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above the sun itself, but above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. All things are put under his feet, and he is given to be head over all things to the church, Eph. i. 21, 22. The very angels, authorities, and powers of heaven, are all made subject to him, 1 Pet. iii. 22. And that is the reason that he is said to be at the right hand of God, because he is preferred before and set over the whole creation, next to the Almighty Creator himself, where he now reigns, and doth whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and earth.
And as the sun is in itself also the most glorious, as well as the most excellent creature we see, of such transcendent beauty, splendor, and glory, that we cannot look stedfastly upon it, but our eyes are presently dazzled; so is Christ, the Sun of righteousness: when he was transfigured, his face did shine as the sun, Matt. xvii. 2. When St. John had a glimpse of him, he saw his countenance as the sun that shineth in his strength,Rev. i.16. When he appeared to St. Paul going to Damascus at mid-day, there was a light above the brightness of the sun shining round about him, and them that journeyed with him, Acts xxvi. 13. And it is no wonder, for he is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3. and therefore must needs shine more gloriously than it is possible for any mere creature to do; his very body, by reason of its union to the divine person, is a glorious body, Phil. iii. 21. The most glorious doubtless of all the bodies in the world, as far exceeding the sun, as that doth a clod of earth; insomuch, that could we look upon our Lord as he now shines forth in all his glory in the highest heavens, how would our eyes be dazzled? our whole souls amazed and confounded at his excellent glory? The sun would appear to us no otherwise than as the moon and stars do, when the sun is up. And he that so far excels the sun in that very property, wherein the
sun excels all other things, may well be called the sun : the sun by way of preeminence, the most glorious sun in the world, in comparison whereof nothing else deserves to be called by that name. Neither may our blessed Saviour be justly called by this glorious name only for what he is in himself, but likewise from what he doth for us; as may be easily demonstrated from all the benefits that we receive from the sun. I shall instance in some of the most plain and obvious.
First therefore, the sun we know is the fountain of all the light that we have upon earth, without which we could see nothing, not so much as the way that is before us, but should be always groping and stumbling in the dark, whereas by it we can discern every thing that is about us, or at any distance from us, as far as our sight can reach. In which respect our blessed Lord is the sun indeed; The light of the world, John viii. 12. The true light that lighteneth every one that cometh into the world, c. i. 9. A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel, Luke ii. 32. A marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9. Whereby we can see things that are not visible to the eye, as plainly as we do those that are. For this Day-spring from on high, this Sun of righteousness, hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luke i. 78, 79. To shew us the invisible things of God, and direct us to all things belonging to our everlasting peace and happiness. He hath made them all clear and manifest to us in his Gospel. But whatsoever maketh manifest is light, Eph. v. 13. Wherefore he is said to have brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. Because he hath there so clearly revealed them to us, that by the light of his holy Gospel we may see all things necessary to be known, believed, or done, in order to eternal life, as plainly as we can see the most visible objects at noon-day.
By this light we can see as much of the glory of God himself, as our mortal nature can bear. For no man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him, John i. 18. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him, Matt. xi. 27. So that no man ever had or can have any right knowledge of the true God, but only by his Son our Saviour Christ. But by this means, they that lived before might see him as by twilight; we who live after this sun is risen, may see him by the clearest light that can be given of him, for he hath fully revealed and declared him to us in the Gospel.
By this glorious light we can see into the mystery of the eternal Trinity in unity, so as to believe that God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one, one Jehovah, one God. That God the Father made all things at the first by his word, and still upholds and orders all things according to his will. That God the Son was made flesh, became man, and as such died upon the cross, and so offered up himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; that he rose again, went up to heaven, and is now there at the right hand of God; that upon our repentance and faith in him our sins are all pardoned, and he that made us is reconciled to us by the merits of his said death; that by the power of his intercession which he now makes in heaven for us, we are justified or accounted righteous in him, before his, and in him our almighty Father; that God the Holy Ghost abides continually with his church, moving upon, actuating and influencing the means of grace that are there administered; that he sanctifies all that believe in Christ, leads them into all truth, comforts them in all their troubles, and assists them in doing whatsoever is required of them. These and many such great and necessary truths, as lay in a great measure hid before, are now, by the light of the Sun of righteousness shining in his Gospel, made so plain and evident, that all may
see them, except they wilfully shut their eyes, or turn their backs upon them.
And though the sun in the firmament enlightens only the air, to make it a fit medium through which to see; this glorious light that comes from the Sun of righteousness enlightens men's minds too, and opens their eyes, to behold the wondrous things that are revealed in the law of God, Psal. cxix. 18. And that too so effectually in some, that they likewise are able to enlighten others, to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, Acts xxvi. 18. Insomuch that they also are the light of the world, Matt. v. 14. not originally in themselves, but by communication from him, as the moon is first enlightened by the sun, and then reflects its light to the earth.
Moreover, the sun is the first cause under God, not only of light, but also of all the life that is in any creature upon earth, without which nothing could live, no, not so much as a vegetable, much less an animal life; for that which we call life, wherewith such creatures as have organs fitted for it are actuated and quickened, so as to be said properly to live, it all depends upon the heat and influences of the sun; should the sun once cease to be, or to influence the world, all living creatures would immediately expire and die. So is Christ the Sun of righteousness the fountain of all spiritual life. In thee, saith David, is the fountain of life; in thy light we shall see light, Psal. xxxvi. 9. Where we see that light and life in this sense also go together; they both proceed from the same fountain, the Sun of righteousness; who therefore saith, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life, John viii. 12. that light which hath life always proceeding from it, and accompanying it; so that he is both light and life itself. I am, saith he, the way, the truth, and the life, John xiv. 6. And our life, as the apostle calls him, Col. iii. 4, even the life of all that believe in him. The life that
I now live in the flesh, saith the same apostle, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Gal. ii. 20. And therefore he who believeth, and so hath the Son, he hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life, 1 John v. 12.
From all which it appears, that all men by nature are dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. ii. 1. But when any arise from the dead by faith, it is Christ that gives them life, chap. v. 14. Who came into the world on purpose that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, John x. 10. more abundantly, that is, in the highest and most excellent manner that it is possible for men to live. For this life which the Sun of righteousness raiseth believers to is the life of righteousness, an holy, an heavenly, a spiritual, divine life; it is the life of faith, whereby they live to other purposes, and in a quite different manner from other men ; they live to God, and not unto the world; they live in a constant dependence upon him, and submission to him; they live in a firm belief of his word, and sincere obedience to his laws; they live altogether in his service, so that whether they eat, or drink, or whatsoever they do, they still do it to the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. In short, they strive all they can to do the will of God upon earth, as the holy angels do it in heaven, and so have their conversation there, where their Saviour and their treasure is.
But this life is infused into them only by the rays of the Sun of righteousness, by that Holy Spirit which ргоceedeth from Christ, whereby they being born again, and made the children of light, thus walk in newness of life; and so it is nourished also, preserved, and strengthened only by him, who therefore calls himself the bread of life, John vi. 35, 48. And the bread of God, which cometh from heaven, and giveth life unto the world, v. 33. the living bread, of which if any man eat, he shall live for ever, v. 51. And this bread which he gives is his flesh, which he gave for the life of the