The Candle

   (No. 1594)




   "Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a
   candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let
   your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
   glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Matthew 5:15,16

   OUR Savior was speaking of the influence of His disciples upon their
   fellow men and He, first of all, mentioned that secret but powerful
   influence which He describes under the figure of salt--"You are the
   salt of the earth." No sooner is a man born unto God than he begins to
   influence men with an influence which is rather felt than seen. The
   very existence of a Believer operates upon unbelievers. He is like a
   handful of salt cast upon flesh--he has a savor in himself and this
   penetrate those who are in contact with him. The unobserved, almost
   unconscious influence, of a holy life is most effectual to serving
   society and the prevention of moral putrefaction. May there be salt in
   every one of us, for, "salt is good." Have salt in yourselves and then
   you will become a blessing to all around you.

   But there is about every true Christian a manifest and visible trait
   which he is bound to exercise and this our Lord sets forth under the
   figure of light--"You are the light of the world. A city that is on a
   hill cannot be hid." In any case the genuine Christian will manifest
   the silent and unseen salting influence upon those who come into
   immediate contact with him, but let him also labor to possesses the
   second, or illuminating influence, which covers a far larger area and
   deals more with real life--for salt is for dead flesh and light for
   living men. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
   good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."

   Saltiness and light are the power of a Christian! I do not believe that
   any man gives forth light if he has not, first, received salt and yet
   some have an abundance of salt who are none too liberal with their
   light. May God grant us Grace to balance the inward and the outward.
   May we have serving salt and the diffusive light! Our thoughts will now
   run on giving light and I pray that I may be helped to move the more
   and less active among us to exert their influence upon others to this
   extent--to crown the silent testimonies of their humble faith by an
   outspoken witness-bearing for their Lord and Savior.

   All who have salt will now be urged to show their light. The figure
   which our Savior uses is a homely one, borrowed from the eastern tent
   and house. He speaks of a candle, or, more accurately, of a lamp. We
   should read the passage-- "Neither do men light a lamp and put it under
   a bushel, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light unto all that are
   in the house." I shall use the figure both in its eastern and in its
   western dress and sometimes we will make a lamp of it and sometimes a
   candle. Perhaps we shall see all the better with both a lamp and a
   candle and, though we may confuse the metaphor, we shall not confuse
   anybody's mind upon the important Truth of God which it sets forth.

   Three things are in the text. The first is the lighting, the second is
   the placing and the third is the shining. The first two are both
   intended to produce the third. May He who alone can create light,
   illuminate our minds while we dwell on

   His Word.

   I. First let us consider THE LIGHTING. "Neither do men light a candle."
   What is this lighting up of the souls of men? They are without light by
   nature, "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the
   life of God through the ignorance that is in them." What, then, is this
   lighting? It is, first of all, a Divine work. God began His creating
   work of old by saying, "Let there be light" and there was light. And as
   in the old creation, so in the new--the first thing that God works in
   the heart of man is light--"the entrance of Your Word gives light."
   Well said David, "The Lord is my light and my salvation."

   The Holy Spirit enlightens the understanding so that the man perceives
   the desperateness of his own condition and his inability to win
   salvation by his own works. The Lord pours fight into the soul so that
   Christ is seen by faith and, at the sight of Him, the heart catches
   fire and light takes hold upon the inner man so that he not only sees
   light but has light. The light not only shines upon the heart but from
   the heart. "You were sometime darkness"--not only in the dark, but
   darkness! "But now you are light in the Lord"--not only have you light
   from the Lord, but you are light--your souls having caught the flame.

   The Holy Spirit, alone, can accomplish this work. No human being will
   ever have light within himself till God who spoke the fiat at Creation
   shall, by the same Word, create light in the soul. The Apostle Paul
   says of all the saints, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of
   darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge
   of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." This lighting is a
   separating work. When this Light of God comes, it separates a man from
   those around him who are as darkness. It does not take him away from
   his surroundings. It does not shut him up in a monastery, but the
   separation is complete, for to set a division between a candle and the
   darkness all that is needed is to light it. The tiniest spark will, by
   its very existence, be distinguished from the darkness.

   There is no need to label light to prevent its being confused with
   darkness and there is no need for it to sound a trumpet before itself,
   saying, "Here I am." What fellowship has light with darkness? No sooner
   comes the light into a man's heart than he is separate from those who
   are round about him--he is called, by the Grace of God, to a vocation
   which at once sets a difference between the called ones and the rest of
   the sons of men. The darkness could not have created the light, for it
   does not even comprehend it, "The light shines in the darkness and the
   darkness comprehended it


   Those that are round about the Christian man cannot make him out, for
   his life is hid with Christ in God. At his conversion they perceive
   that a strange alteration has come over him and, as Dr. Watts says,
   they gaze and admire and hate the change, but they know no more about
   it than owls do of the sun! At first they set the change down to
   melancholy, until the man's experience flashes into delight and then
   they call it fanaticism or a kind of madness--a sort of twist of the
   mind. Oh, blessed twist! Would God that those who know it not could be
   twisted after the same fashion! It is the kindling of the candle, so
   that where all was darkness before, there may now be the heavenly Light
   of God!

   The darkness, though it does not understand or love the light, is,
   nevertheless, compelled to yield to it, for the battle between light
   and darkness is short and decisive. Up to the measure of the light is
   the measure of its conquest. Though only a few beams should irradiate
   the eastern sky, yet so far the arrows of the sun have pierced the
   heart of the night and as that light shall glow into high noon, all
   traces of darkness must fly before it. Beloved, if God has given light
   to us, He has put within us a principle that shall go forth conquering
   and to conquer! Let the darkness be as dense as that which plagued the
   Egyptians, yet must it yield to light.

   A conflict is to be expected, but a conquest is guaranteed. We must not
   dream that the darkness will put forth its black arms to embrace our
   light, nor may we imagine that it will come cowering at the foot of our
   candlestick and ask to make a league with us. Light cannot dwell side
   by side with the darkness, making a covenant, for it is written, "God
   divided the light from the darkness, and God called the light day, and
   the darkness He called night"--thus giving to each its own
   distinguishing name--that none might confuse them. No man shall ever be
   able to mingle the two--they are and must be forever distinct. To the
   end of time there shall be two seeds--the heirs of light and the
   children of darkness-- and these two cannot be one.

   The light shall war with the darkness till the eternal light has fully
   risen and reached its zenith--and then the earth shall be filled with
   the light of the Glory of God! Till then, you children of light, see to
   it that you have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
   This lighting up of the candle takes place at regeneration and you
   perceive it in enlightenment, conviction, conversion. The question is,
   have you ever been lit, dear Friend? Have you ever received that Divine
   Light of God? Have you ever felt the touch of the heavenly torch of the
   Word of God by which the Light has come to you and now dwells within
   you, so that you have become a light and are shining to the Glory of

   Furthermore, this light giving is a personal work to every man who is
   the subject of it. The text says, "Let your light so shine before men."
   When a man lights a candle, the light does not belong to the candle, at
   first. But when once the candle has accepted the flame, the light
   becomes the candle's own light and the candle begins to shine by its
   own light. So, Beloved, the Grace of God, the Light from Heaven, must
   come to each one of us individually from the Divine hand

   and we must personally receive it. Light is not inherent in any one of
   us and, therefore, it must be bestowed. Its bestowal necessitates a
   personal acceptance.

   It is not bestowed upon us as part of a nation or family. In its
   enlightening operations, Divine Grace does not deal with men in the
   gross, but with each man by himself. Sin is personal and so must Grace
   be. We are individually in the darkness and must be individually
   kindled into light. One by one, each man must accept the Light of God,
   permitting it, as it were, to kindle upon him, so that the very wick of
   his being, that innermost life which goes through the very center of
   his nature shall embrace the flame and begin to burn with it! There
   must be an individual appropriation of the light so that to each one of
   you it becomes your own. "Let YOUR light so shine before men."

   Do not deceive yourselves with the notion of national Christianity or
   hereditary Christianity--the only true religion is personal godliness.
   We cannot light these candles by the pound at a time, nor heap up lamps
   in a pile and light them in a mass. We have, nowadays, wonderful lights
   which can be all lit in an instant by a single touch of
   electricity--but even then each one of the lights has to receive a
   flame for itself--which becomes all its own. There is no way by which
   individuality can be destroyed and men saved en masse. In each man the
   light is peculiar and distinct. The light that burns in one true
   minister of Christ is the same which shines forth from another and yet
   one star differs from another star in Glory--Peter is not John, Paul is
   not James, Whitefield is not Wesley.

   You shall examine the whole range of God's lamps and candlesticks and
   you shall not find two exactly alike. Many artists exhaust themselves
   and then repeat themselves, but God is inexhaustibly original--no two
   touches of His pencil are the same. Light is one and its glory is
   one--and yet there is one glory of the sun and another glory of the
   moon and another glory of the stars. There is a difference in the
   lights of various oils and gases and so there is in your light, my
   Brothers and Sisters, and my light. It is very possible that you would
   like to put my candle in order--you may do so if you can--but do not
   snuff me out!

   Your own light is, however, your main concern and you had better ask
   for special Grace that it may not fail. Your light is distinct from
   mine--as distinct as your life is from mine--though, in another sense,
   it is true that your spiritual light is one with all the light that
   ever shone in this world. There is in the lighting, a personal
   appropriation of the Divine flame and afterwards a personal and
   distinct sending forth of the sacred Light in the individual's own way.
   Look you well to this, lest you be mistaken and suppose yourselves to
   be lighted from Heaven when you are the mere will-o'-the-wisps of

   I like our translator's reading the word candle--"Neither do men light
   a candle," for nowadays a candle is the smallest of all lights. We
   almost despise a candle in these days of the electric light, yet small
   lights are useful and tiny lamps have their sphere. God has many small
   lights. In His great house He has candles as well as stars and He would
   not have even a small light wasted. Even the most twinkling ray of
   light is of God's kindling--think of that, you who cannot do more than
   talk to a child or give away a tract for love of His dear name. You are
   a little light, but if the Lord has given you even a spark of the
   sacred fire, He means that you should shine!

   In this world there are many lights, but none too many. We could not
   spare the sun and it would be a calamity if the smallest star were
   quenched. We cannot spare those modern inventions which so cheer us by
   turning our city's night into day, but I know we should miss even the
   glowworm from its dewy haunt in the quiet lane! We cannot afford to
   lose a ray of light in this misty, foggy, all-beclouded sky of ours.
   The Church and the world need all the light that has been provided and
   much more. I, therefore, would press upon all my Brothers and Sisters
   here who may happen to have but one talent, the necessity of their
   putting it out to interest! Your light, my Friend, may be but a
   farthing rushlight, but you must not hide it, for all lights are of God
   and are sent with a kind and gracious purpose by the great Father of

   Note further that lighting is a work which needs sustaining. While
   lighting is a process performed in a moment, it is also, as a matter of
   fact, prolonged, for the lamp needs to be trimmed and it would be
   worthless to light a lamp and leave it to itself. The lamp must have
   fresh oil, from time to time, since by shining it consumes its fuel. Do
   not, any of you, think, therefore, if you can fix upon a certain time
   and say, "I was converted then," that you may live as you like
   afterwards. God forbid! The saints prove their conversion by their
   perseverance--and that perseverance comes from a continual supply of
   Divine Grace to their souls. Judge, then, yourselves by this--not so
   much whether on a certain special occasion you were turned from
   darkness to light--but are you still, "light in the Lord"?

   Have you oil in your vessel with your lamp? Are you looking unto Jesus?
   It was well that you looked, but are you looking? That is the great
   thing! Remember, it is a present business, this looking. It is well
   that you came to Jesus, but that is merely the beginning--it is "to
   whom coming," coming continually as unto a living stone. Our lungs must
   have, as we all know, fresh supplies of air. It will avail me nothing
   that I breathed yesterday. I am dead unless I breathe today. We must
   have constant food--you ate yesterday--but could you, without hunger
   and weakness, go without food today? We continually need to be built up
   as to our bodies and it is just the same with our souls! And if we
   neglect this--if we fancy that something done 20 years ago is all that
   is needed--we shall make a great mistake. There must be the frequent
   trimming of the lamp, which is, in effect, a continuation of the

   Once again, let me say that this work of lighting is a work which, when
   it is done upon a man, consecrates him entirely to the service of
   giving light. A candle once lit, if it continues alight, will be all
   consumed in giving light. It is what it was made for, not to be laid by
   in a glass case and looked at, but to be burned away. Blessed is the
   man who can say, "My zeal has consumed me." You will say that in the
   case of the lamp--the lamp itself is not consumed. No, but it is
   consecrated to the one purpose of lighting the house and it contains
   the supply of oil by which the flame is fed. The whole of the lamp,
   whether it is of gold or silver or clay, or whatever it may be--is
   dedicated to the one purpose of giving light-- and if God ever comes
   and lights you, my dear Brothers and Sisters, you are, from now on,
   separated from all other purpose and appointed to the one calling.

   You may be a great many other things according to your human calling,
   but these must be subordinate. I wish that some men kept earthly things
   much more subordinate than they do. The first thing in a Christian is
   his Christianity. The chief business of one whom God has called is that
   he should live as the elect of God. Look at Christ Jesus--He was a
   carpenter, but I confess I seldom think of Him as such. It is as the
   Savior of men and, the Servant of God that He comes before my mind. And
   thus a Christian man ought to live so, if he is a carpenter, the
   Christian swallows up the carpenter! And if he is a businessman, or a
   man of letters, or an orator, he ought so to live that the most
   conspicuous fact about him is that he is a Christian!

   He is a lamp and his one business is to shine. You may use a candle for
   many purposes. I saw a man grease a saw with one the other day and
   another made his boots fit for walking in the snow in like manner. But
   still, these are not the objectives for which a candle is designed--it
   has missed the purpose of its existence if it does not give light. I
   suppose, on occasions, you might use a lamp for a weight, or for some
   other purposes, but it would not be, then, a fit instrument for any
   purpose except that of giving light. Everything is best when fulfilling
   its proper purpose. Have you ever seen a swan out of water? How
   ungainly is its walk! What an unwieldy bird it seems!

   But look at him on the water. What a fine model for a ship! What Grace!
   What beauty! So is it with the Christian! His beauty is best seen in
   its proper element. Give him any other aim and he is awkward and
   uncomely. When seeking to instruct and save his fellow man, he is where
   God would have him and then all the lines of creating wisdom and all
   the beauties of Divine Grace are manifested in him. Let us take care,
   then, about this lighting--that it is lighting from above, that it is a
   lighting such as makes the light our own and that it is a lighting
   which takes possession of us and consecrates us entirely--and is
   perpetually sustained by the visitation of the Spirit of God. So much
   on the first point.

   II. We will now, in the second place, consider THE PLACING. "No man
   lights a candle and puts it under a bushel." It is a great point, this
   placing of a man--it may hide his light or send it further afield. The
   chief matter is the lighting him and getting him to have light to give.
   But the next most important thing is where to put him when he is
   alight. For some men, when they first find Christ, are in the wrong
   place altogether. How can a lamp shine if it is dropped into a river?
   After the conversion of certain persons their removal becomes
   necessary. It is significant that when God called Abraham He did not
   let him stop in Ur of the Chaldees--the place for Abraham to shine was
   not even in Haran, but he must get in to the chosen country and wander
   as a shepherd prince--for only there and in that character could
   Abraham shine to the Glory of God.

   Most men will be wise to stay where they are and shine, but others must
   undergo a great change of position before they will be able to scatter
   their light to the extent which the Lord intends for them. That may
   account, my Friend, for your having more trouble since you were
   converted than you ever had before. You have been left to lie still
   till now, but you are needed and so you are fetched out from your
   hiding place. It did not matter where you were when you gave no
   light--you were just as well behind a box or in a closet as anywhere
   else! But now that you are lighted you must be put

   on a lamp stand and, therefore, you are undergoing processes of
   Providence that are somewhat painful to you. Our placing, whether it
   has necessitated removal or not, is largely done by the Providence of
   God--one man is placed here and another there--and it is well for us to
   look at our position from this point of view.

   God puts us where we can best serve His cause and bless our age. If you
   had your choice, perhaps, if you had to be a street lamp, you would
   like to be a lamp in Hyde Park to shine upon the nobles who pass that
   way. But the poor souls need lights far more down that blind alley;
   down that den of a court where wild Irish are quarrelling, or drunks
   murdering their wives. He that loves God, if he had his choice, might
   sooner choose to shine in the worse place than in the better. "Oh that
   I lived in the midst of a warm-hearted Church!" one says. If you are an
   earnest, thorough-going man or woman, I am glad that you are placed in
   that dreary village where the people are pretty nearly starved for
   spiritual life!

   "What?" cries one, "are you glad that I have to suffer so much?" No,
   not for that, but because if you are a strong man, you will not suffer,
   but you will make other people suffer--that is to say--make it hard for
   the minister, the deacons and the Church to remain in their wretched
   condition of lukewarmness! I hope you will be the means of awakening
   them and bringing them nearer to Christ. How often a place which
   appears undesirable will become desirable if we regard it in this
   light. Providence puts us where we can give the most light and if our
   lamp is set up in the midst of darkness, where else should it be?

   This Tabernacle reminds me of those frames on wheels, filled with
   lamps, which are used at our railway stations-- here we have scores of
   lamps all burning together--and when first one and then another is
   dropped through the roof into a carriage and whisked away along the
   line, though it is to Australia, or America, or India, I am sorry to
   lose you, but I am glad that you are going where you will do more good
   than you will do here. Why should you not be scattered abroad like the
   first Believers? Why should not the candles be carried where the
   darkness is? Why should we keep up an everlasting illumination upon
   this particular spot just to gladden our own eyes instead of lending
   light to all the world?

   It is ours to say to others, "Here is a candle, let it shine in your
   houses." Or, "Here is a lamp, set it up in your tents, that God may
   bless you." But though I have thus spoken of Providence, a good deal of
   our placing is in our own hands. There are ways of placing
   yourselves--for instance, that mentioned in the text, which may be as
   ruinous to our influence as if a candle were placed under a bushel! Or
   you can put yourself in a place of advantage, as when a lamp is set
   upon a lamp stand. First, note the word in the negative--"Neither do
   men place it under a bushel." A bushel is a good and useful article. In
   almost every eastern house there was a corn-measure, here called a
   bushel, though it did not generally measure much more than a peck.

   This measure was commonly in every house because they ground their own
   corn and so were generally dealing with the neighbors. That useful
   corn-measure, to me, represents the pursuits of ordinary life--the
   proper and natural avocations of the household. Many men and women hide
   the candle that God has lit under the bushel of business and domestic
   cares. But you ask, "Is not a housewife to be a housewife?" Certainly,
   but not so a housewife as to conceal her godliness! Is not the laboring
   man to work with his hands? Certainly, but not so to work for the bread
   that he perishes as to miss Eternal Life. Is not the man of business to
   give his best attention to his business? Of course he is, but he must
   see to it that he does not lose his soul, or injure the souls of

   Take care of your bushel--nobody asks you to burn it--but keep it in
   its place. Subordinate all worldly things to the Glory of God. Suffer
   not your possessions or your desires, your pleasures or your cares to
   act as a bushel hiding His Light. This happens with a great many. I
   must ask Conscience to be so kind as to preach for me for a minute or
   two. Will you look at home, dear Friends, and see where you place your
   business and your religion? Which is uppermost? Which is foremost? Is
   religion your business, or is business your religion? Does your candle
   shine on the bushel, or does the bushel hide the candle? I will not
   dwell upon the question because it will be well for you to answer it in
   quiet, each man for himself.

   I know how a minister can put his light under a bushel. He can be a
   mere official and perform services, being nothing more than a
   performer. The worst thing to do with the Gospel is to parsonificate
   it. As soon as we preach as mere officials, we have lost all power--we
   must speak as men to men! A brother minister said to me one day, "The
   moment I shut the pulpit door, I shut out my natural self." This will
   never do! A man must be all there when He is serving God and if ever he
   is himself, it must be in preaching. We can also cover the candle by
   using difficult words--words which are not difficult to educated
   people, but to the bulk of our hearers.

   We can also use technical creed words, such as we might use in the
   class room or in the discussion hall and these may conceal our meaning
   from the people. I know some Christians who put their light under a
   bushel by being excessively bashful and shamefaced. They are not so
   dreadfully retiring when five-pound notes are to be made, but if
   anything is to be said for Christ, then they blush and stammer! Oh that
   they could overcome this hindrance! Others put their light under a
   bushel by inconsistency--they do not act as Christians should act--and
   when people see their bad works they do not glorify God. God forbid
   that our darkness in the house should be more conspicuous than our

   Some, I fear, cover their light under the bushel of indifference--they
   do not seem to care how things go with the cause and Kingdom of Christ.
   They look well to the state of their flocks and herds, but for the
   House of the Lord they have small concern. I pray you, dear Friends, do
   not hide your light in any way! Lot not your lawful callings, your
   relationships, your sicknesses, your literary pursuits, or your
   personal sorrows become so exaggerated as to conceal the Divine Light
   within your soul.

   The text is, however, positive. Put yourself on a candlestick or on a
   lamp stand. What must that be? A candlestick is an appropriate
   exhibitor of the light and each man should make an appropriate
   confession of his faith. The best way is prescribed in God's Word. It
   is written, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." Take
   care that when you have faith, you declare it in the ordained manner,
   for he that with his heart believes and with his mouth makes confession
   of Him shall be saved. O Lamp, do not say, "I will shine, but I will
   lie upon the floor and do it." No, your place is on the stand which is

   Dear Christian Friend, join the Church that you may be placed where you
   will be in order with the arrangements of the Divine household. A lamp
   stand should also be something which makes the lamp sufficiently
   visible. If you do not come out and exhibit your light willingly and
   cheerfully, it is very likely the Master of the house will fetch you
   out. Providence will arrange that the light shall not be hidden. See
   what the Lord did for His Church years ago--He allowed her to be
   persecuted into publicity! What a lamp stand was found for Christianity
   in the martyrdoms of the Coliseum, in the public burnings by pagans and
   papists and in all the other modes by which Believers in Christ were
   forced into fame!

   When there was no printing press; when there were scanty opportunities
   of making the Gospel public compared with those of today, the Lord
   caused His witnesses to stand before rulers and kings and there
   publish, in the most public places the Word of His salvation.
   Persecution built the lighthouse and Divine Love set aloft the burning
   and shining Light of the sacred Truth of God! You may find that God
   will make such a candlestick for you. You shall be forced into
   testimony in your family by the opposition of those about you unless
   you take other and happier methods. We ought to be valiant for the
   Truth of God and speak of it with all prudence and without limit! I
   long for the day when the precepts of the Christian religion shall be
   the rule among all classes of men, in all transactions!

   I often hear it said, "Do not bring religion into politics." This is
   precisely where it ought to be brought and set there in the face of all
   men as on a candlestick! I would have the Cabinet and the Members of
   Parliament do the work of the nation as before the Lord and I would
   have the nation, either in making war or peace, consider the matter by
   the light of righteousness. We are to deal with other nations about
   this or that upon the principles of the New Testament. I thank God that
   I have lived to see the attempt made in one or two instances and I pray
   that the principle may become dominant and permanent! We have had
   enough of clever men without consciences--let us now see what honest,
   God-fearing men will do!

   But we are told that we must study, "British interests," as if it were
   not always to a nation's truest interest to do right! "But we must
   follow out our policy." I say, No! Let the policies which are founded
   on wrong be cast. like idols. to the moles and to the bats! Stand to
   that most admirable of policies--"As you would that men should do to
   you, do you also to them likewise." Whether we are kings, or queens, or
   prime ministers, or members of Parliament, or crossing sweepers, this
   is our rule if we are Christians! Yes, and bring religion into your
   business and let the Light of God shine in the factory and in the
   counting-house! Then we shall not have quite so much China clay in the
   calicoes with which to cheat the foreigner--nor shall we see cheap and
   nasty articles described as of best quality, nor any other of the
   dodges in trade that everybody seems to practice nowadays.

   You trades people and manufacturers are very much one like the other in
   this--there are tricks in all trades and one sees it everywhere. I
   believe everybody to be honest in all England, Scotland and Ireland
   until he is found out. But whether there are any so incorruptible that
   they will never be found wanting, this witness says not, for I am not a

   Do not put your candle under a bushel, but let it shine, for it was
   intended that it should be seen. Religion ought to be as much seen at
   our own table as at the Lord's Table. Godliness should as much
   influence the House of Commons as the Assembly of Divines. God grant
   that the day may come when the mischievous division between secular and
   religious things shall no more be heard of, for in all things
   Christians are to glorify God, according to the precept, "Whether you
   eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God."

   III. Our time has gone, but I must detain you a little while I speak
   upon the SHINING--"Let your light so shine before men." When a candle
   shines, it is because it cannot help it. Shining is the natural result
   of possessing light and I want you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to exert
   a holy influence upon others because the Grace of God is really in you.
   Some men made desperate attempts to appear good--they would be far more
   successful if they would seek to be good. Grace must be in a man as a
   living fountain and then rivers of Living Water will flow from him. The
   natural result of a renewed heart is a renewed life and the natural
   result of a renewed life is that men see it and glorify God.

   Shining, however, is not altogether a thing of necessity so as to
   forbid our attention to it, for the text demands care of us. "Let your
   light so shine." I must ask the printer to put the two letters--"s,
   o"--in very large capitals. "Let your light SO shine--let it SO shine
   that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
   Heaven." You will not shine in the best manner though you may have
   Grace in your heart unless you abound in prayerful, watchful, earnest
   care. You must guard heart and lips and hands or your light will not so
   shine before men as could be desired. Your light will need trimming.
   Neglect it not.

   The shining which comes from the Christian is here described as, "good
   works." Good talk is very well, but it takes a great deal of talk to
   light a room! Good works are the splendor of the Light of God. What
   works are good works? I would answer--upright actions, honest dealings,
   sincere behavior. When a man is scrupulously true and sternly faithful,
   all right-minded persons admit that His works are good works. Good
   works are works of love, unselfish works, works done for the benefit of
   others and the Glory of God. Deeds of charity, kindness and brotherly
   love are good works. As also careful attendance to duty and all service
   honestly done, together with all courses which promote the moral and
   spiritual good of our fellow men.

   Works of devotion in which you prove that you love God and His Christ,
   that you love the Gospel, that you desire to spread the Kingdom of
   Christ--these may not be so highly valued by ordinary people--but are
   eminently good works. Let these good and true things abound in you and
   shine out from you! Do them not out of flamboyance, but still, without
   shame. Good works, like the shining of a candle, have good effects. A
   candle cheers the gloom. What a comfort it is when you have long been
   wandering in the dark, to spy out a twinkling candle in a cottage
   window! A candle directs and guides men and by its illumination it
   instructs them. In its light they see, discern, and discover. He who
   acts teaches. The man who lives Christianity preaches it. He is the
   true evangelist whose life brings Glory to God and goodwill to men.

   But note, it is said, "it gives light to all that are in the house," so
   that when we are lit from on High, we are first to shine at home. It is
   not only abroad that we should make our Christianity known, but chiefly
   at the fireside to those who are in the house. Some have a very little
   house--they live in a couple of rooms with a small family--let them
   take care that they have Grace enough to make a few thoroughly happy,
   which is not always the easiest thing in the world. Others have a large
   family--may they have Grace enough to influence the whole. A few have
   large workshops and employ many hands--and these ought to exercise a
   holy influence over all their employees.

   Some of us are preachers of the Gospel and have a large house in which
   to shine--we shall need more of the oil of Grace than others, that we
   may give light to the whole of our house--and that Grace is to be had.
   The whole world is a house in which the Church is the candle and,
   therefore, the members of the Church should so shine, each one in his
   place, that the whole world shall be filled with the knowledge of the
   Glory of God! The text says that the candle gives light to all that are
   in the house.

   Some professors give light only to a part of the house. I have known
   women very good to all but their husbands and these they nag from
   morning to night so that they give no light to them! I have known
   husbands so often out at meetings that they neglect home and thus their
   wives miss the Light of God. I have known employers who are utterly
   indifferent about their employees and mistresses who quite forget to
   seek the good of their maids. If our light is in good order, it will
   illuminate the parlor and the kitchen, the drawing room and the
   pantry--shining upon all that are in the house!

   Candles do not shed all their light either that way or this, but they
   shine in all directions. A Christian should be an "all-around man,"
   blessing all, both great and small, who come in contact with him. The
   objective of our shining is not that men may see how good we are, nor
   even see us at all--but that they may see God's Grace in us and God in
   us and cry, "What a Father these people must have!" Is not this the
   first time in the New Testament that God is called our Father? Is it
   not amazing that the first time it peeps out should be when men are
   seeing the good works of His children?

   The Fatherhood of God is best seen in the holiness of saints. When men
   see that the Light of God is good, they bless the Source of that Light
   and, seeing that it comes from the Father of Lights, they glorify His
   name! I have had to hasten over all this, but I pray God to make it,
   none the less, effectual for the stirring up of every Christian here to
   use all the Light he has. It is a dark world and it seems to get
   darker, for the emissaries of Satan are going about thirsting to quench
   every light. Look well to your lamps--look well to your lamps, you
   virgin souls! Trim well the flame and go forth even into the black
   night to meet the Bridegroom. Lift high your torches into the very face
   of darkness and make men see that God the Father is still in the midst
   of His people!

   The venerable Bede, when he was interpreting this text, said that
   Christ Jesus brought the light of Deity into the poor lantern of our
   humanity and then set it upon the candlestick of His Church that the
   whole house of the world might be lit thereby. So, indeed, it is! The
   reason why there is light in the Church is that those who are in the
   dark may see. Churches do not exist for themselves, but for the world
   at large. Have you thought of this, Brothers and Sisters? You are
   blessed that you may be a blessing! Take heed that you behave aright.
   You go to Christ's wedding feast and you are glad to hear that He turns
   water into wine and you are ready to bless Him that He has kept the
   best wine until now. But oh, servants of God, remember what is said,
   "Draw out now and bear."

   These are your orders. There is the God-made wine--"Draw out now and
   bear." Receive from Christ's fullness and distribute to others! Neglect
   not your duty as servitors at your Lord's great feast. Your Master has
   taken the bread and has blessed and broken it and then He has given it
   to you. Is that the end of the process? Do you stand there and munch
   your own personal morsel with a miserable self-satisfaction? No, if you
   are, indeed, disciples of Christ, you will remember that the next
   words, in another like incident, are, "and the disciples to the
   multitude, and they did eat." Break, then, your bread among the hungry
   that surround you! Take the whole loaf of Christ and rightly divide and
   distribute it-- and you shall have as much left as at the first--yes,
   more! You shall gather of the fragments many baskets full.

   Only see to it that you freely give what you have freely received, lest
   hoarded manna breeds corruption! Lest a canker come upon your hoarded
   gold and silver! And lest your very souls grow moldy even to reeking
   rottenness before God because you have not drawn out your souls unto
   the hungry, nor sought to teach those who are perishing for lack of

   The Baptist Missionary Society will enable you to teach the heathen.
   Take a share in it. There, make the collection! Do your best!