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THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Mat. v. 14.
“ Ye are the light of the world."
“ IN THE BEGINNING was the WORD, and the “ Word was with God, and the Word was « God." John i. 1. 66 And the Word was “ made FLESH, and dwelt among us; and we “ beheld his Glory, the glory as of the only “ begotten of the Father, full of grace and “ truth.” John i. 14. And the Word, being “ manifest in the flesh, was justified in the
Spirit, seen of angels” in this humble state,
preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in “ the world, received up into glory.” i Tim.
This, my Brethren, is the sum of that Divine Record, which is to give light to the world.
Christ is the fountain of light. “ I am the « light of the world,” saith the Eternal Word. When therefore he saith, “ Ye are the light of 66 the world,” he means not that ye are that light, but are to bear witness of that Light.” John i. 18. Ye are merely INSTRUMENts of the light (like the greater and lesser lights in the firmament of heaven) to reflect and diffuse it throughout the world.
CHRIST is the Fountain of Light; that is, of spiritual light. For, as the light of reason was conferred on the first man Adam, and is natural to all men; so the spiritual light cometh by the Second Adam, “a quickening spirit, “ the Lord from heaven."-" I am the light
of the world," saith Christ: “ he that fol« loweth me, shall have the light of life;" even the light from above, which is ministered to the soul by “ the Holy Ghost sent down from
That we may have clear conceptions on this subjeet, let us inquire who those persons were whom our Lord called “ the light of the “} world.” This appellation was not given to the Jewish nation in general, but to a few individuals, whom the great body of the Jews supposed to be in the darkness of error; but who, in reality, saw the true light, while the .. darkness comprehended it not." As it was in the days of Christ so it is in our
pray for it.
time: the spiritual light is not poured upon a whole nation, or upon a whole community of men by any system of education, but is given to individuals; to such individuals as heartily
“ He, that followeth me," saith Christ,“ shall have the light of life;" for
every one, that asketh, receiveth : he, that “ seeketh, findeth : and to him, that knocketh, “ it shall be opened.” And this is expressly spoken in reference to the gift of the Holy Spirit. A whole nation may enjoy the external light, and may exhibit the civilizing power of Christianity, and yet be involved in spiritual darkness. And this is “the hard saying" which “ the world cannot receive." The “ words of Scripture,” say they, “ are suffi“ cient of themselves to illuminate the mind, “ without the light from heaven. The dead « letter hath light enough for us."-Whereas the Apostle saith, “ God hath made us able 6 ministers of the New Testament; not of the “ letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, “ but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Cor. iii. 6. But the world in general will not receive this truth. " And this is the condemnation," saith our Lord, “ that light is come into the world, and “ men love darkness rather than light.". Thus St. Paul himself disbelieved once, and proceeded to Damascus, having his heart filled with enmity against this heavenly doctrine. But
behold," he saw in the way a light from hea.
ven, above the brightness of the sun shining « round about hiin :" yet this external light was but a faint emblem of that illamination, which was imparted to his soul, and which our Saviour calleth “ the Light of Life.”
My Brethren, unless a man have the Liglit of Life, lie cannot see the kingdom of God, For, though there be no external miracle, like that in the case of the Apostle, to accompany it; yet the INTERNAL miracle subsists, in all its truth and reality; and is manifested at this day in the same kind of vigour and efficacy, as in the first days of the gospel. For, as the first Christians and the Christians of this day are to be partakers of the same glory in heaven, so it is necessary that they acquire the same meekness for that inheritance, and become subjects of the same conversion of heart here on earth.
I would record this doctrine of the Divine Illumination in the very threshold of our argument; for it is of importance that its truth be made manifest to ourselves, before it be preached to the heathen world.
It is common to arraign that ancient people, the Jews, for their unbelief: and we are wont to view their hardness of heart with a kind of horror. But, in regard to the doctrine al. luced to, Jews and nominal Christians are in