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purchased at a cheaper rate, bestowed on fewer sinners, and those less ill-deserving, and that less freely. Had there been fewer and less impressive exhibitions of the divine justice, there had been fewer monuments of his holy displeasure against sin, and those less awful and glorious; and, consequently, a diminished confidence in God, as the moral governor of the holy and unholy. Had there been fewer and less impressive exhibitions of the divine supremacy, there had been less visible superiority and inferiority among all God's creatures, and less diversity of moral character and final allotment throughout the universe. But if the numerous and magnificent objects of creative power and directive superintendenceif the glorious end of the divine administrations, together with the wonderful adaptation of means to accomplish it-if the stupendous sacrifice made for the redemption of fallen man, the multitudes which no man can number, and those the chief of sinners, ransomed by grace unutterably rich and free-if the eternal monuments of Jehovah's displeasure against his incorrigible enemies, and the security of his government over a world of rational and accountable agents-if the wide and permanent diversity of character and condition in the present world and the world to come-if these, however fraught with evil in some of their private relations, are, on the whole, a good, and in their combination and contrast, in their wide connections and eternal consequences, subserve the general welfare; then the conclusion is inevitable, that the manifestation of the divine glory is indispensable to the highest aggregate of created happiness. And that they are a good, will not be questioned by any who confide in the absolute perfection of the Deity. He cannot be a perfect being if the exhibition of his true character results in any thing short of the highest good. We have no other idea of imperfection than that it is in its own nature bad, and that its tendency is on the whole to produce evil. But we do not thus charge God foolishly. If God only wise" cannot err, if the attributes of his nature are in no way imperfect, then whatever evils may be incidental to their development, it cannot be otherwise than that in the final issue they should secure the greatest good.
In perfect accordance with these remarks, the experience of good men attests the fact, that the source and fullness of created good is the knowledge and enjoyment of God. There is something in the divine nature, not merely for the employment of our intellectual powers, but for the gratification of our
most exalted and spiritual affections. Whatever brings God to the view of a holy mind never fails to increase its joy. The happiest moment of the Christian's existence is when he enjoys the most enlarged and most impressive views of God, and dwells with adoring wonder on his boundless and unsearchable perfections. To enjoy this felicity was the desire. of Moses when he said, "I beseech thee show me thy glory:" this was the desire of Job when he said, "Oh that I knew where I might find him:" of David when he prayed, "Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me;" and when he says, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, and behold the beauty of the Lord:" and again, when he declares, "My soul thirsteth for thee, to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." When you read the lives of such men as Flavel and Owen, Baxter and Edwards, Tennent and Brainerd, you cannot fail to discover that the source of their highest blessedness, their most enduring comforts, their most enraptured joys, was enlarged views of the divine character and glory. Let God be brought into view, and a holy mind will be happy; let God be withdrawn, and it will be miserable. His ineffable glory was once withdrawn from the holiest created mind in the universe, and the man Christ Jesus exclaimed, in agony inexpressible, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Some of our readers can accord with the spirit of these remarks, and have, no doubt, sensibly felt that nothing could make them miserable, while the glory of the divine character beamed around them.
But who, in this dark world, is fitted to appreciate the blessedness resulting from the more illustrious and transforming manifestations of the divine beauty? Eye hath not seen them, nor have they entered into the heart of man. "It may not be easy for us," says the eloquent Chalmers, "with all our imperfection, to sympathize with the rapture, the ecstacy of holy beings in their survey of the divine perfections; but it is this that is the constant and essential principle of all their enjoyment, the never-failing source of their delighted admiration." Had God withheld the manifestations of his entire excellence from angels, we do not say they would have been miserable, but we do say, they would not have been gratified. We do not say their bosoms would not have heaved with joy, but never would they have swelled with the "joy that is unVOL. IV. No. I.-0
speakable and full of glory," and never would they have known that "exceeding and eternal weight of glory," which now they know. Had it pleased the Eternal to shed on them only a few broken and refracted rays of his divinity, their joys might indeed have beamed with bright effulgence, but they would have enkindled only the glimmerings of that flame, which now glows in their bosoms with unutterable fervour, and which emanates from the fulness of the Creator's glory. It is a thought very dear to us, that the glory of God. and the good of the universe cannot be separated. When the glorious Being, whose name is love, acts for his own glory he acts for the good of his creatures. His goodness cannot be gratified without promoting the highest good of the universe. Though he cannot make all his creatures happy consistently with the highest good, his own glory requires him to make them as happy as he can consistently make them. The only source of blessedness, therefore, that is commensurate with the ever-varying desires and utmost grasp of the immortal mind is found in God, and found in him from the exhibition of his excellent glory. Here are rich and endless disclosures; here is never-ceasing variety; here are glories which may be contemplated with new and ever-fresh delight, the longer and the brighter they are spread before the eye.
There is another thought which we deem of some consequence in this illustration. We may not think the Infinite Öne "altogether such an one as ourselves," nor would we speak of him with uncircumcised lips. "Who, by searching, can find out God? Who can find out the Almighty to perfection?" The thought we wish to be considered is this: The perfect exhibition of the divine glory is essential to the happiness of God himself. The Scriptures represent God as perfectly happy. They speak of him, as "God over all, blessed forever," and as the "blessed and only Potentate." But in what does the blessedness of God consist? Does it not result from the pure and perfect benevolence of his character, which he himself sees and appreciates, and which gives infinite pleasure to his own holy mind? Would God be happy, and could he contemplate his nature with self-approbation and complacency, if he possessed a selfish and malevolent spirit? Does not his blessedness also result from the expression of his perfect benevolence in the works of creation, providence, and grace, by which he diffuses so much happiness among his creatures? Is it not thus that his benevolence is gratified, and
that he makes himself happy? And does not his blessedness also result from beholding the consequences and effects of his communicative goodness, wherever they are diffused and enjoyed? With infinite delight does he behold all the fruits of his pure and perfect goodness. "The Lord shall rejoice in his works." He "rejoices over them with joy;" he "joys over them with singing;" he "rests in his love." Is it too much to say, that although God is a pure and perfect Spirit, eternal, unchangeable, infinite in his being, power, wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, that his blessedness results from the same sources which communicate happiness to the minds of all holy creatures, and differs from theirs-this is indeed a mighty difference-only as it is an independent blessedness; as it is without alloy, without interruption, without limits, and without end; or in other words, only as he differs from them. Created minds are happy in the perfect gratification of all their holy desires. And God is happy in the perfect gratification of all his desires. And since he has no desires that are unholy, all are perfectly gratified; and in this consists his perfect and immutable blessedness.
It is sometimes objected to this view of the divine blessedness, that God could not have been eternally happy. But the objection is more specious than valid. We have no doubt God was originally and eternally happy, and that his happiness always has been unmixed and uninterrupted. But why is he thus blessed? Most certainly, not independently of himself; not independently of his own desires, and of his purposes to gratify them. He was from eternity happy in the view of himself; in the view of all his purposes and creation, and all the happiness he knew would result from them, and which were present to his eternal mind, who "declares the end from the beginning, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." If God has desires to gratify, and designs to accomplish, it is no impeachment of his independence to say, he cannot be happy without gratifying them. It would be an impeachment of his independence, if, in conformity with some modern notions, he were not able to gratify them. And this objection to their theory, the advocates of this new theology have not, so far as we know, attempted to obviate. If, as they affirm, he has desires for the salvation of men, which he is not able to gratify, will they tell us, why he is not miserable? Ungratified desire, disappointed purposes, whether in the mind of creatures, or the Creator, must be the
source of pain; and the more in the Creator, because his desires are perfectly holy, and infinitely ardent and strong. Could we, without irreverence-we regret there are those who not only make the hypothesis, but insist on the fact-could we suppose the Deity to have one desire which he is unable to gratify; one purpose he cannot accomplish; to us it seems, that one ungratified desire, or purpose, would make him wretched. Most certainly his blessedness could not be unmixed and uninterrupted.
If there be, then, any force in these suggestions, who does not see that it is essential to the eternal, undisturbed gratification of all God's desires, and to the accomplishment of all his purposes, that he be infinitely and forever glorified? It is impossible his desires should be gratified, and his purposes accomplished, without manifesting his character; without a full and combined manifestation of his essential excellence; just as impossible, as that the effect can exist without the cause. Thus to glorify himself is the consummation of his every desire and purpose. The perfect goodness of his pure and holy mind must be gratified; the exuberant fulness of his amiable and awful perfections must flow out; and if there were any thing effectually to obstruct its course, and oppose its progress, he could not be happy.
Let us look for a moment at the consequences of a possible defeat and disappointment of some of the benevolent desires and purposes of the Deity. What if it were beyond his power to carry into effect the designs of his benevolent mind; what if some grand design, in the dispensations of providence, should fail of its accomplishment; what if some endeared purpose in the method of redeeming mercy should suffer defeat; what if the gates of hell, in an evil hour, should prevail against the Church; what if many whom the Father has given to the Son should not come to him; what, as some affirm, if the hard and stony heart should prove superior to his efficient grace, and multitudes should be lost, whom God, in every view, sincerely and ardently desires to sanctify and save; what if the day of millennial mercy should never arrive, and the earth never be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters fill the sea; what if the voice of the archangel and the trump of God should fail to raise the dead, and summon the universe to his bar; what if the righteous were shut out, and the wicked received into the kingdom of Heaven; not only would every holy mind in the universe lament and