« ForrigeFortsæt »
feel as God feels. Being benevolent, they discover the beauty of benevolence, wherever it is displayed by the kind parent of the universe. And as he has infi. nitely more benevolence than all other beings ; so he appears infinitely more amiable and beautiful than any other being in the universe. They see him to be just such a being, as they desire him to be. They do not desire the least alteration in one of his perfections. They are pleased to see him as holy, as just, as good, and as gracious as he is ; and as wise and powerful as he is to do all his pleasure. They see God as he sees himself, glorious in holiness, and of consequence, glorious in all his other attributes, which are under the in luence of his perfectly benevolent heart. They see supreme beauty and excellence in his power and wisdom, in his justice and sovereignty, in his merey and grace, as they are continually exercised for the highest good of the universe. This leads me to show,
III. Why good men sincerely desire to see the beauty of the Lord.
Moses besought God with great importunity to show him his glory. Job ardently desired to draw near to God, and to have clear views of his supreme excellence. He says, “O that I knew where I might find him ! that I might come near unto his seat! Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot find him. On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him.” Job saw the natural perfections of God in all his works ; but he did not, at this time, see the beauty and glory of his moral perfections, which had often afforded him the highest enjoyment. David had very strong desires, from time to time, to see and enjoy the supreme beauty and glory of the divine character. It
was the one thing, upon which, above all others, he set his heart. Hear what he says in the fourth psalm, on this subject. “There be many that say, Who
" will shew us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased.” And in the sixty-third psalm, he describes the longings of his heart after peculiar discor. eries of the divine glory. "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee ; my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is ; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Such are the strong and sensible desires of good men to behold the beauty of the Lord, and enjoy the manifestations of his glory. But the question before us is, Why do good men have such peculiar desires to see the moral beauty and glo. ry
of God ? Here several satisfactory reasons may be given. And,
1. Because the goodness of God, which forms his supreme excellence, spreads a glory over all the other perfections of his nature. Saints as well as others can see no excellence in the greatness and majesty of God, separately from his perfect holiness and benevolence. David beheld God and was troubled, when he saw him without a view of his moral beauty. Good men can take no satisfaction in contemplating upon the mere existence, immensity, majesty, and supremacy of the creator and governor of all things, while they do not realize his pure, perfect, universal goodness. But when they view him as the God of love, and see the beauty of his benevolence, they take complacency in his eternity, immutability, almighty power, and ab.
solute sovereignty. His goodness spreads a glory over the greatness of his wisdom, the greatness of his knowledge, the greatness of his power,and of his material arı! intellectual kingdom. His goodness, which is pure and perfect benevolence, renders his wisdom a benevolent wisdom, his knowledge a benevolent knowledge, his power a benevolent power, and his universal supremacy a benevolent supremacy. Those, who have seen and tasted that the Lord is good, view all his great and adorable perfections as adorned with the beauty of holiness ; and can say to him as David did,“ whom have we in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that we desire beside thee.” And as they know that a view of the beauty of the Lord, will put them into the sensible enjoyment of all his perfections ; so they ardently desire to see his moral beauty and excellence. Nothing short of this can afford them complete satisfaction. David did not expect to enjoy perfect blessedness, until he should have clear and constant views of the beauty of the Lord in the kingdom of glory, which he joyfully anticipated. “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.”
2. Good men desire to see the beauty of the Lord, because it spreads a beauty over his works as well as character. It is his ultimate end in creation, that gives a glory to every thing he has made. If his goodness be not seen in creating the heavens and the earth, in forming angels and men, and in giving existence to every sensitive nature, there is no moral beauty perceived in any of the works of his hands.
It is only when saints see the earth to be full of the goodness of the Lord, that they discern the moral beauty of the
works of creation. While his moral excellence is out of their sight, they view the world just as other men view it ; but when they spiritually discern the beauty of his holy and benevolent heart, the heavens appear to declare his glory, and the firmament to show his handy work. They see his glory in the forests, in the fields, in the fruits of the earth, and in every rational, animate, and inanimate, object. God's good design in every thing he has made, spreads a divine glory over the whole face of nature, which gives a peculiar pleasure to every pious heart. David often felt and expressed such a pleasure in such a view of the works of God. At one time he cries out in raptures, “O that men would praise the Lord, for all his goodness, and wonderful works.” And at another time he prays, “Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us.” That is, let God display his goodness, and make his people see it. Whenever any of mankind behold the beauty of God's goodness, they immediately discover a divine glory spread over all his works. How often do those, who are called out of darkness into marvellous light, stand and admire the works of creation, on account of the moral beauty they then see in them, but never saw before. A clear view of the beauty of the Lord never fails to put good men into the sensible enjoyment of the world. Viewing it as his world, and as full of his goodness, it gives them as much satisfaction, as if it were all actually put into their hands. Hence they ardently desire to see the beauty of the Lord, that the world which often gives them so much trouble, might become a source of the purest pleasure and enjoyment.
3. Saints desire to see the beauty of the Lord, because this spreads a beauty and glory over all the conduct of God. The ways of providence are often dark and mysterious, and beyond the comprehension of finite, short-sighted creatures. The world is governed in a manner, which is extremely different from that which mankind are ready to imagine would be wisest and best. And even good men have been greatly perplexed with the strange and unaccountable things, which often take place in the world. Job and David were unable to account for the prosperity of the wicked, and the adversity of the righteous. Jacob was involved in great darkness under the evils, which fell upon him.--And all the children of God have experienced similar trials. But when, like David, they go into the sanctuary and behold the beauty of the Lord, the clouds vanish, and in his light, they see light. While they behold the perfect goodness of God, and realize that in all events, he is seeking the best interest of his whole fam. ily in heaven and earth, they see a beauty in all the dispensations of his providence. In perceiving the beauty of his goodness, they perceive a beauty in all his ways, as well as in all his works. The psalmist, after contemplating the wonders of his divine provi, dence in the earth and in the ocean, makes a very pertinent and instructive remark.
“ Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall under. stand the loving kindness of the Lord.” The perfect goodness of God, in ordering all events, spreads a glory over all his dark and mysterious dispensations, which causes the wise and good to rejoice in his uni. versal government. Hence they ardently desire, while they are passing through the dark and trying