(1) Let anyone reflect on the amazing advances made by himself since the period of infancy. But a few, very few years ago, he knew NOTHING. He was in his cradle, a poor, helpless infant. He knew not the use of eyes, or ears, or hands, or feet. He knew not the name or use of anything, not even the name of father or mother. He could neither walk, nor talk, nor creep. He did not know even that a candle would burn him if he put his finger there. He knew not how to grasp or hold a rattle, or what was its sound, or whence that sound or any other sound came. Let him think what he is at twenty, or forty, in comparison with this; and then, if his improvement in every similar number of years hereafter “should” be equal to this, who can tell the height to which he will rise?
(2) We are here limited in our own powers of learning about God or his works. We become acquainted with him THROUGH his works—by means of “the senses.” But by the appointment of this method of becoming acquainted with the external world, the design seems to have been to accomplish a double work quite contradictory-one to help us, and the other to hinder us. One is to give us the means of communicating with the external world—by the sight, the hearing, the smell, the touch, the taste; the other is to shut us OUT from the external world, except by these. The body is a casement, an enclosure, a prison in which the soul is incarcerated, from which we can look out on the universe only through these organs. But suppose, as may be the case in a future state, there shall be no such enclosure, and that the whole soul may look directly on the works of God—on spiritual existences, on God himself—who can then calculate the height to which man may attain in becoming a “partaker of the divine nature?”
(3) We shall have an “eternity” before us to grow in knowledge, and in holiness, and in conformity to God. Here, we attempt to climb the hill of knowledge, and having gone a few steps-while the top is still lost in the clouds—we lie down and die. We look at a few things; become acquainted with a few elementary principles; make a little progress in virtue, and then all our studies and efforts are suspended, and “we fly away.” In the future world we shall have an “eternity” before us to make progress in knowledge, and virtue, and holiness, uninterrupted; and who can tell in what exalted sense it may yet be true that we shall be “partakers of the divine nature,” or what attainments we may yet make?
[Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust] The world is full of corruption. It is the design of the Christian plan of redemption to deliver us from that, and to make us holy; and the means by which we are to be made like God, is by rescuing us from its dominion.