« PreviousContinue »
bright day, and the Sun Himself ascend above the horizon; and we shall see light in His beams, and feel healing under His wings.
Those to whom this promise is given, even in the deepest depression, hold fast the character of people of God. They fear the Lord, that is, they worship Him, and trust in Him. They cherish towards Him those emotions of love and reverence, which, combined, constitute the fear of the Lord. It is the same affection spoken of by Isaiah, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord,”—that is, a true worshipper,“that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”
To all such as thus fear the Lord, notwithstanding the darkness and perplexity in which they walk, is given what never disappoints-a divine promise. A good word often falls on the heart with more kindling power than a great gift placed in the hand. Very often when we have nothing to give, we may have much truly effective or consolatory to say. Our darkest night does not last for ever : on it will break a bright Sun; from it will emerge the great Redeemer. Be patient : learn to labour and to wait.
The figure under which Jesus is set forth suggests much that is instructive. It is nature consecrated to testify of Christ. There is in the firmament but
There are many stars, but, as far as our system is concerned, one central sun.
Jesus speaks in the Book of Revelation of the stars, or the minis
ters, of the Churches He holds in His right hand ; but He is ever spoken of Himself as the Sun of righteousness. Every planet's light is borrowed; it shines in the brightness of the central sun; the stars that constitute our system are kept in their orbits by the influence and the attraction of the central sun, placed in the firmament of heaven. No figure can more justly set forth Him who is amid the ministers of the Church as the sun amid the stars—the source of their light, the fountain of their influence, in whose light they should walk, from whom they should receive every impulse, and to whom they should look as the sunflower looks up to the sun, following him in his westward march until night separates them.
Such is the splendour of the natural sun, that when he is on his meridian throne no man can with the naked eye look upon him.
him. We need some intervening veil, or dim or coloured glass, that we may able to gaze at so much splendour without being struck blind. It is so with this Sun of righteousness. When He was upon earth, a sufferer, we beheld His glory, because it was dimmed by the medium through which it shone; but when the apostle Paul saw Him after the ascension, he was struck blind by the excess of light. We cannot now see Him, and it is wisely and mercifully provided, unless through a “glass darkly,” that is, through a dim medium; we are unable to look at so much brightness with these weak eyes. On Mount Tabor, when His countenance and garments shone as the sun, the apostles
were unable to bear the intensity of the splendour ; and, therefore, a bright cloud overshadowed them to dim or soften the intolerable brightness. Now we see Christ “through a glass darkly," but when our powers are invigorated and restored, we shall be able to see Him as He is; and the sight of Him without the intervening veil will make us like Him, for “we shall be like him."
The sun was created on the fourth day. The foolish objection of the would-be sceptic, “How could there be light without a sun ? ” proves only his ignorance, not the untruthfulness of the Mosaic statement. Science has discovered that the sun himself is an opaque body, and in his substance no lighter than a clod of earth, or the orb we tread upon. What was
upon the fourth day was the work of gathering up the scattered rays of light that lay over this economy, and making the opaque body of the sun then existing—not then created—the mirror, or reflector, of that light for ages to come.
The light was first made, and then the sun was-not madebut appointed to be the reflector of that light : just as the rainbow was not made at the flood, but was appointed at the flood to be a memorial: just as bread was not made at the first communion before the crucifixion, but was taken and appointed to be a symbol of the body, as wine was of the blood, of our blessed Lord. What is true of the sun is true in a higher sense of our Lord. All the light of evangelical religion, Protestant Christianity, Bible truth, was scattered
over the antediluvian, the patriarchal, the Levitical, the prophetic dispensations. The prophets, the types, the promises, the prophecies were, if I may so speak, foci of light, or reflectors, each according to his ability, of the light that was spread over the earth. When Jesus became incarnate, at the end of the fourth millenary, He was not then created, for the Word was in the beginning; but He was then constituted by this new function to be the manifestation of God to us, or the mirror, in which we can see God our Father. Jesus was not then created, for He was from everlasting to everlasting, but He was then constituted the Sun of righteousness, the radiant centre of light and truth; for in Him is light, and that light is the light of men; and He is the truth, and that truth we now know.
The sun exists in the firmament for diffusion of light and influence. So Jesus came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and as the sun is placed in his orbit to shine, Jesus is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission of sins. If we look up at midday, we expect to see the sun's light; and if we open our hearts, and look up to Jesus, we may expect to receive
grace for grace. It is His office to give grace and glory, as much as it is the sun's office to give light and warmth. He who opens his eye at midday will derive light and heat; and he who will open his heart at midday or midnight will receive pardon and peace, grace and glory.
How joyous and beautiful all nature becomes as the sun gathers power at spring tide. Every tree strives to put forth all its buds in order to welcome him, every flower puts on its best and most beautiful robes ; the very clods of the valley, under his rays, look as if they were instinct with life; and whatever of the year's life has ebbed away in the cold, dark, wet time of winter, seems to come back rushing in flood-tide, as it were, into every creek, crevice, and bay of creation, till the whole earth is covered with the glory of the sun shining in full splendour. The very leaves on the trees, in June, seem to shine and whisper hymns to every wind that passes ; every grove seems to welcome in song the return of the great orb of day; and all things on earth at Midsummer seem as if stretching to get nearer and nearer to Him who gives his genial warmth to all. So should the Church feel toward the Sun of righteousness! When He arises, His influences upon His people are analogous to the influences of the sun upon the earth. This dispensation is not the world's summer, but the world's spring. The very farthest we have reached is the world's April—tears and smiles, showers and sunshine, alternating with each other, and the sun not vertical, but still a little only above the horizon. In the millennial day the Sun will be vertical on His meridian throne; it will then be noon, everlasting noon; but at present we are in the grey dawn,—there is just light enough to show us that the sun is risen and on his march, but not yet what will be when he