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151

XLIII

HATING THE LIGHT

“Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light.”—John iii. 20.

THE seedy garments, which pass muster in the dull low-grade light of the winter’s day, reveal their wear and tear in the brighter and more searching light of the spring. We say about a shabby garment, “It is all right for dull days, but I shall want another when the bright days come!” Shabbiness hateth the light. Theatrical stage-effects may have a certain attractiveness in the limelight, but they make a woeful sight when they are brought into the sunshine. Unreality hateth the light. Is there any spectacle more pathetic than the scene of a carnival in the light of the following morning! The daylight makes Vanity Fair look pitiable.

And all these have their moral and spiritual analogies. There is a dull light of worldliness in which evil things do not reveal their 152terror. There is a moral twilight in which even glaring wrong does not expose its hideousness. There are commonly accepted standards before which even shabby things do not appear mean. They are not brought under condemnation. They are not lifted into relief. They conform to accepted requirements, and the doers of them are not exposed to any discomfort or resentment. But when we bring this crooked conduct or this shabby character into the Presence of “the Light of life” the revelation is astounding. All mere paint and powder and cosmetics shrink from the sunlight; and in the glory of the Lord all our decorated, evil and all our powdered hypocrisies show themselves for what they truly are. “Thou judgest us.” “Our secret sins are seen in the light of Thy countenance.”

And we do not like the exposure. We hate the light; we do not hate the sins which it reveals. We value comfort more than we welcome truth. We prefer a low satisfaction in the twilight to a healthy disquietude in the fuller day. I heard a man speak of his minister, and he spake in tones of eulogy, and this is what he said: “I like my minister; 153he isn’t always making me feel uncomfortable!” But how unapostolic was the experience! His minister must have led his devoted hearer into a spiritual twilight, for if he had kept him in the full blaze of “the uncreated beam” he would have been pricked in heart and he would have cried out, “What must I do to be saved?”

We are moving upward when we can humbly pray for the ministry of the eternal Light. “Search out our wickedness, O Lord, until Thou find none!” In such prayerful lives the light that searches and exposes the sin also consumes the unworthiness it reveals. “Our God is a consuming fire.”

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