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Light, Natural and Spiritual.

Light, Natural and Spiritual.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY FRANCIS ST. JOHN THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A.


" With thee is the well of life, and in thy light shall
we see light." Psalm xxxvi. 9.
BY FRANCIS ST. JOHN THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A.


" With thee is the well of life, and in thy light shall
we see light." Psalm xxxvi. 9.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 13, 2013
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LIGHT, ATURAL AD SPIRITUAL.BY FRACIS ST. JOH THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A." With thee is the well of life, and in thy light shallwe see light." Psalm xxxvi. 9.WE may never know for certain theauthor of this Psalm, but we feel in-stinctively that the words are no mere humanutterance. They recur again and again to thememory, like the cadence of some familiarmusic. Can we wonder that this verse wasamong St. Augustine's favourite passages? Forit contains two great words, suggests two deepand wide subjects, Life and Light, God as theorigin of Life, God as the source of Light.Under both of these images we remember thatChrist has spoken of Himself, " I am theresurrection and the life," " I am the lightof the world," and these two figures are com-bined by St. John in the opening of his Gospel," In him was life, and the life was the light of men." How* much, then, is wrapped up inthese few words ! To-day we will venture to1 February 6th, 1876.io6 Light, atural and Spiritual, [vmspeak but of one of these subjects, that con-tained in the latter part of the verse, " In thylight shall we see light"Let me ask you to pause and consider for afew minutes the marvellous nature of light.
 
How wonderful, may we not say how divinea thing it is ! Few of us but must have feltthis who have ever reflected about it at all.To the sick and weakly how cheering and in-vigorating ; to the prisoner the only solaceperhaps that he has, is the sunbeam glimmer-ing through a crevice in his dungeon. And toall that are free and in health, after longperiods of gloom, of dimness, and of depression,how does the glorious sun coming forth fromhis chamber restore the spirits, quicken thelanguid pulse, and add a fresh zest to existence.In the brief days of winter how we cherish itsrays, and how eagerly, as the year proceeds,do we hail each indication that the hours of light are beginning to gain upon those of dark-ness ! It is the absence of sunshine throughnine dreary months that is the chief trial tothose who have to winter in the arctic seas.And what a world of hidden and forgottenlife around us does it reanimate ! For almostall life, indeed, light is a first necessity. It istrue that animals can subsist for a time with-out it, but in most cases they soon lose healthand pine away. It has been ascertained byvin] Light, atural and Spiritual. 107the latest researches, that even at a vast depththe bed of the ocean contains a varied massof animal existence. But still, it is of thevery lowest type, and the creatures whichtenant that dark abode, manifest scarcely anyvital activity, while it would seem that novegetation can thrive without some, though itbe but ever so scanty a light. Below 100fathoms a very rapid diminution of such life
 
takes place. At the depth of 150 fathomsvery few ordinary seaweeds are met with, andbelow this depth almost all traces of them dis-appear.Think again of the vast space over whichlight has to travel, and at the same time of itsrapidity. Fast as our planet sweeps along itsorbit, Light travels about 10,000 times faster.Are not both of these facts marvellous ? Theenormous distances which it traverses while itstransmission seems to us instantaneous, andagain, the enormous speed with which thosedistances are accomplished?What wonder, then, if impressed only bythe mere obvious properties of light, thegreatest poets have dwelt upon it, have createdimages of new worlds by ideas and impressionswith which it supplied them. It illuminatesDante's noble poem. Into his description of Paradise nothing gross or earthly is admitted." Light, simple, unalloyed, unshadowed.eternal,io8 Light, atural and Spiritual, [vmnever fails him as the expression of gra-dations of bliss." x And who can forget thewords of Milton, " Hail holy light, offspringof heaven first born " ? Written thoughthey were twenty years after blindness hadsettled upon him, how exquisitely true arethey ! How full is his memory of the blessingsof that " sovran vital lamp," how keen hissensibility to its power, and still how resignedis his prayer !And yet little did he know of the wonders

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