Charles Simeon Commentary - Luke 8:16 - 8:18

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Luke 8:16 - 8:18

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Luk_8:16-18. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

AMONG the ancient philosophers there were some, who instilled into their more immediate followers, principles different from what they avowed to the public at large. But there was no such insincerity in our Divine Teacher. He did indeed instruct his peculiar Disciples more fully than others (for others were not capable of enduring the clear light of his Gospel) but it was his design that, in due season, the whole truth should be made known to the world; and of this his intention he advertised his Disciples, at the very time that he was explaining to them his public discourses.

In the parable before us he suggests the duty,

I.       Of those who preach the Gospel—

The Gospel is a light in the midst of a dark world—

[The world lieth in utter darkness: nor has it any means of discovering the way of acceptance with God, but by the Gospel of Christ. Something of God may be learned from the visible creation: and reason may discover many things that are proper to that relation which we bear to God and to each other: but nothing can be known of Christ, nor can any means of reconciliation with God be devised, by unenlightened reason. It is in the Gospel only that the Saviour is exhibited, and that all the things belonging to our peace are fully revealed. Hence the word of the Gospel is represented as a light shining in a dark place [Note: 2Pe_1:19.], and as that light to which the whole world must be indebted for life and salvation [Note: Isa_60:1-3.].]

It is the duty of ministers to preach this Gospel,

1.       With fidelity—

[It is not sufficient to amuse the people with moral essays, or with dissertations that shall display our own learning. We must preach Christ crucified. We must “determine to know nothing else among our people [Note: 1Co_2:2.].” We must never omit any opportunity of setting before men that “light which God has sent into the world.” We may indeed, yea we must, use discretion in our method of dispensing the Gospel, lest by an injudicious declaration of the truth we injure those whom it is our desire to benefit [Note: Joh_16:12. 1Co_3:1-2. Heb_5:11; Heb_5:14.]: but, in this, we must be actuated, not by worldly policy or the fear of man, but solely by a love to the souls of our fellow-creatures. When no such necessity imposes a restraint, we must declare the whole counsel of God [Note: Act_20:20; Act_20:27.].]

2.       With perseverance—

[As a man should not substitute any thing else in the place of the Gospel, so neither should he withdraw from the engagements he has solemnly entered into to preach the Gospel [Note: Lev_27:28. with Luk_9:62. 1Co_9:16-17.]. Neither political ambition, nor worldly care, can ever justify a man in intermitting, much less in vacating, the paramount duties of the ministry [Note: 2Ti_2:3-4.]: not even sickness itself is any excuse for neglecting to employ the strength we have in the service of our God [Note: 1Ti_5:23. Paul does not say, Leave off preaching; but, Take care of your health.]. We do not say, that the education of youth is incompatible with the ministry: but it should never be suffered to make void the superior obligations which we owe to God, and to the souls of men. It may be made subservient to the ministry; but must never supersede it.]

From the duty of those who preach the Gospel, we pass on to consider that,

II.      Of those who hear it—

We should “take heed how we hear it”—

[We should be extremely careful what we hear [Note: Mar_4:24.]; lest we be led astray by those who profess to guide us into the way of peace [Note: Pro_19:27.]. We must also be duly attentive to the manner in which we hear. We must not be indulging a vain curiosity, or a disposition to cavil; but must receive the word humbly, as the word of God himself [Note: 1Th_2:13.]; attentively, in order to retain it [Note: Heb_2:1.]; and obediently, with a view to practise all that it enjoins [Note: Jam_1:21-22.]. If, like those to whom this injunction was given, we be already in the ministry, or are preparing for it, our obligations to profit by the word, whether in the Church or in the closet, are greatly increased.]

An attention to this duty is of infinite importance—

1.       We shall invariably receive benefit in proportion as we do attend to it—

[Who that has ever searched the Holy Scriptures in private, and waited diligently on the public ministration of the Gospel, has not found that, together with increasing views of the truth, his faith, his hope, and all his graces, have been strengthened and confirmed [Note: Act_17:11-12.]? — — —]

2.       We shall assuredly suffer loss in proportion as we neglect it—

[From whatever cause we are led to slight the ordinances of religion, or to decline from the study of the sacred oracles, we shall soon find occasion for regret and sorrow. We may ask of all who have experienced such declension, Have you not lost much of the light and liberty which you once enjoyed in your souls? have not your graces languished; your corruptions gathered strength; your difficulties increased; your comforts vanished? — — —

God has inseparably connected prosperity with diligence, and with remissness want [Note: Pro_10:4. Mat_25:28-29.].]


[If the true light now shine around you, be thankful for it, and walk in the light, lest the candlestick be removed [Note: Rev_2:5.], and ye be left in utter darkness [Note: Joh_12:35.]: and “let all make their light to shine before men;” that, being “as lights in the world,” they may “win by their holy conversation” those who have resisted the light of the written word, and shut their ears against the preached Gospel [Note: 1Pe_3:1-2. Php_2:15-16.].]