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ART imitates nature; and the nearer it comes to nature in its effects, it is the more excellent. Grace is the new nature of a Christian, and hypocrisy that art which counterfeits it; and the more exquisite it is in imitation, it is the more plausible to men, but the more abominable to God. It


frame spiritual man in image so to the life, that not only others, but even the hypocrite himself may admire it, and favouring his own artifice, may be deceived so far, as to say, and to think, it lives, and fall in love with it; but he is no less abhorred by the Searcher of hearts, than pleasing to himself. Surely, this mischief of hypocrisy can never be enough inveighed against. When religion is in request, it is the chief malady of the Church, and numbers die of it; though, because it is a subtile and inward evil, it be little perceived. It is to be feared there are many sick of it, who look well and comely in God's outward worship, and they may pass well in good weather, in times of peace, but days of adversity are days of trial. The prosperous estate of the Church makes hypocrites, and her distress discovers them. But if they escape such trial, there is one inevitable day coming, wherein all secret things shall be made manifest. Men shall be turned inside out; and amongst all sinners that shall then be brought before that judgment-seat, the deformedest sight shall be an unmasked hypocrite, and the heaviest sentence shall be his portion.

Oh! that the consideration of this would scare us out of that false disguise in time, and set us all upon the study of sincerity! Precious is that grace in God's esteem : a little of it will weigh down mountains of formal religion, in the balance of the sanctuary. Which of us have not now brought hypocrisy, more or less, into the house of God ? Oh, that it were not with intention to nourish it, but with desire to be here cured of it ! For He alone who hates it so much, can cure it; He alone can confer upon us that sincerity wherein He mainly delights. If we have a mind, indeed, to be endued with it, it is no where else to be had: we must entreat it of God by humble prayer, in the name of His well-beloved Son, by the assistance of His Holy Spirit.


ISAIAH lx. 1.

Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon


Truly, light is sweet, and it is a pleasing thing to behold the sun, says the Preacher, Eccl. xi. 7. But the interchange of night with day, adds to its beauty, and the longest night makes day the welcomest; as that people well know, whose situation in the world gives them a five or six months' night all of one piece. It is reported of some of them, that when they conceive their night draws towards an end, they put on their richest apparel, and climb up to the highest mountains, with emulation who shall first discover the returning light; which, so soon as it appears, they salute with acclamations of joy, and welcome it with solemn feasting, and all other testimonies of exceeding gladness. But such is the lethargy of sinful man, that he stirs not to meet his spiritual light ; and, which is worse, when it comes upon him, it finds him in love with dark

Instead of his shouts of joy for this light, many a cry must be sounded in his ears, to awaken him; and it is well, too, if at length he hear and obey this voice, Arise, shine, for thy light is come. It is clear that the words contain a command, and the reason of it: the command to a twofold act; the reason under two expressions, proportionately different. Good reason the Church should arise, when the Lord's glory is risen upon her; and it is very congruous she should be enlightened and shine, when her light is come. Of those two


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acts, or duties, somewhat was formerly spoken ; and the reason
likewise was made use of so far as relative to those duties, and
tending to their enforcement. But the meaning of the phrases
in which the reason is expressed, was rather, at that time, sup-
posed, than either duly proved or illustrated; so that it will
be now expedient to consider, simply in themselves, these latter
words: Thy light is come, and, The glory of the Lord is risen

upon thee.

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So far as this prophecy hath respect to the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, that temporal deliverance, and the ensuing peace and prosperity, was their light, and that Divine power by which it was effected, was this glory of the Lord. And indeed, both these expressions are frequently used in such a sense in holy writ. When I waited for light, there came darkness, says Job, ch. xxx. ver. 26. So Isaiah lviii. 8., and many other places. And the glory of the Lord, is used for a singular effect of His power, John xi. 40., Isaiah lx. 18., and elsewhere. But this literal sense is but a step to elevate the Prophet to a sight of Christ's spiritual kingdom ; which is usual with him, as our Saviour himself testifies of another of his prophecies : These things said Isaiah when he saw his glory, and spake of him. John xii. 41. It was a sight of that same glory, that makes him say, Thy light is come.

In these words, there are three things concerning Christ, represented to the Church's view. First, His beauty and excellency, in that he is called light, and the glory of the Lord. Secondly, The Church's propriety and interest in him, thy light, and risen upon thee ; which hath a restrictive emphasis, as the very next verse doth clearly manifest. As he is originally the glory of the Lord, and the light of the Lord, lumen de lumine, so, he is communicatively the Church's light, and her glory too, as it is expressed in the 19th verse of the same chapter, Thy God, thy glory. Thus hath she both His worth, and her own right in Him, to consider. Thirdly, His presence, or her actual possession, He is come, and is risen. And in these, the Church, and each faithful soul, may find a double

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spring of affection, the one of love, the other of joy. The transcendent beauty of Christ makes him the choicest object of love, and her property in him, or title to him, together with possession, is the proper cause of solid joy.

First, then, this excellency is expressed by these two charac, ters, light and the glory of the Lord. Concerning which, it will be fit both to demonstrate that they are the proper titles of Christ, and here to be taken for him, as also, to shew what they signify in him.

Indeed the Apostle, in his second epistle to the Corinthians, (ch. 3.) insists much in extolling both the light and the glory of the Gospel, and in the 4th verse of the next chapter, speaks of the light of the glorious Gospel, but he immediately inti. mates whence it hath this light and glory: The glorious Gospel of Christ, says he, who is the image of God. So that it is most unnecessary to inquire whether the Messiah, or the word that reveals him, be rather here couched under these terms of light and the glory of the Lord. These two agree so well together, and these words agree so well with them both, that it were an injury to attempt to sever them. All the difference will be this; Christ is that incomplex and substantial light, the Gospel that complex light wherein he appears. But, (not to be guilty of dark terms, especially in a discourse of light,) I take it, in this resemblance, Christ is the sun, and the Gospel his proper sphere or heaven, wherein he gives light to his Church. He is primarily the glory of the Lord, and the Gospel is so by participation, because it declares him : so that much of that which shall be spoken here of Christ, will be secondarily to be understood of the Gospel of Christ.

That Christ is Light, the Scripture speaks abundantly. His own voice concerning himself, notwithstanding the cavil of the Pharisees, is above all exception, for he is truth itself: I am the light of the world, saith he; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness. John viji. 12. The Father who sent him, gives him the same title: I will give thee for a light of the Gentiles, Isa. xlii, 6.; and xlix. 6. And not to multiply


citations of the prophets and evangelists, who with one consent all magnify this Light, take the true testimony of a false prophet; and indeed, the favourable witness of an adversary is strongest : it is that of Balaam, who saw that Christ was light, though, because he saw him afar off, (as he says himself,) and had not his eye fortified, like the true prophets, he discerned him but as a star: There shall come a star out of Jacob. Numb. xxiv. 17. But what need we go so far, to be certified what this light and glory of the Lord is ? The Lord of glory himself, in the very next verse to the text, assures us of it: Upon thee shall the Lord arise. And in the 19th verse, The Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

By this time, I hope, it is clear, that the Eternal Son of God, co-essential with His Father, was He who gave accomplishment to this prophecy, by appearing to the world wrapped up in the darkness of human nature. He is that day-spring from on high, which hath visited us, as old Zacharias speaks, Luke 1. 78.

Among all created excellencies, none can be borrowed more fitly representing Christ than that of light. And is it not Christ that decks his Church with supernatural beauty, and makes it indeed Korvos, a comely world, called out of the world? But the manifold agreement of light with Christ, doth require more particular consideration.

Light is (as they call it) primum visibile, the first object of sight. And Jesus Christ, whom the Apostle styles, God over all, blessed for ever, is, primum intelligibile, the prime object of the understanding. What is then become of that Divine spark, that understanding soul, which the Father of spirits breathes into these bodies, that all our thoughts creep here below, and leave their chief and noblest object unconsidered ? Which of us may not complain, (though few of us do,) that our souls have either no wings to elevate themselves to the contemplation of Him from whom they issued, or, if they make attempts at it, our affections, engaged to the world, make us, ike a bird tied by the foot, fall presently down again into the

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