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away, and all things have become new." Though man by sin became universally depraved, yet lost he none of his essential faculties; and when fully restored from his lapsed condition, he receives no new powers.
Those faculties which had been depraved are renewed and elevated by grace, so “that as sin reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The heart that is pure loves God perfectly, that is, with all its affections, and consequently is averse to all that is evil; rejoices through the love of God shed abroad therein; sorrows upon the remembrance of sin committed; fears to do anything displeasing to God; and hopes for eternal salvation only through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. The whole soul is consecrated to God.
The body, also, is presented “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service." And no longer being "conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind,” the believer does experimentally prove what is that “good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The whole man being thus consecrated to God, all his mental and physical energies being unitedly, harmoniously, and constantly employed
in His service, can
more than God requires, no more than the Gospel salvation inplies. Of such may it be said, that they have “come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man; unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
Their thoughts, their words, and actions prove
II. In what does their blessedness consist? “They shall see God.”
1. The pure in heart see God in the works of creation. All that their eyes behold give evidence of the power, wisdom, and goodness of Him “who has created all things, and for whose pleasure they are and were created." In the magnitude of those works, they behold the power of God; in their vast variety and contrivance, His infinite wisdom; and in their adaptation to beneficial purposes, His unbounded goodness.
2. They see God in His providence, doing all things well, causing all things “to work together for their good,” giving them “all things in weight and measure,” numbering “the very hairs of their head," making “a hedge round about them,” and disposing of all the circumstances of their life, according to the “depth of His wisdom and mercy."
3. But, "to see God" is a Hebraism, and signifies to possess and to enjoy Him. Hence, we read, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"; i. e., he cannot enter or enjoy it. Again, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life”; i. e., shall not possess or enjoy life-eternal glory.
The pure in heart, then, shall see, shall possess God, shall enjoy Him as their suitable, satisfying, never-failing, and all-sufficient portion. And claiming God as their portion, they have His power to defend, His wisdom to direct, His goodness to sustain, Ilis grace to uphold, and His presence to cheer them.
4. They see, that is, enjoy God in the means of grace, which he has appointed for their instruction and salvation. Whensoever they open the Sacred Volume, they consider, this is God's Book, His revelation of His will, which He has been pleased to communicate to man. As they read the commands, they behold God directing them in the true and right way, that they may "serve Him, without fear, in righteousness and true holiness all their days.” While they peruse
. the promises they see God, in and by these kind declarations of His Word, encouraging them to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in His works," assuring them that in so doing, “their labor shall not be in vain." While read ing the threatenings of Scripture, they see God dissuading from a vicious course, by arguments the most cogent and by warnings of pains and torments the most dreadful. And thus learning to revere and adore God's Word, each with the apostolic Wesley will say, “Let me be homo unius libri, a man of one book.”
In hearing the Word preached they see God. While the faithful ambassadors of Jesus proclaim the Gospel, plainly, fully, persuasively, and powerfully, the pure in heart hear attentively, prayerfully, and practically. Thus hearing, God speaks through His Word to their hearts, and causes them to rejoice with "joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
In partaking of the Holy Eucharist they enjoy God, for they realize that this institution, ordained by our Saviour in memory of His Passion, is crowned with the Divine Presence.
In prayer they see God. While addressing the throne of grace, they are privileged to hold audience with their Maker. As in ancient days, God conversed from off the mercy-seat with His true worshipers, so also, in modern days, He is pleased to reveal Himself in mercy to those who sincerely and believingly call upon His name. It is in prayer that believers enter into the presence-chamber of their Heavenly Father and commune with Him. Their experience is,
“I find Him in reading, I find Him in prayer,
In sweet meditation He always is there,
But still may He love me and dwell in my heart."
5. In the hour of dissolution, when soul and body are separating, the pure in heart shall realize that He, who hath been with them in life, will sustain and cheer them now with His gracious presence.
As David sang, may they also: “Though I pass through the valley and shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me."
And having thus seen and enjoyed God upon earth, they shall then go to “behold the King in His beauty, in the blessed land that is far off” - far away from this evil world. They have seen but “through a glass darkly," but then shall