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 staff.

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."

"Soon--and forever,
The breaking of day
Shall drive all the night-clouds
Of sorrow away.
Soon--and forever,
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
Soon--and forever."

"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."


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