is risen upon thee.
We learn from our text what the gospel is, and what is its
message. It is the coming of light, the rising of divine glory.
It speaks only of divine glory, divine honor and fame. It exalts
only the work of God —his goodness and grace toward us. It
teaches the necessity of our receiving God's work for us, his
grace and goodness, even God himself, if we would secure salvation.
The gospel produces in us a twofold effect. First, it
rejects our natural reason, our human light. Had we within
ourselves light instead of darkness, it would not be necessary for
God to send the light to rise upon us. This text forcibly expels
and severely condemns all natural wisdom, all human reason;
these are absolute darkness, therefore it is necessary for the light
to come. So we should guard against all human doctrines and
the conceits of reason as darkness, rejected and condemned of
God; we should awake and arise to behold this light, and follow
The gospel casts down all the glory and pride of our own
works. We cannot draw comfort nor derive honor from them.
If there were in us anything worthy of honor and glory, the
divine honor and glory would rise in us to no purpose. Men
may, it is true, have their own nature and their self-righteousness,
and from these derive temporal honor, praise and glory before
their fellows as though they were no sinners. But before
God they are sinful, destitute of glory and unable to boast of
possessing him and his blessings.
No one can be saved unless he have within himself the glory
of God and be able to comfort himself solely with God and his
blessings and to glory in these. So the gospel condemns all our
efforts and exalts only the goodness and the grace of God, and
therefore God himself. It permits us to console ourselves only
with him and to glory in no other.