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of Christ. But till that Spirit gave the | which had arisen on the outward page of power of discernment, as well as set be- revelation, had also dawned and arisen fore them the objects of discernment-upon their own hearts-not, in short, till their attempts were nugatory. And in- the great agent of all revelation, even the deed they were sensible of this, and ac- Holy Spirit who had already furnished the quiesced in it. It was told them by reve- object of perception in the word, had also lation, that the subject matter of their pro- furnished the organ of perception in the phecy was not for themselves, but for understanding-not till then, were the inothers-even for those to whom the gospel quirers after the truth as it is in Jesus should be preached in future days, and effectually introduced, to a full acquaintwho, along with the ministration of the ance with all its parts,—or to the full beexternal word, were to receive the minis-nefit of all its influence. tration of the Holy Ghost-whose office it is to put into the mouths of prophets the things which are to be looked to and believed, and whose office also it is to put into the hearts of others the power of seeing and believing these things. And it serves clearly to mark the distinction between these two offices, that the prophets, alluded to in this passage, presented to the world a set of truths which they themselves did not understand-and that again the private disciples of Peter, who were not so learned as to be made the original and inspired authors of such a communication, were honoured with the far more valuable privilege of being made to understand it.

We cannot take leave of this passage, without adverting to the importance of that practical injunction which is contained in it. They who are still in darkness are called upon to look, and with earnestness too, to a particular quarter; and that is the word of God-and to do so until the power of vision was granted to them. If a blind man were desirous of beholding a landscape, and had the hope at the same time of having his sight miraculously restored to him, he might, even when blind, go to the right post of observation, and turn his face to the right direction, and thus wait for the recovery of that power which was extinguished. And, in like manner, we are all at the right post, when we are giving heed to our Bibles. We are all going through a right exercise, when, with the strenuous application of our natural powers, we are reading and pondering and comparing and remembering the words of the testimony-and if asked, how long we should persevere in this employment, let us persevere in it with patience and prayer until, as Peter says, the day dawn and the day-star arise in our hearts.

This we think will appear still more clearly from another passage of the same apostle in 2 Peter i. 19-21. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were That John the Baptist should not know moved by the Holy Ghost." No prophecy himself to have been he who was to come is of private interpretation. It was not in the spirit and power of Elijah; and suggested by the natural sense of him hence, in reply to the question Art thou who uttered it-and as little is it under- Elias? should say that I am not—whereas stood, or can it be explained, by the na- our Saviour affirmed of him, that he was tural powers of the same person. He the Elias who should come-this ignorwas the mere recipient of a higher influ-ance of his may be as much due to the ence; and he conveyed what he had thus received to the world-speaking not of his own will but just as he was moved by the Holy Ghost-and enabled to discern or to expound the meaning of what he had thus spoken, not of his own power, but just as the same Holy Ghost who gave him the materials of contemplation, gave him also the faculty of a just and true contemplation. The light of which he was barely the organ of transmission, shone in a dark place, so long as it shone upon the blind: and, not till the blind was made to see not till the eyes of those, who were taking heed to the letter of the prophecy, were opened to perceive the life and meaning and spirit of the prophecy-not till that day which has dawned, and that day-star

want of outward information about the point, as to any lack in the faculty of discernment. The same thing however can scarcely be said of his ignorance of the true character of the very Messiah whom he himself foretold-insomuch, that, though he had baptized him and attested him to be the Lamb of God, and had seen the Spirit descending upon him like a dove-yet he seems afterwards to have been so much startled by the obscurity of his circumstances, and by the style of his companionship which looked unsuitable to the character of a great Prince and Deliverer, that, in perplexity about the matter, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask whether he was the person who should come or they had to look for another

He laboured under such a disadvantage, | He made them see old things more clearly whether of darkness or of blindness about than before; and that, by a direct work the whole nature of the new dispensation, on the power of mental perception, He that though, in respect of light, he was greater than the greatest of the prophets, who had gone before him-yet, in the very same respect, he was less than the least in the kingdom of heaven; or less than the least enlightened of the Christian disciples who should come after him.

The constant misapprehension of our Saviour's own immediate disciples, of which we read so much in the Gospels, was certainly due as much to their being blind as to their being in the dark-to their defect in the power of seeing, as to any defect in the visibility of what was actually set before them.

brought them to their remembrance; and He made them skilful in the discernment of Scripture-a term applied exclusively at that time to the writings of the Old Testament; and He, not only cleared away the external darkness which rested on that part of Christian doctrine that was still unpromulgated, but He strengthened and purified that organ of discernment through which the light both of things new and old finds its way into the heart-insomuch that we know not two states of understanding which stand more decidedly contrasted with each other, than that of the apostles before, and of the We read of our Saviour's sayings being same apostles after the resurrection—so hid from them, that they perceived not that from being timid irresolute, confused, and of His dealing out the light of exter- and altogether doubting and unsatisfied nal truth to them, as their eyes were able inquirers, they became the brave unto bear it--and of His averring, in spite shrinking and consistent ministers of a of all he had dealt out in the course of his spiritual faith-looking back both on the personal ministrations upon earth, of His writings of the Old Testament, and on our averring, at the close of these ministra- Saviour's conversations with other eyes tions, that as yet they knew nothing, than they had formerly, and enabled so to though if they had had the power of dis- harmonize them all with their subsequent cernment, they might surely have learned | revelations, as to make them perceive an much from what is now before us in the evangelical spirit and an evangelical Gospels, and of which they were both the meaning even in those earlier communieye and the ear witnesses. We further cations, which, of themselves, shed so dim read, that after the resurrection, when He and so feeble a lustre over the patriarchal met two of his disciples, and the eyes of and the prophetic ages. their body were holden that they should So that the office of the Holy Ghost not know Him, just as the eyes of their with the apostles, was, not merely to show mind were holden that they should not them things new respecting Christ, but to know the things which were said in Moses make them see things both new and old. and the prophets and all the Scriptures The former of His functions, as we said concerning Himself, they at length came before, has now ceased-nor have we to recognize His person-not by any ad-reason to believe, that, during the whole ditional light thrown upon the external currency of our present world, there will object, but simply by their eyes being another article of doctrine or information opened; and they also came to recognize be given to us, than what is already Him in the Scriptures-not by any change treasured up in the written and unalteror any addition to the word of their testi-able word of God's communications. But mony, but simply by their understandings the latter function is still in full exercise. being opened to understand them. We It did not cease with the apostolic age. also read of the descent of the Holy Ghost in the day of Pentecost-that event on which our Saviour set such an importance, as to make it more than an equivalent for His own presence in the way of teaching and enlightening the minds of his apostles. "If I go not away, He will not come unto you-but if I depart, then Him who is not yet given, because I am not yet glorified, I will send unto you. And He will guide you into all truth, and take of my things, and show them unto you." There is no doubt that He showed them new things, which we have in the Epistles; and so made the light of external revelation shine more fully and brightly upon them. But there is as little doubt, that, in His office as a Revealer,

The external revelation is completed. But, for the power of beholding aright the truths which it sets before us, we are just as dependent on the Holy Ghost as the apostles of old were. His miraculous gifts and His conveyances of additional doctrine are now over. But His whole work in the church of Christ is not nearly over. He has shed all the light that He ever will do over the field of revelation. But He has still to open the eyes of the blind; and, with every individual of the human race, has He to turn him from a natural man who cannot receive the things of the Spirit to a spiritual man by whom alone these things can be spiritu ally discerned.

There is with many amongst us, an un

dervaluing of this part of the Christian | the pages of the word of His testimonydispensation. The office of the Holy let us feel assured that in Him or in His Ghost as a revealer is little adverted to, communications there is no darkness at and therefore little proceeded upon in any all. It is not because He is dark, but beof our practical movements. We set our-cause we are blind that we do not underselves forth to the work of reading and stand Him; and we give you, not a piece understanding the Bible, just as we would of inert orthodoxy, but a piece of inforany human composition-and this is so mation which may be turned to use and far right for it is only when thus em- to account on your very next perusal of ployed that we have any reason to look any part of the Bible-when we say that for the Spirit's agency in our behalf. it is the office of the Spirit to open the eye But surely the fact of His agency being of your mind to the meaning of its intiessential, is one, not of speculative but of mations, and that God will not refuse His practical importance-and ought to ad- holy Spirit to those who ask Him. monish us, that there is one peculiarity, by which the book of God stands distinguished from the book of a human author, | and that is that it is not enough it should be read with the spirit of attention, but with the spirit of dependence and of prayer.

This brings us by a very summary process to the resolution of the question How is it that the Spirit acts as a revealer of truth to the human understanding? To deny Him this office, on the one hand, is, in fact, to set aside what by the fullest We should like if this important part in testimony of the Bible is held forth as the the process of man's recovery to God, held process, in every distinct and individual a more conspicuous place in your estima- case, whereby each man at his conversion tion. We should like you to view it as a is called out of darkness into marvellous standing provision for the church of Christ light. On the other hand, to deny such a in all ages. It was not set up for a mere fulness and such a sufficiency of doctrine temporary purpose, to shed a fleeting in the Bible, as if beheld and believed is brilliancy over an age of gifted and illu- enough for salvation, is to count it necesminated men that has now rolled by. sary that something should be added to Such is the value, and such the perma- the words of the prophecy of this book, nency of this gift of the Holy Ghost, that which if any man do, God will add unto it almost looks to be the great and ulti-him all the plagues that are written theremate design of Christ's undertaking, to in. There is no difficulty in effecting a obtain the dispensation of it, as the ac- reconciliation between these two parties. complishment of a promise by His Father. The Spirit guides unto all truth, and all And when Peter explained to the multi- truth is to be found in the Bible-The tude its first and most wondrous exhibition Spirit therefore guides us unto the Bible. on the day of Pentecost, he did not restrict He gives us that power of discernment, it to one period or to one country of the by which we are wisely and intelligently world. But the gift of the Holy Ghost is conducted through all its passages. His "unto you," he says, "and to your chil-office is not to brighten into additional dren, and to as many as the Lord our God splendour the sun of revelation, or even shall call." We think that if we saw to clear away any clouds that may have Christ in person, and had the explanation gathered over the face of it. His office is of our Bibles from His own mouth, this to clarify our organs of perception, and would infallibly conduct us to the highest to move away that film from the spiritual eminences of spiritual wisdom. But bless-eye, which, till He begins to operate, aded be they who have not seen, but yet have believed-and Christ hath expressly told us, that it is better He should go away from the world, for "if He did not go away the Spirit would not come-but that if He went away He would send Him." What the mysterious connection is between Christ's entrance into heaven, and the free egress of the Holy Ghost upon earth, it is not for us to enquire. But such is the revealed fact, that we are in better circumstances for being guided unto all truth by having a part and an interest in this promise, than if we had personal access to the Saviour still sojourning and still ministering amongst us. Let us not despise that which has so mighty a place assigned to it in the counsels of God and if heretofore, a darkness has hung over

heres with the utmost obstinacy in the case of every individual of our species. The ebbs and the alternations of spiritual light in our world, are not due to any fluctuating movements, in the flame, which issues from that luminary that has been hung out as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. It is due to the variations which take place, of soundness or disease, in the organs of the beholders. That veil which was at one time on the face of Moses, is now upon the heart of the unconverted Israelites. The blindness is in their minds, and they are in darkness, just because of this veil being yet untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament. When they turn tc the Lord, there will be no change made either in the Old Testament or in the

New-but this veil which is now upon ever-during record. The light is near us, their faculties of spiritual discernment, and round about us; and all that remains will simply be taken away. The uncon- to be done for its being poured into the verted of our own country, to whom the innermost recesses of every soul, is the gospel is hid, do not perceive it, not be- destruction of that little tegument which cause there is a want of light in the gos- lies in the channel of communication, bepel which would need to be augmented, tween the objects which are visible and but because the God of this world hath him for whose use and whose perception blinded their own minds, lest the light of they are intended. To come in contact the glorious gospel of Christ who is the with spiritual light, we have not to ascend image of God should shine unto them. into heaven, and fetch an illuminated God hath already commended all the ex- torch from its upper sanctuaries--we have ternal light of revelation, which he ever not to descend into the deep, and, out of purposes to do, in behalf of our world—the darkness of its hidden mysteries, bring and that light shines upon all to whom to the openness of day some secret thing the word of salvation is sent. But though that before was inaccessible. All that we it shines upon all, it does not shine into all. He hath already commanded the light to shine out of darkness-and we now wait for that opening and purifying of the organ of conveyance which is upon our person, that it may shine into our hearts and thence give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. The period of the new dispensation has been a period of light, as much from the increase of vision as from the increase of visibility. The vacillation of this light from one age to another, is not from any periodical changes in the decay or the brightening of the outward luminary. It is from the partial shuttings and openings of a screen of interception. And, in those millennial days, when the gospel, in full and un-either be added or expunged from this clouded brilliancy, shall shine upon the world-it will not be because light came down to it from heaven in a tide of more copious supply-but because God will destroy the face of the covering that is cast over all people; and the veil that is spread over all nations.

shall ever find is in that word which is nigh unto us, even in our mouth; and which, by the penetrating energies of Him in whose hand it becometh a sword, can find its way through all the dark and obstructed avenues of nature, and reach its convictions and its influences and its lessons to the very thoughts and intents of the heart. If you be longing for a light which you have not yet gotten-it is worth your knowing, that the firmament of a man's spiritual vision is already set round with all its splendours-that not one additional lamp will for your behoof be hung out from the canopy of heaventhat the larger and the lesser lights of revelation are already ordained, and not so much as one twinkling luminary will

hemisphere of the soul, till this material earth and these material heavens be made to pass away-and therefore, if still sitting in the region and under the shadow of death, there be any of you who long to be ushered into the manifestations of the gospel, know that this is done, not by any change in that which is without, but by a change in that which is within-by a medicating process upon your own faculties-by the simplicity of a personal operation.

The light is exceedingly near to every one of us, and we might even now be in the full and satisfactory enjoyment of itwere it not for a something in ourselves. All that is necessary is, that the veil, which hangs over our own senses, be de- This is something more than the mere stroyed. The obstacle in the way of didactic affirmation of a speculative or spiritual manifestation, does not lie in the scholastic Theology. It contains within dimness of that which is without us-but its bosom the rudiments of a most imporin the state of our own personal faculties. tant practical direction, to every reader Let the organ of discernment be only set and every inquirer. If I do not see, not right; and the thing to be discerned will because there is a darkness around me, then appear in its native brightness, and but because there is a blindness upon me just in the very features and complexion adhering in the shape of a personal attriwhich it has worn from the beginning, and bute—it were a matter of great practical in which it has offered itself to the view account to ascertain, if this defect do not of all whose eyes have been opened by stand associated with other defects in my the Spirit of God, to behold the wondrous character and mind which are also perthings contained in the book of God's law. sonal. And when we read of the way in His office is not to deal in variable revela- which the moral and the intellectual are tions to a people sitting in darkness. It is blended together in the doctrines of the to lift up the heavy eyelids of a people New Testament-how one apostle affirms, who are blind, that they may see the cha-that he who hateth his brother is in blindracters of a steady unchangeable and | ness; and another, that he who lacketh

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gle shall have the whole body full of light.' Light is sown unto the upright, and breaketh forth as the morning to those who judge the widow and the fatherless.' 'To him who hath, more shall be given' and 'he who keepeth my sayings, to him will I manifest myself.' These are testimonies which clearly bespeak, what ought to be the conduct of him who is in quest of spiritual manifestation. They will serve to guide the seeker in his way to that rest, which all attain who have attained an acquaintance with the unseen Creator. It is a rest which he labours to enter into-and, in despite of freezing speculation, does he turn the call of repentance to the immediate account of urging himself on to all deeds of conformity with the divine will, to all good and holy services.

certain virtues is blind and cannot see | darkness. He who is desirous of doing afar off; and another, that men who did God's will shall know of Christ's doctrine not, up to what they knew, award the that it is of God.' He whose eye is singlory and the gratitude to God, had their foolish hearts darkened, so as to have that which they at one time possessed taken away from them; and our Saviour resolving the condemnation of men's unbelief into the principle that they loved the darkness, and therefore wilfully shut their eyes to the truth that was offered-all this goes to demonstrate, that presumptuous sin stands in the way of spiritual discernment; that evil deeds, and the indulgence of evil affections, serve to thicken that film which has settled upon the mental eye, and obscures its every perception of the truths of revelation. And this much at least may be turned into a matter of sure and practical inference from all these elucidations-that the man who is not yet awakened to a sense of his iniquities, and not evincing it by putting forth upon them the hand of a strenuous and determined reform; that the man who stifles the voice of conscience within him, and, the slave of his inveterate habits, never, either in practice or in prayer, makes an honest struggle for his own emancipation; that he who makes not a single effort against the conformities or the associations of worldliness; and, far more, he who still persists in its dishonesties or its grosser dissipations he may stand all his days on the immediate margin of a brightness that is altogether celestial, and yet, in virtue of an interposed barrier which he is doing all he can to make more opake and impenetrable, may he, with the Bible before his eyes, be groping in all the darkness and in more than all the guilt of heathenism. These sins infuse a sore and a deadly distemper into his organs of perception, and by every wilful repetition of them is the distemper more fixed and perpetuated-and therefore it is that we call upon those who desire for light, to cherish no hope whatever of its attainment, while they persist in any doings which they know to be wrong. We call upon them to frame their doings in turning to the Lord if they wish the veil to be taken away-and, instead of hesitating about the order of precedency between faith and practice, or about the way in which they each reciprocate upon the other, we call upon them simply and honestly to betake themselves to the apostolical order of "Awake, O sinner, and Christ shall give thee light."

There is another set of passages which may be quoted as a counterpart to the former, and which go to demonstrate the connection between obedience and spiritual light-even as the others prove a connection between sir. and spiritual

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But more than this. It is the Spirit who opens the understanding; and He is affected by the treatment which He receives from the subject on which He operates. It is true that He has been known at times to magnify the freeness of the grace of God, by arresting the sinner in the full speed and determination of his impetuous career; and turning him, in despite of himself, to the refuge and the righteousness of the gospel. But, speaking generally, He is grieved by resistance, He is quenched by carelessness, He is provoked by the constant baffling of His endeavours, to check and to convince and to admonish. On the other hand He is courted by compliance; He is encouraged by the favourable reception of His influences; He is given in larger measure to those who obey Him; and He follows up your docility under one dictate and one suggestion, by freer and fuller manifestations. In other words, if to thwart your conscience be to thwart Him, and if to act with your conscience be to act with Him

what is this to say, but that every inquirer after the way of salvation, has something to do at the very outset in the furtherance of his object? What is this to say, but that a nascent concern about the soul should instantly be associated with a nascent activity in the prosecution of its interests? What What is this to say, but that the man should, plainly and in good earnest, forthwith turn himself to all that is right? If he have been hitherto a drunkard, let him abandon his profligacies. If he have been hitherto a profaner of the Sabbath, let him abandon the habit of taking his own pleasure upon that day, If he have been hitherto a defrauder, let him abandon his deceits and his depreda tions. And though in that region of spir

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