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being sent into his heart, even the Spirit of adoption, he calls God his Father, and this is the God who made the world and all things in it. Or again, the world was in darkness, “and God said, let there be light, and there was light.” Here then is another question with regard to our state. St. Paul was thinking of this, when he wrote thus, 2 Cor. iv. 6, “But God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' It is true of all of us by nature, “Ye were sometimes darkness." We can see nothing spiritual. We have no true ideas of God. We think of Him as altogether such an one as ourselves. We have no correct ideas of sin; or of the wickedness of our own hearts. We see not the value of our souls. We cannot perceive the danger they are in. Darkness is upon the face of the heart. It can only be removed by God showing Himself to us as He is to be seen in Christ Jesus. The glory of God is seen in the face or person and character of Jesus Christ. When we read of His work of redemption for sinners, when we read of His life of love and holiness-active love, spotless holiness—then we see the "express image of God.” And seeing God we see ourselves,the same light shows us our own hearts,-how unlike Christ,-how worthy of eternal wrath. And seeing our danger, and feeling our sinfulness, we flee unto Christ for pardon and deliverance, and believing in His name we have power, that is, right or privilege, to become the children of God. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. iii. 26.) And this is the Lord that made heaven and earth. Is this our case ? Is this your case, O reader ? Hath God so shined in your heart?
heart ? Are you now light in the Lord ? It is a great and wonderful change, we cannot but know it. Think of the difference between night and day. Has the sun of righteousness risen in your heart ? Do
“ show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light ?
The last words of the chapter demand your attention. “God saw every thing that He had made, and behold it was very good.” All that was in the heavens, and all in the earth and sea; the trees, and plants, and herbs ; the fowl of the air, the whales and fish of the sea, the cattle, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth ; and, above all, man made in the image of God, was all fair, perfect, and beautiful. Every thing answering the end for which it was created. No blemishes, no flaws, no fading was to be seen in any thing that was made,-behold all was very good. Even man was perfect and upright. How long all continued so, we know not. Were it good for us to know, we should have been told. That all is changed we do know. Our eyes and our experience tell us. All is no longer very good, without blemish, or unfading. The earth brings forth thorns, and thistles, weeds, and briars, and no good plant without care and cultivation. Animals devour one another, the grass withereth, the flower fadeth. All things wax old and die. And as for man, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” And no longer does He say, “All was very good,” but, “ There is none that doeth good, no not one.” (Psalm liii. and Psalm xiv.) “They know not, neither will they understand ; they walk on in darkness : all the foundations of the earth are out of course ;
yea, saith the same word of God, “ we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom. viii. 22.) Behold how changed then is all. “There is none good, save one, that is God.”
The cause of this change is told us further on in this book :-sin,-sin, and the curse sin brings with it, is what marred and spoiled and polluted God's work. Of this we shall speak further when we come to it. Let us only now add a word of the remedy for all this evil. Of man's remedy we have already spoken. It is this, “ If any man be in Christ he is a new creature ; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. v. 17.)
And of the earth,-its change, its new creation, its restoration, we also read, (Isaiah lxv. 17,) “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." And in Rev. xxi. 1, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth ; and the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.
The old world, before the flood, was destroyed by water. “The heavens and earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter iii. 7–14.) The earth has been baptized with water, and it is still polluted. The earth shall be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, and then it shall be “a new heaven and a new earth, according to His promise, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” This is the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts iii. 21.)
Reader, what know you of a “good hope of that glorious time,—when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ ?” Are you prepared for the Lord's coming? Will the Lord's presence be refreshing to you? Is it so now, as you seek Him in prayer, in the word, in all worship ? Do you, with St. Paul, ever feel it is far better to be with Christ? Can you comfort yourself with such thoughts? Remember, only those who now,
, though they see not Jesus, yet, believing on Him, love Him and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of Glory, will feel glad when He comes again. Those who know Him not now, will not be known by Him in that day. “Be diligent then, that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (2 Peter ii. 14.) “And now, little children, abide in Him ; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (1 John ii. 28.)