Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
By Robert Leighton (16111684)
From Sermon on Christ the Light and Lustre of the Church
WHEN the sun takes its course towards us in the spring season of the year, it drives away the sharp frosts and the heavy fogs of winter; it clears the heavens, decks the earth with variety of plants and flowers, and awakes the birds to the pleasant strains of their natural music. When Christ, after a kind of winter absence, returns to visit a declining church, admirable is the change that he produces: all begin to flourish by His sweet influence; His house, His worship, His people, are all clothed with a new beauty; but it is spiritual, and therefore none but spiritual eyes can discern it. When He will thus return, all the power and policy of man can no more hinder Him than it could stay the course of the sun in its circle. In like manner, a deserted, forsaken soul, that can do nothing but languish and droop while Christ withdraws Himself, what inexpressible vigour and alacrity finds it at His returning! Then those graces which, while they lurked, seemed to have been lost and quite extinguished, bud forth anew with pleasant colour and fragrant smell. It is the light of His countenance that banisheth their false tears, that strengthens their faith, and cures their spiritual infirmities. This sun is indeed the sovereign physician: Unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.