Last week I was in England and spent a fair bit of time touring sites related to church history. As we passed by a church building in Cambridge, our host said as an aside, “That was Charles Simeons’ church.” I immediately took note because lately I’ve been so enjoying Simeons’ work. I purchased his strangely-titled Horae Homileticae for Logos and have found it a brilliant resource for Bible study and preaching preparation—one of my new favorites. In this work, a commentary on large swaths of Scripture, he shows an amazing ability to explain and apply the text. Here is an example from Matthew 5:14-16 (“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…). Be sure to read the second part since there’s gold there—a serious challenge to every Christian.
How we may become lights to the world. Simple as this question may appear, there are few who would answer it aright. Almost all would propose to attain this distinction by doing; and would be shocked at being told that it must be attained by believing: yet that is the very way by which our blessed Lord has taught us to seek it: “Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” This, of course, is not to be understood as though a bare assent to any truths whatever would sanctify the soul: it is to be understood as directing us to the Gospel, and to the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in it. To believe in the light, is to look for salvation entirely through Him whom God has set forth to be a propitiation for sin; it is to live altogether by faith on him, and to make him our all in all. This would render our union with Christ productive; and would lead to our perfect renovation after the Divine image. Then should we “shine indeed as lights in a dark world;” and God himself would be glorified in us.
What we should do if we have already attained that honour. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you, and that God’s glory in the world is very greatly affected by your conduct. Any fault in you will soon be noticed by the world. They who pay little regard to the stars that shine in their orbits, will yet be observant enough of a falling star and, in like manner, they who overlook the radiance of ten thousand saints, will mark with triumph the fall of a professor, and derive from it an argument against all serious religion. Be on your guard then against every thing which may either eclipse your light, or cause it to shine with diminished splendour. Be earnest also to get forward in your Christian course. The brightest of us emits only as yet the faint gleam of early dawn: “our profiting must continually appear;” and “our path be as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”