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of grace that are there administered; that he sanctifies all that believe in Christ, leads them into all truth, comforts them in all their troubles, and assists them in doing whatsoever is required of them. These and many such great and necessary truths, as lay in a great measure hid before, are now, by the light of the Sun of righteousness shining in his gospel, made so plain and evident, that all may see them, except they wilfully shut their eyes, or turn their backs upon them.
And though the sun in the firmament enlightens only the air, to make it a fit medium through which to see; this glorious light that comes from the Sun of righteousness, enlightening men's minds too, opens their eyes to behold the wondrous things that are revealed in the law of God.' And that too so effectually in some, that they likewise are able to enlighten others, to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light. Insomuch that they are also the light of the world. Not originally in themselves, but by communication from him, as the moon is first enlightened by the sun, and then reflects its light to the earth.
Moreover, the sun is the first cause under God, not only of light, but also of all the life that is in any creature upon earth, without which nothing could live, no, not so much as a vegetable, much less an animal; for that which we call life, wherewith such creatures as have organs fitted for it, are actuated and quickened, so as to be said properly to live, all depends upon the heat and influence of the sun. Should the sun once cease to be, or to influence the world, all living creatures would
Psal. cxix. 18.
Acts, xxvi. 18.
3 Matt. v. 14.
immediately expire and die. So is Christ the Sun of righteousness, the fountain of all spiritual life. 'In thee,' saith David, is the fountain of life, in thy light shall we see light;"' where we see that light and life in this sense also go together-they both proceed from the same fountain, the Sun of righteousness;' who therefore saith, I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' That light which hath life always proceeding from it, and accompanying it; so that he is both life and light itself. I am,' saith he, 'the way, the truth, and the life.' And our life, as the apostle calls him. Even the life of all that believe in him. The life that I now live in the flesh,' saith the same apostle, 'I live by the faith of the Son of God.' 'And therefore he who believeth, and so hath the Son, he hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life."
From all which it appears, that all men by nature are 'dead in trespasses and sins.' 'But when any arise from the dead by faith, it is Christ that gives them life;' who came into the world on purpose that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' More abundantly, that is, in the highest and most excellent manner that it is possible for men to live; for this life which the Sun of righteousness raises believers to, is the life of righteousness, an holy, an heavenly, a spiritual, divine life; it is the life of faith, whereby they live to other purposes, and in a quite different manner from other men. They live to God,
Psal. xxxvi. 9.
+ Col. iii. 4.
Eph. ii. 1.
2 John, viii. 12.
5 Gal. ii. 20.
Eph. v. 14.
3.John, xiv. 6. 6 John, v. 24. 9 John, x. 10.
and not unto the world; they live in a constant dependence upon him, and submission to him; they live with a firm belief of his word, and sincere obedience to his laws; they live altogether in his service, so that 'whether they eat or drink, or whatsoever they do, they still do it to the glory of God." In short, they strive all they can to do the will of God upon earth, as the holy angels do it in heaven, and so have their conversation there, where their Saviour and their treasure is.
But this life is infused into them, only by the rays of the Sun of righteousness, by the Holy Spirit which proceedeth from Christ, whereby they being born again, and made the children of light, thus walk in newness of life; and so it is nourished also, preserved and strengthened only by him, who therefore calls himself the bread of life,' and 'the bread of God, which cometh from heaven, and giveth life unto the world,' 'the living bread, of which if any man eateth, he shall live for ever.' And this bread which he gives is his flesh, 'which he gave for the life of the world;' for his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed; so that whoso eateth his flesh, and drinketh his blood, hath eternal life, and he will raise him up at the last day, that he may live for ever." For Christ is the resurrection and the life; whosoever believeth in him, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall never die.' Though his body may die, yet not his soul: and his body also at the last day shall be raised again to life, by the power of this glorious Sun:
11 Cor. x. 31.
2 John, vi. 35-58.
3 John, xi. 25, 26.
'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."1
Seeing therefore that Jesus Christ is the fountain of the life of righteousness, the author of that spiritual and eternal life which the righteous live, as the sun is of our natural, he also may most properly be called the Sun of righteousness, as he is in the words before us. And so he may be likewise from his cheering and refreshing our spirits in the inward man as the Sun does in the outward. 'The light of the eyes,' saith the wise man, 'rejoiceth the heart." And truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.' This we all find by daily experience, and so do we too, that the light and heat of the sun agitate or move our animal spirits in so benign and delicate a manner, that we are always more cheerful and pleasant when the sun shines clearly than we are in a dark night or cloudy day. But in this the Sun of righteousness infinitely exceeds the other, for he is the fountain not only of some, but of all the true joy and comfort that his people have, or ever can have in the world. It all proceeds from him, whom having not seen they love, in whom, though now they see him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' For upon their believing in him, as having been delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification, he manifesteth himself and his special love and favour to them, in the pardon of their sins, and their reconciliation to almighty God, whereby their souls are filled, not only with un
1 Cor. xv. 22. 3 Eccl. xi. 7.
2 Prov. xv. 30.
4 1 Pet. i. 8.
speakable but glorious joy, of the same nature of that which the saints in heaven are continually transported with. This is that which is called the lifting up the light of God's countenance, and his causing his face to shine upon them. ' When the Sun of righteousness thus shineth upon them, refreshing and comforting their hearts, by the sweet influences of that Holy Spirit that proceedeth from him.
But the sun doth not only refresh the earth, but makes it fruitful; it is by this means, under God, that plants grow and bring forth fruit, and that animals do the respective works which God hath set them. So is Christ the cause or author of all the good and righteous works that are done in the world; he himself saith, Without me ye can do nothing; and his apostle could say upon his own experience, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.'' And that the fruits, all the fruits of righteousness, are by Jesus Christ, or come from him. Who therefore in this respect also may well be termed 'the Sun of righteousness.'
To which we may likewise add, that as the works which God hath made upon earth by his power, although they have no light in themselves whereby they can be seen, yet they appear in all their beauty and colours by the sun reflecting his light upon them; so the works which his servants do by his assistance and grace, although they have no real worth, nor are exactly righteous in themselves, yet by the Sun of righteousness reflecting his righteousness upon them, they seem or are ac
1 Psal. iv. 6; lxvii. 1; lxxx. 3. " John, xv. 5. 3 Phil. iv. 13.
Numb. vi. 25.
4 Phil. i. 11.