Page images

ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in ;" and if any ask, Who is the King of glory? we answer in the words of this Psalm, "The Lord of Hosts, strong and mighty in battle.” We believe with Saint Paul, "That had the princes of this world known him, they would not have crucified this King of glory."* We declare that the "crucified" † one, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Lord of Hosts, "Jehovah Sabaoth ;" and joyfully confess, that the "Glory of his people Israel,” whom Simeon salutes in the text, was the manifestation of that "glory of the Lord" which Isaiah foretold "should be revealed,” ‡ and of whom God says, "I am the Lord (Jehovah), that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another." §

Still, plain as these glorious truths may appear, they require something more than the common light of reason to apprehend them. This light, every

man that is born into the world hath from Him as his Creator, but the special light of Divine grace is also necessary, that they may be embraced and fully received into the heart. Gross is the darkness of every natural mind, till Christ enlighten it; it can neither discern nor receive the things of God; "Ye were darkness," says the apostle, "but now are ye light in the Lord;" it is nothing else but a mass of darkness, and the companion of darkness is confusion, as it was in the mass of the world before + Isaiah xl. 5.

* 1 Cor. ii. 8.

+ 1 Cor. i. 23.

[blocks in formation]

light was created. What, indeed, is there under heaven more confused than a carnal mind, the affections quite out of order, and continually hurrying the judgment whither they please?

Now, to dissipate this darkness and remedy this confusion, Christ shines externally in his word; but too much daily experience testifies that this is not sufficient; therefore, to those whom he will make "children of light," he gives also an inward light by the influence of his Holy Spirit. He that "at first commanded light to shine out of darkness,” thus infuses saving knowledge into the dark soul of man and this "light" kindles "love."* It has an all-powerful influence on the affections, nor can it be ever again fully extinguished, but conducts the soul that has received it, till it be admitted to the land of perfect light and happiness. Thus, in our Redeemer, is the "Fountain of life," and in his light do we see light.†

It is a vain and distressing hope for any to entertain, of obtaining true light and peace by any means, or from any quarter, but Christ alone; but faith embracing the righteousness of Christ is enlightened by him, ‡ and the believer as he walks with Christ, will find increasing light both in his mind and his experience. But how seldom do we meet with this faith in Christ alone, how few seem to know that it is not in man himself to commit all hopes, all fears, all concerns, all joys, in fine, every+ Psalm xxxvi. 9. Phil. iii. 8.

* Rom. v. 5.


thing which can affect either soul or body, simply and unreservedly into the hands of Christ. Lord says, "All things are possible to him that believeth," but it is not always possible to believe, and never so in truth, but by the effectual working of a Divine power. It may be easy to be active and zealous (as we think) for Christ, and our hearts may take some pleasure, if not pride, in the honour of such activity: but to be passive to his holy will, to yield up ourselves to his disposal, as clay into the hands of the potter, and to rest satisfied with the issue, this is a proof of that genuine faith which every one might wish to find in himself, and to see more of in the world. Lot petitioned for a little reserve "in Zoar," and there is a secret corner in all our hearts into which our will sometimes contracts itself and seems to retire, but expands again upon occasion, and rushes out to the bitter annoyance of the soul.

Men may have much apparent light in their understanding, and may not only be able to know much of outward things, but be able to subtilize and raise nice distinctions upon many, or all the doctrines of the Gospel; but there is a knowledge which, because it is not real, shews its own falsehood "by puffing up." Indeed, it is hard to say how far an unrenewed mind may penetrate into spiritual concerns and be unrenewed after all. The devils know much of the letter of the Gospel, but could they be acquainted as a true

Christian is, with the life and power of it, they need not put on the appearance of-for they would become in reality-" angels of light."*

A true Christian hath not so "learned Christ." "A renewed understanding" (says a good man) "is not taught by words and sentences, be they what they will, but by the mind of God and Christ in them." If we had been taught to know Christ we should indeed rejoice to behold him, who is the only true "light of the world" and the peculiar "glory of His people;" we would not then exchange the least beam of the light of his countenance for any amount of mere worldly knowledge, or the highest favour of mortal man. The Christian, indeed, does not ignorantly despise intellectual attainments, nor rudely reject the smiles of the world; but though he be himself rich, and wise, and honourable, he glories not in these, but in Christ. And as the enjoyment of Christ surpasses other joys, so it overcomes his griefs; as that Divine light drowns the light of earthly prosperity, so it shines brighter than ever in the darkness of any present affliction; there is no dungeon so close that can keep out the rays of Christ's love from his beloved prisoners, and the world can no more take away this light than it can give it.

Further, as this light is a surpassing joy and comfort, so it is likewise a defence, that suffers no more of distress to come near the godly than is

[blocks in formation]

profitable for them. Therefore, we find very frequently in Scripture, where the Divine light and glory is mentioned, protection and safety jointly spoken of at the same time, thus, "The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear?”* and again, "The Lord God is a Sun and Shield.” "Upon all the glory shall be a defence," says Isaiah; and the prophet Zechariah, where he calls the Lord, the Church's "glory in the midst of her," calls him likewise, 66 a wall of fire round about her." The only way to be safe is to keep this Light and this Glory entire. To part with any part of this Glory is to make a breach in that "wall of fire;" but if it be kept whole, then they must come through the fire that would assault you.

If, then, you are ready to confess with Simeon, that Christ Jesus is the glory of his redeemed people, the words of Isaiah's prophecy will strike with renewed and startling energy on your ears. "Arise, shine, for the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." § Yes, the day of the Gospel is too precious that it should be spent entirely in idleness or worldly business. Worldly business may detain you, but again and again "arise" from toiling in the dust and working in the clay like Egyptian captives; address yourselves chiefly to more noble work—“ seek first the kingdom of God;"¶-there is a Redeemer come that will pay your ransom, and

*Psa. xxvii. 1. † Zechariah iv. 5. ‡ Zechariah ii. 5. § Isaiah lx. 1. || Archbishop Leighton. Matt. vi. 33.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »