Prov. 4:18--"The path of the just is as the shining
light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day."
If, in the Word of God, the Christian is likened to a
pilgrim, we find also his life compared to a journey; and,
perhaps, one reason for this comparison is, that he is always making
progress in the way. There is no standing still. Days, and months, and
years, hurry on with resistless impetuosity. The child soon passes into the
youth; the youth into the man; the man into the aged veteran leaning on his
There is another progress made by every one of us. There
is a path in the formation of CHARACTER, equally inevitable, which must be
trodden, whether the result be good or bad. The events which happen--the
companions with whom we associate--the deeds of daily life--the very
thoughts which pass through the mind--all combine in leading on the man, and
in forming his character. This is especially true with regard to the
believer in Christ; and how often is he exhorted to press forwards and
onwards! "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ." "Give diligence to
make your calling and election sure." "Press forward to the mark for the
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." "Be not weary in
well-doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not."
"Furthermore, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus,
that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so
you would abound more and more."
It is impossible for the believer to pause in his
heavenward journey. He is either advancing or going backward--not, while the
pulse though feeble yet beats--not, while the eye though dim yet moves, is
there a single period when he can say, "Here will I rest." "Forwards and
onwards" must ever be his motto; and, as he grasps with firmness the banner
of the Cross, and gazes upon it in its blood-stained beauty, and sees those
golden letters "by this conquer" inscribed upon it, he must follow where it
leads--engaging in fresh conflicts, surmounting fresh difficulties, and
gaining fresh laurels, and the loftiest flight of his ambition must be, to
heave his last sigh beneath its shadow--assured that his path is to
terminate in glory--that his death will be the death of victory, and that
victory the victory of heaven.
Christian! behold the path of the just--of those who, all
guilty in themselves, are justified in Christ. It is, as a "shining
light." Yes, the believer was "once darkness," but now he is "light in the
Lord." Once, he was ignorant of God in Christ, now he can say "Abba,
Father." Once, he dwelt in the darkness of sin, but now he has been called
into God's "marvelous light." Once, he trod the path of obscurity and gloom,
now he follows "the Light of the world." No longer blinded by the god of
this world--no longer governed by that spirit which hides all that is
invisible, real, and eternal--he "lets his light shine before men"--he
"holds forth the word of life." Christian! have you ground to believe that
such is your path?
If so, it is also as a progressive light. Even as
the dawn of morn creeps gradually on the earth--gray streaks of light
brightening the eastern horizon, revealing the dark and distant outline of
the lofty hills--gradually illuminating glen and valley, and sweeping away
the lingering mists of night--so, from the first dawn of spiritual light
upon the soul--even amid gloom and shadow, there is an onward
progress--faith, and hope, and love are invigorated--the spiritual
understanding is matured--richer consolations are enjoyed, and the heart
expands to the warm rays of the "Sun of Righteousness."
And this path is most surely to conduct to the "perfect
day." What certain harbingers of the rising sun are the first streaks of
dawn! Thick mists may hover over the earth--dark clouds may shroud her--wild
storms may sweep along the plains; still, in silent and undeviating
progress, the sun will rise--and, as surely as he rises, so will he attain
his meridian splendor. Equally certain may we be, that the first dawn of
spiritual light is the undeviating precursor of a perfect day of glory. The
day of grace once begun, must advance. There may be many hindrances--clouds
of dark and mysterious providences; but nothing shall impede its
course--nothing shall arrest its progress. The Sun risen on the soul, with
healing in His wings, shall never stand still--onwards it will roll in its
glorious orbit, penetrating with its beams every dark recess, until all
mental shadows are merged and lost in its unclouded and eternal splendor.
See the Christian, after he has descended into the gloomy
valley, and crossed the billows of the Jordan! He stands upon Immanuel's
shore, amid the splendors of that everlasting day, whose sun shall set no
more. Grace, the day-dawn, has now yielded to glory "the perfect day." The
weary pilgrim has emerged from the shadows of his pilgrimage, and has
entered that world, of which it is said, "There shall be no night there."
Does he dwell on the perils and dangers through which he has passed--the
pains, and sufferings, and privations of his journey--the toils, and trials,
and anxieties of his life--as if they had been too numerous, painful and
agonizing? Ah, no!
Methinks, as he enters within the portals of the eternal
city, with its wall of sapphire, and its gate of pearl--as he gazes on the
eternal throne, and Him who sits upon it, and takes up his golden
harp--this, as it has been beautifully said, will form the burden of his
song--"Bless the Lord, O my soul, for His converting grace--His providential
dealings--His unceasing care and love. Savior God, You have led me by the
right way--I now see by what Your dispensations towards me were regulated,
and in what happiness they have ended. I was chastened of the Lord, that I
might not be condemned with the world. Though I then did sow in tears, yet
now I reap in joy. Often did you turn my gloomy night into sunny day. Many a
dark cloud of my pilgrimage have You fringed with Your golden beams. By Your
light I have walked through darkness many a long and lonely stage of my
journey. Blessed Savior! I praise You for Your sustaining grace--for Your
cheering presence--for Your unwavering faithfulness, for Your tender love--I
praise You for the pains and sorrows, the afflictions and bereavements of my
earthly lot. All were needed. With not one stormy cloud--not one night of
suffering--with not one ingredient in my cup of sorrow could I safely have
dispensed. Now I can see with what infinite wisdom and tender love You were
appointing all, and guiding all, and overruling all the varied turnings, and
windings of my earthly journey. Now I find, by blessed experience, the truth
of those words which I so often heard in the days of my flesh, that my
'labor has not been in vain in the Lord.'"
Reader, be this your prayer– "Give, O God, to lead and
guide me by Your counsel here, and afterward receive me into glory."
The breaking of day
Shall drive all the night-clouds
Of sorrow away.
We'll see as we're seen,
And learn the deep meaning
Of things that have been.
When fightings outside us,
And fears from within,
Shall weary no more
In the warfare of sin;
Where tears, and where fears,
And where death shall be never,
Christians with Christ shall be
"Let Reason vainly boast her power
To teach her children how to die–
The sinner, in a dying hour,
Needs more than Reason can supply–
A view of Christ, the sinner's Friend,
Alone can cheer him in the end.
"When nature sinks beneath disease,
And every earthly hope is fled,
What then can give the sinner ease,
And make him love a dying bed?
Jesus! Your smile his heart can cheer,
He's blest, even then, if You are near.
"The gospel does salvation bring,
And Jesus is the gospel theme;
In death redeemed sinners sing,
And triumph in the Savior's name–
'O death, where is your sting?' they cry,
'O grave, where is your victory?'
"Then let me die the death of those
Whom Jesus washes in His blood,
Who on His faithfulness repose,
And know that He indeed is God;
Around His throne we all shall meet,
And cast our crowns beneath His feet."