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The Armour of Light

The Armour of Light

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY M. F. SADLER,

The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore cast off the works of
darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans xiii. 12.
BY M. F. SADLER,

The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore cast off the works of
darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans xiii. 12.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 27, 2014
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The Armour of Light BY M. F. SADLER, The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans xiii. 12. THE Second Coining of Christ into the world, which fills so pro- minent a position in the teaching of our Church, exercises but little practical influence upon religious life in our own day. It was not so when the Apostle Paul thus appealed to the Second Advent. In the preceding verses S. Paul inculcates various duties — the duty of obedience to the State authorities ; the duty of keeping the Commandments ; the duty of Christian love. These duties he enforces by a consideration of the utmost importance, even that of the coming of the Lord. ' ow it is high time to awake out of sleep : for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.' Doubtless, the effect of this consideration, so frequently and so forcibly impressed upon Christian converts, was prodigious ; an ex- pectation so awful in some of its aspects, so joyous in others, so momentous in all, vividly realised as it was by the Apostles them- selves, necessarily directed Christian hopes, fashioned Christian life, and moulded Christian teaching. That the belief has the same practical influence at the present day can scarcely be maintained. Then^ men were deeply stirred by the strangeness and novelty of the declaration ; now, the keenness of their interest is dulled by long familiarity with an announcement repeated in the same language for centuries. The temperature of their belief has been chilled. or can it be said that Christians of our day are so practically influenced by the truth as to be distinguished from the rest of the world by walking honestly, as in the day. We cannot point to them and say. These are men who have put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and who make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. More
 
truthfully, I fear, might the Divine lament be repeated, ' My people doth not know ; My people doth not consider.** Our minds can scarcely be concentrated upon matters of gravest import which fall within our daily experience ; how much more difficult is it to excite an interest in those which require anxious thoughts to appre- hend, and deep faith to realise .? I. Special times, appropriate seasons, particular occasions arise, when this subject of Advent assumes colossal form and vivid reality. Seen in the light of sickness, danger, or disaster, it takes startling 12 OUTLIES O THE EPISTLE and majestic proportions ; it not merely passes across the mind, but absorbs, occupies, and fills it with a solemn awe. Heard at such moments, the words, ' The night is far spent, the day is at hand,' ring in upon our ears with such a volume of sound that our brains reel and stagger. These are indeed rays of glory, which dart in upon the mind like the bright beams of morning, chasing the darkness of night — sudden inspirations that challenge believers to wait with patience, and yet expect with eagerness, the coming of the Day of God. But, alas ! how rare are these gleams ! How far rarer are the men who are so moved by these visions of the great Day as habitually to prepare for its coming ! How small the handful of those who, with varying shades of belief, live and act and speak as if they believed that it might come on them at any moment ! How vast the multitude, on whose life it has not the slightest influence, who practically treat it as if it were wasted time to spare a single thought to its considera- tion ! II. The doctrine of the Advent of Christ to judge the world rests upon evidence as sure, and statements as plain, as any other received mystery of Scripture. And experience shows us that men who accept the truth and hopefully anticipate its literal fulfilment, gain an incite- ment to watchfulness and to carefulness of life, which those wholly
 
lack who think that the only true fulfilment is to be expected in the summons of each individual soul from life to judgment. The con- viction that any day — ^this very night, or to-morrow — may witness the close of this present Dispensation, the belief that we with our bodily eyes may behold our Lord in glory, as surely as they looked upon Him who persecuted and pierced Him, are habits of mind power- fully calculated to affect our lives, to solemnise our thoughts and actions. III. There can be no doubt that the anticipation of that Day was to the Apostle a source of strength and of gladness. It was an expectation which cheered him in the midst of his trials. It is in sad contrast with our unbelief, or half-belief It suggests inquiry into the true reasons of the startling dissimilarity of our attitude towards the Second Advent. S. Paul knew indeed that he himself should pass from death unto life before the Day of which he speaks arrived Yet still he looked and longed for Christ's coming, or the day of his going to Christ, with infinite hope, and without a shade of fear Either event completed his salvation ; either event was gain. It is far different with most of us. We anticipate with no such satisfaction the fate which inevitably awaits us all. We contemplate with no such longing, the appearance of Christ in glory before we shuffle off* our mortal coil. It is not a doubt of the truth of the 13 ADVET SUDAY doctrine, it is not a disbelief in its efficacy, that makes us so sedulously ignore tlie Second Advent. o ; it is because we have not assumed the armour of light. In fact, our opposition to the doctrine of Christ's Advent springs from the same cause as our repugnance to death itself. Death is for most of us a subject of unmingled terror. With no less terror do we expect the Advent of Christ. We have no heart for either, because our hearts are wholly here. This life to most of us, spite of its many sorrows, is strangely full of sweetness. We are loth to leave it ; for then we pass to a condition, the wondrous

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