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conversion likewise signified by light and truth : "He begat us by the word of truth.” James i. 8. So 2 Cor. iv. 6, alluding to the first Fiat Lux, or, “Let there be light,” in the creation. The word, brought within the soul by the Spirit, lets it see its own necessity, and Christ's sufficiency, convinceth it thoroughly, and causeth it to cast over itself upon him for life: and this is the very begetting of it again to eternal life.
If we look more particularly into the strain and tenour of the word, it will appear most fit for increasing the graces of the Spirit in a Christian; for there are in it particular truths relative to them, that are apt to excite them, and set them on work, and so to make them grow, as all habits do, by acting. This it doth, both by particular exhortation to the study and exercise of those graces (sometimes pressing one, and sometimes another), and by right representing to them their objects. The word feeds faith, by setting before it the free grace of God, his rich promises, and his power and truth to perform them all; shews it the strength of the new covenant, not depending upon itself, but holding in Christ, in whom all the promises of God are yea and amen ; and drawing faith still to rest more entirely upon his righteousness. It feeds repentance, by making the vileness and deformity of sin daily more clear and visible. Still as more of the word hath admission into the soul, the more it hates sin, sin being the more discovered and the better known in its own native colour : as the more light there is in a house, the more anything in it that is uncleanly or deformed is seen and disliked. Likewise it increaseth love to God, by opening up still more and more of his infinite excellency and loveliness. As it borrows the resemblance of the vilest things in nature to express the foulness and hatefulness of sin, so all the beauties and digniti es that are in all the creatures are called together in the word, to give us some small scantling of that Uncreated Beauty, which alone deserves to be loved.—Thus might its fitness be instanced in respect to all other graces.
But, above all other considerations, this is observable in the word as the increaser of grace, that it holds forth Jesus Christ to our view to look upon, not only as the perfect pattern, but as the full fountain of all grace, from “whose fulness we all receive.” The contemplating of him as the perfect image of God, and then drawing from him as having in himself a treasure in us,—these give the soul more of that image in which consists truly spiritual growth. This the Apostle expresseth excellently, 2 Cor. iii. 18, speaking of the ministry of the Gospel revealing Christ, that, “ beholding in him," as it is, chapter iv. 6, “ in his face,” “the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord :” not only that we may take the copy of his graces, but have a share of them.-LEIGHTON.
J. E. R.
December 26th, 1842.
A PRACTICAL AND DEVOTIONAL COMMENTARY, CHIEFLY SELECTED
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BY THE REV. J. E. RIDDLE, Author of "Ecclesiastical Chronology,' “Christian Antiquities,” “Sermons, "First
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