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BY J. VAUGHA.
Until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. 2 Peter l 19,
IFE in this world can never be more than twilight.
It may be broad day — if you put it in contrast
with some thicker night which went before. But
if you compare it with what is coming, it is only,
at the best, a dim * dawn.'
The danger is — that we think we have day,
when we have only twilight.
The best, the most learned, the most enlight-
ened man that ever lived, was only just at 'the daybreak' of the
blaze of the goodness, and the knowledge, and the truth, which lay
sleeping under his horizon.
Thus the Old Testament — compared to heathendom — was light,
clear light. They knew God, and holiness, and immortality. But
we, looking back upon it now, see it dark and shadowy. To us it is
And even there, the Psalms and the Prophets had risen far higher
than Moses, even as Moses had risen higher than the antediluvians.
But the ew Testament puts the Old to darkness. The day is
begun. The shrouded Christ is visible to us. We feel Him ; we
know Him ; we can realise Him, The way of salvation is open.
And yet — by the side of what is coming — when the presence of
the Person of Christ shall be actually here, and all ' shadows shall
flee away,' and there shall be no more darkness — the Gospel itself is
darkling. We have only the twilight of Jesus.
In every darkness of our world, there hath always been something
to guide the thoughts to the coming twilight ; and then, in the
twilight, to guide the thoughts to the coming day.
Even ignorance had its scintillations — as in Plato or Zoroaster.
Judaism its types, and sacrifices, and inspiration : gleams, beautiful
gleams of a better day ! And we have distincter teachings ; pro-
mises more marked : the great Gospel facts : a real, though invisible
In the Old Testament, and still more in the ew, God thus gives
us reflected rays, — rays of what is coming. This is S. Peter's
reasoning. He says that some of us have the transfiguration, but
all of us ' have a more sure word of prophecy ; whereunto ye do well
that ye take heed, as unto a light,' — the word means ' lamp,' a
* lamp ' that may be carried in the dark, as David calls the Bible ; —
' take heed, as unto a lamp that shineth into a dark place, until the
day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.'
Thus, you see, there are always Advents. Twilight is an Advent
to the darkness, and the day is an Advent to the twilight. It is a
series of comings. More light ; more joy ; always coming.
This is God's government ; knowledge, but knowledge in mystery ;
and, as soon as one mystery is solved, another mystery rises. Dark-
ness, but with beams in the darkness. Clouds, but with light shining
upon the clouds. Something very good now, but something better
near. Heaven always at the door. ew joys, and new beauties,
So man is kept always in the attitude of preparation ; always
humble ; always expectant. And hope (what is hope ? faith made
glad) : hope is ever in exercise ; and so we are trained, step by step,
for higher and higher and higher life. And this is happiness.
What is happiness ? A happy to-day with a happier to-morrow.
It could not be happiness — if it were not happiness now, and if there
were not to be a happier to-morrow. A happy to-day and a happier
And so God is confessed in His inscrutableness, and glorified in
You will find that the same principle — on a smaller scale — is
being carried out continually in your daily life. There is a waiting-
time before a burst ; a glimmer in the dark ; a thin streak ; a few
scattered rays ; a break ; a morning ; a noon.
ow see how it stands with our knowledge. There is just enough
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known to show us that there is more to be known. We see no whole
orb of truth yet. We compass a little, and we guess the rest.
Wliat doctrine can we thoroughly and absolutely grasp ? What
promise — what verse in the Bible — have you ever fathomed ? We
are only standing on the margin of the darkness, and waiting for
But it will come. It will come to all who really look for it.
What shall we do then ? Be very modest. Speak and think
diffidently, cautiously, reverently — as a man conscious of darkness
within him, and all around him.
We are only groping after substances. The whole heaven is to be
lighted up presently ! And then we shall wonder, and almost smile
at all our mistakes, and all our rashnesses.
Meanwhile, we do not know enough for controversy.
But let the eye follow the opening.
If it be a text, and you cannot understand it, — an apparent con-
tradiction, and you cannot reconcile it, — a deep thing, and you
cannot receive it, — stand by a little. Leave it a while. Look for
further revelation. Keep on your knees — earnest, expectant, watchful.
Look out for signals — for an Advent of more light. It will come.
Perhaps very gradually, perhaps suddenly; taking you by surprise; but
it will come. God will show it to those who ' watch for the morning I '
Only keep, and give heed to what you have, till the complete
illumination, 'until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your
Or, I will suppose that you have been in prayer ; and there is no
answer : and you have no token that you are heard. You are heard,
and you have a token. You have the token that the Syro-Phoenician
woman had, — that you have grace given you to go on praying.
But you have not light yet to see the token. You are in the
twilight of prayer.
Hold on. Keep your eye steadii} on the horizon of the promises,
holding firm faith with the Unseen. God is only practising your
patience, and keeping the blessing back to increase it, — killing the
means before He gives the end, — that the means may be nothing,
and God only may be glorified.
The answer — in some form or other — is on its way. It will break
upon you soon. Only be content to let God do His own work in
His own way, tarrying His leisure, — ' until the day dawn and the
day-star arise in your heart.'
Or, you have a grief, a heavy grief ; and it so wraps you round,
that you have strained, and strained, and you can trace no speck of
comfort, or one spot of alleviation in all the circumference of that
ffreat black trial.
Only believe. There is a morning to that night ; and that morn-
ing has its ordained moments, surer than the laws of nature. And
when it comes, then, as the mists of the morning are absorbed into
the warmth of the sunrise, so will all that grief lose itself in the joys
that God hath prepared for you. He can and He will — (He knows
what that poor dark soul wants) — adjust the length of the necessary
discipline to the comfort that will be required afterwards.
' Am I forgiven ? I seek it ; above everything else in the world I
seek it. God knows that I would give everything to hear Him say
to me, " Go in peace ; thy sins are forgiven." But I do not feel it ;
I hear no sound. And could it be, and I not know it ? '
It is there. It is to your hand ; but the light, the only light that
can show it, has not yet broken upon you. Christ must not only
give the pardon. He must reveal it. And sometimes there is an
interval between that gift and that revelation.
You know how sometimes, when you have walked in the dark,
you have thought about the objects around you, till the first break
of the morning has shown you what foolish mistakes you made.
You know how the coldest and the blackest hour of the night is
just the hour that precedes the sunrise.
So it is with your pardon. The pardon is on its road ; the peace
is close. Only believe, and look up, ' until ' that * day ' of the smile
of your Father's face ' dawn ' on you, and * the day-star ' of His felt
love ' arise in your heart.'
But all these things — waited for, and longed for, and coming, one
after another, so faithfully in their time, they are only the emblems
and the earnests of that great Advent which is approaching, and
I do not say it will be soon here — Christ does not say that. He
says, ' I travel rapidly on my road to it ' ; and the expedition marks
His pleasure in it, and His strong desire for it ; but He only says,
' I come quickly.' ' I am travelling quickly.'
And when He comes, S. Peter's words — if we are to take them
literally — lead us to expect that even the Advent will be developed
To the wicked, to the world, it is to be quite sudden. They will
not have studied, and believed, or even seen the harbingers. On
them it will come 'like a thief in the night' !
But it will not come upon us as a thief in the night.
Therefore to the Church it may be as the text has it, a ' dawn,'
and then ' a day-star,' and then a full meridian splendour.
r.ike the First Advent — ' One angel' ; and then — ' hosts of angels.**
There will be signs. Elias may come. Great things may be on the
earth ; — universal knowledge ; — the Jews' return ; — the * Dawn ' ;
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and then ' the Bright and Morning Star ' ; — and then floods of
and power, and love, and holiness, and joy, and glory !
However this may be, all that is now, the ignorance, and the
discipline, and the sorrow, and the sin, and the long ordeal, and all
the world's show and pageant — they have all their boundary.
' Occupy '—but—' till I come ! ' ' till I come!'
ow, things all shade off, almost imperceptibly : — misery into
happiness ; total darkness into perfect light.
It will not be shaded then. It will be a definite line. It will be
Christ, or no Christ ; eternal night, or perpetual day.
All the rest is only ' until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in
Do you wish to know what that Advent will be to you ?
There is a solution in my text. When that day ' dawns,' will ' the
Day-star ' find place — (has He a place now ?) prepared in you ? Is
He loved ? Will He be welcome ? Has He a reflection there ? Has
He a home.? Will He — as one already there (only too hidden
hitherto) — as one already there — will He ' arise in your heart ? '
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