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ment; for there is no other in Heaven nor earth can make him shine to God, and so shelter him from the stroke of justice. Put him on then, and so shine; being thus clothed, thou shalt shine in justification, and likewise in sanctity. What a privilege is it to be like God? a sanctified conscience, what can be said against it? And first have an enlightened understanding, for that is the proper seat of light; that ignorant zeal that Rome commends, exposes religion to scorn and contempt: Heat without light is the character of the fire of hell. I know all are not tied to a like degree of knowledge, but certainly all are obliged to have a competency, and diligence for increase. Aspire then to be intelligent christians, and to know well what you believe; let your minds be filled with knowledge, as the Apostle speaks. But let it not stop there, it must have influence into the will. est vehiculum caloris, true light conveys heat. All the knowledge that the natural man hath of Christ, not warming his affection to Christ, is but ignis. fatuus, a vain light, it shall never lead him to happiness. Saving light produces love, and by that acts. Faith works by love, says the Apostle. That breaks forth and shines in the life, in godliness, righteousness, and sobriety. Shine then in all these, first in piety towards God, for this is the reflexion of these rays of light back toward their source, and this will command the other two. man that shines in godliness will wallow in injustice and intemperance. Guile and wrong cannot endure the light; they that are unjust cannot shine. And let them never offer to shine among christians that are not sober, but stained with riot and uncleanness; these foul enormities lay waste the conscience, and put out the light. How can any seeds of grace subsist undrowned, that are exposed to a daily deluge of cups? How can that pure spirit, that chose the likeness of a chaste dove, dwell and give light in that soul that is a nest of impure and filthy lusts?
No, there can be no fellowship betwixt this celestial light, whereby we should shine, and those infernal works of darkness. Let profane men hold it a chief strain of wit to scoff at purity, but you that pretend Heaven-ward in good earnest, and mean to shine in glory, shine here in holiness; For without holiness no man shall see God. And do it with those qualifications, (1.) Constantly in every estate: Let not this divine light go out, neither by day in prosperity, nor by night in adversity. In every place do not shine clear, and be dark in your chamber; they that do thus have their reward. That is a sad word, if rightly understood, beware of hypocrisy. (2.) Shine progressively, gaining still more and more victory over darkness, till you attain unmixed and perfect light. The way of the just, says Solomon, is like the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (3.) Shine humbly to his glory, whose light you borrow; not to shew forth your own excellencies, but his, who hath called you from darkness to his marvellous light. If we be children of light, our brightness must praise the Father of lights: Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, (not yourselves if you can be hid, as the sun affords its light and will scarce suffer us to look upon itself) may glorify (not you, but) your heavenly Father. To conclude,
The pure light of the church is revived, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you, and upon this glory there shall be a defence. If God be your glory in the midst of you, he will be likewise a wall of fire round about you. All the danger is, if we fall short in the duty of shining; but as you desire that this glory should abide and dwell amongst you, let all estates of men provoke one another to shine bright in holiness. You who either by birth or office are in eminent station, know that you were set there to be eminent and exemplary in shining, as
• Prov. iv. 18.
P 1 Pet. ii. 9.
q Matth. v. 6.
stars of more notable magnitude. You who are ministers of this light, know that you are the light of the world; and if the very light become darkness, how great will that darkness be? You that are of a lower order, know that you must shine too; for it is a common duty. There is a certain company of small stars in the firmament, which though they cannot be each one severally seen, yet being many, their united light makes a conspicuous brightness in the Heaven, which is called the milky way so, though the shining of every private christian is not so much severally remarkable, yet the concourse and meeting of their light together, will make a bright path of holiness shine in the church.
Now to the end we may each one shine in our measure, we must learn to turn ourselves often towards him from whom our light is derived. Conversing with him will make us more and more like him. There is a secret unknown virtue for this purpose in secret prayer and meditation; were we more in the mount with God, our faces would shine more 'with men. Let us then rescue from the world all the time we can, to resort frequently thither, till such time as the soul, which is now often pulled down again by the flesh, shall let that mantle fall and come down no more, but shine there without spot, and be for ever satisfied with her Maker's image.
RT 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 that counterfeits it; and the more exquisite it is in imitation, it is the more plausible to men, but the more abominable to God. It may frame a 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 that 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 scar 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 that 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 intreat it of God by humble prayer, in the name of his well-beloved Son, by the assistance of his Holy Spirit.
ISAIAH 1x. 1.
Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
TRULY light is sweet, and it is a pleasing thing to behold the sun, says the preacher, but the interchange of night with day adds to its beauty, and the longest night makes day the welcomest; as that people well knows, 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
a Eccles. xi. 7.