In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
What is the darkness which comprehendeth not the light? Is it not man in the unregenerate state? “Ye were darkness,” saith the apostle, speaking concerning them as they had been in that state.
Now it pleaseth the Lord, that in this darkness his pure light should shine, to gather man out of the darkness. For unless light should shine on man in his dark state, he could never be gathered out of it; but he that is turned to the light, and followeth it, cannot abide in the darkness; but cometh into that which gathereth and preserveth the mind out of it.
But of what nature is this light, which shineth in man in his dark state? It is of a living nature; it is light which flows from life; it is light which hath life in it; it is the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Word eternal, which is the light of men. And he who cometh to the true understanding, may thereby distinguish it from all other lights whatsoever.
There is a vast difference between it, and the reason and understanding of a man; for the natural man, with his understanding, is dead; but this is living, and powerfully operating in man, as it finds entrance, and as his mind is joined to it. He that is dead, indeed, knows it not; but he that is alive unto God, feels the virtue of it. This light is above all gathered knowledge, and above all descriptions whatsoever, for it is of the nature of Him from whom it flows.
A man may get a notion from this into his mind, which he may retain the knowledge of; but his knowledge will quickly die. But he that dwells in the light. . . dwells in that which never dies.