32615 Into the light.
Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. The devils are the rulers of the darkness of this world. But Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom of light. The designs of his kingdom are carried on by light. His people are not of the night, nor of darkness, but are the children of the light, as they are the children of God, who is the Father of lights, and as it were a boundless fountain of infinite pure and bright light. 1 John 1:5; Jam. 1:17.
Man by the fall extinguished that divine light that shone in this world in its first estate. The Scripture represents the wickedness of man as reducing the world to that state wherein it was when it was yet without form and void, and darkness filled it. Jer. 4:22/23, “This is because my people are stupid, they do not know me, they are slow-witted children, they have no understanding: they are clever enough at doing wrong; but to do not know how to do right. I looked to the earth, to see a formless waste; to the heavens, and their light had gone. But God in infinite mercy has made glorious provision for the restoration of light to this fallen dark world. He has sent him who is the brightness of his own glory into the world, to be the light of the world. “He is the true light that lightened every man that comes into the world,” i.e. every man in the world that ever has any true light. But in his wisdom and mercy, he is pleased to convey his light to men by means and instruments. And has sent forth his messengers, and appointed ministers in his church to be subordinate lights, and to shine with the communications of his light, and to reflect the beams of his glory on the souls of men.
There is an analogy between the divine constitution and disposition of things in the natural and in the spiritual world. The wise Creator has not left the natural world without light. But in this our solar system has set one great light, immensely exceeding all the rest, shining perpetually with a transcendent fullness and strength, to enlighten the whole. And he has appointed other lesser, subordinate, or dependent lights that shine with the communications and reflections of something of his brightness. So it is in the spiritual world; there God hath appointed Jesus Christ as the Sun of righteousness. The church of God has not the sun to be her light by day, nor for brightness does the moon give light to her, but the Lord is her everlasting light, and her God her glory.
The New Jerusalem has no need of the sun, or the moon; for the Lamb is the light thereof. And the ministers of Christ are, as it were, the stars that encompass this glorious fountain of light, to receive and reflect his beams, and give light to the souls of men. As Christ therefore is in Scripture called the Sun, so are his ministers called stars. So are the twelve apostles, the chief ministers of the Christian church, called, Rev. 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” And so are the ordinary ministers of the gospel called, Rev. 1:16, “And he had in his right hand seven stars.” And verse 20, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou safest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks; the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” Here also ministers of the gospel are implicitly compared to those lamps that enlightened the temple at Jerusalem, upon the tops of the golden candlesticks: and more expressly in Zechariah, 4:2, “I have looked, and behold a candlestick, all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon.”
These lamps have all their oil from Christ, and are enkindled by his flame, and shine by his beams; and being thus dependent on him, they are near to him, and held in his right hand, that they may receive light from him, to communicate to others. The first use of a light is to discover things, or make them manifest. Without light nothing is to be seen. Eph. 5:13, “Whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” Ministers are set to be lights to the souls of men in this respect, as they are to be the means of imparting divine truth to them, and bringing into their view the most glorious and excellent objects, and of leading them to and assisting them in the contemplation of those things that angels desire to look into. The means of their obtaining that knowledge is infinitely more important, and more excellent and useful, than that of the greatest statesmen or philosophers, even that which is spiritual and divine.
They are set to be the means of bringing men out of darkness into God’s marvellous light, and of bringing them to the infinite fountain of light, that in his light they may see light: they are set to instruct men, and impart to them that knowledge by which they may know God and Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal. Another use of light is to refresh and delight the beholders. Darkness is dismal. The light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun. Light is refreshing to those who have long sat in darkness. They therefore that watch and keep awake through a dark night long and wait for the light of the morning; and the wise man observes, Proverbs, 15:30, “That the light of the eyes rejoicing the heart.” Spiritual light is especially refreshing and joyful. Psa. 97:11, “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” They that see the light of Christ, the star that hath arisen out of Jacob, are refreshed and do rejoice, and the wise men that saw the star that showed them where Christ was, Mat. 2:10, “And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”
Ministers are set in the church of God to be the instruments of this comfort and refreshment to the souls of men, to be the instruments of leading souls to the God of all consolation, and fountain of their happiness. They are sent as Christ was, and as co-workers with him, to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, and to comfort all that mourn. They are to lead those that “labour and are heavy laden” to their true rest, and to speak a word in season to him that is weary. They are set to be ministers of the consolation and joy of the saints. 2 Cor. 1:24, “We have not dominion over your faith; but are helpers of your joy.”
The third use of light is to direct. ’This by the light that makes us see where to go. “He that walks in darkness knows not whither he goes,” and is in danger of stumbling and falling into mischief. 'This by light that men see what to do, and are enabled to work. In the night, Christ tells us, no man can work. Ministers are set to be lights to men’s souls in this respect also. As Zacharias observes of John the Baptist, in Luke 1:79, “To guide our feet in the way of peace.” Ministers have the record of God committed to them that they may hold that forth, which God has given to be to man as a light shining in a dark place, to guide them in the way through this dark world, to regions of eternal light. Ministers are set to be instruments of conveying to men that true wisdom spoken of Job 28, “Which cannot be gotten for gold, nor shall silver be weighed for the price thereof; which cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.”
And be open to the light and willing to receive it. And be obedient to it. And thus walk as the children of light, and follow your minister wherein he is a follower of Christ, i.e. wherein he is as a burning and shining light. If you continue so to do, your path will be the path of the just, which shines more and more to the perfect day, and the end of your course shall be in those blissful regions of everlasting light above, where you shall shine forth with your minister, and both with Christ, as the sun, in the kingdom of the heavenly Father.