« PreviousContinue »
ing to this word, “because there is no‘light’in them.” The Psalmist (Psalm, cxix. 130) affirms that, like all other light reaching our world, the soul's illumination is from heaven, and is brought to man through the medium of Holy Scripture : “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." In heaven, we shall enjoy the light of knowledge in perfection, in God's light seeing light. We shall see not as through a glass darkly, but face to face. We shall not know in part, but even as also we are known.
2. Guidance. As further descriptive of the Scripture's excellency, David wrote, (Psalm, cxix. 105,)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In this darksome state we were lost, had not God provided us with His written counsel and guidance; and He is pleased so to bless His word to the souls committing themselves to its hallowing influences, that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” But a lamp is needed only “until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” The “perfect day” of heaven brings with it the clear shining of the Sun of righteousness.
3. Consolation. Darkness and distress are continually associated together “but “light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Psalm, xcvii. 11.) Many sorrowful hearts have stayed themselves upon the assurance, (Micah, vii. 8,) “When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Many sick ones have been comforted with recollecting the “nightless " Land, whither they
were journeying. Excellent Hannah More remarked on her death-bed, that, “as she passed so many weary nights, it was a consolation to read in the Apocalyptic account of heaven, ‘There shall be no Night there.'” I have known other dying Saints clinging to the same most comfortable promise.
4. Deliverance. “ Light” also fitly emblematizes the disenthralling of the captive, brought out of the darkness of the prison-house into the shining of the sun; or the clearing of one unrighteously accused, and his justification established by the advocacy of a powerful friend.
“I will bear the indignation of the Lord,” thus humbly resolved the Prophet, (Micah, vii. 9,)“ because I have sinned against Him, until He plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness." And David (Psalm, xxxvii. 5, 6) thus counselled the tried and misrepresented believer, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day.”
5. Favour. An upward glance at a father's face instantaneously makes known to the child, whether satisfaction or displeasure fill the parental heart. How mournful if gloom be there, marking some filial disobedience; but how joyful, when the child's attentive gaze meets the bright sunshine, that tells of perfect acceptance ! Believers pray continually, Psalm, iv. 6.) “Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us.” They are made “exceedingly glad,” (Psalm, xxi. 6; Acts, ii. 28,) while enjoying
this favour. They walk in it, as in the light; (Psalm, lxxxix. 15;) and, even when weary and sorrowful, they comfort themselves in hoping, (Psalm, xlii. 5.) that they shall yet praise God “for the help of His countenance." But who may describe the portion of the Glorified, seing Jesus as He is, sharing in His smile, and hearing His voice, “Come, ye blessed of my Father?”
6. Glory. The whole presentment of the Heavenly City is "light;" and this light is indicative of its purity, blessedness, grace, and splendour. Without the gates are, for ever, the unclean, “ dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth
whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." ” Within, are the Saved ; and their privileges are declared, “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face: and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no Night there: and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever."
Many are the dignities of New Jerusalem; and glorious things are, in Holy Scripture, spoken of it, the city of God. Their contemplation delights me. Their nearer approach comforts me.
Chiefest of all, is its possession of the Divine presence. Next to this-yet far removed—is its introduction of the soul into the companionship of the Redeemed. After these (owing, I suppose, to some constitutional peculiarities,) I know of none to me more inspiriting than the announcement, “ Et nox illic non erit." And there shall be no more Night there !"
“Reproof, indeed, may be considered one of the wholesome bitters of life. Thoughtless gaiety may prefer the song of fools' to the rebuke of the wise.' But after-reflection will shew the wisdom of honouring those who deal faithfully with our faults, though it may be with somewhat of severity; rather than those who would soothe us with the poisoned sweets of flattery, and wink at or encourage our wayward follies.”
BRIDGES, on Proverbs xv. 31, 32.
PASSING incident has led me to meditate to-day, for a long while, on “Reproof”—
the nature of the duty, the spirit in which it is to be discharged, and the manner in which it should be received. I have thought how anxious are thousands around us to espy the deficiencies of their neighbours, and to canvass them familiarly in their conversation, while they are mole-eyed to their own. I have remembered also the tone of modern society, that demands bland compliment or affected sympathy, while it rigorously excludes every unpleasant personal allusion. And I have seen how, on both sides, the right rule was being broken. In the insincerity of fashion I perceived that the truth was not spoken; in the unkindness of backbiting, it may have been spoken, but it was not spoken-in love.
The Word of God reveals to us a great social duty, in commanding the reproof of error; and those, who love to trace the unity of the Divine Mind in the former and latter dispensation, cannot forbear connecting together the precepts of the Law and Gospel, as indicative of their having one and the same Author :
“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon
him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”—LEVIT. xix. 17, 18.
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”_ LUKE xvii. 3, 4.
The same merciful spirit pervades each counsel, while the same necessity is made known in both for our declaring to him who has injured us the reason of our being aggrieved. Could the dark depths of the proud human spirit be fathomed, we should discover that most of the bitterest feuds might be traced to the simple want of a little explanation. Some offence, real or imagined, is given; and men say “they are too proud” to go and speak to their neighbour about the matter; and so begins avoidance, which passes into coldness; while coldness grows into alienation; and old friends are sundered for ever. Or, men will indeed seek the individual, who has done them the wrong; but so far from doing it, in a spirit, gentle and easy to be entreated, that already half wins back the transgressor by kindness and love,