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Sin is removed by faith in a Saviour's blood. This heals the conscience, and brings health and cure; while love binds up the broken heart, and fills it with joy and peace. This is salvation, and the burning flame that attends it; and justification always goes with it; for the same faith that purifies the heart puts on the wedding-garment; the fatted calf and the best robe are brought forth together, Luke xv. 22, 23. The prophet ascribes fire to salvation, and brightness to righteousness; and no wonder; for when God accepts us in his Son as clean, and in his righteousness as just, he reveals his dear Son in us, with all his saving benefits, and with all his fulness: and this is called the Sun of righteousness rising upon us with healing in his beams, attended with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Pardon removes sin, and righteousness removes the curse, and all condemnation. In this work we are baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with the fire; with God the Fathers’ love, through Christ; for this is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost. Hence the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of burning, Isaiah iv. 4. The word of life, in the love of it, is a live coal from the altar, Isaiah vi. 6. And joy in the heart is the flame that blazes forth from this lamp, and is expressly called light: “The light of the righteous rejoiceth, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” This lamp of salvation will afford a blaze of joy, when all joy raised by moving the passions will be put out: a conscious
ness of sin, and the expectation of wrath, are sure to extinguish it. The ground and foundation of this joy in my text is, first, the forgiveness of sins. And such worshippers, once purged, shall have no more conscience of sins, Heb. x. 2. Thus “ Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” The believer puts on an everlasting righteousness. This, says the prophet, goes forth as brightness, as being the righteousness of God, and in which the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, Matt. xiii. 43. And both the atonement and the best robe are brought nigh, and applied by the Holy Spirit of God; for we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. vi. 11. Which most holy and blessed Spirit is a comforter that abides with us for ever. Thus salvation is attended with the fire of love, and righteousness with the brightest flames of heavenly joy; as it is written, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Here is the wise virgin, made wise to salvation, going forth to meet her great Redeemer, who hath washed her from her sins in his own blood. She is going to meet her dearly beloved with his love shed abroad in her heart. She sets out in her wedding robe to meet her bridegroom; she goes to meet her head of influence, under the influence of his Spirit; and she rejoices in hope of an endless enjoyment of her own husband. Nor is she in
any danger of her lamp going out; for she has the promise of returning to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon her head, Isaiah li. 11. And so far is she from being shut out of the marriage-chamber, that it is with gladness and rejoicing she shall be brought, and shall enter into the king's palace, Psalm xly. 15. So much for the wisdom of the wise.
Now for the glory; “ The wise shall inherit glory.” There is a glory already put upon the wise, and it begins with the first entrance of the Spirit of God into the heart. Under his first operations the poor sinner begins to separate himself from the world. This brings the odium of the world upon him: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.'
2. The light of God's countenance, in which our secret sins appear; the light which makes manifest all things that are reproved, and which shines upon the sure word of prophecy till the day-dawn, and day-star arise in the heart; even this is no less than glory; yea, and the glory of God too. “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness. shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”
3. There is a wonderful display of divine glory in the creation and formation of the new man.
God shining upon the soul, and giving us a discovery of his own glory in the face of Christ, reflects the image of God upon us; and under this glorious rising and shining is the new man formed, and the divine image imprinted on the soul. “But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The love that fills the soul at this time, and the unutterable joy that springs from love, has, according to Peter, a fulness of glory in it. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” 1 Peter i. 8. Glory, as mentioned in the scriptures: in the general, means light; “I could not see,” says. Paul, “for the glory of that light;" and again, “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory;" and again, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of God is risen
The word, light, in scripture signifies various things.
1. It signifies the light of faith. By faith Moses saw him that is invisible. The patriarchs saw the promises afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them. And again, “ He that believeth on me shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
2. Sometimes it means love. “ He that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness; but he that loveth his brother abideth in the
light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."
3. It signifies enlightening the understanding to discern spiritual things. “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." Again, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."
4. It signifies joy and gladness of heart. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Again, “The light of the righteous rejoiceth, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.”
5. Wonderful deliverances, and prosperity upon it, are called light. When Haman was caught in his own trap, and God turned his violent dealings upon his own pate, it is said that the Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour, Esther viii. 16. So much for the wise man's begun glory, even in this life. We read also of a glory that is to be put upon the bodies of the saints at the resurrection of the dead; that Christ shall change our vile bodies, and shall fashion them like unto his own glorious body. We read also of a crown of glory that fadeth not away. And I believe I. may, in a few words, set forth both the glory of Christ, and the glory of the saints. The glory of Christ is his church: “ Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem