Root – Offspring – Star

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16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. REVELATION XXII

Because the divine principles which flow from the Lord can be separated in the human mind, and have been separated, their distinct character and influence are frequently treated of in the Word. This, to minds not deeply reflective, has seemed to sanction the idea of separate persons in the Godhead. When they read of the Divine Love as the Father, they have represented to themselves a distinct person under that name, and instead of learning the dealings of Divine Love with man, which the Scriptures intended to unfold in describing the operation of the Father, they have too often divided and distracted their conceptions of God. When they read of the manifestation of God, the Divine Wisdom, the Logos, the Divine Humanity, and its operation as the Mediator, they have thought of another divine person, and though they have read much of the Father being in the Son, they have nevertheless thought more of division, than they have of union in God. When they have read of the Holy Spirit being sent from God, they have so far been under the influence of the spirit of division, that they have not thought of the divine influence flowing from the one God, but rather of a finite form going about here and there where he was sent by the two other divine persons. Not only, however, is this unhappy divided idea the result of a mere surface consultation of the Holy Word, but it has been formed by the entire neglect of those numerous declarations of Scripture in which all the Divine. excellencies are grouped together, and declared to belong to one Divine Person. A passage of this kind we have now before us. The Lord Jesus declares, He is the Root, that is the Father; He is the offspring of David, that is the Son; and the bright and morning star, that is the Spirit of the Lord, shining in the soul. Who can contemplate this sublime declaration by Himself and not perceive that the whole fullness of the Godhead is in Him ? If He is the sender of angels; if He is the Root of all things; if He is also the Son born to be the Head of all things, that men might abide in Him and He in them; if He is the shining light that ushers in a new day to the soul; why then He is the all in all (Col. iii. 11).

We will endeavour to examine these appellations more fully, and we shall see how completely they direct our minds to the One Divine Saviour, the First and the Last.

The Lord says, I am the Root; and the root is obviously the source, the origin, from which all the rest of the tree proceeds. The root of David, of course, implies the origin whence David had his being, and that is equivalent to the Life, the origin of all things. There is mention of this Root in Isaiah twice. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him.” — Isa. xi. 1, 2. Again, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” — Ver. 10. The Root is described in these passages as bringing forth a Branch, which is also recognized in the text before us as the Offspring. The Branch is generally admitted by Christians to mean the Lord Jesus, but they have not so generally admitted that He is also the Root. Yet nothing can be plainer than the Lord’s statement, ” I am the

Root, and the Offspring of David.” He is the Father and the Son; the Father in the Son. The Root is that portion of the tree which is underground, and therefore is invisible. It is also the source whence all the rest of the tree derives existence, its continued productive power and its life. Thus the Root corresponds to the Father, the Infinite Divine Love, who is life itself the all-originating Divinity. This, like the Root, is invisible. No man hath heard the voice of the Father at any time, or seen His shape (John v. 37). Yet it is the fountain of all existence, the source of all divine operations. As it is in itself, it is infinitely above all human, all angelic thought. Yet it is the Root of all being. If we reflect for a moment, we shall find that three things are implied in every Divine operation. These three are Love, “Wisdom, and Power. Let us take, for instance, the created universe It is self-evident that it would not have been created, and would not now exist, unless there had been power to create it; and unless there was now power to continue creation, and sustain it. But power is an effect of intelligence. No person can do what he does not know how to do. And so much wisdom is displayed in the innumerable arrangements of the universe, that we may well take up the beautiful words, “in wisdom thou hast made them us.” The highest intelligence of human beings consists of the best acquaintance they can form with the Divine works. The accumulated wisdom of all ages has enabled men to form even a blade of grass. How great, then, must the intelligence be, which originates all the laws of all the movements which the universe contains; from those which bring out the perfections of the tiniest moss, to those which form grandeurs of the old world forests. How wondrous is the world of beauty disclosed in the flowers! The arrangements which elaborate from the inanimate soils and gases the glorious hues and gorgeous forms which grace the earth in field, in garden, in wood; which in a setting of lovely green exhibits the gems of innumerable flowers, as stars of earth emulating with sweeter variety the splendour of their brethren of the sky, must surely command our admiration. But what are these to the laws which are disclosed in animal existence? How wondrously wise are the provisions for the existence and comfort of the smallest animalcule; and then, if from these we trace the increasing perfection of being through reptile, fish, insect, bird, beast, and, lastly, up to man, how can we mark the perfect adaption of life, nerves, blood, arteries, veins, bones, muscle, skin, and the entire organization of each form, and the provision of root, fruit, grain, or other food, without the confession of enlightened adoration. His understanding is infinite. We cannot stay to notice the universe in its grander features. Suffice it to glance at the order and perfect law which exist in those planetary arrangements which enable astronomers to predict for hundreds of years beforehand, the exact moment when an eclipse will happen, or where a planet will be, which bind world to world, sun to sun, system to system, starry group to starry group, through space, too vast even for the imagination to grasp ; where

” All thought is lost and reason drown’d
In the immense survey;
We cannot fathom the profound.
Nor trace Jehovah’s way.”

Enough, we see wisdom and intelligence every where, and hence there is power and perfection of operation. But Wisdom flows from love, intelligence from will, light from life. A person lives first, and thinks after. And even in intelligence of the Deity we can discern the same order. All is wisely arranged to effect a good end. The end is obviously intended by love, for its object is to bless others. Let us for simplicity’s sake take the production of a fruit, and consider it for a moment. Before an apple could be formed, the sun with his perfections, the earth with its laws, and yearly and daily motions, must exist. There must be seed, soil, seasons, and growth. There must be atmosphere, rain, and variations of light, heat, and humidity, and time for operation. And of course this would all have been in vain had there not been beings to whom fruit is necessary and agreeable, thus with appetite and all the provision for digestion and assimilation. All these imply wondrous power and wondrous intelligence. But inasmuch as these all exist to give fruit to man, and give it him for nothing, they imply above all, and in all, the infinite and disinterested desire to bless. This desire, the very activity of Infinite Love, is the first impulse from the Root.

Infinite Love was also the Root of redemption. “In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” — Isa. lxiii. 9. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved,” — John iii. 16, 17. It is often supposed that the Root, the groundwork of redemption, was the primitive justice of God, sometimes called His vindictive justice. It is said, He laid down a law, simply because He would forbid man to eat of a certain tree, not that there was anything worse in that tree than in other trees, but just to test man’s obedience. The penalty of disobedience was death, temporal and eternal, to the offender and his unborn posterity for ever. But what a dreadful misrepresentation of Divine Love is this? What a caricature of divine justice is such a representation! It rests only on ignorance of God, ignorance of the garden of Eden and its trees, ignorance of man, and ignorance of the death he is to shun. Who could know anything of the love of God, and think of His forbidding anything which is not essentially wrong? Who could know anything of divine justice, and conceive of it as punishing children unborn for sins they never knew ? Why that would not be justice, it would be diabolical revenge. Justice only punishes wrong, and only punishes that for the sake of the criminal’s reformation, and the universal good. Oh no! It is not justice which these views ascribe to God, it is REVENGE, and that does not exist in Him. God is just, but His justice is the unswerving exercise of His love. God is just, but He is just to Himself; and however man changes and makes himself miserable, God changes not. He is a just God and a Saviour, there is none beside Him (Isa. xlv. 21). What is called His law in Eden, was no law at all, it was a loving caution, a merciful admonition. God had brought man into such a state that He was the centre of his bliss, the Tree of Lives in the midst of his garden. His wisdom, his love, and his joy, were from Him. So long as he continued thus he would be happy. His soul would be like a watered garden. But Divine Love cautioned him that when he turned from heavenly wisdom to his own knowledge, which was from appearances only, he would die. He would come into that carnal state of mind which is the only real death (Rom, viii. 6). Man did turn away from God, and he died in that very state, in that day when he ate of the tree of his own knowledge of good and evil. Man turned from God, and became dark, cold, and miserable, but God did not forsake him. God followed him in the cool of the day, and when man hid himself, the Lord still made His voice heard in the garden of soul, now the abode of remorse and misery, and said, Adam (man) where art thou? What hast thou lost? What is now thy condition? Thou wert happy, but now thine innocence is lost ; where art thou ? Infinite mercy followed him. And though he lost paradise, that mercy opened to him the means of regaining it. Infinite mercy taught him to fight against the serpent, and he would be saved. Infinite mercy taught him, too, that the time would come when the wondrous seed of the woman would be revealed, that would braise the serpent’s head. The more man fell, the more infinite mercy followed him. The more dead he was, the more life abounded to raise him again. The Lord followed him by angels, by prophets, by His Word, by every means divine wisdom directed, and at length He came Himself into the world, for his redemption. God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. v. 19). “give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.” It was as if a loving parent had a garden filled with all trees beautiful and good, but one tree was of a poisonous character. He would guard his child from it with cautious and sedulous care. He would tell him of its nature, and its destructive effects. And if, unhappily, the child still broke through these safeguards, and brought mischief and misery upon himself, the same love which had sought to guard him would now seek to stop the mischief and to save his life. Such would be unchanging human love, but bow infinitely more than this is the Divine Love. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before me.” — Isa. xlix 15, 16. In all things of redemption, then, Divine Love is the Root.

“This precious truth Hit Word reveals,
And all His mercies prove;
Creation and redemption join
To show that God is love.”

From love, then, He followed man into his nature on earth, and formed for Himself a Humanity, His only-begotten Son: from love He lived in this Humanity, sustained temptations in it, died in it, perfected it, glorified it, rose again in it, reigns in it, “God over all, blessed for ever.” This Divine Love is the Root of redemption, as it was and is of creation.

It is also the Root of regeneration, and of all the Lord’s dealings with us. It is well for us, my beloved bearers, to look back occasionally over our individual lives, and see how goodness and mercy have followed us. I was looking around me, the other day, in the beautiful cemetery at Highgate, and among a vast number of epitaphs, almost all appropriate, and indicative of great improvement in this department of human life, there was one I especially noticed. It struck me as singularly becoming in its simple beauty. It was just the verse, “Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.” And who of us cannot say the same ? How loving and careful was the provision for our birth! Our parents were filled with fond affection that led them to provide every necessary for our comfort. The tiny clothes were prepared, the little socks were knit with delighted care. Nothing was too good or too pretty to decorate the little immortal Divine Providence had placed in loving hands. So was it with our earliest food — sent at the right time, and in the right place, so that the baby’s life is a continual feast. And need we trace it onwards : has not our education, our youthful discipline, the parental home and care, even the troubles that have taught us discrimination, judgment and caution; the books we have read, the friends we have formed, the scenes through which we have passed, our pains, privations and struggles even,

have they not been for our good? Our sorrows have been blessings in disguise. If we have passed through much tribulation our robes have become brighter. Our tribulations have worked patience, hope which maketh notashamed, and love which is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us (Rom. v. 5). What is the whole world, and all the heavenly world (for He has given His angels charge concerning us, to keep us in all our ways), but a universe of ministrations, by which Infinite Love pours around us its healings and its blessings ?

“Either Thy hand preserves from pain,
Or if we feel it, heals again ;
From Satan’s malice shields our breast,
Or overrules it for the best”

Here again we see, as in creation and redemption, so in regeneration and in Providence, the Root of all Divine operations is Infinite Love. This Love had not to be persuaded or prevailed upon by another person out of itself to save man. This Love is Jehovah, and Jehovah Himself became our Saviour. This Love is the Father, and the Father Himself took our nature in the Son, so that he who saw Him, saw the Father (John xiv. 8). He who saw Him, saw Him that sent Him (John xii. 45). Our Father saved us by the Son. Who else was so likely, who loved us so well ?

How astonishing it is that, when this fact is stated so broadly and so often in the sacred page, it should so long have been overlooked. ”Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer ; thy name is from everlasting.” — Isa. lxiii. 16. Jesus was no second person, He was the Father Himself; clothed, it is true, in our wondrous nature, but yet “God manifest in the flesh.” — I Tim. iii. 16. This was prophesied : it was commanded to be proclaimed centuries before it happened. “It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord (Jehovah) ; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” — Isa. xxv. 9. “Say to them that are of a fearful heart. Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” — Isa. xxxv. 4-6. Here we have, in the plainest language, the time fixed when the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place. It would be when the eyes of the blind were opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame man walked, and the dumb sang. And when was this but once?—in the life of the Lord Jesus. It was no doubt in reference to this prophecy, that when John sent to the Lord to inquire if He were the Messiah who should come, or they must look for another, the Lord Jesus replied, “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” — Matt xi. 4-6. It is obvious the Gospel announces a fulfillment of the prophecy. But whom does the prophecy declare as He who should come ? We can only answer, Your God, even God, He will come and save you. Again; let us take the words of the prophet, where John the Baptist is described. ” The voice of one that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Jehovah), make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” — Isa. xl. 3. In each of the four gospels John is declared to be the voice here spoken of, Matt. iii. 3. But whose way is he said to prepare? The only answer possible is, The way of Jehovah. Whose highway was he to make straight? The answer is. The highway of our God. In a succeeding portion of the same chapter we have the Saviour’s coming predicted. “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold. His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” — Isa. xl. 9-11. Here, there can be no doubt, that the prophet alludes to the great Saviour as the Good Shepherd, and certainly he declares Him to be the Lord God. Your God. And constantly the theme is, that there is only one Being who can save man, and that is God Himself. Take, as a striking instance of this, the following declaration: “Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord (Jehovah); and beside me there is no Saviour.” — Isa. xliii. 11. “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” — Ver. 25. Notice the expression, “for mine own sake.” People very commonly pray to one divine person for the sake of another. But this practice has no countenance in Scripture. The Lord Himself, and there is none beside Him. Take another declaration in the succeeding chapter: “Thus saith the Lord (Jehovah) the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord (Jehovah) of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” — Ver. 6. Again : “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” — Isa. xlv. 21, 22. Can anything be stronger than these declarations ? Do they not, in the most absolute manner, declare that there is only one God, who is the only blotter out of sin, the only Saviour of the sinner, the first and the last, and who is no other than the Eternal Jehovah Himself, the very root and origin of all things ? When, therefore, the Lord Jesus, at the closing of His word says, ” I am the Root,” what else can we understand from Him, but that He is that Eternal Jehovah of whom the prophets speak ; that He is the Infinite Lord who has created, and will save, and regenerate all who come to Him. ” I am the Root.”

The Lord declares Himself to be the offspring of David, as well as the Root. And here, as everywhere in the Word, especially of the New Testament, we may see in Him the Divine Humanity as well as the Essential Divinity. For we have already seen that He proclaims Himself the Root of all things, which, of course, is the same as Jehovah, the Father. Now He proclaims Himself the offspring of David, which, undoubtedly, refers to the Son. We cannot doubt that the Lord assumed the Humanity in the race of David, and thus was called His Son. On that account Zacharias, when filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied and said, on the birth of John, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.” — Luke i. 68, 69. Externally the human nature was from the mother, and thus from David ; but, internally, it was from the Father, and was thus, the Son of God, David’s Lord, even at His birth. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” — Ver. 35. To teach us that the Lord retained His Humanity, and the same Humanity, though now divested of all its materiality, and consisting only of that glorious substance which had been within the Father before the world was (John xvii. 5).

To be the offspring of David has also a still higher sense. As Abraham was a type of the Lord, whence heaven is called Abraham’s bosom, so is David. He was the fighting and conquering king of Israel, and he was a type of the Divine Truth which fights, conquers, and reigns in the Church. The Divine Humanity is the offspring of the Divine Truth, in Him the Word was made flesh. Divine Truth was embodied. In this respect He proceeded from the Father, and in the glorified Humanity the embodied Divine Truth is the very form of the Divine Love. To teach us this, then, He said, ”I am the offspring of David.” He was still a man, but a Divine man. He had still a body, not a Divine body. He was more a man than any spirit. His Divine Spirit was clothed with a body like a man in the world is, but His body, like His soul, is Divine. Hence, with the Divine Son, the whole church can be united, and through Him with the Father. It should never be forgotten, we have no direct communion with the Father. “No man knoweth the Father, save the Son.” We come to the Son, and the Son reveals the Father to us. The Lord said, ”No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” — John xiv. 6. We cannot too much ponder over this wonderful provision by which God has brought Himself nigh to us, and adoringly embrace this God with us, this Branch from the great Tree of Life, Isa. xi. 1 ; Zech. vi 12. The Father out of the Son is beyond human grasp or approach. In the glorified Son the Godhead shines with a soft and human radiance, divinely human. This is the great doctrine of the New Testament. How much it is to be regretted that it has so long been overlooked, and yet it is so simple. We are to abide in the Lord, and the Father is in Him. That is the true order, set forth again and again. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” — John xvii. 21. ” Without me ye can do nothing.” — Chap. xv. 5. ” If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” — Ver. 10. He is in the Father’s love, we are in His love. The doctrine of the glorified Humanity united to the Father, and becoming the medium by which we and the Infinite could be conjoined with each other, marks every portion of the Saviour’s teaching. The soul requires such a medium, and God came to give it. We want a living Head, a living Saviour, a divine Saviour, and yet not a new or rival Deity. We want the Father brought to view, the invisible manifested, the incomprehensible accommodated to the mind, so that we can embrace Him. And all this is done in the glorified Humanity. In Him dwells all the fullness of the God head bodily, and He is the head of all things, and by Him all things consist. Col. ii. 10, 11. The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified, but so far as He was glorified, He said, ” All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (John xvi. 15) “All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth.” — Matt, xxviii. 18. ” I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.”—Ver. 20. This conjunction with the Son as a living Divine Saviour, is the grand requisite for all spiritual life. ” I am come,” He said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” — John x. 10. ” Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” — John v. 40. The earnest soul asks for life, for light, for peace within, and these can only he obtained from the blessed Lord our Saviour. ” He that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” — John vi. 57. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” — John vi. 53. ” I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” — John x. 9. ”I am the light of the world.” — John viii. 12. ” These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” — John xvi. 33. How can we fail to see and embrace this gracious doctrine of the Father in the Son? It is so plain, so delightful, and so fully meets the spirit’s wants. We need to hold communion with God; we need that God should be before us, so that we can comprehend and love Him. In Jesus this is fully given. He is the way, the truth, and the life. John xiv. 6.

Many excellent persons have ceased to look confidingly at the Deity, if not to adore Him, because they have wearied themselves with trying to comprehend three separate divinities without bodies, but yet persons, and somehow side by side, and nevertheless one. O that they would now hear the Saviour, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He is not a rival to the Father, He is the Father Himself in a Divine Humanity. ” I and my Father are one.” — John x. 30. Cease to gaze at formless space: look at the Divine Man. His arms are outstretched to receive you. ” Whosover will come unto me, I will in nowise cast him out.” Fix your faith and love upon Him, your Master and Lord, and your perplexities will all cease.

Many other excellent persons have been led to renounce the Divine Trinity, because it seemed inconsistent with the unity of God. But a Trinity in Jesus is most perfectly consistent with the truest unity. These have been led, by the same perplexities, to deny the divinity of the Saviour, because He was placed before them as a second God. But all the difficulty vanishes when we regard Him as the God of heaven in His Divine Humanity, assumed and sanctified that He might conjoin Himself to His people, and by that means saves them. Thus the whole Scripture is harmonized, and reason, too, rejoices. Reason asks for an intermediate between itself and the infinite unknown. And what can be such a median but the Divine Humanity ? We want no mere human saviour, we want a Divine Saviour. Our Father, Himself, brought to view. How could all souls abide in the Saviour, unless He was Divine ? How could He be with us alway, unless He were omnipresent? How could He have power over all flesh, over all in heaven and on earth, unless the Father were in Him as His soul? How could His name be above every name, so “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth,” Phil. ii. 10, unless He had been the very Humanity of God the Father. To have placed a mere creature, a man, or angel, in this position, would have been to organize idolatry, to draw the whole intellectual and moral universe round a creature. But, no; it cannot be. He is the First and the Last ; the King of kings and the Lord of lords, because He is the Almighty, Rev. i. 8. He is “ the Root and the Offspring of David.”

The Divine Speaker goes on to say, He is ” the bright and the morning star.” The star, we have shown on several occasions, is representative of the light of knowledge. The light of the sun represents the light of wisdom, which flows direct from love; the light of the moon represents the light of faith, which illuminates the soul when it is in trial; the light of the stars represent the rays of knowledge which come from each individual statement of Holy Writ, when opened and seen by the mind. All light, in reality, comes from the Lord, though He gives it by various mediums. When the soul, first arrested by eternal things, ponders over the Word, and in deep humiliation sees its sinfulness and nothingness; when it has been abased in dust and ashes, and all has seemed darkness, anguish, and loneliness; where the heart has felt its own bitterness, and feels condemned in the sight of God, then is the spirit’s night. But if the condemned one look up to the Saviour, a gleam of holy light comes in to cheer and comfort. “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” The first joyful radiance which will come in the application of some divine promise from the Saviour, is ” the bright and the morning star.” It is the Holy Spirit from Him, imparting hope and deliverance. It speaks of a better dawn, a blessed morning. It is bright with the promise of a glorious day. It ushers in a new state, in which evil will be conquered, fallacy and folly dispersed, and peace possessed. It is the realisation of the Divine words, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come unto you.” It is the ushering in of the true freedom, the liberty of the children of light. ”Where the spirit of the Lord is,” says the apostle, ” there is liberty, the Lord is that Spirit.” — 2 Cor. iii. 17. “I am the bright and the morning star,” then, means that the first gleaming of the spirit of truth and holiness in the soul, is the spirit of the Lord Jesus shining there; and we need not add, all the increasing light which beams within, until the Sun of righteousness has fully risen upon the soul, is also from Him.

“In darkest shades, if Thou appear,
My dawning is begun ;
Thou art my soul’s bright morning star,
And Thou my rising sun.”

How complete, then, is this assurance from the Saviour Himself, that the whole Divine Trinity is in Him. He is “the Root, the Offspring, and the Star.” He is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit Well, then, may we acknowledge in Him the sender of angels. ” I, Jesus, will send mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” He is the God of angels, even as to His Humanity. When He bringeth the first-begotten into the world. He saith, ” Let all the angels of God worship Him.” — Heb. i. 6. But unto the Son He saith, ” Thy throne, God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” — Ver. 8.

Let us, then, adore the Son. Let us kiss the Son, lest we perish by the way, Ps. ii. 12. In Him, by Him, and through Him, we shall be receptive of every blessing. He is the Root of all good and of all being —the Divine Love — the Father. And, that He might not for ever be the unknowable, but that we might obtain conjunction with Him, He has put forth the Offspring, the Son, the embodied Divine Wisdom, the Son of His love, and if we approach Him in thought and heart we shall find His sacred light opening within us, and affording joy and peace.

The New Church has this glorious Being for her centre, her light, and Her glory; the New Age demands this. Too long have men worshipped an unknown God, and attributed to Him their own states and dispositions. The time has come in which it must, without obscurity or reservation, be confessed that Jesus is indeed Lord of all, Acts x. 36. We must learn, from listening to and following the Saviour, what our heavenly Father is. We shall then find that round the Divine Man all orders of being take their place; all the heavens derive their excellencies and their joys from Him. Heaven and the Church are His body, and He their Divine soul, their root, the origin of all the blessings they have. He will become, also, a Root to the earth; morality, reason, literature, politics, and science, have each their allotted place in the government of this Divine Man, and when rooted in Him will each perform their allotted uses. ” The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

The term “morning star,” in our text, suggests the idea that a true knowledge of the Lord would open a new day for mankind. The Old Dispensation settled in night. It was a day vigorous and bright at first, but which soon saw its fullest and best state, and then waned. Soon the spread of Christian knowledge gave way to the dogmatism of dictatorial, half-heathen spirits, who spent their time in making hair-splitting creeds, and persecuting those who did not adopt them. ” The love of many waxed cold,” as the Lord predicted; iniquity abounded, and faith in truth and goodness gave way to unbeliever. The morning and noon passed away, and evening and night came on. A dark and a cold night it was. But, blessed be the Divine Goodness, a bright morning star would shine again. The true knowledge of the Lord Jesus would be such a star, and a new day would begin, — the day of the New Jerusalem. The knowledge of Him as the root and the offspring, as the Father and the Son, as Divine and Human, would introduce a new dispensation of love and wisdom to mankind. From this all things would become new. “The time cometh,” the Lord said, ”when I will show you plainly of the Father,” and that time has come. The Lord shines even now upon the soul as the bright and morning star. He will shine as the moon, and at last as the sun shining in his strength. To the New Church, in this last dispensation as God to men, the prophet’s words are truly applicable. ”Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” — Isa. lx. 20.

All other ideas group round our conceptions of God. These are our inmost principles, the deepest, the most powerful, and the most influential of our nature. All people will walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord (Jehovah) our God, for ever and ever. When men deified their own selfishness, and worshipped it as God, and surrounded it with mystery, as a thing too sacred to be examined, everything else became selfish and mysterious. Not only the doctrines, but the very services of religion, were shrouded in mystery, and that which would have been common-place in good English, was something awfully holy in bad Latin. Monarchs were supposed to have a mysterious right divine, and their claims were too sacred to be examined; this was selfishness and mystery in government. The laws gave oppressive privileges to its makers, and were enveloped in language unintelligible to the people. It was the same with philosophy, with medicine, with science, with ordinary handicrafts even, all were kept as mysterious as possible, as completely for the selfish advantage of individuals as possible. It was selfishness and mystery, in circle after circle, to the very extremes of society. But as the Lord at His first advent introduced a new day to mankind, by bringing life and immortality to light, and as the prophet foresaw, a star arose out of Jacob, and a sceptre out of Israel (Numb. xxiy. 17), so would it be in the second advent. To know the Lord as a Divine Man, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. ii. 9), is to see a star of unutterable beauty. It is to see the Divine Love and Wisdom embodied. It is to worship Him who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty; so infinitely loving that He has never forsaken His creatures, and never will; so wise that He has provided means for our restoration from the lowest depths of misery, folly, and crime, yet without destroying our freedom, and so powerful that salvation is secure for all who come unto Him. may these glorious principles, infinite in Him, speedily repeat themselves in legislation, in literature, in philosophy, in science, in business, and in all the phases of social life. More love and more light; this should be our aim, our prayer, our cry. Rise, bright morning star, upon our souls. Enter upon thy glorious government. Send us, Prince of Peace, thy light and love to do thy will on earth as it is done in heaven. Hasten the blessed period when Thou, Jehovah, shalt be King over all the earth; when Thou shalt be adored in all the nations of the earth as the one Lord, and thy name One (Zech. xiv. 9).

“To Jesus be praise without end.
For glories reveal’d in His Word!
We see the new city descend,
Adorn’d as a bride for her Lord.
Here nothing can enter unclean :
No evil can breathe in the air :
No gloom of affliction is seen ;
No shadow of darkness is there.

“With wonder and joy we behold
The holy Jerusalem here;
Whose buildings and streets are of gold”
Whose walls are of jasper most clear.
With stones her foundations are set.

That glow with a lustre serene:
Her gates, all of pearl, never shut ;
And nations and Kings shall come in.

“No need of the sun or the moon
To shine on this happy abode;
Her light, more resplendent than noon,
Beams forth from the glory of God.
The Lamb is her light, and her sun,
Of life and salvation the spring :
Jehovah and Jesus are one,
Her Saviour, her God, and her King.”

Author: JONATHAN BAYLEY –From The Divine Word Opened (1887)