13th June 2020
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Ephesians 3:17
God bade Moses receive from the people oil for the light, and to set up a candlestick with seven lamps, ever burning with this oil, to illuminate the holy place. This light was typical, no doubt, of the Holy Spirit, but as it is only by his own gracious light that the Lord Jesus is made known, we may still say, that as Christ dwells in the heart by faith, faith giving him a place in the bosom, he dwells in the enlightened understanding of his saints, in the gracious light of his own manifestations. Have you not seen at times wondrous beauty in the gospel? Has not a sacred light shone, from time to time, upon the holy page, when it testified of Christ? Have you not seen wondrous glory in a free gospel, a gospel that saves the sinner, and yet magnifies and glorifies the justice of God; a gospel that reconciles every apparently jarring attribute, brings justice and mercy to kiss each other, and makes God to be just, and yet the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus? Now that light whereby you saw the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, was gospel light; and as Christ came into the heart in the glory of that light, he may be said to dwell in the shining light of his own grace.
You may complain, and often bitterly complain, of the darkness of your mind, and it may seem at times as if you never had any true light to shine into your soul. But I would have you carefully observe these two things; first, that the very cause of the darkness which you feel is the presence of light. The Apostle, therefore, says, “But all things that are reproved, (margin, ‘discovered,’) are made manifest by the light, for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Eph. 5:13). Apply these words to your case. Is there not something in you that discovers to you your darkness, and not only discovers, but reproves it, and makes it manifest as a thing to be condemned? This secret something is light, for “whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” And as you not only see it, but feel and mourn under it, it is “the light of life” which the Lord promised those should have who follow him. But observe, secondly, that whenever a little light dawns in again upon your soul, in that light you again see the same grace and glory in Christ which you saw in him before. Now, what a proof this is that Christ dwells in the heart by faith, and that the light in which we see him, is the light wherewith he hath enlightened our understanding, and himself dwells in it.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869