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“ Follow after the things which 'not were walking in the light of make for peace,” is its precep- the fire which they had kindled. tive character; and the effect Equally observable with the of its diffusion in the world will difference between the characbe the accomplishment of that ters and circumstances of these beautiful prophecy of Isaiah, two descriptions of persons, is xi. 6, “ The wolf shall dwell the difference between the iso? with the lamb, the leopard shall sues to which matters would be lie down with the kid; and the brought with them. For the calf, and the young lion, and former are exhorted to trust in the fatling, together; and a the name of the Lord, and to little child shall lead them.”. stay upon their God: but, to Gloucester.
T.F the latter, it is said, “This shall
ye have of mine hand, ye shall
lie down in sorrow.” REMARKS
Now, at what period of time ON ISAIAH, L. 10.
did the friends and enemies of " Who is among you that feareth the the Messiah feel the very strong
Lord, that obeyeth, the voice of his emotions of grief and joy, which servant, that walketh in darkness, and the prophet here ascribes to hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his them? Was it not at that
riod, during which the Lord
Jesus endured those sufferings, IN the tenth and eleventh which Isaiah, in this chapter, verses of this chapter, the pro- so affectingly describes? A pephet addresses two different riod of heart-rending grief, and classes of persons, who seem to deep distress, to the disciples;' be pointed out as the friends, but of blind, unhallowed exuland the enemies, of the Mestation to the unbelieving Jews. siah. The one class is repre- Referring to the same period, sented as fearing Jehovah, and (that from his last sufferings to obeying the voice of his servant, the morning of his resurrection,) namely, of Jesus, who “ took Jesus himself informs the disupon him the form of a servant,” ciples, beforehand, what imand whose character and suffer-pressions the approaching event ings are described in this chap- of his death would produce on ter. The other class sustains a them, and on the world, and very different character: re- what would be the subsequent fusing to obey the voice of the impression, produced by the Messiah, who was the light of joyful and almost unexpected the world, they kindle a fire of event of his resurrection. their own, and compass them- shall weep and lament, but the selves about with its sparks. world shall rejoice; and ye The circumstances of each de- shall be sorrowful, but your scription of persons differed as sorrow shall be turned into joy." much as their characters: they Thus, sorrowing and weeping who feared' Jehovah walked in for their Lord and master, crudarkness, and had no light;cified by wicked men, the diswhilst those who feared him ciples walked in darkness, and
had no light. The Jews, on spired writer is describing the the contrary, and their rulers, spiritually blind and wretched exulted in the success of their condition of the ungodly, how schemes, against the life of should we pervert his meaning, Christ. Thus they walked in were we to insist, that nothing the light of their fire, and com- more was meant, than that unpassed themselves about with godly men were involved in the sparks. But the triumph of evils of the present life! But the wicked is short. He who if, under the same metaphor of sat in the heavens laughed at darkness, the scriptures reprethem: Jehovah held them in sent the temporal afflictions of derision: he saw the day fast the righteous, how preposterous approaching, in which they to understand the metaphor, in should lie down in sorrow, this case, as describing a state
In the language of scripture, of spiritual darkness! Yet this light denotes prosperity, or en- is sometimes done. Job is frejoyment; darkness denotes ad- quently supposed to lament the yersity, or suffering. And, as loss of spiritual comfort, when prosperity is of two kinds, spi- he evidently laments the loss of ritual and temporal, so light his children, and of all earthly sometimes signifies the enjoy- comforts, in these pathetic ment of spiritual, sometiines of words: “Oh, that I were as in temporal prosperity. Now, months past; in the days when since the righteous may be pro- God preserved me; when his sperous in spiritual things, candle shined upon my head, while they are much afflicted in and when, by his light, I walked their outward circumstances, through darkness," Job, xxix. 2, they are, in such cases, repre- 3. Much anguish and trouble of sented as enjoying light in dark-mind did that good man suffer ; ness, Micah, vii. 8. Their souls but he knew that his Redeemer have comfortable fellowship lived. Job had not forsaken with God, and a firm reliance that God who afflicted him; on his mercy, amidst the gloom nor did God forsake his soul. and tempest of temporal vicis. After examining the scripsitude. The wicked, on the tures, with some degree of atcontrary, may be living in the tention, in order to ascertain the light of temporal prosperity, various meanings which the but they are far from God, and, word darkness is employed to therefore, walk in darkness, as express, I could not find one to spiritual things.
in which it denotes the Now, as the terms light and spiritual condition of righteolis darkness refer either to the spi-persons, as being destitute of ritual or temporal condition of any comfortable assurance of men, it is necessary to inquire the favour of God' towards which of these conditions is them. The comfort conveyed meant by either of these terms, to such as do not enjoy a sense in the various passages in which of the presence of God, by the it may occur. If, under the misapplication of scripture, is metaphor of darkness, an in- not likely to be either solid or
lasting. And it is, too often, ployed to shew the blindness by an incorrect representation and uncertainty of sinners, relaof the spiritual condition of Job, tive to the condition of their and other saints of ancient souls, is also employed to detimes, that such are now com- note the uncertainty of the forted.*
saints, in trouble, as to the end The phrase, then, “ walking of their suffering, or the means in darkness," as descriptive of of deliverance. But, blind as the spiritual condition of men, they are, with respect to the is applicable only to the wick- future, and the way which winds ed, who are unenlightened, un- unseen before them, they know regenerated, unjustitied. They well that God is with them. are under the power, and be- Dark, indeed, is their way, but long to the kingdom of dark- the Lord is their guide. “And ness, out of which believers I will bring the blind by a way have been translated into the that they know not; I will lead kingdom of the Son of God, them in paths that they have which is a kingdom of light, not known: I will make darkand its subjects are the chil- ness light before them, and dren of the light, and of the crooked things straight. Those day: “We are not of the night, things will I do unto them, and nor of darkness." But the not forsake them.” wicked are in darkness: being In the passage before us, the spiritually blind, they are not application of which, to the disonly in a wretched condition, ciples of Jesus, as a body, will, but ignorant of that condition. we presume, be admitted, there This, indeed, is darkness; but seems scarcely any room to it is the darkness of ungodly doubt that their perplexity, remen; darkness, in which they specting the event of Christ's love to remain, because their death, is meant. Their condideeds are evil, and they love to tion, while he remained with sin. “ He that walketh in them, was free from heavy and darkness," says the true wit- severe trials. Attention to fastness, speaking of unbelievers, ing, and the other severer ob“knoweth not whither he go- servances of religion, were uneth,” John, xii. 35.
suitable to the pleasureable It is, perhaps, not unworthy emotions they were accustomed of remark, that the same kind to indulge. But, when Jesus of phraseology which is em- intimated, that the time was
• In one of the periodical publications of the present day, I observed, with some degree of surprize, that, to prove the spiritual darkness and despondency of the primitive believers, the following passage was quoted: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now, for a season, (if need be,) ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations," 1 Pet. i. 6. These words, taken in their plain, unperverted sense, shew how the saints, in their heavy trials and afflictions, were enabled to rejoice in the lively hope of the heavenly inheritance; and yet the passage is quoted as a proof of their want of spiritual joy and strength!!' Were not such perversions of scripture common, on every subject, they might seem incredible.
how at hand, in which he should of the weakness of our nature, be taken
away from them, their and our need of divine illuminagrief was inexpressible. The tion and support! How easily cruel and seemingly-disastrous are our boasted strength and event of his death, overwhelm- courage overcome! Our varied them in the deepest sorrow. ous passions and interests obDark as the tomb, in which the scure our perception of the Lord lay, was now the bright oracles of God. If our hopes, and transporting hope, they however inconsistent with the were wont to entertain, of the ways of God, are not fulfilled deliverance of Israel. When in a way agreeable to our apthe sword of Jehovah awoke prehensions of things, we laagainst the shepherd, the timo- ment our case as desperate. rous sheep scattered“ Is his mercy clean
for abroad. “ Then all the disci- ever? Has he forgotten to be ples forsook him, and fled." gracious?" It is good if we
Hence, the darkness in which can then add, as the Psalmist the disciples walked, did not did, “ This is my infirmity: consist of doubts of their own but I will remember the years of individual salvation, but of grief the right hand of the most High. and painful uncertainty respect- I will remember the works of ing the event of Christ's death, the Lord: surely I will rememand the deliverance of Israel, ber thy wonders of old.” Luke, xxiv. 17, &c. It was It is plain to the understand. overwhelming to their holy ing, and well known to the exsouls, that the glorious career of perience of every true believer, Jesus, "mighty in word and that, in the darkness and solicideed before God, and all the tude of affliction, we may trust people,” should terminate in a in the name of the Lord, and death of unexampled cruelty, stay upon our God. “When I suffering, and shame. With re- sit in darkness, the Lord will spect to all the bright and pleas- be a light unto me.”—“ Pering remembrances and antici- plexed, but not in despair. pations, in which they had late-Persecuted, but not forsaken.” ly exulted, “Crying, Hosanna But it is impossible to conceive, to the son of David,” their sun how any one, who, in relation now, appeared to have set; to spiritual things, is walking in they, therefore, walked in dark- darkness, and having no light, ness, and had no brightness. should be able, in that case, to
This gloomy apprehension of trust in the name of the Lord. things arose from their slowness Or, is that man in spiritual darkto believe Moses and the pro- ness, without any light, who phets, and their misunderstand knows so much of Jehovah, as ing and forgetfulness of what to fear him; of Jesus, as to Christ himself had so often told obey his voice; of saving merthem, relative to his death and cy, as to trust in it; of divine resurrection. What an affect- faithfulness, as to rest upon
it, ing view does this present to us It is, surely, one thing to in. « Comfort ye,
struct a timorous and afflicted concerning their own safety! disciple, or a self-condemned, Ought not the enfeebling and unhappy sinner, to trust in the depressing nature of such boexercise of divine power and dily distemper, to be explaineit goodness, and quite another to to them? Ought they not to suppose that any will do so bé assured, on the authority of while the light of life is ex- God, (who cannot lie,) of the cluded from the mind.
grace and faithfulness of their A dying child, a young disci- Lord and Saviour, who forsakes ple of the Lord Jesus, who not the poor, the humble, the made much use of his Bible, in afflicted? Thiey would then his last affliction, often sut- trust in the Lord, and stay upon prised, and even instructed, his their God. They would rest friends, by his lively, pertinent assured, that the vicissitude of observations on passages which health, and the vicissitude of struck him. Having once come the frame and feelings of their to the passage we are now con- minds, did not affect their safesidering, he exclaimed, “ How ty, or prevent the acceptance can those, who walk in dark- of their prayers, at the throne ness, and have no spiritual of God.
comlight, trust in the name of the fort ye, mý people, saith your Lord? It is impossible they God.” can trust in the name of the But, if you are living in sea Lord, if they have no light.” cretsin, you have lost your Not inclming to follow the pas- peace with God, if, indeed, you sagé further, this interesting ever enjoyed true péace. In young disciple rejected, as con- vain will you look to men for tradictory and inadmissible, the comfort. « Be not deceived; too common view of it, which God is not mocked. Whatsowould teach us, that men, in- ever â man soweth, that shall volved in spiritual darkness, he also reap.” Who shall bless? without any light, can, notwith Who shall comfort him, whom standing, in that very state, rely, God does not bless and como with entire satisfaction and con- fort?“ Draw nigh unto God, fidence, on God; for such is and he will draw nigh to you. the reliance, which these words Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, of the prophet enjoin.
and purify your hearts, ye doù• If, as sometimes happens to ble-minded.” the saints, the want of spiritual Though we do not see, joy and consolation arises from through a dark, a tedious, and a feeble state of health, à dis-storiny might of trouble, the eased state of the nervous sys-harmony and happy termination tem, how distressing for them of God's unfailing purpose, let to be told, that they are suffer- us not be dismayed. Let us mig under the hiding of God's not readily yield to the suggesface. Does not this tend to tions of unbelief, or be soon produce a servile dread of God, overcome by emotions of deand à needless apprehension spair. And let it never be, that