Dazzle the world with light by opposing with your tongue (Andrew Bonar & John Calvin)

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Puritan Board Senior
I would appreciate thoughts on the following regarding when to speak out and when to hold our tongue.

I recently finished reading Andrew Bonar’s commentary on Leviticus. In regards to 24:1-4 and the priest setting the lamps in order daily, Reverend Bonar asserts that
this represents Christ causing his people daily to receive and give forth light and life. In the midst of a dark world, believers are set up as lights
and he references Philippians 2:14 and Matthew 5:16. He continues,
They should be as the Baptist, "burning and shining lights." They should be representatives of Christ himself, who "shone as the light in darkness."

He proceeds to explain seven ways believers must shine:

1. Not by natural gifts, but by grace
2. Clearly
3. Constantly
4. Calmly
5. In the face of the world
6. So as to show the golden table and the golden altar
7. As if you alone were responsible for the enlightening of the dark world

In particular to number five, Reverend Bonar comments (emphasis is mine),
“Cast your light fair on the world's sins, that they may see them. Point out their ungodliness, their lawlessness, their unbelief. Reprove their acts of Sabbath profanation. Check them when they swear in your presence. Bear your testimony where the truth is denied in your presence. Never be afraid of dazzling the world with too much light; but plainly show them that they are wholly sinful, wholly ruined, wholly helpless; arid speak of a present, immediate, free, full pardon in the Saviour.”

To be lights of the world, are we commanded to speak up against all sins as we encounter them? I do not hear preachers speak like this these days. I find it interesting that of all examples Rev. Bonar uses “Sabbath profanation." I notice in my own church through various conversations many who do not keep the Sabbath according to the scriptures and our confession. I hold my tongue and assume they must take an exception to the Reformed view on the matter. Should I heed Rev. Bonar and reprove their acts of Sabbath profanation? When my unbelieving neighbor is working on his lawn or house on Sunday, must I let my light shine and reprove him? What are your thoughts on Andrew Bonar’s charge to Christ’s sheep?

I just came across the following passage today in Calvin’s commentary on Christ driving out the den of robbers from the temple in Matthew 21:10-22, Mark 11:11-24, and Luke 19: 39-48. He also asserts that believers should speak up (emphasis is mine):

And yet there is no reason to doubt that he declared himself to be both King and High Priest, who presided over the temple and the worship of God. This ought to be observed, lest any private individual should think himself entitled to act in the same manner. That zeal, indeed, by which Christ was animated to do this, ought to be held in common by all the godly; but lest any one, under the pretense of imitation, should rush forward without authority, we ought to see what our calling demands, and how far we may proceed according to the commandment of God. If the Church of God have contracted any pollutions, all the children of God ought to burn with grief; but as God has not put arms into the hands of all, let private individuals groan, till God bring the remedy. I do acknowledge that they are worse than stupid who are not displeased at the pollution of the temple of God, and that it is not enough for them to be inwardly distressed, if they do not avoid the contagion, and testify with their mouth, whenever an opportunity presents itself, that they desire to see a change for the better. But let those who do not possess public authority oppose by their tongue, which they have at liberty, those vices which they cannot remedy with their hands.


Puritan Board Senior
In thinking about this and discussing it with my bride, being lights in such a way would surely cause the world to hate you.

Some more scriptures to consider:

Matthew 10:33-35:

33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.​

Matthew 7:1-6

1Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.​
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