That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…
To grow up in the acknowledging of Christ is the way to attain fuller measure of the Spirit in every kind. Everything which respects life or godliness is said to begiven us through the knowledge or acknowledging of Christ. When we first come to know Him as the truth is in Him, we partake according to our measure in His Spirit; when we grow to behold Him as in a mirror or glass, more clearly, we are turned into the same glorious image by the Spirit of the Lord more and more; when we shall see Him and know Him evidently and fully, we shall be as He is. The more we know Him, the more fully He dwells in us, the more we enjoy the influence of His Spirit; even as this bodily sun, the nearer it approaches to us, the more we have the light and heat of it.
1. They whose spiritual sight is restored, have need still to depend upon God, that their eyes may be more and more enlightened by Him. As it is with bodily sicknesses, when we recover from them, health comes not all at once, but by ounces (as we say): so in spiritual. When God raises us up from our death, we neither are fully sanctified, nor yet fully enlightened; it is with us as with the blind man (Mark 8:24); we see, but confusedly and indistinctly. Now this enlightening comprehends these four things, which we have still need to ask God for.
(1) The removal of those things which impede our sight. Mists of ignorance. Clouds of lust. Veils of hardness of heart.
(2) The inward light of knowledge augmented in us.
(3) The light of revelation.
(4) A direction and application of the mind's eye, to behold spiritual things. If the natural man and all his faculties move in God, much more the spiritual. God is said to make the eye seeing, and the ear hearing; i.e., not only to create them, but govern and apply them to what they do; otherwise we might be like Hagar, not seeing that which was before our eyes. Even as it is not so much the eye that sees, as the soul in and by the eye, whence it is that if the mind be abstracted in serious thought, men see not that which is before them; so it is not so much the eye of our understanding, as the Spirit of Christ, which is the soul of all the Body Mystical, which causes sight in us.
2. Even true believers know not at first, in any measure, those hopes which are kept in heaven for them.
(1) The reason why these hopes are not fully known is partly because of their excellence, and the abundant light which is in them.
(2) The weak sight of younglings in Christianity, is not proportioned and fitted as yet to so high an object as this. Bring the light of a candle near to the natural babe, and it cannot endure to look up against it.
(3) Even as children are so taken up with their childish affairs, that they cannot bring themselves to the serious consideration of more important matters; so believers are long so carnally affected that they cannot set themselves steadily to this contemplation.
(4) As those possessed of valuable earthly goods are surrounded by crafty companions who will keep them from knowing the value of things belonging to them; so the devil tries hard to keep us hoodwinked this way.
3. There is no grounded hope, but of such things as God has called us to obtain.
(1) This calling is such a revealing of His grace within our heart, as makes us come to Him and follow Him for the obtaining of life through Christ.
(2) To those called, God reveals His will. We may know that we are called if our hearts answer God, and our wills respond to the indications of His will.
4. The inheritance kept for us is abundantly glorious. We are passing through this vale of misery to an excellent eternal weight of glory. Let this draw up our hearts. Riches and glory, what do they not with mortal men? But, alas, these worldly riches and glorious dignities are but pictures, not having the substance of what they show for. Men will sue upon their knees to recover small inheritances on earth. While time lasts, seek this inheritance. Let us think what a heart break it is to a man when he finds that by some default he has forfeited some earthly matters which he might have held had he been wary; but what a grief and confusion will this cause, when men shall see that through carelessness they have lost an everlasting inheritance of glory which they might have attained. There is but one life between us and possession; why should we be so negligent as we are?
5. It is to the saints that this inheritance belongs — those who are not only cleansed from the guilt of dead works, but by the Spirit of Christ renewed to true holiness.
(1) See how those deceive themselves who expect to be saved, but love not holiness; who love to live after their ignorance and lusts, and mock at men who will not run to the same excess of riot that they do. Know this, that just as wise men will not leave their substance to the children of an adulteress, so God will never give thee the inheritance of glory while thou continuest a child of this world, loving nothing so much as its pleasures, pomps, and profits.
(2) Labour for holiness. True holiness is not a good nature, nor moral justice, nor external profession of religion so far as fits in with our own will. No; where we first renounce our will, there we first begin to be holy. We must strike at the root, by getting purged of sin, and seeking all things from God.
Parallel VersesKJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: