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Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world : he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. — J NO. 8:12.
HE Scriptures tell us that there was once a time, when this world, uow so full of beauty, order, and pleasantness, was but a huge mass of confused matter, wrapped in impenetrable darkness. It had no form, no order, no beauty. It was chaos. But a home for immortal beings was to be constructed out of it. It was to become a garden of God. It was to be filled with the children of joy and happiness. Its deformity was to be reduced to form, its disorder melted into shape, its darkness transformed into light, its death brought into life. And for this the Almighty spoke, and the grandest of gifts was the result. Darkness heard, and vanished. Death heard, and hasted away. Disorder heard, and began to shine with beauty. "God said. Let there be light ^ and there ivas light. ' '
Humanity, like the world in its rudimental
ugliness and disorder, needed a like putting forth upon it of Almighty power. All its order was
84 THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
disorder ; all its harmony, disharmony ; all its light, darkness ; all its life, death. If anything blessed was ever to come of it ; if that moral chaos was ever to be lit with order, beauty, and good ; there needed to be another going forth of God's potent word, — another "Z<?/ there be light^'''' to effect it. And that new word for this new creation is "THE word" which was made flesh, and dwelt among men, whose glory men saw, and whose blessed life our souls have felt. As light is the utterance of God in the natural world, so is Christ in the sphere of the spiritual.
The purest and most untarnishable thing in the world is light. Snow is pure, ice is pure, water is pure, air is pure ; but either of them will admit of defilement, and may be marred, polluted, and
made the instrument of pollution. It is not so with light. Man's hand cannot soil it. No corruption can infect it, or cleave to it. Nothing can defile its rays, or attach pollution to its beams. And such is Christ. All creatures have shown themselves liable to sin and moral taint ; but Christ passed through a world of siti, and the hell of its punishment, as a sunbeam through a lazarhouse, and came forth as pure and blessed as He sprang from God himself. He took on him sin's form, that He might endure sin's due ; but its stain He never knew. In Bethlehem's manger He was the Holy Child ; and to heaven He returned the spotless Lamb of God. He lived a human life, tried by all its cares and sorrows, oppressed with all its necessities and temptations.
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grew up among its corrupt children, associated with its erring population, encountered its subtle passions, suffered its coarseness, its rebuffs, and its villainies, and died a martyr to His efforts to reform its defections ; but in all this ^^ He did no
sin^ neither was guile found in His mouth." He was pure, for He is Light.
Light is also as bright as it is pure. Things are bright in proportion as they are full of light. The day is bright when no clouds shut out the sun. The prospect is bright when illumined by the greatest number of rays. The hope is bright which is freest from gloomy forebodings and fullest of the light of promise. And such is Christ, He is brightness, — "The brightness of the Father's glory." The brightness of every Divine perfection. And His office is to dispense light. That is the brightest time in the soul when there is most of Christ in it. That is the brightest page on which most of Christ is found. That is the brightest sermon in which most of Christ is heard. That is the brightest life in which most of Christ is seen. That is the brightest world in which Christ is most fully received. And that heart, that church, that world, is but lead and darkness where Christ is not.
Light likewise is free. It comes without cost, and it comes ungrudgingly. Though the first dawn of day be feeble, its first rays dim, and its
first presence seen only upon the highest summits; those beams increase in distinctness ; the ruddy glow deepens into crimson and gold ; and pres-
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ently the heavens are aglow with its brightness, and the earth is flooded with its splendors. No poverty is so great as to debar from its blessings. It gilds the halls of the great and the huts of the humble, and all alike without money and without price. Nor is there an open crevice in all the wide world into which it is unwilling to enter, or where it fails to throw in its heaven -lit smiles. It is free. And so is Christ. The Gospel day opened gradually as man could bear its light. Only some of the more exalted of the race caught its first morning beams. But it has since diffused itself into every nook of the world, and now struggles for entrance into every heart in every nation. Christ is offered now as freely to Gentile as Jew\ He is the Saviour of the poor as well as of the rich, and on the same terms of free grace to each and all willing to accept Him. He is the
true lyight, ready to lighten every man that cometh into the world.
It also appertains to the nature of light to be allrevealing. Darkness obscures the vision. Where darkness prevails perception is limited. A pit may gape at our feet ; a murderer may be waiting in our path ; a dagger may be aimed at our heart ; each touch may be a stain and each step defilement ; but darkness prevents our knowing it. Only when daylight comes can we see and know the truth.
And Christ is the great Revealer. By Him we come to know God and our true selves. By Him we learn who and where we are, what our needs
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are, and how to relieve them. One of the hardest things in the world is to make people believe that they are guilty and lost beings. The reason is, they are in the dark. They need the light to show them themselves. And that light is Christ.
Only let a man compare himself with Jesus, and try himself in the light of Christ's life and teachings, and it w'ill not be long till he sees that self of his to be a mere mass of guilt, that world of his love a monster, whose very embrace is filth and whose cup of joy is death.
Light is self-revealing. It shows itself. And so is Christ. No one can contemplate Him without being impressed with His great glory. His person. His cross. His love. His blood, His word, and everything concerning Him, have depths of preciousness which are manifest to those who draw near to Him, and enter into close communion with Him. It is when we walk with Him in the way, and sit down with Him to meat, and hear Him lay open to us the Scriptures, that His excellences appear as beauties in the sunlight.
Light is lifegiving. The world is dead without light. Where the sun rarely shines there is barren dreariness. Perpetual winter, or perpetual darkness, is perpetual desolation. It is the warming light of spring that starts the dormant germs, swells the buds, and clothes the vineyard, the field, and the wood with life, fragrance, luxuri-
ance, and plenty. So is Christ. Where He is not, there is spiritual barrenness. But when His beams shine in upon the soul, the seeds of virtue
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put forth, and the tree of faith lifts up its starry bloom, and the fruits and flowers of love and grace fill the face of heaven with praise.
Is it your desire then, dear friends, to enjoy that light ? Throw open your heart, and it is yours. Open to it, and it will flow in, as water through the lifted gate. You need waste no time in gathering up the wherewithal to purchase it. All your worth is nothing. All your merit is only demerit. Your very best is mixed with sin. Only plead misery and take mercy. Bewail darkness and accept light. Cast away your earthy tapers and take to the sun of righteousness. Wait on God, and the Dayspring of Salvation will visit you with joyous light.
Many false lights have been kindled on these
shores of time, — many which lure to rocks, and quicksands, and whirlpools of destruction. Vain meteors glare from many pulpits, and in many books, and on many platforms. And many are beinor led into the bogs and abvsses of error and darkness. But, as there is but one sun in the firmament, so there is but one Christ in the Bible, — but one true lamp of life. Nor need any one be without that light, if willing to accept and possess it. No one is condemned because there is no light ; the condemnation is this, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light. People fail of true light because they avoid it, and dislike it, and are not willing to suffer the rebukes which it brings upon their darling sins and ignorances. Put away sin,
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crucify evil lusts, turu away from beholdiug vanity, look to Jesus, and you will find the light which briugeth salvation.
Some of you, dear friends, have found that
light, and find it sweet and pleasant. Your light has come. The Daystar from on high hath visited you, and poured in His blessed rays upon your souls. Be careful then to walk in that light. Keep to it until, like Moses on the mount, you become luminous from it. Drink it in, and reflect it, that others seeing your good works may glorify the Father in heaven. So shall you be light in the Lord, and Christ shall be your everlasting Light.
Walk in the light ! So shalt thou know
That fellowship of love, His Spirit only can bestow,
Who reigns in light above.
Walk in the light ! and sin, abhorred.
Shall ne'er defile again ; The blood of Jesus Christ thy Lord
Shall cleanse from every stain.
Walk in the light I and thou shalt find
Thy heart made truly His, Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined.
In whom no darkness is.
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