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without any light, hence all the light that she has is borrowed, and she can give none back to Him. If we had time to contemplate the subject of light fully, both in the natural and spiritual world, we should see darkness, impurity, sickness, disease, and death flying as the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His wings. Let us look into the text again. It is said, “ Thy light is come,”—is
Well, this light came under the old dispensation, but not in the same way that it has come under the Gospel dispensation. Jehovah came and appeared to Abraham, and to the saints of old. He came and appeared also in the pillar of the cloud, as we read in the book of Exodus, the 14th chapter and the 19th verse : And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them ; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them : and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these : so that the one came not near the other all the night.' Here behold the Light. The Lord Jesus Christ comes in between His people and their enemies, between the Israel of God and the Egyptians. He is life and light to his own, but He is death and darkness to the Egyptians. Of old, He came to His own after this sort. And so we might enlarge through the whole of the Old Testament. But He came in the flesh in the fulness of time. We read that He “ 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). In the fulness of time God sent forth His Son, and now we can say,
“ He is come." Types and shadows pointed at His coming. Now we can look back at the great fact, and say that He Who is the true Light has come. But the Lord comes in different ways. He comes by His Spirit in the way of illumination. Look at the 10th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, and the 32nd verse : “ But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." Illuminated by what? Illuminated by the Spirit of God, so I understand the verse. The 24th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew says that He comes in a power and great glory" (verse 30). When is it, my brethren, that Christ comes 66 with power and great glory?" Is it not when the Spirit of God takes possession of a man's soul, when he throws him down and makes him feel his darkness and danger, and arises in him as the great source of light and life. He comes, then, after this sort into the souls of those whom He regenerates and enlightens, and then it is that we see and know that light is come. If we were to turn this large congregation into a Bible Class, and if we were to put the question to each of you, one by one ; “Has the Light come into thee? Has the Day-star arisen in thy heart? Does Christ the true light shine in thee? Knowest thou these things for thyself ?" These would be personal and pointed questions.
One thing more before I leave this first head. This Light which comes into a soul comes quickly and at a great distance. We are told that natural light travels very quickly, and from a great distance. That natural light travels at the rate of twelve millions of miles in a
minute. And we are informed that it takes ten, and in some cases fifty, or perhaps more than hundreds of years for light to come to us from some of the more distant suns which are in the silent depths of heaven. Now, think of these things if you can.
Think of their creation, and the number of years they have existed. And then think again that Jehovah our Light is anterior to all these things. He has been coming to us from the days of eternity. Before “the morning stars sang together, and before the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job Xxxviii. 7).
When creation sprang into being our Light was there. He it was Who said “Let there be light,--and there was light.” Our Light sprang up from everlasting, before the days of old (Prov. viii.). And this Light comes in the fulness of time into the souls of the saints. He has never missed the right time for shining, nor the right person into whose heart to shine. In the perfection of beauty, God has shined upon all Zion-bound travellers. Their Light is come.
Let us now pass on to the consideration of our second head. glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." “The glory of the Lord.” There is a reference in this, I think, to the ark which was called “the glory of God" (Psalm lxxviii. 61). You are aware that the Tabernacle was filled with the glory of the Lord,—that the Temple was filled with His glory, and that the Ark of the Covenant was called “the glory of the Lord.” The wife of Phinehas named her child “Ichabod”; because “the glory is departed from Israel” (I Sam. iv. 21). What was it that had departed ? Why it was the Ark of God that had been taken by the Philistines, and she says : “ The glory is departed, the glory is departed from Israel." Now, look at this subject for a moment. Fastened to this Ark, or mercy seat, were the two cherubims. And between the cherubims dwelt the Shechinah glory which rested upon the mercy seat. This glory had departed. The Ark had been taken from Israel. And then it is that she declare (knowing Him Whom this Ark represented)—" the glory is departed.” And I think that there is a beautiful figure in this. If we look at it we shall find that the Lord Jesus Christ was pre-figured by the Ark of the Lord falling into the hands of the Philistines. Our Lord Jesus Christ fell into the hands of His enemies, wicked Jews and cruel Gentiles. His glory was obscured for a while like that of the Ark. Wicked men were allowed to do to our Saviour all that had been appointed before to be done “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts ii. 23). But, as the Philistines could not retain the Ark of the Covenant,—the glory of the Lord and of Israel, for wherever the Ark was taken we find that there were discomfort, misery, and death,
-So the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ could not retain Him. He must come forth again. Hence, after His death He arises, and ascends to heaven. And when He enters there, the exclamation is heard : “Who is this King of Glory?” And the heavenly gates open wide for His triumphant reception. He is “ The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory. He is the Mighty One in battle.” Jesus—He is the Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory. All enemies must be put under His feet.
When the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh, you must bear in mind, He came not in His own glory only, but He came also in the glory of the Father (Rom. vi. 4). And in the glory of the Spirit (I Peter iv. 14). There is a Trinity of glory resting upon the Saviour. He is the Lord of glory and the King of glory (1 Cor. ii. 8). Upon all the glory of Jesus there shall be a defence (Isa. iv. 5). This glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is seen by us in the glass of His Word. This is the firmament in which He shines. “ We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. iii. 18). In the glass of God's Word we behold the glory of Jesus, the glory of His work in His various offices, the glory of His life, the glory of His death, and our eyes are now uplifted to Him as He is at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The people of God are all glorious within and without, because the Lord of glory is the church's glory.
Again, “ The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” This expression is taken from the sun rising. When Jacob had had an interview with Jehovah, and when he had seen God face to face it is said : “As he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him ” (Gen. xxxii. 31).
The sun was rising. It is said of him who is to rule over men, in the 23rd chapter of the 2nd Book of Samuel, and the 3rd and 4th verses : • He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” He must be clear as the morning. « He sliall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." Who can this sun be? Who, we want to know, can this sun be that shines so brightly and so full of glory? Who indeed ? To my mind it is the Lord Jesus Christ. He it is that rules and reigns over His church. He is risen upon her, and shines upon her, and she reflects His brightness and glory. It is said : “the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The word “thee,” is in keeping with the word “thy” in the former part of the
I will give you little more than a passage of Scripture upon this point. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Where? 6 In the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us ” (2 Cor. iv. 6, 7). Now you see where the light shines, and where the glory of the Lord appears. The glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ, and shines into the hearts of all believers. When the Spirit of God unfolds the glory of Christ to us thus, and when He shines into our souls then we may indeed say : “the glory of the Lord is risen upon us.” Has "the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in His wings,” risen upon THEE,—and THEE,—and THEE ! Is it so, my brethren ?
For, after all, what is our religion worth, if it be not personal, possessional, and reflective ? We have the words “thee" and
thy” in the text. I think “thee ” and “thy" are right words. I do like this sort of religion.
Sometimes when I meet with persons, that I feel sure are Christians, I find a sort of electricity passing between
We feel the “ thee ” and the “me,” the “mine” and the “ thine," the “yours” and the “ours.” The glory of the everlasting Lord is risen upon us, and Christ the Day-star is risen in our hearts,-pledges
and foretastes of that time when we shall be for ever with the Lord, and when we shall see Him as He is in His eternal light and glory. What glory can the world afford us compared with this glory? All the greatness here when put into the balance is altogether lighter than vanity (Psalm lxii. 9). Our Beloved is the choicest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely. He is a sun and shield to us whilst here upon earth, and hereafter, He will be our everlasting life, and light, and glory
This will bring us to consider our third head—the Call to the Church. Therefore, “ Arise and shine." It is a call to the Church to arise and shine. You will see that in this word “arise,” there is implied a downcast state, or a low condition. “Arise,” it is said. Well, it implies that the persons addressed must be down. Now, there are two senses which I wish to bring before you in which persons may be said to be down. We are down in consequence of Adam's transgression down and dead. Some may say,
6 not so far down and so bad as all that." Yes, I say, down and dead-spiritually--in dust and ashes. This is the state of us all. Truly, we have fallen by our iniquity.
We are naturally in the mire of our sins, which is a miserable, lost, and low condition. But, I do not think that this is the meaning of our text.
“Well,” you say, “who then are the persons that are meant, when it is said 'arise and shine?'” It seems to me to be a call to the Church of God when she is in a sleepy, drowsy, and careless state. " But does the Church of God ever get into such a miserable state as this ?” Have you never found yourself in such a miserable state? Have you never felt yourself to be spiritually asleep? You know that a young convert is frequently very warm and earnest at first in religious things, but he often cools down, and then, after a time, he becomes very careless because he cannot get everything just as he would have it. Hence arises in him a state of deadness, and darkness, and indifference. It
to me to be the Church, when in this state, which is called upon in our text to " arise and shine.” Just as it is said in the first verses of the 52nd chapter of Isaiah : “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, o Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust : arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem ; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, 'Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.' Well, they never would have been redeemed at all, if they had not been redeemed without money. But they are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, which is far better, and they are restored and brought back from their low estate by the grace and spirit of God. St. Paul
counsels the Christians at Rome, as we read in the 13th chapter of his Epistle, and the 11th and following verses : “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep. Ah! they were sleepy Christians, drowsy Christians, careless Christians. Well, the Apostle says, “It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, 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. whithersoever 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.” “A city 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