Daily Light on the Daily Path. Comp. Jonathan Bagster after Samuel Bagster. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002. 377 pp.
Daily Light on the Daily Path has served for centuries as a wonderful, uplifting morning and evening devotional. In the 1800s, Samuel Bagster would lead his family in morning and evening devotions (something all too lacking in most contemporary households) by compiling scripture references along central themes. His son Jonathan, remembering the power of his father’s devotions, published the compiled verses years later as Daily Light on the Daily Path. Originally in the King James Version, Crossway has now published an edition using the English Standard Version, whose accuracy and literary beauty do justice to the original, and whose readability brings the 19th century classic into the 21st century.
I was initially highly skeptical about using this work as a means of daily devotion. I have never been one in favor of taking verses out of their immediate context. However, Bagster’s work is a marvel. It is an inspirational work that carefully compiles the selections so that they are harmonized, yet their original intent is not lost. He made sure, as a good father should, to not twist the scriptures to his own meaning, but represent them to his family as they were meant to be read all along.
In some ways, it is not unlike using your bible’s cross-reference system as a means of daily reading. The carefully selected verses around central themes are an enrichment, letting Scripture speak to Scripture. I have found this book to be just the start I need in the morning to begin my day in a mode of worship, as well as an equally positive reflection after a day of joy or toil. Now incorporating the ESV (my personal favorite for devotion, study, teaching, and preaching), Daily Light continues to serve the Christian in the beginning and end of his or her day in the Lord. This ranks alongside Charles H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and John Piper’s Taste and See in my favorite devotional books, but Daily Light will always have a particularly special place for being exclusively and beautifully rendered in Scripture itself.