Page images
PDF
EPUB

doing this, He on his part will not be wanting in giving us both light and heat, comfort and encouragement.

Sin is the chief thing that keeps us from the light. Though this great light, this Sun of Righteousness has risen in the world, to enlighten every man that cometh into the world, there are many to whom it has risen in vain. Those who are still in the darkness and bondage of sin see no more of this light than those who are in a dungeon see the sun. In vain Christ addresses himself to them saying Follow me; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. The enemy tells them “ follow Him not. He will not receive you because of your sins. Your sins have taken too fast a hold upon you.” Thus does the tempter address us all. But shall we believe him when Christ says the contrary in the plainest terms? Is not forgiveness of sins one of the most prominent doctrines of the New Testament? Do we not there read that God was in Christ, reconciling the world, not imputing their trespasses? Have we not in the very chapter before us, and on the very occasion on which He spake the words of the text a most clear and strong instance of his mercy to sinners? Did He not say to a great offender, a person taken in adultery, Neither do I condemn thee, go, and sin no more? And is it thus that our sins are blotted out? Look how high the heaven is in comparison of the earth: so great is his mercy also toward them that fear

1

him. Look how wide also the east is from the west: so far hath He set our sins from us. Does Divine goodness say to us I do not condemn thee: thy sins be forgiven thee : go and sin no more? Who can find in his heart to sin after considering this? What heart of stone is there that does not feel this? What sin, what darkness shall now keep us from the light?

Sloth or neglecting to use and improve the light which is given us is another thing that keeps us from the light. There are many who having escaped the lowest dungeons of a state of wilful sin, darkness and enmity with God, are still under the power

of darkness and in great danger of falling for want of acting up to the light which they receive. Have you by Divine grace conquered that sin which kept you in darkness and at enmity with Christ? So far it is well; but there are other right hands to be cut off, more darkness to be removed. You must be like Joshua; you must utterly destroy, you must leave none remaining of all the enemies of Christ. It is indeed a great step to reconciliation with Him to be disengaged from, to fight against his enemies: but you must not only be disengaged from and fight against his enemies; you must follow Him; follow Him in all the ordinances which he hath prepared for us to walk in, in the mortification of all the evil tempers of our carnal nature, in the cherishing of all the graces and virtues which He requires, and in prayer

and constant communion with Him, so that

He should never, no not for a moment, be out of our thoughts. We should so follow Him as to gain the habit of referring every thing even the most insignificant of words or actions to his will, asking his permission, in spirit and intention in every thought of our mind and motion of our body, in all that we eat, or drink, or say, or do, or think. In order to have this light from Christ, we must consider Him as an intimate friend, the most intimate friend we have in the world. There is nothing overstrained in this. Had Christ not been revealed to us, had we to deal only with God the Father, our faculties would have been lost; there would have been nothing for the mind to rest upon; it would have been swallowed up in His immensity: But, God being in Christ, as in a perfectly just and righteous man, we have no excuse for not acting constantly as if in reference to our dealing with a perfectly just and righteous man. A father, a friend though absent can maintain such control over us as to restrain us from many things. Much more should Christ have influence over us, knowing as we do that though He be present with us after an incomprehensible manner, yet that He is present with us; Lord thou hast searched me out and known me. Thou knowest my down sitting and mine up rising, thou compassest my path and

my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue but thou O Lord knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Having

an invisible Superior ever present with us what manner of persons should we not be in all holy conversation and godliness. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Worldly mindedness is another thing that keeps us from the light. While we have a heart set upon the world we never shall have light from Christ. We cannot follow two masters. An ardent pursuit of the riches of the world and an ardent pursuit of the riches which He would give us are incompatible. As those that have riches so those that would be rich shall hardly enter into the kingdom of God.

Pride or self-conceit is another thing that keeps us from the light. While we indulge pride and selfconceit we never shall have light from Christ. As ever we would enjoy the happiness of humble communion with our Saviour we must beware of pride and self-conceit. It is a weed, it is a worm which devours the very seed of whatsoever is good within us. It was that which made angels fall from heaven. It is that which above all things keeps us from heaven. It is that which keeps the kingdom of God from coming upon us. It is that against which the best and wisest men have been always the most upon their guard. Nothing keeps us from the light more than this. If we are aware of our darkness and cry humbly to our Saviour for light to guide us, He will have mercy

[ocr errors]

upon us, and will anoint our eyes with eye-salve that we may see; but if we say we see, our sin remaineth. As Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, saying Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked, so should we say to our soul when selfcomplacency intrudes. “ Save thyself if thou canst by thy own merits and thy works in which thou gloriest. Not one spark of light and comfort from above shall we have as long as we darken, dazzle, and delude ourselves by seeking for light and comfort in our own perfections and performances. Othen as ever we would have that light, peace and comfort which our Saviour gives to the meek and lowly in heart, let us beware of this most dangerous of all enemies, pride!

Lastly; an irresolute temper of mind is another thing which keeps us from the light. Halting between two opinions, doubting whether Christ will indeed give us this light or not,—this is an evil heart of unbelief which owes its existence to the existence of unmortified, carnal tempers. It proceeds more particularly from the want of diligent communion with Christ, for He is a rewarder of such as not only believe that He is, but of such as diligently seek Him. Those who having at first setting out satisfied their mind that He is, fail to build upon this foundation by diligently seeking Him are more inconsistent than those who shut their eyes to the light altogether. Would you have practical conviction of the truths of the

« PreviousContinue »