The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,859 pages of information about The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.

There is not, in my Opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant Consideration in Religion than this of the perpetual Progress which the Soul makes towards the Perfection of its Nature, without ever arriving at a Period in it.  To look upon the Soul as going on from Strength to Strength, to consider that she is to shine for ever with new Accessions of Glory, and brighten to all Eternity; that she will be still adding Virtue to Virtue, and Knowledge to Knowledge; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that Ambition which is natural to the Mind of Man.  Nay, it must be a Prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his Creation for ever beautifying in his Eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater Degrees of Resemblance.

Methinks this single Consideration, of the Progress of a finite Spirit to Perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all Envy in inferior Natures, and all Contempt in superior.  That Cherubim which now appears as a God to a human Soul, knows very well that the Period will come about in Eternity, when the human Soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is:  Nay, when she shall look down upon that Degree of Perfection, as much as she now falls short of it.  It is true the higher Nature still advances, and by that means preserves his Distance and Superiority in the Scale of Being; but he knows how high soever the Station is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferior Nature will at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the same Degree of Glory.

With what Astonishment and Veneration may we look into our own Souls, where there are such hidden Stores of Virtue and Knowledge, such inexhausted Sources of Perfection?  We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the Heart of Man to conceive the Glory that will be always in Reserve for him.  The Soul considered with its Creator, is like one of those Mathematical Lines that may draw nearer to another for all Eternity without a Possibility of touching it:  [2] And can there be a Thought so transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual Approaches to him, who is not only the Standard of Perfection but of Happiness!

L.

[Footnote 1:  “,and provide”]

[Footnote 2:  The Asymptotes of the Hyperbola.]

* * * * *

No. 112.  Monday, July 9, 1711.  Addison.

      [Greek (transliterated): 

      Athanatous men pr_ota theous, nom_o h_os diakeitai
      Tima

      Pyth.]

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