But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.
The just man here is not the man who merely begins, it is the man who perseveres. This man's path is no meteor, which gleams and expires; no rising day, lowering into mist and darkness; it is the path of the cloudless light of heaven. Persevering piety is as the light that shineth more and more.
I. BECAUSE OF THE INCREASING DEMONSTRATION WHICH IT FURNISHES OF THE TRUTH AND EXCELLENCY OF RELIGION. There are many proofs of that excellency, some argumentative, others experimental. These last have always an increasing power.
II. PERSEVERING PIETY POSSESSES AN INCREASING ASSURANCE OF THE DIVINE FAVOUR. This is the very light of the soul, the only source of peace in the conscience. At first it is obtained by faith; but in the case we are supposing faith grows into a habit, and keeps the soul in perfect peace.
III. PERSEVERING PIETY HAS INCREASING PLEASURES. There can be no growing happiness without a preserved sense of Divine acceptance. Piety opens sources of mental pleasures: pure, because not applied to sinful objects; rich and constant, because flowing from sources of real good. All these have in them a principle of increase. Increasing pleasures are opened by the Word and ordinances of God, by Christian communion and religious exertions. All these, to a spirit prepared for them by the salvation which is of grace, through faith, present pleasures which never cloy, which afford richer and still richer satisfaction.
IV. PERSEVERING PIETY HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF AN INCREASING EVIDENCE OF THE WISDOM AND CARE OF GOD IN HIS PROVIDENTIAL ARRANGEMENTS. The man who perseveres in piety is more wise to see, and more careful to mark, the abounding instances of Divine interposition.
V. PERSEVERING PIETY HAS BRIGHTER AND MORE CHEERING VIEWS OF THE ETERNAL STATE. The conviction of the world's vanity, experience of the world's trials, are designed to quicken the progress of the affections towards man's heavenly home. Everything in piety moves towards God; but it is God in heaven, as fully revealed there.
1. See, then, that your path be indeed the path of the just. Walk in it by the strength of regenerate habits, fed by prayer, and by communion with God.
2. Remember that the way of the wicked is darkness; it is all error and perplexity.
3. Recollect, for your encouragement, that, bright and cheering as is the light upon your path, it is but the light of the morning.
Parallel VersesKJV: But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.