The Sweetness of Light
Ecclesiastes 11:7
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

Sweetness of almost every kind is an evidence of the Divine goodness. The fragrance of flowers, and of many plants and shrubs, is grateful to the smell; music is sweet to the ear; the whispering of the gentle breeze, and the murmuring of the purling stream, are soft and soothing to the soul; and specially sweet is the prattle of our children, the conversation of our friends, and the voice of the preacher in the house of God. And our sight, which Addison justly described as "the most perfect and delightful of all our senses," has a universe of enjoyment peculiar to itself; and as all the pleasures of vision are dependent on light, and to a great extent on solar light, it may be emphatically said, in the language of the text, "Truly the light is sweet," etc.

I. ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. Were the world to be henceforth deprived of this, how large a curtailment of human comfort, industry, commerce, study, and even divine worship, would be thereby occasioned through the half of every year! The tiny taper in the widow's cottage is not only essential to her toil, but also the companion of her solitude. The floating light in the chamber of the invalid cheers his solitary midnight hours. The sight of the lighthouse is always grateful to the imperilled mariner.


1. Light is sweet in itself. It is so admirably adapted, not only to our organs of vision, but also to the whole of our nervous system as to be the source of no small part of the pleasures we enjoy.

2. Light is sweet on account of the manifold and varied beauties, magnificence, and grandeur which it unveils to us.

3. Light is sweet on account of the cheerfulness and confidence which it inspires. Gloom and dread are usually spirits of darkness. Though we are sometimes afraid of things we see, we are far more frequently afraid of what we merely imagine. Hence fear often vanishes at the dawn of day. This is one reason why light is conducive to health and length of life. Inspired penmen frequently associate death with darkness (Job 3:5; Job 10:21, 22; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 49:19; Psalm 88:12; Jeremiah 13:16); light with life (Job 33:28, 30; Psalm 56:13; Ecclesiastes 7:11).

III. INTELLECTUAL LIGHT. This light irradiates the chambers of the soul, and thus enables reason to perform her high and important functions. It shines upon the balance-beam of judgment, and thus enables us correctly to decide. By the aid of this light we hourly gather up ideas from without, and store, and arrange, and amplify, and compare, and compound, and contrast them in the laboratory of our souls. It is this light which illumines the closet of memory, and thus enables us to review the bygone, recall the past, and revivify the dead. This light enables us to anticipate the future, and thus originates and sustains hope within our bosoms. To this light, too, we are indebted for the power of being able rationally to love, and thus to partake the sweetness of social converse and domestic joy. In all these, and in numerous other ways, it is a source of blessedness to us.

IV. SCRIPTURAL LIGHT. "The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light." "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." By this light we discern our characters and their shortcomings; our hearts and their desperate wickedness; our sad deserts and our terrific prospects. But it does not leave us thus. It shows us God, too; not merely as the God of holiness and justice, but also as the God of mercy, grace, and love, who is ready to pardon our transgressions, receive us graciously, and love us freely. Moreover, it shows us Christ as the brightness of His Father's glory, God over all, blessed for ever. It shows us the power and willingness of the Eternal Spirit to enlighten our minds, regenerate our hearts, and sanctify and save our souls. It also shows us the world in its vanity and vexatiousness, its sinfulness and its sorrows; and it shows us heaven in its holiness and love, its glory and its blessedness. Truly this light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is thus to behold the Lord God as our sun and shield. And there are times in the experience of every Christian when this light has special sweetness.

1. When we first derive therefrom a soul-gladdening hope of salvation.

2. When we find its directions specially suited to our circumstances.

3. When we find its promises specially suited to our wants.

4. When we are thereby enabled to obtain soul-reviving views of God, of Christ, of providence, of the future of the Church's history, and of heaven at last.

V. SPIRITUAL LIGHT. The same Divine Spirit who enkindled the lamp of revelation for us by the agency of His inspired servants has imparted to us spiritual light by the operation of His grace. It is sweet —

1. On account of the discoveries it makes to us. It shows us ourselves. It shows what monuments of Divine forbearance we have been. It shows us the way to the throne of grace. It reveals to us the way of acceptance with God.

2. On account of the transforming influence it exerts. By the light of heaven the sick are often restored to health, and the feeble frequently made strong. So by the light of grace the sinner's soul is renovated, strengthened, sanctified, and saved.

VI. ETERNAL LIGHT. Heaven is emphatically termed, "The inheritance of the saints in light." "There shall be no night there." In closing we remark —

1. How abundant, how varied, how precious, how suitable, and how gratuitous are God's bestowments.

2. We learn why it is that sinners hate Christ and His Gospel, the Bible and its teachings (John 3:19, 20). But surely this must enhance their guilt, and will aggravate their doom.

3. This subject will enable us to account for much of the darkness and distress of soul in which even true believers are at times involved. We wander from the light, or are too distant from it to derive the full pleasure and advantage which it is designed and adapted to impart.

4. It assures us that personal religion is a truly blessed thing. Our sorrows and our gloom are to a great extent the result of our shortcomings; but the light of grace is "truly sweet."

5. It shows the necessity of faith. That which sight is to the body, faith is to the soul, Light may be around us in all its beauty and effulgence, but without the power of vision we can make no discoveries thereby.

6. Be thankful for the light.

7. Pity those who are in darkness. Many such are around you; millions are in other lands. Carry the light to all you can; send it to those to whom you cannot go. Above all, pray God to "send out His light and His truth," that the light of His revealed will may be universally diffused, the light of His grace universally enjoyed.

(J. Jenkinson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

WEB: Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to see the sun.

The Sweet Light of Life
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