Out of the mists of the morning comes the light of the natural day. There is a glory of the sun from which the light cometh. As it ascendeth into the zenith of the heavens, its midday brightness gives glory to the earth and to the inhabitants thereof. Its rays descend upon the earth, giving light and warmth and brightness, causing the seed therein to bring forth and bud, to grow, to flourish and to mature, from the seed time to the harvest. The sun receiveth its glory from its Creator. For, “God commanded the light to shine out of darkness.” Therefore the light of the sun is the glory of it. While the life-giving principle in the light makes manifest the glory in the rich, varied and beautiful productions of the earth, it also manifests the glory of God, not only in the creation and its subsequent results, but also in its perfect obedience to the law which governs it, and under which it is placed. Again, the glory of the sun is apparent to the church of Christ in the sense that it is typical of a greater and far more glorious Sun than itself, the “Sun of righteousness,” which is Jesus Christ the Lord. We hear the psalmist say, “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord will give grace and glory.” But we would consider him in the morning of his incarnation, as out of the mist of the morning comes the light of the natural day, so also out of the mists and fog of the night dispensation, out of darkness and cold of the long, dark, cheerless night under the law, comes the Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings, bringing warmth and good cheer to the sons of men. In the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, was born the child of promise, which should be called “the Son of the Highest.” He was born a King. As King of Israel he came into the world, as an evidence of which came wise men from the east, and finding the young child with his mother they fell down and worshiped him, spreading their trophies before him, and presenting “unto him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.” As a babe also he was “the King of glory.” Unto the shepherds the angels said, “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Kingly power was already manifest in the young child. The thoughts of many hearts were turned toward the mountains round about Judea, and the babe in the midst of them. “The generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob,” shall cry out of the full treasure of their hearts, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. * * * Who is this King of glory! The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” When Simeon, (a just and devout man of Jerusalem) looked by faith upon the little child in its mother’s arms, he blessed them, “And said unto Mary his mother, Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.” While yet a child he set up his throne in the hearts of his people Israel, and his reign continues from everlasting to everlasting in the righteousness of God. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The wisdom and knowledge of this child depended not upon that which he might acquire in maturer years; for he was the living personification and possessor of all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. He was “appointed heir of all things,” and in his own person he upheld all things by the word of his power. When he was but twelve years old he was found in Jerusalem “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions, and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” We know that in all his life in the flesh he was not contaminated by contact with the world, although as a babe helpless and dependent upon his mother, yet possessing all power, and the strength of all worlds, he appeals to our hearts as little children of his kingdom. We grow up to be men and women in the course of nature, as Jesus grew up to be a man in his incarnation, yet in the kingdom of heaven we are little children in the spirit, bearing the honest simplicity of the gospel of Christ, which always designates the child from the grown man. Neither do we grow out of childhood in our life unity with the holy child Jesus The prophet declares, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath ‘not filled his days, for the child shall die an hundred years old,” &c. How wonderful is the childish innocence yet profound wisdom of this glorious kingdom. Again, the prophet says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” The disciples of Jesus at one time asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? and Jesus called a little child unto him and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoso receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me.” The marvelous perfection of beauty in Zion is due to the sweet simplicity and childlike innocence of the inhabitants thereof, as they are moved by the love of God which flows from heart to heart. The carnal mind is ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it detracts from his exalted manhood. He could not for a moment think of condescending in his independent free will to become subject to a higher power or authority, for he accepts nothing greater than himself. This is because they are blind to their own frailty. The beauty of Zion and the perfumes of Jerusalem are hidden from the wise and carnal-minded of this world, and revealed unto the children of the kingdom, whose eyes are opened, and whose hearts are enlightened by the spirit of truth in Christ Jesus. Therefore it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man (rich in this world’s wisdom) to enter the kingdom of heaven. To become as a little child is to have no confidence in the flesh, and to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified. Jesus as a babe came into the world under the law, and subject to all its requirements, and in order to render perfect obedience to the law, he became weak as we also are weak, that we might be made strong in him. He took upon himself every infirmity of the flesh, and the consequences of sin, bearing all our sins in his own body, yet “himself without sin.” Therefore “he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.”
Now how do these things present themselves to our mind! We view the church as secure in Christ. We feel fully assured for those whom we love for the truth’s sake. But the despairing cry of our heart is, Have I ever become as a little child? Have I tasted that the Lord is gracious! Have I passed through the gates and entered into the city! Have I seen the Lord of life and glory? Happy is the heart that can sing, “O for a glance of heavenly day,” for that heart is already in the holy city. May we all ask to be humbled, and to be filled with the simplicity of the holy child Jesus.
B. F. COULTER.
Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 1, 1899.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 23.
DECEMBER 1, 1899.