12th March 2020
“Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Psalm 107:10
What a blessed thing is light, the light of life, the light of God’s countenance, of the glorious gospel, of Jesus’ face! “Truly light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” But to whom? To those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. How such hail the first rays of light! If you were shipwrecked, cast by night upon a desert rock, how you would hail the first beams of the morning light to shew you where you were, and what hopes there were of final escape. So, similarly, how a sense of danger, magnified by the darkness, makes the shipwrecked soul hail the first beam of light, that it may see the way of escape from hell to heaven. How sweet to such it is to have any divine light dawn upon the mind, to have any breaking in of the goodness and mercy, grace and glory, of the blessed Jesus. The more we sit in darkness, the more we prize light. Many high professors despise all this, and run out against it as a building upon frames and feelings, and making a Christ of our experience. Poor things! Their light is not worth having; and their religion, it is to be feared, is but a fire of their own kindling, the light of which will never light them to heaven. But why do they despise it? Because they never sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Therefore, really and truly, what is their light? An ignis fatuus, a will-o’-thewisp, a gas-lamp, a meteor, a falling star, anything, everything but the dayspring from on high, or the Sun of righteousness. But the Lord’s people cannot be put off with a gas-lamp, an ignis fatuus, a will-o’-the-wisp. They must have Jesus. They must have his blood upon their consciences, his grace in their hearts, his presence in their souls; sweet discoveries of his Person and work, the whispers of his love, the touch of his finger, the smiles of his face. They must have Jesus for themselves.
“Give me Christ, or else I die,”
is their feeling. But what makes them break forth with these earnest sighs and cries? They are in darkness and in the shadow of death. Were they otherwise, they would be content to remain as they naturally are; dark and dead. But feeling their state, it makes them long for the beams of light; and when it breaks in upon their soul, they can bless it because it comes from and leads to God.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869