Page images

for tho' they had the Words that spake of Sermon Him, yet they knew not Him of whom i/-*f\) they spake, the Vail being upon their Hearts when they read the Law and the Prophets, and therefore their Eyes were blinded; and the fame Vail remaineth until this Day untaken away, in the reading of the New Testament, from the Hearts of all who read the Scriptures as they did, and such Knowledge, be it of a Christ to come, or of a Christ already come, availeth not to the saving of the Soul. But what the same Apostle says concerning Israel, Never- 2 Cor. iii. theless, when it jhall turn to the Lord, the1^' Vail Jhall be taken away, is equally applicable to us: If we turn to Him who is the true Light, then in his Light shall we fee Light, and He will open our Understanding that we may understand the Scriptures: Now, adds the Apostle, the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty: that is, 'Jesus Christ is the Source and Giver of this Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, and all they that are.fitly prepared to receive it, are thereby set at Liberty from every Bondage that keeps the Mind in Darkness, whether they be vain Reasonings, doubtful Disputations-, S the

SErmoptbe learned Criticisms of Man's Wisdom, \^Y>jor other unprofitable Speculations concern- ing Truth j for being Christ's Disciples indeed, they have that Promise fulfilled in th.em, that "they shall know the Truth, and "the Truth shall make them free." And as the Spirit of the Lord enlarges the Capacity of the Soul by bringing it into a glorious Freedom for the Contemplation of Divine Truth, so does it by an assimilating Power, bring us into spiritual Union with Him who is Truth itself, and so we become joined to the Lord in one and the same Spirit: And therefore the Apostle, speaking of the Consequence of this Liberty, faith in the following Verse: We all •with open Face beholding as in a Glass the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame Image from Glory to Glory, even as . by the Spirit of the Lord.

This Divine Light opening to the Understanding the Knowledge of the Scriptures; and this spiritual Union with the Light shining in our Hearts to give us "the Knowledge of the Glory of God in « the Face of Jesus Christ;" are set forth by St. Peter in the following Words: We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy, i wherethereunto ye do well that ye take Heed, ^sermo* unto a Light that Jhineth in a dark Place, t^-V until the Day dawn, and the Day-Star arise7, Petin your Hearts.


That by the more sure Word of Prophecy in this Place we are not to understand the bare Letter or literal Sense of the Prophecy, but the Interpretation of it as given by the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, appears from the two following Verses: Knowing this Jirfi, that no Prophecy of the Scripture is of any private Interpretation, for the Prophecy came not in old Time by the Will of Man, but holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost: Giving us hereby to understand, that the Knowledge of the Scriptures stands not in Man's Will or Wisdom, and that no less than the fame Divine Teacher who gave the Prophecies, could give unerring Clearness and Application in the Knowledge of them; and consequently, that no Man's private Opinion €»J Judgment, however eminent for his Learning and Sagacity, is of sufficient Authority in this Matter; for without this Heavenly Instructor we may read the Law and the Prophets to as little Purpose as .those Jews and their Rulers are said to have --VW.W S 2 done, Sermon(3one wno knew not Him who was the


IX 1 \ *>

C/Vv Subject of those Writings, "nor yet the Actsxiii. 8 Voices of the Prophets which were read 27- « evcry Sabbath Day."

But then this more sure Word of Prophecy, tho' it be an inward Divine Testimony to the Truth of the sacred Writings, and, as such, a more convincing Evidence than an audible Voice, or any other Report of the Senses, yet as the Seat of its Operations is Man's natural Understanding, therefore the Apostle speaks of it, as a Light Jhining in a dark Place, especially when compared to that far more glorious Manifestation of Christ in the Soul, which he describes by the Day-dawn, and the Day-Star arising in the Heart, and so shining more and more unto the perfect Day. Here the Word of God's Truth co-operates with the Word of his Power, and with the Word of hi3 Grace, both to the Illumination and the Sanctification of the Soul; The former may be considered as a Divine Light reflected to us from the Testimony of the inspired Writers; this, as an Emanation of Glory direct and immediate from the Fountain of Light within us, insomuch that they who are brought into this happy 2 EjtpeExperience can say, as the Men Samaria Sfmios did to the Woman of their City: "Now iv*vNJ "we believe, not because of thy Saying, Jolyi iv, "for we have heard Him ourselves, and22' "know that This is indeed the Chrjly the ]\i Saviour of the World."

To conclude: Great and glorious to the spiritual Eye (tho' a Stumbling Block and Foolishness to that which is carnal, both then and to this very Day) was the Opening of the Great Mystery of our Salvation by Jesui Christ, in the Assumption of our Human into his Divine Nature, that He might fulfil the Law, as the Substance of its Shadows, the Accomplishment of its Prophecies, and the full Satisfaction of all its Demands, both as to Sin and Obedience: Yet, if we consider this Mystery in all its Parts, this was but the Middle of it; for, He who appeared under the Law as the Angel of the Covenants and was figured under its various mystical Representations: He who in the Fullness of Time appeared in a Body of Flesh to fulfil all Righteousness, and to perfect that which before was but in Part j having finished all that the Father had given Him to do in his Ministry here on Earth, when He gave up the Ghost, He was thenceforward to be . . S 3 manifested

« PreviousContinue »