Imatges de pÓgina
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driven from the fold, and scattered on barren mountains. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, behold, 1 am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hands, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.' No doubt the Jewish doctors supposed that by compassing sea and land to make a proselyte to their traditions, by which they made void the law, they obtained a sacrifice well pleasing to God, though they judged and condemned their neighbors without mercy. But they little thought while they were doing this, they were the children of hell, and that their proselyte would be still more so.

On their feast days, they could rejoice and offer offerings to God in gratitude for their successes; but oh the reproof! See Amos v, 21, 22, 23. 'I hate, I despise your feast days, and will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.' How much like those Jewish doctors, christian doctors are doing and have done, and how similar to the rejection of those, the rejection of these has been and will be, is not very difficult to see. Societies are now formed, at the expense of which sea and land is compassed to proselytize men to those sentiments and customs which have kept the christian church in a perpetual strife and debate, persecution and blood, ever since they were invented.

But 3. God will recompense this folly on those who practise it, for they now appear like salt which has

lost its savor, which is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men. The Lord will surely deliver his people from such shepherds, and make them who have dishonored him to be lightly esteemed.

PARABLE IV.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.'Matt. v. 14, 15.

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IT must first be remembered that Christ himself is the true light which lighteth every man who cometh into the world; see St. John i, 9; but when Christ had communicated the light of himself to his disciples, they, acting in that light, and walking by it, would be to others as Christ had been to them; see St. John xvii, 8: For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them.' Verse 18: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.' The apostles were appointed to manifest the gospel to all nations; and whatsoever maketh manifest is light; therefore, Christ declared his disciples to be the light of the world. 'A city set on an hill cannot be hid.' The order, regularity and harmony, which ought to be observed among the disciples of Christ, are signified by a city. And that they ought carefully to exhibit all the virtues and graces of the gospel as conspicuously as possible, is meant by a city being set on an hill so that it could not be hid. 'Neither do men light a candle

and put it under a bushel; but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.' The disciples being lighted by that true light which will finally light every man that cometh into the world, is meant by candles' being lighted, and that Christ had lighted them for the purpose of their giving light to others, and that they ought not to secrete that light from the world, is signified by a candle when lighted being placed on a candlestick to give light to all.

Let all professors of christianity, and especially those who are called to the glorious work of the ministry, remember well the application of the parable: 'Let your light so shine before men, that they beholding your good works may glorify your Father which is in heaven.'

ILLUSTRATION.

1 We may notice Christ as the true light.

2. The ministers of his word partaking of and reflecting his light to the world; and

3. The impropriety of hiding or keeping this light in obscurity.

As the natural sun is the light, glory and beauty of the natural world, so Christ is the light, glory and beauty of the moral world. He is called the sun of righteousness, in Mal. iv, 2: But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.' When Simeon of Jerusalem, who waited for the consolation of Israel, to whom it was revealed, by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ, was blessed with that vision, and held the child in his arms, he blessed God, saying, 'Lord, now lettest thou

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thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.' St John calls Christ' the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Jesus calls himself the light, in John xii, 35, 36. Then Jesus said unto them, yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light believe in the light that ye may be the children of light.' Chap. viii. verse 12, he calls himself the light, of the world. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' Christ is called the light of the gospel covenant, or new Jerusalem, which St Paul calls Jerusalem that is above. See Isaiah lx. 1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.' Rev. xxi. 22, 23. And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.'

Perhaps there is no representation given of Christ, which more evidently discovers his power to save mankind, than in those scriptures which speak of him in the character of light. Man is represented as alienated from God through ignorance. This being the case, the knowledge of the truth would reconcile him to God. The object of Christ's mission is to reconcile all things to his Father. Whatsoever maketh manifest

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is light.' When Christ shall have manifested the true character of the Father to mankind, universal reconciliation will be the consequence. Jesus says,' Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free; by which we see that it was necessary for them only to know the truth,in order to obtain their freedom; which shows their bondage was the effect of their ignorance. Jesus is called the faithful and the true witness. The use of a witness is to make known the truth and certainty of a fact, not to be the author of the fact to which he witnesses. Christ is a witness to mankind of the Father's love, as has been observed, in a quotation from Rom. v, 8: But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Christ is not the cause of God's loving mankind, but the evidence to us that God is love towards us. The mercy, and grace according to which we are saved and called,' was given unto us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but was made manifest by the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' The action of light in the natural world is not to create objects for us to see, but to manifest those objects of which we are ignorant, or which are hidden from us by reason of darkness. The things of the kingdom of God were hidden from the wise and prudent, as Jesus says in Matt. xi, 25. And the power to reveal the Father to mankind he acknowledges to be in himself, in the 27th verse:' All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.'

The things which were hidden from the wise and

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