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The Light of the Gospel.

The Light of the Gospel.

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Published by glennpease

John 1 : 4, 6. — In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And
the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not

John 1 : 4, 6. — In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And
the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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John 1 : 4, 6. — In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Andthe light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it notThere is no text in the Bible which is not sublimelycomprehensive. But there are texts vastly more com-prehensive than others. There are texts which admitof dissection— of logical expression. But there are textsthe rays of which cheer and warm us ; we feel theirinfluence at every step of life. We long to approachthem; to open them; to look into their depths ; yet,when we make the attempt we are baffled in every ex-ertion. Like one who would grasp the atmosphere, weembrace with aU our might, but the closer our embracesthe more we perceive we have nothing. And yet inthese texts there is life. They are the expression of highest truths ; we live in them and have our beingby them. This opening passage of St. John is one of these texts ; yet, infinite as it is, I tremble that I havetouched it. evertheless, through this Advent Season ithas been running in my mind. " The divine Word " — the Revelation of God— came to man : " In Him waslife. The life was the light of men. The light shinethin darkness and the darkness comprehended it not."One of our mistakes, in contemplating the Gospel,has been, to limit the application of the terms we em-ploy — ^not so much to define as unwisely to localize.We wrap things up in names, and then tie the names toisolate4 facts. For manhood, we read the Jew — ^for Mes-siah, the incarnation — for atonement, the simple fact of crucifixion, and so, all the way through. These ideasshould be extended, in some sense reversed. For Jew,we should read mankind. The Messiah we should seethroughout time, particularly in the prophets ; theatonement, in the whole incarnation, in that which wasantecedent to the incarnation, the nature of God. WithGod no fact is isolated — no part of being is separatedfrom any other part. From the providence which takescare of oxen, up to that in which archangels minister,He is One. The lower being — the mineral, the vegeta-
ble, the fish, the brute animal-^are not a separate being7(; SERMOafrom the higher;^ the man, the mind, the Spirit, the angel.The universe is an infinite circle — start in either direc-tion you come to God. Take any fact, the most minute,and that in itself is the center of an infinity. o fact,not even the lowest, is yet known to man. There is morein a grain of sand than we have discovered. God isthe last center, the sum, the substance, the animate andanimating essence of all that is. The knowledge of whatis, is the knowledge of God. That knowledge is life tothe being that has it. Life is, therefore, proportionedto knowledge. Ue that hath it, is in his degree a light.Christ had it absolutely. He was, therefore, Life. ULsmanifestation made Uim a light to mankind.The universe is matter and spirit. They are not sep-arated. They cannot be separated. Matter is madefor spirit ; spirit is made for matter. They are the twosides of the same thing. Spirit is the essence to con-template. Matter is the essence to be contemplated.Matter, to Hseify does not exist at all. The stone hasno consciousness. It knows nothing of you or me.Spirit is conscious being. Its real being %» proportionedio its eonscionmess. Your soul and mine are not eo^quai.You and I gaze upon nature, upon the stars. I beholdbut a waving shrub or a twinkling orb. You are rapt inthought, which lifts you to where angels bow. Christpenetrated all being. His consciousness was infinite.In Him was life. lie was manifested for our advantage,that we might increase in divine consciousness, and sowas the light of men.This touches the idea of soul. We imagine thatsoul is an organism, fixed and invariable with definiteparts and powers ; one soul equal to another ; a somethingto which something may be given, as clothes to our bodies.THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL. 77or an estate to a man. In this way we have a miscon-
ception of even body itself. What is body ? It is not footnor hand; n8r arm, nor trunk. What is foot, or hand ?Is it bone, or muscle or blood ? If so, then even theblood that is in the foot passes to the hand, and that inthe hand to the foot. To-day there is muscle and bonein our limbs which is thin air to-morrow and passinginto other muscles and bones. Is theHbody the senses ?seeing, tasting, hearing, feeling ? Then to-morrow theeye is closed, the hand is palsied, and there is just thatmuch less of body. To get to a true idea of body, youmust go oiT to ideas of that which seems to have no body.Body is heart action — stomach assimilating food, bloodcirculating. Body is sensation, activity, strength. — Body is an abstraction, health. Whoever ha^ that, hasbodily life — a body. Whoever has it not, has death — not a body. So much less body in proportion as he hasit not, and yet, so full is nature of paradox, the less wehave the more we are occupied with that we have, but itis negative occupation. It is occupied with itself. Getany part diseased and you are instantly occupiedwith that part. To have a body, the body we have mustrecreate itself, by laws of body. If the heart is bad,you cannot put in a new one. If your arm is paralyzed,you cannot put another in its place. To have a heart,to have an arm, those parts must absorb from naturebeyond that which is heart and arm. So with soul.There is understanding, reason, imagination, perception,affection. Then beyond these there is love, there ismercy, truth, justice, virtue, unself, self-sacrifice. Therelire powers of perception, of sensation. Your soul ormine is whatever there is to us of any of these, of allthese together. If I have no justice, no veneration, no78 SERMOS.love, to that extent my soul is diseased. I have in thoserespects no soul. Outside the soul, there is God, a uni-verse, elements on which the soul must fee^, which thesoul must assimilate. Where my soul fails, to thatextent it dies. If I have not virtue, no agency can giveme virtue. I must perceive and absorb it. The soul isrelated to these as the body to nutriment. I must takepains to get it. If I have not knowledge, no being cangive me knowledge. I must seek it, absorb it. Soulmust grow ; does grow, or dies. Health is enjoyment.

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