising Isaiah foretold, should be accompanied with wakening and vivifying power to the Church, saying, "Arise, shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee;" and whose actual coming the words of the text record and testify. Who, then, was the lowly infant, the devout Simeon held in his arms, whom he so joyfully welcomed as "salvation" itself, before whose "Light" darkness should fly away, and the mist of heathen ignorance and idolatry be dispelled, and whose "glory" should encircle and rest upon the Church? The same prophet who announced his approach signally answers the inquiry. In the language of encouragement he addresses the Church in the same chapter as a city "whose walls are Salvation, and its gates Praise," † adding the assurance, "The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory." +

Yes, the fulness of time had been completed, when "the people that walked in darkness, should see a great light; § and he who was to bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house," || had come to dwell upon our earth, to fulfil his mission of love and mercy, while one of his expecting

• Isa. lx. 1.

+ Isa. lx. 18.

Isa. ix. 2; Matt. iv. 12, 16. || Isa. xlii. 7; Luke iv.

17, 18.

Isa. lx. 19.

people was commissioned publicly to acknowledge his actual presence, and joyfully to welcome the "God of glory," "*"whose day, Abraham also rejoiced to see, and was glad."

This lowly infant was the same almighty King whose return to the mansions of heaven, in human

* Luke ii. 29, 32; Acts vii. 2; John viii. 56.

The glory of the Lord was often sensibly evident to the ancient church in a splendid and luminous manner; but the full weight, or essence, of this glory no man in the flesh, or by its senses, can perceive. Moses, doubtless, saw as much as his faculties could bear, yet he had only a glimpse, as it were, of Christ, compared with what he now knows of the person and grace of his Redeemer. The faces, or persons in, Jehovah, cannot be seen in our earthly nature. We must be placed "in the cleft of the smitten rock," and come to Christ as the sacrifice for our sins, before we can enjoy the least radiance of his divine glory, or know that he is the consummation of all things, who also in these last days, or dispensation, hath made his appearance in the world. In spirit, many of the saints under the law had, doubtless, very sublime communications concerning the divinity of Christ, as the Glory of Jehovah; but the last upon record (unless we include the revelation to St. John) who was favoured with a sensible manifestation of his superlative brightness, was one, to whom God had decreed an apostleship, one, who had denied the spiritual existence of this glory in Jesus, and diligently laboured, as far as he might to extinguish its splendour in the world. It was this glory, exhibited under the image of a cloud and fire to the outward sense, which led the Israelites from Egypt to an earthly Canaan, an inheritance, and this spiritual GLORY, presented to the eye of faith, conducts the whole Israel of God to that spiritual rest, which remaineth for them in heaven. (Exod. xxxiii. 9, 10, 12; Exod. xl. 34, 35 ; Lev. ix. 23.)

form, the Psalmist so signally describes in one of his triumphant hymns.* He there presents to us the idea of the "Lord of glory," after his resurrection from the dead, making his entry into the eternal temple (as of old, by the symbol of his presence, he took possession of that figurative temple which once stood upon the hill of Sion). He seems to bid us conceive him, gradually rising from Mount Olivet into the air, taking the clouds for his chariot and ascending up on high; while some of the angels, attendant on the triumphant Messiah in the day of his power, demand that those everlasting gates and doors hitherto shut and barred against the race of Adam, should be thrown open for his admission into the realms of bliss, 66 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."† On hearing this voice of Jubilee and exultation from the earth, the abode of misery and sorrow, the rest of the angels, astonished at the thought of a man claiming a right of entrance into these happy regions, ask from within, "Who is the King of glory?" To which question the attendant angels answer in a strain of joy and triumph-and let the Church of the redeemed answer with them-" The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” The Lord Jesus, victorious over sin, death, and hell; therefore we say, and with holy joy we repeat it,

66

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up,

* Psalm xxiv. Horne on the Psalms.

† Verse 7.

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