Jonathan Edwards on Matthew 5:8 (Part 1)

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Jonathan Edwards wrote many pages on this idea, and God used some of them to encourage us last night. Here are some of the best paragraphs:

The happiness of seeing God is a blessing without any mixture. That pleasure has the best claim to be called man’s true happiness, which comes unmixed, and without alloy. But so doth the joy of seeing God; it neither brings any bitterness, nor will it suffer any.

This pleasure brings no bitterness with it. That is not the case with other delights, in which natural men are wont to place their happiness; they are bitter sweets, yielding a kind of momentary pleasure in gratifying an appetite, but wormwood and gall are mingled in the cup. He who plucks these roses, finds that they grow on thorns; he who tastes of this honey is sure to find in it a sting. If men place their happiness in them, reason and conscience will certainly give them inward disturbance in their enjoyment. There will be the sting of continual disappointments, for carnal delights are of such a nature that they keep the soul, that places its happiness in them, always big with expectation and in eager pursuit; while they are evermore like shadows, and never yield what is hoped for. They who give themselves up to them, unavoidably bring upon themselves many heavy inconveniences. If they promote their pleasure in any way, they destroy their comforts in many other ways; and this sting ever accompanies them, that they are but short-lived, they will soon vanish, and be no more.

And as to the pleasure found in the enjoyment of earthly friends, there is a bitterness goes also with that. An intense love to any earthly object, though it may afford high enjoyment, yet greatly multiplies our cares and anxieties through the defects and blemishes, the instability and changeableness, of the object, the calamities to which it is exposed, and the short duration of all such friendships, and of the pleasures thence arising.

Oh, that God would remind us that all earthly pleasures are fleeting, that He is the only One who is perfectly pure and true! Praise be to Jesus for buying us this delight with His blood, and giving us the grace through faith to cling to Him! There have been some earthly stings in our life lately, and we were encouraged to stop, meditate on God’s infinite-ness, be humbled by our finite-ness and fragility, and rejoice in God’s pure glory and gladness. So stop and take some time to read a good dead theologian.G od often uses them to give us the grace of the knowledge of Him.

(Originally posted on old site 7/7/2006.)

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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