John 1:5
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
An Alternative RenderingJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:5
Christ is Full of LightH. W. Beecher.John 1:5
Christ's Pre-Incarnate ActivityT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 1:5
Darkness and BlindnessJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 1:5
Darkness and LightLange.John 1:5
God's Candles are and have Been Ever ShiningJ. Culross, D. D.John 1:5
How Different Men Receive the LightW. Denton.John 1:5
Men in DarknessW. H. H. Murray.John 1:5
The Condition of Receiving the LightOctavius Perinchief.John 1:5
The Darkness of the Natural MindT. de Witt Talmage.John 1:5
The Dense Darkness of the Period When the True Light AppeS. R. Bosanquet.John 1:5
The Historical Parallel to the Truth of the TextOctavius Perinchief.John 1:5
The Light NeededJohn 1:5
The Manifestations of the Light of the Word in DarknessH. Melvill, B. D.John 1:5
Without Christ -- DarknessJohn 1:5
A Notable ConversionJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.John 1:1-5
Christ and GodD. Thomas, D. D.John 1:1-5
Christ is GodJohn 1:1-5
Christ the True GodJohn 1:1-5
Christ the Word of GodJ. Cumming, D. D.John 1:1-5
Controversy About ChristBp.Ryle.John 1:1-5
God not SolitaryJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5
On BooksCharles Kingsley, M. A.John 1:1-5
Practical ReflectionsBp. Ryle.John 1:1-5
The Deity of Christ an Impossible InventionCanon Liddon.John 1:1-5
The Divine Father and SonArrowsmith.John 1:1-5
The Divinity of Christ Revealed in the Gospel of JohnDr. Pentecost.John 1:1-5
The Heavenly Analogy of the Connection of Speech with ReasonDean Goulburn.John 1:1-5
The Nature of Christ Perfectly Similar and Equal to that of the Eternal FatherJ. F. Denham.John 1:1-5
The Origin of the Term Logos, or WordT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 1:1-5
The Relation of This Revelation with that of Genesis 1J. Culross, D. D.John 1:1-5
The Resemblance Between the Written and the Personal WordDean Goulburn.John 1:1-5
The Term Word Applicable to ChristG. Steward.John 1:1-5
The WordJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5
The WordW. Denton, M. A., Beaux Amis.John 1:1-5
The Word Made FleshW. Perkins.John 1:1-5
The Word of Scripture Concerning the BeginningLange., Lange.John 1:1-5
What is Gained by Defending the Eternal Pre-Existence of Jesus ChristJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth: so runs the first verse of the Book of Genesis. "In the beginning was the Word:" so runs the first verse in the Gospel of John. This resemblance prompts us to look for other resemblances. "God said, Let there be light: and there was light:" so runs the third verse of the Book of Genesis. And then we perceive that John, correspondingly, would lead his readers to think of the greatest of all lights which come from God. He speaks of the Word that he may tell us of the Life in it, and of the Life that he may tell us of the Light in it. The Word is a living and light giving one. What are sun, moon, and stars, and all lamps compared with this light? John is speaking here for the eye of the heart.

I. THE DARKNESS THIS LIGHT IS MEANT TO ILLUMINATE. Be thankful for the lights forming part of the physical creation. There is sunlight even when there is not sunshine. Be thankful for the higher lights of civilization. Also the increasing light coming with every new discovery and invention. Each new generation finds the world better to live in, in many respects, Magnify what light you have outside of Christ; then you will better understand how small it is compared with what he has to give. For a while we may not at all feel the need of Christ's light. But the world becomes gloomy and cheerless enough to many who once reckoned it constantly radiant with brightness. The world very soon puzzles and perplexes those who are thoroughly in earnest. Life is such a short and broken thing to many. The longest life is like a candle; it burns and burns till it burns down to the socket, but it burns none the less; and then what is there left to show? God has noticed whatever darkness there may be in your heart. "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all;" and he wants us to be the same - wants to lead us into the light of constant peace, joy, and purity.

II. THE REASON THIS LIGHT IS SO POWERFUL TO TAKE THE DARKNESS AWAY. The light that God sends is a life. What power often dwells in a word - a true and fitting word, coming from the heart, giving just the information and encouragement needed! But then the kindest and wisest human speakers cannot be always present. And so God has a word for us in a life that can never pass away. Think of the power in his life; of the things he did, and did in such a way as to show he could do a great deal more. Think of the goodness of his life - goodness whereby he did good, and goodness whereby he resisted temptation. Think of the joy abounding in his life, even in the midst of straits and sufferings. Think of the confidence he carried through everything, never doubting whence he had come or what he could do. Think especially of the Resurrection, and life in heaven. It is from a world of life and light that this luminous life shines down upon us.

III. HOW THIS LIGHT BECOMES AVAILABLE TO US. He who told his disciples to shine, does his very best to shine himself. But then we must open our eyes to see this light. Lamps are nothing save as men are willing to use them. It is light we have to seek for: the darkness comes without seeking. Let Jesus shine in our hearts for spiritual blessings corresponding to those natural ones which come through ordinary lights. Let us aim to look back from the safety and fulness of the perfect day, saying, "Christ has indeed been a Light to me." - Y.

The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
1. Some merely receive it to evidence their own darkness.

2. Some by outward profession merely.

3. Others receive and impart it as lights which are lighted by the true light.

(W. Denton.)


1. Of falsehood.

2. Of hatred.

3. Of death.

II. THE LIGHT IN CONTEST WITH THE DARKNESS; or, the progress of revelation in the sinful world.

1. The light shining in the darkness (the shaded, coloured light).

2. The light breaking through the darkness.

3. The meridian of gospel day.


I. SHINING IN THE DARKNESS. Darkness points to the Fall. Had the union between man and the Loges continued, His life would have streamed in light around the souls of men, inspiring them with truth and arraying them in purity. But man severed the connection. Turning from the light, he chose a sphere of darkness. Nevertheless, the light continued to penetrate the dark atmosphere of ignorance and sin which thickened round man.

II. REJECTED BY THE DARKNESS. Though the light kept on shining through

(1)the teachings of nature;

(2)the intuitions of conscience;

(3)the Mosaic system and the prophets; yet men had not hold of the light, because —

1. They did not fully understand it.

2. Because they did not see it.

3. Because they did not deserve it.

4. Because they hated it.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. The light shone in the CONSCIENCES of men. A man without a conscience has never been born: never amidst the dreariness of heathenism — a faculty to distinguish right from wrong, to know that the Supreme Being is pleased with righteousness and angered at wrong-doing, and that sin will be punished. But this light shone in darkness. Conscience persuades resistance of evil passions, but inclination quenches the light. Conscience warns respecting the future, but is silenced by the gratification of the present. Conscience reminds of allegiance owing to a Creator, but the inducements of other masters drown its voice.

II. CREATION glows with radiations of its Maker. But its illumination has to enter that darkest of spots, the human heart, where it is opposed by mists of passion, clouds of ignorance, the night of unwillingness to know God. Hence, in spite of the light, men abandoned themselves to every kind of unrighteousness and fell into most degrading superstitions.

III. THE PATRIARCHAL RELIGION was derived from immediate revelation. The Eternal Word shone upon man, as soon as he had transgressed, in the promises of deliverance and institutions of worship. But when men multiplied they forgot their ancestral religion while retaining some of its features, disguised and debased, but recognizable. Hence the universal prevalence of sacrifice and the hope of salvation. In every age and district of heathenism the light has thus shone, so that men, in the midst of their idolatries, are witnesses that a revelation has been vouchsafed. This light, too, preserved in the legends of paganism o! the Fall, Deluge, etc. Yet the slaves of superstition comprehended not the light.

IV. THE TYPES AND FIGURES OF THE LAW sent forth rays converging towards the Sun of Righteousness, which, in the fulness of time, was to cross man's horizon. Yet the understanding of the Jews was so cloudy, and their hearts so gross, that they substituted the type for the antitype.

V. What can be declared of those who are privileged with the full shining of THE GOSPEL? The theology of conscience, creation, tradition, type, fade away from the revelation of these last days. The true light now shineth. How? Men are insensible to it. By placing men under a variety of dispensations God would prove that no amount of light will suffice to illuminate fallen creatures unless the Holy Spirit purge the sight. The sun may be in the heavens, but if the light in us be darkness, we shall not be illumined by his beams. The Holy Spirit alone can remove that darkness.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

If persons who can see are shut up together with others who are blind, in a perfectly dark room, the seeing and the blind are in the same situation; no object is perceived by any, no colours discerned; but if light is introduced into the room, there is then a wonderful difference. To those who are endowed with sight, every object appears in its true form and just colouring; but to the blind all things remain as they were; they are in darkness still; and this because the darkness is in themselves. So it is with the outward revelation of Divine truth: while it is withheld, all are in darkness, but it may shine not only on those who live, and are awake, and can see, but also on the dead, and on the sleeping, and on the blind.

(J. Fawcett, M. A.)

There are some vines that never actually come to the surface; they can scarcely be called vines — they are roots, rather, whose home is in the earth. They feed on the loam, and not on the sunshine. Grow as much as they may, they are never anything but a prolongation of fibres. They are earth-eaters; they live in the soil and they die in the soil. They add nothing to the beauty of the landscape; and among the higher orders of life and growth their names are never mentioned. So it is with some men; they are only human roots, that might become men. They live underground. All the fibres of their lives suck in earthiness. Their growth is all lateral. They spread out on all sides. They are never lifted up into moral and spiritual expression. They are of the earth, earthy. They die where they lived, and God alone knows what becomes of them. We only know that the Divine life is not in them, and, therefore, the Divine destiny cannot be. For there is no destiny that does not germinate here.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

ared: — At no time was it so universal or so deep. All the powers and principles of the world had been tried to the uttermost, and found utterly wanting. The religion of heathenism had stretched to that extent that, according to Varro, there were three hundred different gods in Rome alone. The Romans had consummated their idolatry by deifying their emperors and great men, and so had degraded themselves to the basest form of man-worship. The Greeks had speculated in religion till they had brought themselves to a conviction and acknowledgment of their ignorance, as testified in their altar inscribed at Athens, the very seat of religion (Acts 17:22 διεσιδαμονεστερους) and learning, "to the Unknown God." Their wisdom and philosophy had burnt itself out; and there was no longer any one of their successive schools of doctrine, however formerly dogmatic, which now had an ascendency even among themselves. The Eclectic school had selected something from each of them, and in so doing had condemned them all; and even thus it had not obtained a privilege for itself; for so each person was, of course, at liberty to make his own selection; and so every one in effect condemned every other, and no one gave to any other, or obtained for himself, any respect. The Powers of the world were also in their last stage, both of greatness and corruption. The Babylonian empire was represented by a golden head; the Persian by a breast of silver; the Grecian by thighs of brass: and now the Roman had swallowed up all other nations, and was become universal; but its substance was iron; it was the last of the worldly empires; it was tottering to its fall with its own weight and immensity; it was but feet and toes, base, divided, corrupted, and diseased, and was about to crumble into ruins. The religion of the Jews had also run its course, and had at this time fermented into a new separation. The general mass had corrupted itself. The law of ceremonies had lost its own small portion of life — vegetable life — and had become a more dead letter only, graven in stone, as obstinate and immovable — a withered and dry tree — yet still raising its barren and leafless branches with proud and pompous pride, and self-conceit, and defiance: but its barrenness had procured it disrespect and distrust, and men refused to shadow under its shadowless top, and even its own vitality was denied and disregarded by the Sadducees. At the same time a spiritual seed had been sown, not resting in the letter; not branching from the now spiritless trunk; but, though small, and lowly, and young, and tender, having yet the real principle of life within it, and meet for the digging, and pruning, and watering of the husbandman. At this time, in the fulness of preparation and unpreparedness, of superstition and infidelity, of ignorance and learning, of power and weakness, of evil and good, of hope and unbelief, Christ came in the flesh; the Sun of light and life was embodied, to convince and dispel the darkness, to lighten the ignorance, to overcome the power, to consume the dry tree, to vivify the green tree, to divide between day and night, between the good and evil, to rule over the one, to condemn and expel the other.

(S. R. Bosanquet.)

This world has never been given over to the unchallenged reign of darkness: there have always been souls wherein the life has been kindled, and through whom it has shot its rays into the world's gloom — God's candles lighted and placed according to His own will. In this respect the Father of lights has never been left without witness.

(J. Culross, D. D.)

It is a fact in physical nature that the sunlight passes through empty space, and neither warms nor lights it. Climb up to the top of the highest mountains at noonday, and the stars come out. The air is thin — it is therefore dark; we see only by as much light as is intercepted. So with your car. That alone is music which you hear. That is pleasure which you feel. That which your nerve does not report to you does not exist. It is precisely so in morals. There must be something to intercept the light, or that light itself is nothing. It was so with Christ. He was an infinite light. He sat there where there was no soul. They do not know He was God. It is so to-day. He sits among men. He is not God to those who only call Him God. You teach a man nothing if you only teach him to do that. The souls that intercept His rays, to them He is God. There is not one to whom all of God is revealed, because there is no soul that can intercept all there was in Jesus. The light still shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. Have whatever soul we may, there is ever more soul to be gained. Even Paul said the one yearning of his soul was to apprehend that for which also he was apprehended.

(Octavius Perinchief.)

This fact respecting Christ, that His light shone in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, hath its parallel in history respecting all truth. All the substances of nature, and all their laws, have been in being, certainly, ever since man has existed. Why did man not see them? Steam has been a fact ever since heat was first applied to water. How was it that man knew it not? The electric current has passed round this earth ever since the earth was made. How is it man but yesterday discovered it? Facts as plain as the daylight have been staring man in the face, sporting with him, and he sat there in his blindness and knew them not. To-day, endless facts, things we sadly need, are across our path; we are stumbling over them, and yet see them not. Coal lay in the earth, how many years? oil, how many centuries? Men needed them both. Why are they but now found to be serviceable? We say that things come just as man wants them. That is true. God must look in very pity upon us. Our misfortune is, we want not yet the tithe of what He is rich enough to give: "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." Men are everywhere hunting fortunes. Where are they hunting them? With the old muck-rake. Why not open the eye? Why not introduce ourselves to some of the wonders that are yearning to make themselves known to us? We think a man is crazy when he begins to see.

(Octavius Perinchief.)

admitted the necessity of Divine interposition to teach man his duty. Zenophanes died at the age of nearly one hundred years, and is said to have thus expressed himself: "Oh, that mine were the deep mind, prudent and looking to both sides! Long, alas I have I strayed on the road of error, beguiled, and am now hoary of years, yet disposed to doubt and distraction of all kinds; for, wherever I turn to consider, I am lost in the One and All." , after all his researches, asserted that "Vain man hath no accurate knowledge which is possessed alone by the God, but that man learns from the God as the boy does from the man." saw and confessed his ignorance, and deplored the want of a superior direction. s last prayer was, "I entered the world corruptly, I have lived in it anxiously, I quit it in perturbation." confessed that no excellence could exist without a celestial afflation. Hierocles and Seneca tell us that but by the help of God no man can become either good or prosperous; so that he who would repudiate the necessity of a Divine revelation to lead him by the Holy Spirit into all truth arrogates a power which the greatest reasoners of ancient times disclaimed.

Varro, a Roman writer of the first century, B.C., states that, in his day, he had been at the pains to collect the various opinions on the question, "What is the true object of human life?" in other words, "What is the supreme good? He had reckoned up as many as three hundred and twenty different answers. How needful is Divine revelation, and how essential to those who are starting in life, that a heavenly guide should teach them the true end and purpose of earthly existence!

A good many years ago, in Washington, there were two Congressioners who met once every week to talk about the immortality of the soul; but they despised the Bible. They found no comfort. Their time expired, and they went home. Years passed along. They both visited Washington at the same time, and happened to meet at the president's levee. They saw each other at a great distance across the room. They pressed their way through the crowd until they came to each other, and, after years of absence, the first thing that one said to the other was: "John, any light?" "No light." Then this one accosted the other, and said: "Henry, any light?" "No light." They said nothing more; they parted to meet at the judgment. Oh, are there any who have swung off from this grand old gospel of Jesus Christ, thinking to find rest for their soul? Have you found comfort, peace, joy, heaven? From a score of souls there comes up to me the cry to-night, "No light! no light!"

(T. de Witt Talmage.)

Going into a village at night, with the lights gleaming on each side of the street, in some houses they will be in the basement and nowhere else, and in others in the attic and nowhere else, and in others in some middle chamber; but in no house will every window gleam from top to bottom. So is it with men's faculties. Most of them are in darkness. One shines here, and another there; but there is no man whose soul is luminous throughout. But Christ presented a perfect character. Every room in His soul was filled with light. He is light.

(H. W. Beecher.)

"The darkness overcame it not." Sin did not succeed in extinguishing the inner light. "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" — a candle lit by God's own breath. When man fell the candle was sadly bruised, but it did not blow out. The great fundamental truths God planted in man continue to shine despite sin and its grievous consequences. Accordingly the darkness of the Fall was not complete — complete, I mean, in the sense that it could not be blacker; a little light was still continuing to glimmer — candle-light, if you like, but light all the same. Much talk is indulged in concerning original sin, though not quite as much as in former years; but we ought also to speak of original light, a light deeper and more primitive even than our sin. Do I not believe in the total depravity of the race? Yes, in the sense that every power is more or less tangled, that every faculty is more or less corrupt. No, in the sense that the derangement could not be greater, that the putridity could not be more advanced. The confusion and depravity here are great, but in hell they are considerably greater. So far a little light doubtless glimmers in the soul of every man on his coming into this world; the golden beams of the Sun of Righteousness are to be seen playing in the mental faculties of childhood. "The light shineth in darkness" — the darkness of our fall — "and the darkness overcame it not"; the light still burns. But if the darkness did not overcome the light, on the other hand the light did not overcome the darkness. In the other world, the world prior to the Incarnation, the light and the darkness confronted each other without making much impression one on the other. The darkness did not conquer the light, neither did the light conquer the darkness; and if the light is to win the victory, it must receive an ample increase, and this increase we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

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