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and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Put ye on ” what ? “The Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Are you amongst those persons who have put on the Lord Jesus Christ ? Well, there is a way in which Christians cannot put on the Lord Jesus. They cannot put Him on as their justification before God, they cannot put him on as their Saviour. But it is here said that they are to put Him on. And Christians do this in their walk and conversation. When my life is in agreement with the teachings of my Saviour, I am then said to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the outward adorning of the doctrine of my God and Saviour in all things. A man is first saved and then he puts on Christ. This is the outward manifestation of grace in the life of a Christain. To be a Christian is one thing, and to follow Christ. whither. soever He goeth is another.
There is one word yet in my text which we must dwell upon a little, it is the word "shine.” Arise and shine. We have already seen that the Church shines with a borrowed light. There are two women spoken of in the book of Revelation. One represents the false Church which shines only in earthly glory. “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications. Her name is Mystery." This Church is of the earth, earthy (Rev. xvii 4). The other woman represents the true Church, and shines only in heavenly glory. “There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. xii. 1). The Church here is clothed with the Sun of righteousness and shines in His glory. The moon of Jewish ordinances has been put under her feet. Gospel ministers are stars in the Church's crown. The Church shines now with the light and glory of Christ, and this shall be openly seen when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
But where are Christains to shine ? Before men. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. v. 16). All glory to God for any Christian man that shines! St. Paul speaks to the same effect. In the 2nd chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians, and the 15th verse, he says :
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye"-ye Christians—“shine as lights in the world.” This is what the children of God really are. They are “lights in the world.” What is said by our Lord ?—“ Ye are the light of the world.” that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew v. 14). The children of God shine in the world. They “shine before men.” They shine in the Church of God. “Yes, it is very easy work shining there," you say. But when you get outside, it is hard work to shine then. There is such hatred and opposition to the Gospel of the Grace of God, that it is very
- A city
difficult to shine in the world. The world and the Church cannot agree. Is it not better to hold our tongues and not to speak at all, and so shine by silence ? My brethren, in the world of darkness the light shines brightest. Let your light shine in the workshop. Let your light shine behind the counter, and let your light shine in the streets. A Christian man is a Christian all the world over. His light is to shine wherever he is to the glory of God. Your light cannot be extinguished. Hence the beauty of this call to the Church of God—“Let your light shine." This agrees with St. Paul's words to Titus (iii. 8): “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Here we have good works built upon good and profitable doctrines. The doctrines are these -God's love displayed toward man through Christ Jesus. Regeneration and daily renewal by the Holy Ghost. Justification by free grace. Be careful to maintain good works which are the fruits of the Spirit and not the works of the flesh. The Christian's light adds nothing to the light of Deity, for God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. It is in the Light of Jehovah Jesus the Christian walks and shines. And when this is manifest then the light and glory of the Lord are seen upon him. Christain, arise and shine.
Then this light is to shine increasingly. “This is impossible," you say. Well, there is a passage in the 4th chapter of the book of Proverbs that says : “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (verse 18). This is spoken, first of all, I think, of the Lord Jesus Christ. His path shines more and more unto the perfect day of glory. And He shines too more and more in us, as He reveals Himself in us more and more by His Spirit. The Spirit glorifies Christ in us. Now this light of Jesus, which shines
more and more unto the perfect day," is seen shining in us as He is reflected by us in our lives. So that we may be said to shine by His light more and more unto the perfect day,” until that day, when we shall see the Lord as He is, our everlasting Light and glory. do not mean that we are shining more and more in fine words and fine talk. Real Christians are often seen to shine out most brightly in the furnace of affliction. A word or two more as to this shining out. How shall we shine ? By what means shall we shine ? Well, all the light that has beamed upon us is from the Lord. All the light that is in us is from the Lord. And all the light that is reflected by us is from the Lord. “ Arise and shine.” Yes, but we shine with the light, and vith the glory of Another. It is not our own in
It is a borrowed light and a reflected light. It is a light from Him Who is Light Himself. Therefore, shine humbly.
Now, looking at the close of this chapter (with which we shall conclude) we find that it is said of this city: “Thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day ; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unte thee : but the Lord.”—look at the language—“But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy glory." (verses 18 and 19). This
will satisfy me. Again, " Thy Sun shall no more go down.” This Sun shall shine for ever. And as to the many believers, they shall shine in the brightness of this Sun. “ Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself : for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourn. ing shall be ended.” This will be a good thing. All sorrow and all sighing will be done away. Thy people also shall be all righteous." Every one of them shall be righteous in the righteousness of Another.
They shall inherit the land for ever.” Heaven is prepared for them, and they are prepared for heaven. They are “the branch of My planting, the work of My Hands, that I may be glorified.” Glorified in their salvation ! “ A little one shall become a thousand." That is, the Lord Jesus Christ shall be multiplied into a great number which no man can number. “ And a small one a strong nation.” The small one is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was of no reputation when upon the earth, but He shall become “a strong nation.” “I the Lord will hasten it in his time."
“ Children of Light, Arise, and shine,
Your birth, your hopes, are all divine,
That earthly spirits prize.
Thy turrettes and thy pinnacles,
Quyt through the streetes, with silver With carbuncles doo shine;
The flood of life doth flowe; (sound, Thy varrie streets are paved with gould, Upon whose bankes, on everie side, Surpassing cleare and fine.
The wood of life doth growe.
Thy houses are of yvorie,
Thy windows crystall cleare;
Oh, God! that I were there!
There trees for evermore beare fruite,
And evermore doe springe ;
And evermore doe singe.
Within thy gates doth nothinge come,
That is not passinge cleane;
Noe filthe may there be seene.
Hierusalem, my happy home!
Would God I were in thee!
Thy joyes that I might see.
AT ST. GEORGE THE MARTYR'S, SOUTHWARK, LONDON,
WEDNESDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 7TH, 1877.
In the 1st Chapter of the Song of Solomon and part of the 4th verse.
“ THE KING HATH BROUGHT ME INTO HIS CHAMBERS." The title of this song is the Song of Songs, which means that it is the best of songs, and the most excellent song Solomon ever wrote. The Song of Songs is an expression used to set forth the superiority of this song. When we speak of the King of kings, we mean the Most Excellent King. When we use the expression the Holy of Holies, we mean by it the most holy place. And so of this song, it is the most excellent of songs.
It is spoken of in the 1st verse as being Solomon's; but a greater than Solomon is here. It is a most excellent song because of its subject matter. There is indeed one in this song greater than Solomon—the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. And ere also who is greater than Solomon's queen, even the Bride, the Lamb's wife, the Church of God. Then there is the affection between the King and the Queen set forth in this song. The affection of the King towards the Queen is kingly, and the affection of the Queen towards the King is queenly. It is mutually royal. She says, in the 2nd verse : “Let Him ”-the King Christ Jesus, for I take it that He is prefigured here by Solomon—"Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth." Let Him speak words of comfort and consolation to me,—words of encouragement,—words of affection, and words of endearment. Let Him show that He loves me and cares for me both by words and deeds. Why? “For Thy love is better than wine.” Wine revives, refreshes, and cheers, but the love of Christ surpasses wine in its purity, in its abundance, and in its reviving, refreshing, and comforting properties.