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what; and turned the glory of the Creator into the image of weak and sinful man.
Such was the case with the Jews, though in a different way of error: they trusted that they were “ Abraham's children,” that they had the favour of Abraham's God; and knew not that many should come from the east and the west, the north and the south, and sit down with Abraham in the kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom should be thrust out. Such is the case with too many in every age, who think themselves
light,” and “ walking in the light,” when in truth they are in the broad road which leadeth to destruction. They have risen early, and late taken rest, and eaten the bread of carefulness, and find, too late, that they have spent their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which satisfieth not. At the close of their earthly life, they have secured to themselves wealth, which cannot purchase heaven; have received the “praise of men,” but now want “ the honour which cometh from God;" have enjoyed pleasures, which have only proved them to be “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God ;” have indulged sins, which have shown that they were not “ children of light,” but “ of darkness.
Meanwhile our Lord has said, I am come a light into the world. If so, there will be a manifest difference between those who are following that light, and those who abide in darkness. No less difference than between the blind man and the man who sees; between one who travels in the darkness
of the night, and another whose course is guided by the light of day, and who neither stumbleth nor wandereth, “ because he seeth the light of this world.”
Consider what that difference will be.
The man will know the end of his journey, and the destination to which he is bound, and the way
in which he must walk to reach that end. He has inquired within himself, " Wherewith shall I
appear before the Lord ?” And here the light comes in to his assistance, and displays to him our “ Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who hath made propitiation for our sins. By this light he is guided in his whole progress : he does not look on it as an object to be gazed at, and admired, and then left and forgotten : but he keeps his eyes steadily upon what he has seen, and proceeds, “ looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of his faith :” looking to him for instruction, for guidance, for help, for support, for victory. He is the Christian's light, the Christian's sun : as evident to his mind, as the sun in the heavens to the bodily eye. He was so represented in the words of prophecy, saying, “ Arise, shine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon
And St. Paul describes the fulfilment of the prophecy : “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” who said at the beginning, “Let there be light, and there was light,” “ hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 1 Is. Ix. l.
? 2 Cor. iv. 6.
Here, then, is an easy test for self-inquiry. Is he such to you? Do you look up to him as your light, your sun : who rouses you from sleep, that sleep of the soul, in which too many live and die ; who enables you to discover your course on earth ; who conducts you to God; who points out your path ; who directs your steps ; who animates your heart; who enlivens all your ways.
If that is not the case, it would be vain to deny that you are abiding in darkness. It would be worse than vain ; for such error would hinder you, as it hindered the Pharisees of old, from coming to him who is able to disperse the mist from before your eyes ; and if persisted in, must issue in the "blackness of darkness” for ever. The commandment which the Father gave what Jesus should say and what he should speak, that commandment is life everlasting. But it is also everlasting death to those who reject it. For he that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
THE LORD SHOWS BY A FIGURATIVE ACTION,
THE NECESSITY OF BEING CLEANSED BY HIS BLOOD.
JOHN xiii. 1-11.
1. Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray
3. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4. He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments ; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
This is a remarkable transaction, in regard to the meaning it conveyed. But our different manners make it appear remarkable in respect to that part of it which had nothing really singular. The bathing the feet of those who came as guests, was with the Jews and other people of the east a customary thing. Jesus mentions it as an attention which he had reason to expect, though he did not receive it, from Simon the Pharisee, by whom he was entertained. (Luke vii. 44.) He says, “ Simon, seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head."
The action itself, therefore, had nothing singular. The wonder was, that he should do it: that he who ought to have been “ministered unto,” should undertake to minister: that he should “ gird himself, and come forth and serve them” who called him Master and Lord. And when Peter remonstrated, the answer given to him shows that it is not even the humble and condescending character of the transaction, but its figurative nature, which was our Lord's chief object, and which we are bound in the first place to consider.
6. Then cometh he to Simon Peter : and Peter said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet ?
7. Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.
8. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11. For he knew who should betray him ; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.