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ship, even him, who is the Son of the Father, the incarnate Word, who is exalted "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."* For, "God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."+
"Jesus, the Name high over all,
In hell, or earth, or sky;
66 Jesus, the Name to sinners dear,
"O that the world might taste and see
The arms of love that compass me,
"His only righteousness I show,
"Happy, if with my latest breath
* Eph. i. 21.
+ Phil. ii. 9-11.
LX. THE PROGRESS OF SPIRITUAL LIGHT, IN THE MINDS OF THE APOSTLES.
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."-Prov. iv. 18.
AN attentive reader of the New Testament must be struck with the slow and gradual manner in which the Apostles were brought to know and follow the divine Redeemer, till they at last sealed the truth with their blood. Jesus could have filled their minds at once with his heavenly light, but it pleased him to make their path "as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
This proves to us that all saving knowledge is the gift of God, who alone can remove the veil from our hearts, and enable us to see in all his glory, that precious Saviour, whom to know is life eternal.* "Divine wisdom proceeds gradually, as in the work of creation, so also in the work of providence in the world, and of sanctification in particular souls." "In the new creation, the first thing that God works in the soul in conversion is light. The soul, by nature, is a dark soul; but when grace comes, light comes; for wherever the Spirit is, he is an enlightening Spirit. This work is easy to almighty power; 't is but God's saying, Let there be light in such a soul, and there will be light; and though this light be small at first, yet it is growing; for the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.'"+
Thus it was with the disciples of our Lord. Their minds underwent a gradual illumination. Much darkness rested upon them, till after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Then the sun of righteousness arose upon them with healing in his wings. + Philip Henry on Genesis.
*John xvii. 3.
THE PROGRESS OF SPIRITUAL LIGHT, ETC. 463
Then, the Spirit of truth, the promised gift of the Father, was poured out upon them. Their understandings were then fully enlightened. They saw Christ in the mirror of the prophecies, and beheld the prophecies fulfilled in him. Hence, St. Peter could say, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty."* "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."+
It may afford some profitable meditation to trace the progress of light as exemplified in the disciples of our Lord. This short review will teach us humility, dependence, and charity. If spiritual light should, in any degree, be stronger in one Christian than in another, let him not glory in himself. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, can alone shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ.§ Mere head-knowledge produces self-conceit; true spiritual wisdom, lowliness of mind. The one puffeth up, the other edifieth.
The first chapter of St. John's gospel introduces to our notice, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel, in immediate connection with the ministry of John the Baptist.
"The next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"|| These words were accompanied by a divine power, for "the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and
2 Pet. i. 16. + Acts x. 43.
1 Cor. i. 31.; 2 Cor. x. 17. || Vers. 35, 36.
abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour."* This comparatively short interview was like the streak of light on the Eastern sky; it was the promise of a glorious day.
We have the name of one of the two disciples, who heard John declaring Jesus to be "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ;"+ for it is recorded, “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was ANDREW, Simon Peter's brother." It is instructive and delightful, to see how soon an honest conviction of truth produces exertion in its cause. "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, The Christ, and he brought him to Jesus."§ Happy, indeed, are they who are made instrumental in bringing their beloved relatives to the Saviour. Andrew would, no doubt, tell the joyful news to his neighbours and friends, but natural affection led him first to find his own brother Simon. Many brothers would laugh at, or feel offended by, the solicitude of a pious relative; but not so Simon Peter. He gladly came to Jesus ; and oh! what honour and blessedness awaited him. "When Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, A stone." This appears to be the first interview which Andrew and Peter had with Jesus. It was both emblematical and prophetic of Peter's future character and conduct.
The greatest events are often connected with, and flow from, apparently trivial causes.
Jacob little thought when he sent Joseph to enquire after his brethren's welfare, that he would never see him till Joseph was made the governor over all the land of Egypt.**
When Moses was feeding his flock in the desert, and beheld a bush on fire, he little supposed that his curiosity, which led him aside to see this great sight,
§ Vers. 41, 42.
+ Ver. 29.
+ Ver. 40.
a bush on fire and yet not burnt, would be followed by such important consequences, as those of his becoming the Deliverer and the Lawgiver of the children of Israel.*
When Kish, the father of Saul, sent his son to seek after the asses which had gone astray, how little did he imagine, that, before his return, his son would be anointed king over Israel.+
When Jesse said unto David, "Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren,...... and look how thy brethren fare;" how little did he expect such a glorious result, as the overthrow of the Philistine army by means of David, and the promised exaltation of David to be the son-in-law to the king. So, when John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God," his words, like a magnet, drew Andrew to Jesus; and Andrew could not rest, till he had apprised his brother Simon of the joyful discovery. "A word in season how good is it." We cannot tell how far the influence of a casual expression may extend. Often it is as a nail fastened in a sure place. God can bless the weakest effort, and overrule the most trivial occurrence to the good of souls. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."||
What multitudes in our day are pointed to the Saviour, in these very words: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." But alas! they are pointless words. They do not pierce the conscience, nor enter into the heart. They fall unheeded on the ear, and why? Because of unbelief. Though baptised in the name of Christ, though forming a part of his visible Church, though considered by some as regenerated persons, thousands listen without emotion to the blessed call, they feel no drawing of the heart to Christ; no desire to follow him, much less to urge their relatives and friends to * Exod. iii.; xix., xx., &c. † 1 Sam. ix., x. 1 Sam. xvii. 17, 18. § 1 Sam. xvii. xviii. || Zech. iv. 6.