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LECT. due order, we must begin with the crea
tion; which is related in the book of Genesis, is a pattern of the new creation in Christ Jesus; and is so applied by the apostle: God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, bath joined in our hearts to give the lighı of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Chriff*. Till this light shines in the heart of man, he is in the same state as the unformed world was, when darkness lay upon the face of the deep: and when the new creation takes place, he rises in baptism, as the new earth did from the waters, by the spirit of God moving upon them.
The lights of heaven in their order are all applied to give us conceptions of God's power, and thew us the glory of his kingdom. In the 84th Pfalm, the Lord, is said to be a fun and a shield; a fun to give light to his people, and a mield to protect them from the power of darkness. Christ, in the language of the prophet is the fun of righteousness, who as the natural * 2 Cor. iv. 6.
fun revives the grass, and renews the year, LECT.
II. brings on the acceptable year of the Lord, and is the great restorer of all things in the kingdom of grace; shining with the new light of life and immortality to those who once fat in darkness and in the shadow of death. And the church has warning to receive him under this glorious character: Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon theet. When he was manifested to the eyes of men, he called himself the light of the world, and promised to give the same light to those that follow him. In the absence of Christ as the personal light of the world, his place is supplied by the light of the scripture, which is still a lamp to our feet and a light unto our paths. The word of prophecy is as a light shining in a dark place; and as we ftudy by the light of a lamp, fo we must give heed to this light, if we would see things to come.
The moon is used as an emblem of the
* Isaiah lx, 1.
LECT. church; which receives its light from
Christ as the moon does from the sun : therefore the renovation of the moon fignifies the renovation of the church ; as a sign of which, the new moons were appointed to be observed as religious festivals under the law; and the apostle tells us they were a shadow of things to come ; and the substance of that shadow is known from the nature of the case, and the relation which the moon bears to the sun.
The angels or ruling ministers in the seven churches of Asia are signified in the book of Revelation by seven stars in the right hand of Christ: because his ministers hold forth the word of life, and their light shines before men in this mortal state, as the stars give light to the world in the night season ; of which light christians in general partake, and are therefore called children of light.
This natural image of the light is applied to so many great purposes, that I
must not dismiss it without making some LECT. farther use of it.
You see, our God is light; our Redeemer is light; our scripture is light; our whole religion is light; the ministers of it are light; all christian people are children of the light, and have light within them. If To, what an obligation is laid upon us, not to walk as if we were in darkness, but to walk uprightly as in the day, shewing the people of this world, that we have a better rule to direct us than they have. If wę who have the light walk as they do who are in darkness, the same darkness will affuredly come upon us; we shall understand nothing, we shall care for nothing; the light that is within us will be changed into darkness; and then, vanity and confusion will be the consequence, as to those who walk in the dark through a perplexed and dangerous path: and better would it be not to have had the light, than to be answerable for the guilt of having extinguished it and turned it into darkness. This is the
LECT. moral doctrine to be derived from the
s usage of light in the sacred language.
Here I would also observe, that the figures of the scripture necessarily introduce something figurative into our worship; of which I could give you several instances : but I shall confine myself to the matter now before us. The primitive Christians fignified their relation to the true light, and expressed a religious regard to it, by the outward form of worshipping with their faces toward the east; because there the light first arises out of darkness, and there the day of true knowledge arose, like the sun, upon such as lay buried in ignorance. To this day our churches, especially that part which is appropriated to the most solemn act of christian worship, is placed toward the east: our dead are buried with their faces to the east: and when we repeat the articles of our faith, we have a custom of turning ourselves to the east. The primitive Christians called their baptism their illumination ; to denote which, a light was put