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We are told also, that the same God, who then commanded “the light to shine out of darkness, shines into the hearts of men, to give them the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Law and the Prophets, in their last messages, announce the coming of Messiah, as the Sun of righteousness, to arise with healing in His wings. The gospel, in the song of Zacharias, takes up and re-echoes the promise, while it speaks of the tender mercy of God, " whereby the Day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness.” When our Lord begins His public ministry, the message is renewed in similar terms. “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light. They that sat in the region and shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Nay, the same truth crowns and completes the last message of Divine love, in the vision of the heavenly glory. “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
Let us trace this analogy in a few of those many aspects which it will present to a thoughtful mind; and may He, who is the true Light, himself shine into our hearts, and enable us, by the mirror of His outward, works, to discern His own goodness and infinite beauty.
Science reveals to us an immeasurable abyss of ether, encompassing all the worlds that our eyes behold, and which baffles all her most profound research by its inconceivable subtlety, and elastic energy of secret influence. Every sun and star is bathed with its hidden splendour, and thus becomes a fountain of sensible light, which travels with immense rapidity in all directions, and traverses, with swift waves, this hidden and unfathomable sea. All the communion of eye with eye, and
of worlds with worlds, all the rich variety of colouring spread over the face of nature, the lustre of every gem, the beauty of every star, the varied harmony of every landscape, the sparkling brilliance of every planet and star, is due entirely to this hidden and mysterious agency, which alone imparts their unity, life, and splendour, to the visible works of God.
And all this is only a type of Christ. He is, to the universe of thought, to the world of spirit, what natural light is to the universe of matter. His wisdom and love are a brighter glory, more wonderful in itself, more various in its forms, more diffusive in its beneficent and cheering influences, than the ether which floods all the lower creation with light, and clothes it with rich and ever-varying beauty.
Is the ether, in its very nature, invisible, mysterious, and unsearchable? So also is the nature of Christ an unsearchable mystery. “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” There is a “height and length and breadth and depth” in His love, which“ passeth knowledge.” His wisdom, like the boundless ether, includes all worlds in its infinite range. He counts the dewdrops, and clothes the lilies of the field ; “He telleth the number of the stars, and calleth them all by their names.” His unseen Presence encompasses the wide universe, while He
upholdeth all things by the word of His power.” But especially, the higher world of intelligence and spiritual being is embraced, in every part, by His unfathomable thoughts of love. Every spirit, of man or angel, is itself a world ; and all these worlds are silently and unconsciously bathed, on every side, by the ocean of His immeasurable wisdom. He knows every thought, and every motive; the secret springs of action, the laws of mental association, the powers and
capacities of all created beings. There is no field of thought which we can explore, but the light which serves to explore it must be borrowed from Him. There is no outlying and distant province of the intellectual universe, which is not surrounded and shut in by His wisdom, even as the still depths of the luminous ether shut in every distant star and nebular system of stars ; or science itself would have been smitten with blindness, and could never have descried their presence in the blue firmament. “Great is our Lord, and great is His power; yea, and His wisdom is infinite." Beyond all that has been revealed, either to men on earth, or to angels in heaven, there is a depth of understanding for ever unexplored, a fulness for ever inexhaustible. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.” He is the Fountain of all true light ; and while its streams will enlighten all the redeemed through eternity, the hidden abyss from which they flow is invisible and unfathomable, surpassing all created knowledge.
Perpetual diffusiveness is another feature of natural light, which makes it a fit emblem of our Lord, and of the higher light which He diffuses perpetually through all ranks of the intelligent creation. Let us contemplate this property in the sun, the chief source of light to our own planetary system. What a flood of splendour is streaming forth, day and night, from this one fountain, to irradiate the planets and all the depths of space! The portion of his light which falls on our earth, and kindles whole continents into beauty and life, is as nothing, compared with the whole amount. The
which issue from him daily would be enough to light up two thousand millions of planets with a brilliance equal to that of our own world. Yet there is no exhaustion, no signs of decay and weariness in this glorious fountain.
Every part of the planetary space is now lit up with his brightness, as on the first day of creation, when his light dawned upon the wondering universe.
So it is also with our Divine Lord and Saviour. “ He is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” The faculty of reason,
powers of fancy, the endowments of genius and lofty imagination, are all His gifts, and proceed from Him alone. If His presence were once withdrawn, a total eclipse would rest upon the whole intelligent universe. It is He“ who maketh the angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.” Their lofty powers of spiritual discernment, their ethereal energy of thought, like the wind and the flame, are all due to His sustaining power, by whom thrones and dominions and principalities and powers were created at the first, and are still upheld in their ceaseless activity. The Sun of Righteousness must ever shine upon them, or they will be lost in darkness. The millions of immortal souls who have tabernacled on earth, for thousands of years, are only so many planets, dark in themselves, and lighted dimly, in spite of the thick and gloomy clouds of sin, by this one Fountain of all true light and heavenly wisdom. And even as the sun could enlighten thousands and millions of planets, each as large as our own, with an equal brilliance, so also the true Light shines continually on ten thousand truths, and fields of spiritual thought, where no created intelligence has ever yet placed itself to receive the blessed influence. The truths, which are still unknown to science, after all its discoveries, are ten-thousand-fold more numerous than all which it has hitherto decyphered. The mysteries of God's holy Providence are infinitely deeper and more various, than the noblest philosophy, with all the aid of revelation, has ever fully
explored. Even the word of God alone contains worlds of hidden wisdom. The soul of the Christian
there find mountain-tops more numerous than those of Zophim, from which to gaze on the wide landscape of redeeming love. All of these are lit up continually with the brightness of His presence, and the beams of His Divine wisdom; though no created thought has ever reached their summit, or gazed on this half-revealed inheritance of the children of God.
Another character of natural light, as it issues from the sun, its great fountain, is unsullied brightness. The stream is pure as well as ethereal. No stain can defile it, no pollution mingle with its immaculate beauty. It discovers every mote in the air through which it passes,
every stain where it falls, but continues free itself from all earthly defilement. He who is the true Light has the same prerogative, only in a far higher degree. His light shines perpetually amidst the darkness of a world of sin, but the darkness cannot infect it with its own obscurity and gloom. He looks upon iniquity, but only with pity and abhorrence. His love rests upon the millions of mankind in this fallen world, and all their thoughts, and plans, and counsels for long ages, enter into the vast schenie of His holy Providence; but His ways are not as their ways, nor His thoughts as their thoughts. They are all wise and good, pure and holy. No taint of sympathy with evil, of causeless anger, of impatient severity, or of a foolish and weak indulgence towards guilt, has mingled with those innumerable counsels of wisdom and love. Well may the seraphim veil their faces in the presence of His spotless purity, and say, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts -the whole earth is full of His glory!”
If we contemplate, again, the quickening power of