For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
&c.] The causal particle for, shows these words to be also a reason of the foregoing; either why they so clearly beheld the glory of the Lord, ( 2 Corinthians 4:18 ) or why they renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, ( 2 Corinthians 4:2 ) or why their Gospel could not be hid, ( 2 Corinthians 4:3 ) or why they did not preach themselves, but Christ, ( 2 Corinthians 4:5 ) because God had
shined in their hearts;
and in this light, they saw the glory of Christ; could not bear any secret, hidden, scandalous practices; and held forth the word of light and life to others; and seeing so much of their own weakness, sinfulness, and unworthiness, dared not to preach themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; in which may be observed the character of the true God, as opposed to Satan, the god of this world, who is said to blind the minds of men, ( 2 Corinthians 4:6 ) whereas the true God is represented as the author of "light", and as producing it by a word of "command", and that "out" of mere "darkness"; respect is here had to the creation of all things at the beginning, when "darkness was upon the face of the deep--and God said, let there be light and there was light", ( Genesis 1:2 Genesis 1:3 ) . Now this character of God, as creating light in this wonderful manner, is prefaced to his giving spiritual light unto his people; because of the agreement there is between light corporeal and spiritual, in their nature and production; for as there was darkness upon the earth before there was light, so there is a natural darkness in the minds of men, before any spiritual light is infused into them; and as light was the first production out of the dark and unformed chaos, so light is the first thing that is struck into the soul in conversion; moreover, as light was the effect of almighty power, so is the spiritual illumination, or the opening of the eyes of the understandings of men, who are naturally born blind; and as light was a creation of that which was not before, so the work of grace on the soul is not an increase of, or an addition to, or an improvement of the light of nature, but it is a new light, created in the understanding; add to all this, that both corporeal and spiritual light are good, and both called "day"; the influence that God has over the hearts of men, and the effect he produces there are, he
hath shined in our hearts.
The hearts of men are like this dark terraqueous globe, having no light in them; God is as the sun, the fountain of light, which shines upon them and in them; so as to give them a true sight and sense of sin, and of their lost state and condition; so as to cause them to see the fulness and suitableness of Christ as a Saviour; so as to warm their affections, and draw out their desires after Christ, his ways, truths, ordinances, and people; and so as to give them light into the mysteries of the Gospel; particularly he so shines into the hearts of some, whom be makes ministers of the Gospel, as to give more light and knowledge into Gospel truths, than he does to others; and his end in doing this, is
that is, that his ministering servants may give
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
men must be first made light in, and by the Lord, or they will never be fit and proper persons to hold forth the word of light, or to communicate light to others; God first shines into their hearts, and then they give light to others: by "the glory of God" is not meant the essential glory of God, or the perfections of his nature, though these are to be seen in the face, or person of Christ; but rather the glorious counsels of God, and scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ; or in other words, the glorious Gospel of God: and by "the knowledge" of it is designed, not a mere notional speculative knowledge of the Gospel, but an experimental one; a spiritual knowledge of the Gospel, of Christ in it, of God in Christ, and of an interest in God's salvation by Christ: now when the ministers of the word are said to give the light of this to men, or to enlighten them with this knowledge, it cannot be thought that they are the efficient causes, for such are only Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit; but only that they are instrumental, and are means in the hands of God, of bringing persons to see the fellowship of this mystery: all which is done, "in the face of Jesus Christ"; this denotes the clearness and perspicuity of their ministry, and of that knowledge which is communicated by it; see ( 2 Corinthians 3:12 ) and also the authority by which they act; it is in the name and person of Christ, in which sense the phrase is used, ( 2 Corinthians 2:10 ) .