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can be found only where God is best known, and loved perfectly. Upon nothing does their holiness so much depend, as the knowledge of God. It is possible for us to conceive of a sinless being, who knows nothing except his obligations to his fellow creatures; but it would be a rectitude without a name--an anomaly in the moral universe—a rectitude that falls far below the actual rectitude, the real moral elevation of all holy creatures. We do not see how it is possible there should be any more conformity to God, than there is knowledge of his true character. Other things being equal, the reason why one good man is more holy than another, is that he possesses more clear and comprehensive views of God. One reason why Moses, and David, and Paul were so much more holy than the mass of good men, is that they possessed such high and extended views of God. It is necessary, therefore, to the existence of holiness in the world, and its advancement and perpetuity, and especially its strength and vividness, that there should be a clear development of the divine character, and that the great God should be exalted and glorified. It is worthy of God as the friend and patron of holiness, to select as the ultimate end of all he does, the most perfect exhibition of his own nature. This he must do, to be loved, admired, and adored to the extent and degree in which holy beings will admire and adore his entire excellence. It is when “with unveiled face, they behold as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, that they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Take away from the bosom of the holy, on earth or in heaven, those strong affections which arise from their perception of the glory of the divine nature, and you abate the fervour and intenseness of their piety. You starve their graces, and well nigh transform their character. It is indispensable to the highest and best state of religious affection, that the glory of God, progressively, and in all its fullorbed splendour, should shine upon the world. He made this lower world to unfold the greatness and goodness of his character, and because his greatness and goodness are and will be here so wonderfully unfolded, and the whole earth become full of his glory, it is the school of morals and piety, where the first and the last lesson is God himself, and where, by becoming acquainted with God, rational and immortal beings are trained up for perfect holiness and an eternal heaven.
This leads us to remark, that the propriety of God's mak
ing himself his ultimate end, appears more clearly from the fact, that by the manifestation of his glory, the greatest aggregate of happiness is secured to intelligent beings. The import of this remark will not, we think, be misunderstood. God is the first cause. All existence, all happiness flows from him; and flows only by the exhibition of his own glory. Without some expression of the divine perfections, neither created happiness, nor creatures would have had a being. There would have been nothing in existence, beside God, and nothing beside himself to be happy. There would have been no effort of his power; no results of his wisdom; no effects from his benovolence; but his inert perfections would have been buried in the retirement of eternity, and have slept for ever in the recesses of his own infinite mind. Literally, therefore, does all created happiness depend upon the manifested excellence of the Deity. Nor is it less certain that the amount of created good is advanced by the continued and increased exhibition of the divine excellence. Had the natural and moral perfections of the Deity ceased to act, and to be illustrated immediately after the creation, or immediately after the deluge, or immediately after the death of Jesus Christ, who does not see, that the aggregate of created happiness would have suffered a lamented diminution? Since no created happiness could originally have existed without some manifestation of the divine nature, so none would have continued to exist. The exhibition of the divine glory is not less essential to the increase and perpetuity, than to the original existence of created good. But it is not necessary to suppose an actual cessation in the diversified exhibitions of the Deity. Had there been a partial intermission, suspension, or limitation in the exhibition of the divine excellence, the effect, though less serious, would have been no less perceptible. In proportion to the limit imposed on the illustration, would have been the diminution in created happiness. Had there been fewer and less impressive exhibitions of the divine power, there had been fewer and less magnificent and less exalted beings and objects created and upheld and governed by the divine hand. Had there been fewer and less impressive exhibitions of the divine wisdom, there had been, in the vast and complicated system of God's operations, an end less benevolent than that which has been selected, and means less admirably adapted to accomplish it. Had there been fewer and less impressive exhibitions of the divine mercy, it had been 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
"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 un
VOL. Iv. No. I.-O
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 en kindled 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 One waltogether 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