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armour of light; His great humility and His glorious majesty; this mortal life and the life immortal.
"The works of darkness' include every act, word, and thought, that would fain hide itself from God; from God, holy and pure, and hating iniquity, as He is revealed in Scripture; though sometimes man in his presumptuous folly would call the all seeing eye to witness deeds which God abhors; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself ; but I will reprove thee, and set in order the things that thou hast done.' That is truly a work of darkness which shrinks from comparison with the written law, or which hides itself under false names and false appear
In the Epistle, “let us put on the armour of light, seems synonymous with 'put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ;' God is Light;' and 'God manifest in the flesh' is the Light of the world.' God dwelleth in the Light that no man approach unto; Thou deckest Thyself with Light as with a garment;' and in the brief vision of the glorified humanity on Mount Tabor, · His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the Light. The two ideas of Light and Love are the nearest approach we can make to expressing our conception of the Deity; and consequently we are told to walk as children of Light, while Love is the essential mark of discipleship. It is the very being of the soul to know God on whom it depends;' to be penetrated
through and through with the Light of Life; but how is Light an armour ? Inasmuch as the knowledge of God is the panoply of the soul against every form of evil; inasmuch as sin flies from holiness as darkness flies from light; inasmuch as purity is victorious over impurity, joy over woe, life over death. “In Thy Light we shall see light;' in His Light we read the mysteries of Providence; in His Light we enter into the mysteries of grace. Light too, is a hiding place; it is a 'glorious privacy' to the eagle and the skylark, as they soar upward and vanish from our dazzled gaze; it is so to the 'lesser lights which rule the night, as they disappear in the radiance of the rising sun; and thus is the Light of God, the Lord Jesus, our hiding-place and our shield ; He now hides us in the secret of His presence from the strife of tongues; and one by one He withdraws His chosen ones, and they are hidden from our sight in His own brightness, like the stars by day.
In ‘His great humility,' our Master wore the armour which He gives us to wear; He drew light from the Father of Lights; truth was revealed to Him; He increased in wisdom; He voluntarily made Himself a recipient of divine knowledge. That 'great humility' was that He might'visit us' in a form we could comprehend, and become for us a receptacle of that purity and truth which our race had lost. That glorious majesty in which He will come to judge the quick and the dead is for us also; for He is still Immanuel, He still wears our nature glorified, He is still the Man Christ Jesus.'
Let us 'gird ourselves with light as with an armour,' now in the time of this mortal life, unto the conflict which will then issue in victory; let us begin the Christian year as heirs of the life immortal; and find strength for the contest, and comfort for the suffering, in Him who liveth and reigneth ; "who ever liveth to make intercession for us.'
SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be
written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE blessed Lord, who hears and answers prayer, also teaches us how to pray; and He who gave us a revelation, must also teach us to read it aright; He gives the object to behold, the light to make it visible, the eye to discern; all things come of Him; and He is alike “the Author and Finisher of our faith ;' its Creator and its Object.
There is deep meaning in every word of this
prayer. The Lord ‘has caused all holy Scripture to be written;' and all the research and reasoning of man will never arrive at a better definition of the nature of Inspiration; the Church attempts no other: "all;' every part; even those historical records which do but lay claim to this world as God's world, and those prophecies which belong to nations that no longer exist; and those dark sayings which baffle and lay low the pride of intellect; and those revelations of this world's future which have been to many generations an enigma; "all' are for our learning.
Holy Scriptures ;' those writings that stand apart from every human composition, preserved in the Jewish and the Christian Church, whose highest honour is that to her is committed the care and keeping of these sacred oracles. be written ;' not merely a revelation spoken for the generation then existing; but written for those to come; and in the study of Holy Scripture it is well to bear in mind the two distinct questions, 'Why was this spoken, or why did this happen ? and Why was this written? Doubtless many an important event occurred, and many a precious word was spoken, of which we have no inspired record; but these are written that ye might believe;' whatever He saw fit to cause to be written, belongs to His people in all ages. “For our learning;' for the learning alike of the sage and the infant; for, while the wisest of men learns day by day how much more he
needs to learn of the revealed mind of God, the very words of Holy Scripture are those which a babe first loves to hear: “For our learning;' not as an exercise of our ingenuity, but for our instruction. God has given us in The Book a great gift; but His mercy does not end there; He becomes our teacher to explain His own word; and of Him who is the Father of Lights, of Him who has promised to send the Comforter to teach us; of Him who is that Guide into all truth, we pray that He will grant us’ (every good thing, inward or outward, being His gift) to hear, to read, to mark, to learn, and inwardly digest, that holy word “in such wise' that we may grow thereby: there are many ways of hearing and reading; so that our Lord says, “take heed how? ye hear,' as well as "take heed what? ye hear,' and we need God's especial grace that we may do it aright. Hear;' both as read aloud and explained by our authorized teachers ; for while, thanks be to God, the sacred volume is no longer chained to the reading-desk of the Church, yet the Scriptures there read to us seem to have a second and peculiar claim on attention, inasmuch as one solemn part of the ordination of the pastors of the Anglican Church is this, "Take thou authority to read the Gospel in the Church of God. Read;' no hearing would supply the place of private study. 'Mark ;' note, observe, distinguish, systematically and St. Luke, viii. 18.
? St. Mark, iv. 24.