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possibly are here meant, as part of that darkness, from which the Apostle writes that these Jews were delivered also by the knowledge of Christ: When he came, the day broke, and the shadows flew away. He is likewise opposed to the darkness of the Gentile superstitions and idolatries; therefore these two are joined by old Simeon", A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel.
And to all that believe of both, he is light opposed to the ignorance, slavery and misery of their natural estate, teaching them by his Spirit, the things of God, and reuniting them with God, who is the light of the soul. I am, says he, the light of the world, he that follows me shall not walk in darkņess.
And it is that mysterious union of the soul with God in Christ (which a natural man so little nnderstands) that is the cause of all that spiritual light of. grace, that a believer does enjoy. There is no right knotyledge of God, to man once fallen from it, but in his Son, no comfort in beholding God, but through Him. Nothing but just anger and wrath to be seen in God's looks, but through him, in whom he is well pleased. The Gospel shews us the light of the knowledge of God", but it is in the face of Jesus Christ; therefore the kingdom of light, opposed to that of darkness', is called the kingdom of his dear Son, or the Son of his love.
There is a spirit of light and knowledge flows from Jesus Christ into the souls of believers, that acquaints them with the mysteries of the kingdom of God, which cannot otherwise be known. And this spirit of knowledge is withal a spirit of holiness ; for purity and holiness is likewise signified by this light. He removed that huge dark body of sin that was betwixt us and the Father, and eclipsed him from us ; the light of his countenance, sanctifieth by truth; it is a light that hath heat with it, and hath influence upon the affections, warms them towards God Luke ii. 32. i Joh. viii. 12.
2 Cor. iv. 6. Col. i. 13.
and divine things; this darkness here is indeed the shadow of death; and so they that are without Christ, till he visit them, are said, to sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death". So this light is life", doth enlighten and enliven, begets new actions and motions in the soul. The right notion that a man hath of things as they are, works upon him, and stirs him accordingly; so this light discovers a man to himself, and lets him see his own natural filthiness; it makes him loath himself, and fly from and run out of himself. And the excellency he sees in God, and his Son Jesus Christ, by this new light, inflames his heart with their love, fills him with estimation of the Lord Jesus, and makes the world, and all things in it that he esteemed before, base and mean in his eyes.
Then from this light arises spiritual joy and comfort; so light signifies frequently, as in that of the Psalmist, the latter clause expounds the formero,
Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. As this kingdom of God's dear Son, that is, this kingdom of light, hath righteousness in it; so it hath peace and joy in the Holy Ghost”. It is a false prejudice the world hath taken up against religion, that it is a sour melancholy thing: There is no truly lightsome and comfortable life but it. All others, have they what they will, live in darkness; and is not that truly sad and comfortless? Would you think it a pleasant life, though you had fine cloaths, and good diet, never to see the sun, but still to be kept in a dungeon with them? Thus are they that live in wordly honour and plenty, but still without God; they are in continual darkness with all their enjoyments.
It is true, the light of believers is not here perfect, and therefore their joy is not perfect neither; it is sometimes over-clouded; but the comfort is this, that it is an everlasting light, it shall never go out in darkness, as is said in Job xviii. 5. of the m Luke i. 79. n John i. 4. • Psal. xcvii. 11.
! Rom. xiv. 17.
light of the wicked, and it shall within a while be perfected. There is a bright morning without a cloud that shall arise. The Saints have not only light to lead them in their journey, but much purer light at home, an inheritance in light! The land where their inheritance lieth is full of light, and their inheritance itself is light; for the vision of God for ever is that inheritance. That city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of the Lord doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. As we said, that increated light is the happiness of the soul, the beginnings of it are our happiness begun; they are beams of it sent from above, to lead us to the fountain and fulness of it. With thee, says David, is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light'.
There are two things spoken of this light, to commend it, his marvellous light; that it is after a peculiar manner God's, and then that it is marvellous. All light is from him, the light of sense, and that of reason; therefore he is called the Father of lights. But this light of grace, is after a peculiar manner his, being a light above the reach of nature, infused into the soul, in a supernatural way,
the light of the elect world, where God specially and graciously resides. Natural men may know very much in natural things, and it may be in supernatural things, after a natural manner. They may be full of school-divinity, and able to discourse of God and his Son Christ, and the mystery of redemption, fc. and yet they want this peculiar light, by which Christ is known to believers. They may speak of him; but it is in the dark; they see him not, and therefore they love him not. The light they have, is as the light of some things that shine only in the night, a cold glow-worm-light that hath no heat with it at all.
Whereas a soul that hath some of his light, God's peculiar light communicated to it, sees Jesus Christ,
1 Rev. xxi, 23. * Psal. xxxvi. 9.
Jam, i, 17.
9 Colos, i. 12.
and loves and delights in him, and walks with him. A little of this light is worth a great deal, yea more worth than all that other common, speculative and discoursing knowledge that the greatest doctors can attain unto.
It is of a more excellent kind and original; it is from Heaven, and you know that one beam of the sun is more worth than the light of ten thousand torches together; it is a pure undecaying heavenly light, whereas the other is gross and earthly (be it never so great) and lasts but a while. Let us not therefore think it incredible, that a poor unlettered christian may know more of God in the best kind of knowledge, than any the wisest and most learned natural man can do; for the one knows "God only by man's light, the other knows him by his own light, and that is the only right' knowledge. As the sun cannot be seen but by its own light, so neither can God be savingly known, but by
his own revealing. } 16. Now this light being so peculiarly God's, no wonder if it be marvellous. The common light of the world is so, though because of its commonness, « vie thinkinot so: The Lord is marvellous in wis:dom, in power, -in' all his works of creation and providence: but above all," in the workings of his grace. This light is unknown to the world, and so marvellous in the rareness of beholding it, that there be but a few that partake of it. And to them that see, it is marvellous; because in it, they see so many excellent things that they knew. not before; as if a man'were born and brought up, till he came to the years of understanding in a dungeon, where he had never seen light, and were brought forth on a suddená or not to need that imagination, take the man that was born blind; at his first sight, after Christ had cured him, what wonder, think we, would seize upon him, to behold on a sudden the beauty of this visible world, especially of that sun, and that light that inakes it both visible and beautiful! but much more matter of admiration is there in this light to the soul, that is brought newly from the darkness
of corrupt nature; they see as it were a new world, and in it such wonders of the rich grace and love of God, such matchless worth in Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, that their souls are filled with admiration : and if this light of grace be so marvellous, how much more marvellous shall the light of glory be in which it ends?
Hence learn, 1. To esteem highly of the gospel, in which this light shines unto us; the Apostle calls it therefore, the glorious gospel". Sure we have no cause to be ashamed of it, but of ourselves, that we are so unlike it.
2. Think not you that are grossly ignorant of God, and his Son. Christ, and the mysteries of salvation; that you have any portion as yet in his grace ; for the first character of his renewed image in the soul is light, as it was his first work in the natural or material world. What avails it us to live in the poon-day light of the gospel, if our hearts be still shut against it, and so we be nothing but darkness within? as a house that is close shut up, and hath no entry for light, though it is day without, still it is night within.
VIO); 3. Consider your delight in the works of darkness, and be afraid of that great condemnation, This is the condemnation of the world, that-light is come into it, and men love darkness rather than light
4. You that are indeed partakers of this happy change, let your hearts be habitations of light, Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Stüdy much to increase in spiritual light and knowledge, and withal in holiness and obedience. If your light be this light of God, truly spiritual light, these will accompany it. Consider the rich love of God, and account his light marvellous, as in itself, so in this, that he hath bestowed it on you; and seeing you were once darkness, but now sare light in the Lord, I beseech you, nay the Apostle, and in him
u 2 Cor. iv. 4. * Joh. jii. 191 y Eph. v. 11.