Ineffectual Light and Guilty Darkness
Isaiah 50:11
Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire…

These words are not applicable to those who have had no special privileges, and to whom there has been no alternative but that of groping their way in such light as they could gain from their own reason and from the conclusions of other men. They apply to those only who will not walk in the light which is offered them. There are -

I. THOSE WHO SEEK NO DIRECT ILLUMINATION IN THEIR CHRISTIAN COURSE. If we would order our Christian life according to the will of our Divine Master, we must not content ourselves with regulating our daily conduct by the rules and maxims which are current in the circles in which we move, or by the notions of propriety we happen to have formed from our elders and associates. We are bound to ask and to consider what the will of Christ is, as revealed in his Word and as illustrated in his life; and we are bound to seek the illumination of his Divine Spirit. Otherwise, we shall walk along a very much lower level than our Lord intended us to take. And though we be not finally condemned, yet will the time come when we shall awake to our grievous error, and be afflicted with a profound regret.

II. THOSE WHO PERSIST IN CONSTRUCTING THEIR OWN THEOLOGY. God has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ; in him and through him we know his nature, his disposition, his will concerning us; we know the way by which we can regain his favour, return to his likeness, ascend to his home in heaven. But there are those who will not learn and live; who proudly turn away from the Teacher that came from God to tell us of the holy Father of man. They prefer to construct their own theology; it is an utterly unsatisfying one; it is not the Bread of life, but the ashes of disappointment. And they pay, in a great and awful privation, the penalty of their folly and their sin.

III. THOSE WHO WILL NOT LEARN FROM GOD THE MEANING AND THE WORTH OF HUMAN LIFE. What are we here for? Can anything be made of the mortal life we are living? Is everything vanity? May we treat our life as a game to be played out; or as a mart where all things can be turned into money; or as a selfish scramble in which the strongest and swiftest secure the best prizes? There are many that say, "Who will show us any good? Life is not worth living." They walk in the light of the poor sparks their own wit has kindled. They will "lie down in sorrow;" they will come to mourn their great mistake, to reproach themselves for the greatness of their folly, the seriousness of their sin. For all the while that they were cynically dismissing their opportunities, there was shining on their life the light that comes from heaven. Christ was inviting them to make of their earthly life a holy sacrifice unto the living God, a noble and valuable service to their fellow-men, a time of pure and sacred joy, a discipline that would train the docile and obedient spirit for a broader sphere and a brighter life in a higher kingdom. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

WEB: Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who adorn yourselves with torches around yourselves; walk in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that you have kindled. You shall have this of my hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.

False Religions
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