But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.
I. IT IS IN EVERY MAN'S POWER TO MAKE HIS LIFE A PROGRESSIVE STATE. If we trace the progress of the human mind from the first dawnings of sense and reason, we may see from what small beginnings it acquires a prodigious store of intellectual knowledge. The moral powers, like the natural perfections of the body, are more equally distributed than the intellectual; and in them there is as large a field laid open for our advancement towards perfection as there is in the intellectual. No man knows what he can do till he is firmly resolved to do whatever he can. There are often abilities unknown to the possessors which lie hid in the mind for want of an occasion to call them forth. One can scarcely have too high an opinion of the powers of the human soul, especially in the affair of our salvation, and scarce too low an opinion of men's inclinations to exert these powers in that important case. But God gives to every man adapted and effectual grace. We have the same natural power, the same gracious aid and assistance, for persevering and improving in every virtue and grace, as we had originally for attaining them. What, then, should restrain or hinder our continual progress? One reason why men do not quicken their pace more in the ways of goodness is the mistaken judgment they form by using a deceitful standard. They are not at any trouble to get exact notions of perfection and goodness, and to examine their lives by such truly imitable patterns. So far, then, from considering this life as a dull round of the same insignificant trifles, we ought to look upon it as an indefinite line wherein every step we take is, or ought to be, an important and valuable advance in goodness.
II. SOME REASONS AND CONSIDERATIONS TO ENGAGE US IN SUCH A PRACTICE.
1. This progressive state is our duty. God's design is to make men as virtuous and pious as possible. It is in our power to make a constant and continued progress in the kinds of these perfections, and thence arises our obligation to advance in the degrees as far as the sum of our faculties, exercised and improved to the utmost, can carry us. Our condemnation will not lie in this, that we did not exactly transcribe the original, but that we did not make the copy so complete as was in our power. If a man thinks himself already as virtuous and good as he needs to be, it is a certain sign that he has not yet arrived at any eminence in virtue.
2. The advantages we shall reap from the progressive state.
(1) It will supersede the trust and confidence which too many are apt to repose in repentance.
(2) It is the best means for bringing us to a uniform and unreserved obedience.
(3) It is the only security for our preservance in such obedience.
(4) It is the best testimony we can have of our being in a salvable condition.Reflections:
1. How groundless and unreasonable are all complaints of human life as an insignificant, capricious, and wayward state.
2. If the progressive is the right state of life, what shall we think of those who are pursuing an opposite course?
(J. Seed, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.