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66 Ye are

hard-hearted, spiritually dead, hell-deserving rebels ! Such are a few of the choice epithets which God's children bestow upon themselves when speaking to their Father who has called them by His grace, and adopted them into His family, and made them one with His dear Son. If they mean all this, where is their gratitude for what has been done for them? If they do not mean it, but have got into the habit of calling themselves bad names as an evidence of their deep humility, it is a bad habit, it is spurious piety, it is sickly spiritualism, and it is false humility The prayer meetingof course, we are assuming that those who pray audibly are saved men- loses half its holy meaning if it is not essentially a praise meeting, a little gathering of children burdened with gratitude for the divine things that have been done for them, and making their chief prayer an earnest petition for grace to glorify their God and Saviour. The sons of light must be light-bearers. Christ, the glorious central light from which all our little lamps are kindled, was in all points tried as we are, yet He never complained; why should we ? His Father's glory was His supreme object; should it not be ours ?

2. The sons of light should shine in the midst of surrounding darkness.

Repeated precept to this effect is found in the Book. the light of the world. . . Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven." (Matt. v. 14, 16.)

(Matt. v. 14, 16.) Ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (Eph. v. 8.) "Shine ye as lights in the world.” (Phil. ii. 15.) The need of these precepts is implied in the fact that they are given; but, strictly speaking, there should have been no need for them. It is the nature of light to shine ; and Christians in a healthy state will show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvellous light. But the Lord saw what a guilty hiding of His light there would be under all sorts of coverings during the dark ages, and it was very needful to call attention repeatedly to the candlesticks and the stars. But the sons of light, whilst always under obligation to reflect the light that falls upon them from the Sun of the moral universe, should consider it their special duty and privilege now to shine in the midst of surrounding darkness. If they do not, who will, who can? If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for battle? If the guides mislead, alas for the traveller ! If the watchmen sleep, woe to the city! The Lord has not committed His truth and character to the keeping of kings and governments, as such, but to saints, believers, sons of light. They are His witnesses. Upon them the wonderful honour devolves of guarding this divine deposit. They alone can appreciate its priceless value, for they only have felt its enlightening and cleansing power. Witnesses in His high court of heaven, before the bar of the world,

must be able to say, “We have heard Him ourselves.” To repeat what others have said is not evidence before an English judge. Legal testimony must be original, not second hand. So the light of divine truth must shine in the world's darkness from men who are themselves “sons of light.”

3. The sons of light are living proofs of the Redeemer's work.

There is no commentary on the gospel equal to the holy life of a believer. Living epistles speak for themselves, and all classes and conditions of men alike can read them. The unlettered peasant, who has no conception what the word logic means, has, nevertheless, logic enough to trace a godly life to a believing heart. Even the man who has no nobler aspiration than rent-roll or fruitful investment has enough true perception to place Christian excellence to the credit of Jesus Christ. Here is a bold and conclusive argument for St. Paul's apostolic commission : “Do we begin again to commend ourselves, or need we, as some others, letters of commendation either to you or from you? Ye are our epistle written on our hearts, known and read of all men, manifestly declared to be an epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not upon tablets of stone, but upon the fleshly tablets of the heart." Every day brings forth unquestionable testimony that the work of Christ is a successful reality. You are welcome to a large margin for counterfeits, but there is still left much divine gold, well tried in the fire, and bearing the image and superscription of the Great King. Besides, your counterfeits are themselves witnesses that the genuine exists. If it did not, what would there be to imitate? The existence of hypocrites is the world's testimony to the sons of light.

Our Lord failed not to instruct His disciples on this subject. He was about to leave them. This departure was expedient as an essential part of the arrangement for the Christian dispensation ; but the absent Leader must have representative followers; hence : “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John xv. 16.) As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” (xvii. 18.) “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." (xx. 21.) They went forth, therefore, under the impressive thought that they were commissioned representatives of the Holy One of God. Would the mere fact of apostolic, evangelistic, or pastoral office meet the requirements of the case? Most certainly not! Never, until the so-called Church had sunk into disgraceful degradation did the notion of official Christianity enter the mind of man. Nothing but Christ-likeness could give evidence that the work of the adorable Redeemer had borne gracious fruit, and such fruit can only be found in the hearts and lives of the sons of light.

4. The sons of light are the sons of God. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John i. 5.) The sublimity of this declaration is unsurpassed. It charms the mind with wonder and joy. God, our Father, light without any darkness—essential, perfect, holy, eternal light without shade or shadow. Or as James puts it—a beautiful bit of New Testament astronomy and theology combined! “Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of the lights of heaven, with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning.No change, no eclipse (“shadow of turning"), but always the same! The great full-orbed splendour of the idea must be allowed to produce its proper impression on reverent hearts. Your firstly, secondly, and thirdly here, about wisdom, purity, and omniscience, are irreverent intruders of the pedantic type. Keep back! Let the magnificent brilliant send its rays through all time, without either help or hindrance from man. God is Light ! If men would but believe that, the frightful things that have saddened strong minds and maddened weak minds in connection with the gospel, would soon perish in the cousuming fire of His glorious truth. To “know God” is life (John xvii. 3), and of course joy unspeakable and full of glory. In this knowledge the strong may brave all life's storms—in this knowledge the weak may nestle and sleep in

peace !

But if such be their Father, what manner of men should His sons be? This question contains its own answer. But hear the guide Book on the subject : “I send thee to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me." (Acts xxvi. 17, 18.) “ Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Pet. ii. 9.) “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth ; but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John i. 6, 7.) This is enough, The thing is obvious. There is no room for argument. The sons of light, notwithstanding circumstantial infirmities, must be essentially like their Father, or the title to sonship is not produced.

5. The sons of light have a glorious future.

This is in the nature of things. The order of the moral universe must be sustained. It is not to be dislocated because of our purblind ecclesiastical theories, our exaltation of creed above life, and our sorrowful mistakes respecting the nature of man and the character of God. The Father will not lose sight of one of His children. The Saviour--the giver of immortality-must have a full reward. Hear, again, the Book of the Kingdom: “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. xii. 3.) “ The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Prov. iv. 18.) “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. xiii. 43.) Glorious day when this illustrious company of the sons of light shall shine as the sun, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, to the praise and honour of their Father in Christ!




together, and let me tell you what shall befall you in the afterpart of the days. 2 Assemble yourselves and hear, ye sons of Jacob;

And hearken unto Israel your father! 3 REUBEN : my first-born THOU !

My vigour, and the first-fruit of my store ;

Pre-eminence of elevation, pre-eminence of power, 4 Boiling over like water, thou shalt not have pre-eminence;

Because thou didst mount the bed of thy father :
THEN wast thou profane,-

My couch he mounted ! *
5 SIMEON AND LEVI (are) brethren :

Instruments of violence [are] their agreements. 6 Into their circle do not enter, my soul !

And in their assembly do not join, my honour !
For in their anger they slew brave men;

And in their wantonness they cut the foot-sinews of oxen. 7 Accursed [be] their anger, because fierce;

And their wrath, because cruel :

I divide them in Jacob;

And I disperse them in Israel ! 8 JUDAH [he shall be praised]!—THEE ! praise thee shall thy

brethren ;
THY HAND (shall be] on the neck of thy foes ;

Bow down themselves to thee shall the sons of thy father. 9 A lion's whelp [is] Judah :

From the prey, my son, hast thou come up !
He has stooped, has couched ;
Like a lion, and like a lioness :

Who shall rouse him?
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,

Nor the lawgiver's staff from between his feet,



* As if "aside," with emotion.

Until that he come in as a Shiloh,

And his [be] the obedience of peoples : 11 Binding to the vine his ass,

And to the choice vine his ass's colt;
He has washed in wine his raiment,

And in the blood of ripe grapes his mantle ;12 Darker [his] eyes than wine,

Whiter (his teeth than milk ! 13 ZEBULUN : by a haven of seas shall he fix his habitation,

Even he, by a haven of ships;

With his side upon Zidon. 14 ISSACHAR : an ass of strength,

Couching between the pens :
15 Then beholds he rest, that [it is) good ;

And the ground, that [it is] pleasant;
So he bends his shoulder to bear,

And becomes, by tribute, a servant. 16 Dan will judge his people,

Like one of the tribes of Israel :
17 It comes to pass that Dan is a serpent on the road,

A horned viper on the path,
That bites the heels of the horse,

So that his rider falls backwards : 18

For thy salvation have I waited, O Jehovah ! 19 GAD: a victorious troop will be victorious over him ;

But he will victoriously cut off their rear. 20 Out of ASHER (comes) fatness, his food ;

So he sets forth the dainties of a king. 21 NAPHTALI is a slender hind,

That puts forth antlers of beauty.* 22 A FRUITFUL BOUGH [is] Joseph ;

A fruitful bough over a fountain,

With branches creeping over the wall. 23

So they attack him-and have shot!

So they enclose him, do the masters of arrows ! 24 But abide in his strength shall his bow,

And be supple, the arms of his hands;
From the hands of the Hero of Jacob,

From thence—the Shepherd—the Stone of Israel ; 25

From the God of thy father, when he shall help thee;
And with the Almighty, when he shall bless thee-

Blessings of heavens above,
Blessings of roaring deep couching beneath,
Blessings of breasts and womb :-

* Or:

"Naphtali is a spreading oak,

That puts forth branches of beauty."
So (in substance) the Septuagint, Fürst, and Margoliouth.

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