“The Lord is my light.”
THE mere reading of the holy Scriptures will be of no avail to us, unless the Holy Spirit sanctify the truth to our souls. Let us pray that (in commencing this year’s Family Reading) he who commanded light to shine out of darkness may shins into our hearts and give us to know the inner meaning of his word. We shall begin at the opening page of revelation.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Thus dark are we by nature, thus disordered are all our powers through sin. We are nothing but confusion and emptiness.) And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The Spirit of God is the first efficient-mover in the new creation. He visits the dead and dark heart, and begins the work of salvation within.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (See the power of the word of God! He speaks and it is done. Thus powerful is the word of the gospel when heard in the soul. May its enlightening power be felt by us all.)
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: (Wherever God puts his grace he looks upon it with pleasure) and God divided the light from the darkness. (Grace also makes a separation, for what fellowship has light with darkness?)
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Thus the first day of the week, the day of our Lord’s resurrection is a day of light. May it ever be so to us.
IT is interesting to notice how the New Testament, as written by John, opens in the same manner as the Old Testament, with. “In the beginning.” Let us add to our reading the first fourteen verses of John’s Gospel. Jesus, the Lord our Saviour, is called “the Word,” or the uttered mind of God.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God. (Jesus was in existence when all created things began; he was with God in nature, in love, and in co-operation, and he is himself essentially God.)
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (If we live unto God, and have any spiritual light, it comes to us by Jesus Christ.)
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
No one can get light from any other source, and all who desire light may have it from him.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (The Jews, who were his own kinsmen, rejected him; and, alas! too many of the children of godly parents refuse the Saviour. May it not be so in this house.)
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (This is the essence of the gospel, Christ is the giver, we are only receivers. Faith like a hand receives Christ, and with him the privilege of adoption.)
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (The Lord grant unto us to receive of his grace and to know his truth. Amen.)
Ere the blue heavens were stretch’d abroad,
From everlasting was the Word:
With God he was; the Word was God,
And must divinely be adored.
But lo! he leaves those heavenly forms,
The Word descends and dwells in clay,
That he may hold converse with worms,
Dress’d in such feeble flesh as they.
Mortals with joy beheld his face,
Th’ eternal Father’s only Son:
How full of truth! how full of grace!
When through his eyes the Godhead shone!
January 1.—Evening. [Or January 2.]
“Create in me a clean heart.”
AND God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
The expanse of the atmosphere separates the vapours above from the waters below. Luther used to wonder at the arch of heaven, which stands unsupported by pillars. He saw in it a lesson for his faith, teaching him that the Lord could uphold him by unseen power. He who creates with a word can sustain in the same manner.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. (What the Lord in the former verse commanded he in this verse creates: in the same manner one Scripture bids us believe, and another tells us that faith is the work of God.)
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Note the frequent repetition of those little words, “and it was so.” We may gather from them that none of God’s words of promise or threatening will fall to the ground.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
God’s care in naming “day” and “night,” and “earth,” and “sea,” should teach us to call things by their right names; let us never call sin pleasure, or the Lord’s service a weariness.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
When God has put light into a soul, and divided its sin from its new life, he next looks for fruit, and ere long it is brought forth to his glory.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. (So far, we have considered the second and third day’s work of creation: it may be well for us now to be reminded that our Lord Jesus was there, and “without him was not anything made that was made.”) Let us read—
22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24, 25, 26 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27, 28, 29 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30, 31 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
32, 33 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
May we hearken to him who is “made of God unto us wisdom,” and find life and favour in him.
I sing th’ almighty power of God
That made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.
There’s not a plant or flower below,
But makes his glories known;
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from his throne.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 1–2). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.