Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the same condemnation. The Jews received the words of Scripture as we do; but they rejected the spiritual light. “ When they read “ the Old Testament,” saith the Apostle, “ the veil is upon their hearts unto this day; and they perceive not the spiritual kingdom of the promised Messiah. In like manner, when nominal Christians read the New Testament, the veil is upon their hearts, and they perceive not the promise of the Holy Spirit. For, as the Messiah, God the Son, was the one great object presented to view in the proinises and prophecies of the Old Testament; sơ the subject of the Grand Promise in the New Testament is, God the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit is the very life and essence, and, in regard to actual operation on the hearts of men, the Alpha and Omega of the New dispensation, which is emphatically called “ the Ministration of the SPIRIT.” This was that " promise ss of the Father," of which our Saviour spake with such earnestness and exultation to his dig. ciples ; and which he said would “ abide in st the world for ever.” The Day of Pentecost was properly the first day of the Christian Dispensation : for, on that day, the fountains of divine influence were opened for the Universal Church ; never to be closed again to the end of time. Unless this light of the Spirit had. been shed forth, the Apostles themselves could

not have fully understood the Gospel, even after hearing the words of Christ from the beginning of his ministry to the hour of his ascension. And, without this light, the New Testament, in regard to its spiritual meaning, must be as a sealed book to every man at this day.

Men of the world acknowledge, indeed, that there is a promise of divine light under the New Dispensation, but they alledge that it was intended for others, and not for them. They say that the light shone a little while at the begin. ning of the Christian Religion, but was soon extinguished, and that the world was left again in darkness! They do not understand that there is any difference between the dispensation of Moses and the dispensation of Christ, except merely in the publication of an inspired book throughout the world!

What further evidence can we require of the existence of a kingdom in this world, which is under the dominion of him, who is called by our Saviour “ the Prince of DARKNESS;" and by St. Paul, “ the God of this WORLD," who “ blinds 6 the minds of them that believe not, lest the

light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should " shine unto them.” 2 Cor. iv. 4.

In the foregoing sentences, we have not spoken of that extraordinary light, which imparted to men the gift of prophecy and of tongues ;

[ocr errors]

but of that ordinary light, which sheweth to the sinner “ the glorious gospel of Christ;" as above expressed: and which inspireth him with love to God and with faith in bis Redeemer; which mortifieth evil affections, purifieth the heart, giveth to the soul a peace which passeth all understanding, and a sure and certain hope of the resurrection unto eternal life. We speak of that light, whatever it may be, which is necessary to open the understanding, that i we may understand the Scriptures.” Luke xxiv. 45.

We have asserted, that the spiritual light is not given to a nation or community of men by any system of education; but to individuals: even to those individuals, who obey the divine ioadmonition, and supplicate “ the Father of 1 Lights, for the “GOOD and perfect gift.”' doe Let us now proceed to inquire what was the character of those persons whom our Saviour addressed as “ the light of the world.” For if men say, “ We cannot see this spiritual light:

to us it is visible :" we must lead their atten. tion to that which is obvious and visible ; namely, the MORAL character of the children of ligbt.

The character of those who are called the Light of the World, is recorded by our Lord himself in his Sermon preached from the Mount; for they are the persons whose virtues are the

1

subjects of his BEATITUDES. It was on that oc. casion, when he had finished the enumeration of their peculiar dispositions, that he said “ Ye are the light of the world.”

In these Beatitudes, our Saviour would exhibit to the world, the character of his disciples. He would declare the heavenly temper and consequent blessedness of those persons, who should be subjects of his spiritual kingdom, which had now arrived. For, when he saith, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the

kingdom of heaven;" he saith, in effect, .6 Blessed are ye, my disciples, for ye are poor « in spirit :" and so of all the other dispositions there deseribed ; “ Blessed are the meek :"

“ Blessed are the merciful :"> Blessed are " the peace-makers :"" Blessed are the pure “ in heart:"— Blessed are they which hunger “ and thirst after righteousness." All these inestimable qualities of mind belong to the disciples of Christ; not one of them, but all. They all flow from “ the self-same Spirit ;' like sweet waters from the same fountain. They are the characters of that great moral change, which our Saviour foretold would be a frequent event under the New Dispensation.

When our Lord had given this record of the pure and heavenly dispositions of his disciples, he said unto them, “ Ye are the light of the 66 world.”

At that time, there were many illustrious characters in the world :men of great emipence, who flourished in Greece and Rome, and enlightened mankind by their science and learning; whose names are renowned at this day. But our Lord wid to his unlettered disciples, “ Ye are the light of the world.”

At that time, too, there were many in Judea, who had the revelation of God in their hands; « to whom were committed the oracles of “ God,” and who conceived themselves to be the church and people of God. Yet, when our Saviour came, he did not find one fit instrument for his ministry among the priesthood of the Jewish Church. And he turned to his disciples, and said, “ Ye are the light of the 66 world.”

We have introduced this doctrine of the Divine Illumination into the exordium of the Discourse, that it may guide us in our way through the difficult subject which lies before us. You will be now prepared to consider the following propositions ;

1. If you would be instruments of the light to the world, you will draw it from Christ, and send forth preachers bearing the CHARACTER which He hath delineated.

2. If you be instruments of the true light, you will be diligent in using those means of diffusing it which Christ hath appointed.

« PredošláPokračovať »