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and in him is no Light. Now what good, and God divided between the Comniunion then can Light have with Light and ibe Darkness, Gen. i. 4. And Darkness ? Either the Light must be so it is impossible for Men that live in the come Darkness, or the Darkness become Darkness of their Minds, in Ignorance, Light ; either the Light must leave its and in the Darkness of sinful Lusts, that glorious Purity, and forsake its Nature, they can have any Fellowhip with God, which cannot be admitted, or else the who is a Fountain of pure Light, and unDarkness of Mens Souls must be wiped defiled Sanétity. What bast thou to do off, and abolished by the Brightness of to take my Covenant in thy Mouth, &c. God's Light ; and then there may be a and this God saith to the Wicked. It is an Communion between the primitive Light, incongruous and unsuitable Thing, for and the derivative Light, between the ori- Men to pretend Nearness and Interest in ginal Light, and that which flows out from this God, and yet be buried in Darkness the Original. But take Darkness, remain- and Hatred of the Light of personal Reing Darkness, and Light, remaining Light, formation, as a Gold Ring in a Swine's and they cannot compone together; for Nose, that rather deforms the Jewel, than the first great Separation that was made in beautifies the Beast: So are the Pretensithe World, was between Light and Dark. Ons of ignorant and wicked Men, to this ness : And God saw that Light was diviné Society, c.
1 Joh. i. 5. This then is the MePage which we have heard
of him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, &c.
HO is a fit Mefsenger to declare this What Reverence and godly Fear ought
Message? Can Darkness compre- , this to be declared withal; when mortal hend the Light, or apprehend it? Or can Man - Speaks of the eternal God unto those that are blind, form any lively No mortal Men ? What Composure of Spirit tion of Light, to the Instruction and Per. thould be in us? What Trembling and suasion of others ? Truly, no more can Adoration ? For at our best, we can but we conceive or speak of God, who is that declare our own Ignorance, and the fur. pure Light, than a blind Man can dif theft Attainment in this Knowledge, is course on Colours, or a deaf Man on but a further Discovery of Man's DarkSounds; Whois Blind as tbe Lord's ness. We have three Ways of creeping Servant ? And therefore, who are more towards that glorious Light of God, first. upmeet to declare this Message of Light ? his own Works are like some visible Ap
pearances of that inviâble and incompre- learn; so we ascribe to him Wisdom, hensible God; ayd in these we know him, Goodness, Power, Justice, Holiness, but not what he is in himself. Consider Mercy, Truth, SC, All which Names how dark and dull we are in piercing being taken from the Creatures, and so into the hidden Natures of Things, even having Significations suited to our Imperbelow us, as Beasts and Plants: We be- fections, they must needs come infinitely hold some Effects How from theni, but short of him, and so our Apprehensions of from what Principle chefe do fyw, that them : These are scattered among the we know not : How much less can we ap Creatures, therefore they cause diverse prehend any Thing suitable of the divine Conceptions in us; but all these are unite Majesty, that is infinitely above us, from ed in him. He is a most limple, pure these wonderful and glorious Works of Being, that eminently and virtually is all his Power and Wisdom? Man is indowed Things ; and properly is none of all. with Wisdom, to do some excellent Another Way we have of apprehendWorks of Art, as Planting, Graffing, ing him, by way of Negation, denying Building, Painting, Weaving, and fuch all the Imperfections of the Creatures, like. But the Beasts that are below us, and removing them at an infinite Distance cannot apprehend from these Works, what from him; and truly, though this be an the Nature of Man is. Now is there not Imperfection in Knowledge, yet it is the a more infinite Distance, à greater Dir greatest Knowledge we can attain to, to proportion between us and the divine Na- know rather what he is not, than what he ture, so that we cannot rise up to an un
is : He is not limited to any Place, nor derstanding Notion of it, in it felf? Nay, bounded with any Measures and Degrees of besides, one Man will do many Things Perfection, as Creatures are; therefore we which another cannot understand, he becall him Infinite : He is not comprehend / holds the Art of it, he sees the Matier, ed within the Limits of Time, but combut yer he cannot pierce into the Mind of prehends all within himself; therefore he the Work-man, and look upon that Wif- is Eternal : He is not subject to Changes ; dom and Idea of his Mind. Therefore and Alterations, therefore called immu. all that we can conclude from these won. table. He is not compounded, as a Re derful Works of God, is some filent Ad-lult of diverse Parts, therefore he is most miration of him. If these be such, then purely Simple, and One: He is not like what must he be? How infinitely diftant these Things we see and hear, that fall from them, and transcendent over them ? under our Senses ; therefore we call him But what he is, these cannot declare, and a Spirit, or a spiritual Being. Now in we cannot apprehend. Then we use to all these weak Endeavours of Man, co de. elimb up to the Knowledge of God, by rain and fix his own Spirit in the Contem. attributing to him all the Perfections, Ex-plation of God, if he cannot reach the Uncellencies, and Eminencies of the Crea. derstanding of what God is, yet certainly tures : Whatsoever commends them, we he will attain this great Point of Wif apprehend that originally and infinitely in dom, not to be ignorant of his own Ignohim; and thus we spell out that Name rance. And truly, my Beloved, this is the that is most simply one, in many Letters, Thing I would have us to learn to know, and Characters, according to our mean that the Admiration of God in Silence, is Capacity, as Children when they begin to
the best Expression of him. We would The Ligbt is, as it were, a visible Ap- X not search into these Myfteries, to satisfy pearance of the invisible God: He hath our Curiosity, but rather compose our covered his invisible Nature with this gloHearts to a continual filent Wondering rious Garment, to make himself in a Manbefore him ; for where our Understand- ner visible to Man. 'Tis true, that Light ings are confounded, and our Minds on is, but as it were, a Shadow of that inverwhelmed with the Infiniteness of that accessible Light, umbra Dei. It is the Glory; so that we can see nothing but dark Shadow of God, who is himself inour own Ignorance of all: This should finitely more beautiful and glorious : But certainly compose all to quiet Admiration, yet, as to us, it hath greater Glory and for Silence and Wonder is the proper and Majesty in it, than any Creature besides. . natural Posture of a Soul that is at a It is the chief of the Works of God, withStand, and can neither win forward for in- out which the World would be without accessible Light, nor will retire backward, Form, and Void : It is the very Beauty for that it apprehends already.
of the Creation, that which gives Luftre This tben is the Message, that God and Amiableness to all that is in it, withis Light, because we cannot conceive in out which the pleasantest Paradise would our poor narrow Minds, what God is in become a wilderness, and this beautiful himself, therefore he expresseth to us of Structure, and adorned Palace of the ten in Similitudes to the Creatures, and the World, a loathsome Dungeon. Becondescends to our Capacity. As he sides the admirable Beauty of it, it hath a stands in manifold Relations to us, so he wonderful swift Conveyance, throughout takes the moft familiar Names, that may the whole world, the upper and lower, hold out to our dull Senses what we may in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye, expect of him : Therefore he calls himself it is carried from the one End of Heaven a Father, King,a Husband, a Rock, a to the other in a Moment, and who can Buckler, and frong Tower, a Mountain, ray by what Way the Light is parted ? and whatsoever else may represent to our Job xxxviii. 24. Moreover it carries aHearts, that which may strengthen them longst with it a beautiful Influence, and in believing. . But there is no Creature so refreshing Heat and Warmness, which is directly attributed to God, as Light : che very Life and Subfiftance of all the None used to express this very Nature Creatures below. And so, as there is no. and Being, as abtracted from these. Rething fo beautiful, fo nothing fo universally lations, but this, God is Light, and Christ and highly profitable ; and to all this, add takes it to himself, the Ligbt of the that fingular Property of it, that it is not World, and the Life of Men. The capable of Infection, it is of such absolute Truth is, it hath some Excellency in it a Purity, that it can communicate it self to bove all other visible Creatures, that it the Dung-hill, as well as to the Garden,.. may fitly carry some Resemblance to him. without receiving any Mixture from it : In The Scripture calls Light bis Garment, all the Impurities it meets withal, it re. Psal. civ. 2. And truly it is a more glori. mains unmixed, and untiinted, and pre. ous Rob of Majesty, than all the Royal serves its own Nature intire. Now you. and Imperial Robs and Garinents of State, may perceive that there is nothing visible chat either Angels or Men could contrive that is fitter to resemble the invisible God,
than this glorious, beautiful, pure, and uni-dom, is communicated to all the Creaversally communicable Creature, Ligbt. tures ; there is an universal Extent of his
Hereby you may have shadowed out Influence towards the good and bad, as unto you the Nature of God, that he is an the Sua fines on both, and yet there is all-knowing, intelligent Being, as Light is no Spótor Stain upon his Holiness or
the first and principal visible Thing ; yea, Righteousness, from all his intermingling +
Visibility Things : with the Creatures, the worst and basest And so is in its own Nature a Manifes. Creatures. All his works are holy and tation of all Things material and bodily; righteous, even his works in unholy and so God is the first Object of the Under- unrighteous Men; he draws no Defilestanding ; Primum intelligible, & pri- ment from the basest of the Creatures, mum intelligens. Nothing so fit an Em. nor yet from the Sinfulness of it: He can blem of Knowledge, as Light, and truly be intimately present and conjoined in in that respect God is the original Light, a working, in Vertue and Power, in Care pure intellectual Light, that hath in him and Providence, with the Dirt and Mire self the perfect Idea and Comprehension of the Streets, with the Beasts of the of all Things ; he hath anticipated in him Field, and yet that is no Stain upon his self the Knowledge of all, because all Honour or Credii, as Men would suppose Things were, forined in his infinite Un it to be; no more than it is a Dishonour derstanding, and lay, as it were, firft hid
to the Sun to Thiné on the Dung-hill ; in a in the Bowels of his infinite Power. Word, there is no Mixture of Ignorance, Therefore he is a Glob or Mass of Light Darknefs
, Impurity, or Iniquity in him, and Knowledge, like the Sun, from whom not the least Shadow of Change or Tur.nothing is hid : Hell and Destruction ning, not the least Seed of Imperfection ; are not covered to bim, there is no Opa- in regard of him the Moon is not clean, city, no Darkness or Thickness in the and the Sun is spotted ; in respect of his Creation, that can terminate or bound Holiness, Angels may be charged with this Light, or hinder bis Understanding to Folly. pierce into it. Now as all Things by the Then add unto this, to make up the Irradiation of the Light become visible, Resemblance fuller, the Bounty and Be. so the Participation of this glorious Sun nignity of his InAuence upon the World, of Righteousness, and the shining of his the Flowings forth of his infinite GoodBeams into the Souls of Men, makes ness, that inricherh the whole Earth. them to partake of that beavenly intellectu- Look as the Sun is the greatest and most al Nature, and reflects a wonderful universal Benefactor, his Influence and Beauty upon them, which is not in the Heat is the very Renovation of the World, rest of the World.
it makes all new, and green and AourishBesides, here is represented to us the ing; it puts a Youth upon the World, absolute Purity and Perfection of God's and so is the very Spring and Fountain Nature, Godis Light, and in bim is no of Life to all sublunary Things. How Darkness: Besides the Purity of the much is that true of the true Ligbt, of Light of Knowledge, there is a Purity of the Substantial, of whom this Sun is but the Beauty of Holiness, the glorious Light a Shadow. He is tbe Life of the World, of God his Vertue, and Power, and Wir ) and the Light of Men. Every good
Gift, and every perfect Donation de not see that which is manifeft of God, Scends from bim, Jam. i. 17. his Influ- even in his Works. O that Cloud of Un ence is more universal to the being, to belief that is spread over our Souls, which the moving, to the living of all Things. hinders the glorious Rays of that Divine And then Jesus Christ the Sun of Rigb- Ligbt to shine into them. This Darkness teousness is carried about in the Orb of Satan contributes much to, who is the the Gospel, and in his Beams there is a Prince of Darkness, 2 Cor. i6. 4. This healing Vertue; these are the Refreshments makes the most part of Souls like Dungeof poor wearied Souls, that are scorchons within, when the glorious Light of ed with the Anger of God. There is an the Gospel surrounds them wishour : This admirable Heat and Warmness of Love Earthliness and Carnality of our Hearts, and Affection, that this glorious Ligbt makes them like the Earth, receive only carries imbosomed in it, and that is it the Light in the upper and outward Superthat pierces into Souls, anŲ warms Hearts, fice, and not suffer it to be transmitted into and quickens dead Spirits, and puts a our Hearts, to change them. But when it new Face upon all again. This is the pleaseth him, who at the first, by a Word Spring of all the Life that is truly Spiritu- of Power, commanded Light 10 sbine out al, and it hach as sweet and comfortable of Darkness, he can scatter that Cloud of Effects upon the Souls of Men, who re. Ignorance, and draw away the Vail of ceive the Truth in Love, the Light in Unbelief, and can by his Power and Art, Love, that is, the Light with Heat, as lo transform the Soul, as to remove its ever the Sun approaching near the Earth earthly Quality, and make it transparent hath had upon Plants and living Creatures. and pure, and then the Light will shine in
And to complete the Resemblance to the Heart, and get free Access into the more, there may be something of the Soul. But though this Darkness were Infallibility and Incomprehensibility of wholly removed, there is another Darkthe Divine Majesty here represented; for ness, that ariseth not from the Want of tho' nothing be clearer than the Light, Light, but from the excessive Super-abunyet there is nothing in its own Nature dance of Light ; Caligo lucis nimia,
darker chan Light : That which is so ma that is, a divine Darkness, a Darkness of nifest to the Eyes, how obscure is it to Glory, such an infinite Excess and Super. the Understanding? Many Debates and plus of Light and Glory, above all creInquiries have been about it, but yet it is ated Capacities, that it dazles and connot known what that is, by which we founds all mortal or created Understandknow all-Things. Certainly, such is the ings. We fee fome Shadows of this, if Divine Light: It is inconceivable and we look up to the clear Sun; we are able inexpressible, therefore he is said to dwell to see nothing for too much Light, there in Ligbt inaccesible, and full of Glory, is such an infinite Disproportion here be. 1 Tim. vi. 16. There is a twofold Dark..ween the Eye of our Mind, and this diness that hinders us to see God, a Dark. | vine Light of Glory, that if we curiously ness of Ignorance in us, and a Darkness of pry into it, it is rather confounding and ainaccessible Light in him : The one is a fortishing; and therefore it fills the Souls Vail upon our Hearts, which blinds and of Saints with continuál silent Admiration darkens the Sorls of Men, that they do and Adoration.