The Father of Lights

James 1:17.---' The Father of lights.'

MATERIAL LIGHT is that familiar element of Nature which yet never ceases to be an object of wonder. Our men of science have much to say about it. They analyze it, they show the different colors of which each ray is composed, they tell us of the millions of miles it travels through space, and how, from the most distant stars, it arrives at our earth by means of the all-surrounding ether. Such information, valuable as it is, does not, however, satisfy our minds. We are filled with curiosity about the origin of light. How did it spring into existence? At the last resort we come back to the words of the Old Book, 'and God said, Let there be light, and there was light.' He is the Father of light. It owes its origin to the Being who called it forth. He gave it to meet the eyes that were afterwards to be created. We know nothing in the natural world more perfect. We cannot conceive anything more perfect. The great poets of the world, such as Dante and Milton, when they want to picture the perfect state hereafter, can do little more than expend their genius in rapt effusions on the glory of the light of heaven.

There is what we call INTELLECTUAL LIGHT. It is the light of the mind. We see truth that cannot be contradicted. The truths of number are of this kind. We cannot contradict the statement that two and two make four. So there are what are termed necessary truths that must be accepted whenever the words in which they are expressed are understood, as, for example, when we say that every effect must have a cause.

All truth, however, is not of that necessary kind. There is what is called probable truth. It rests on evidence. The light of the mind enables us to perceive the evidence, and to see that in some cases it amounts to certainty. The truths of history, for example, leave no room for doubt. The evidence is so clear that it produces conviction. God has thus implanted in the human mind the light of knowledge. He is the Father, the Parent of this intellectual light without which we should be shut up in mental darkness.

No man who know himself and who knows God will say that he has been led into all the chambers of God's great palace of truth. This is the sign of progress; this is the charter of the profoundest humility. The more we know the less we know. We see certain points of light here and there, but the great unexplored regions of truth stretch mile on mile beyond all our power to traverse the wondrous plain. How is it with us today then? Are we exhausted men, wore-out students? Do we sit down under the impression that there is nothing more to be known? If we have that idea let us seek to recover our strength and to recover our inspiration by the word---He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. There are attainments we have not made, depths we have not sounded, and heights, oh, heights! We can but look up and wonder, expect, adore.

There is MORAL LIGHT. It is that which enables us to distinguish between right and wrong. We cannot help observing that there is meaning in the word 'ought.' We do not reason about it. We have the inward conviction that there are certain things we ought to do and certain other things we ought to avoid doing. From what place comes this moral light? It comes from God. He is the Father of it. He has made us to be moral creatures. He has placed in our souls the light of law. He has endowed us with the wonderful faculty of conscience. We may have to be educated as to how we are apply he distinction between right and wrong; but such education would be impossible unless we had within us the capacity to perceive the distinction. It is only moral beings who can be morally educated. Surely we are to recognize this amongst the gifts bestowed upon us by the Father of lights, that we can recognize what we ought to be.

He has promised to place within those who are born of the Spirit; a guide into the sub-conscience---His very mindful Conscience, whom if they will hear, Light after Light well used they shall attain, and, to the end persisting, safe arrive.

Then, highest and best of all, there is SPIRITUAL LIGHT. There is in every man, dim it may be, and often quenched, a certain light that points to God and the unseen. It is the light that lightest every man that cometh into the world. Where did we get our idea of God and of a region beyond that which meets our eyes? We receive it from God Himself. He is the Father, the Author, of this light that bears testimony to His presence. Without it religion would be reduced to the meaningless performance of certain rites, or rather we should say, there would be no religion at all. The religions of this world, crude and erroneous as in many respects they are, have a true thought to begin with. Individual men may persuade themselves that they can do without God, but certainly the history of the race shows man's need of God. In every nation there are those who seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him though He be not far from every one of us. The light may be obscure, but it is sufficient to show that man was made for God.

It is with man's Soul as it was with Nature: the beginning of Creation is---Light. Till the eye have vision, the whole members are in bonds. Divine moment, when over the tempest-tost Soul, as once over the wild-turmoil Chaos, it is spoken: Let there be Light! Even to the greatest that has felt such moment, is it not miraculous and God-announcing; even as, under simpler figures, to the simplest and least? The mad primeval Discord is hushed; the rudely-jumbled conflicting elements bind themselves into separate Firmaments: deep silent rock-formations are built beneath; and the skied vault with its everlasting Luminaries above: instead of a dark wasteful Chaos, we have a blooming, fertile, heaven-encompassed World.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha