Tag Archives: Beauty

“The perfections of the Son of God” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“Do not separate the Son from the perfections of God, for those perfections of the Father are not to be mentioned in such a way as to be withdrawn from Him who said: ‘I and the Father are one,’ and of whom the Apostle says: ‘Who, though he was by nature God, did not consider it robbery to be equal to God.’

Now, robbery is the usurpation of another’s property even though there be an equality in nature. In view of this, how will the Son not be omnipotent, since through Him all things were made and since He is also the Power and Wisdom of God?

Moreover, in that form in which He is equal to the Father He is by nature invisible. In fact, the Word of God is invisible by nature because He was in the beginning and He was God.

In this same nature He is also completely immortal, that is, He remains immutable in every respect. For the human soul is also said to be immortal to a certain extent, but that is not genuine immortality in which there is such great change, making it possible to fail and to advance.

Thus, it is death for the human soul to be severed from the life of God through the ignorance which is in the soul; but it is life for it to run to the fountain of life, so that in the light of God it may see light. Immediately after this life you, too, through the grace of Christ, will be restored from certain death which you renounce.

But the Word of God, the only-begotten Son, always lives unchangeably with His Father. He neither decreases, because His abiding presence is not lessened; nor does He advance, because His perfection is not increased.

He Himself is the Creator of the visible and invisible worlds, because, as the Apostle says: ‘In him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, … and in him all things hold together.’

However, since He ‘emptied himself,’ not losing the nature of God, but ‘taking the nature of a slave,’ He, the invisible, became visible in this form of a servant, because He was born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary.

In this form of a servant, the Omnipotent One became weak, in that He suffered under Pontius Pilate.

In this form of a servant, the Immortal One died, in that He was crucified and was buried.

In this form of a servant, the King of ages rose on the third day.

In this form of a servant, the Creator of things visible and invisible ascended into heaven, whence He had never departed.

In this form of a servant, He who is the arm of the Father, and of whom the Prophet says: ‘And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?’ sits at the right of the Father.

In this form of a servant, He will come to judge the living and the dead, for in this form He wished to be a Companion of the dead inasmuch as He is the Life of the living.

Through Him the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and by Himself, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, sent by both, begotten by neither; the unity of both, equal to both.

This Trinity is one God, omnipotent, invisible, King of ages, Creator of things visible and invisible.

For we do not speak of three Lords, or of three Omnipotent Ones, or of three Creators or of three of whatever other perfections of God can be mentioned, because there are not three Gods but only one God.

Although in this Trinity, the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit the Son or the Father, yet the Father belongs to the Son; the Son, to the Father; and the Holy Spirit, to both the Father and the Son.

Believe so that you may understand. For, unless you believe, you will not understand.

As a result of this faith, hope for grace by which all your sins will be forgiven. Only in this way and not by your own efforts will you be saved, for salvation is a gift of God.”

–Augustine of Hippo, “On the Presentation of the Creed,” Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (ed. Hermigild Dressler; trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney; vol. 38; The Fathers of the Church; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 38: 117–120.

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“Your Bible is a bottomless treasure chest” by Matt Smethurst

“Your Bible is a bottomless treasure chest of beauty and wonder, strength and joy. May you approach it for the rest of your days as if that’s true, because it is.”

—Matt Smethurst, Before You Open Your Bible (Leyland, England: 10Publishing, 2019), 79.

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“A Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness more powerful than human strength. Let us who believe, therefore, run to meet a Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is.

Beautiful as God, as the Word who is with God, He is beautiful in the Virgin’s womb, where He did not lose His Godhead but assumed our humanity.

Beautiful He is as a baby, as the Word unable to speak, because while He was still without speech, still a baby in arms and nourished at His mother’s breast, the heavens spoke for Him, a star guided the Magi, and He was adored in the manger as food for the humble.

He was beautiful in heaven, then, and beautiful on earth: beautiful in the womb, and beautiful in His parents’ arms.

He was beautiful in His miracles but just as beautiful under the scourges.

Beautiful as He invited us to life, but beautiful too in not shrinking from death.

Beautiful in laying down His life and beautiful in taking it up again.

Beautiful on the cross, beautiful in the tomb, and beautiful in heaven.

Listen to this song (i.e. Psalm 45) to further your understanding, and do not allow the weakness of His flesh to blind you to the splendor of His beauty.

He is lovely in all respects.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Exposition of Psalm 44, in Expositions of the Psalms, 33–50, ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2000), 283.

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“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness” by C.S. Lewis

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them.

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses(New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 29-31.

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“We were once blind to His beauty” by John Newton

“The Lord reigns. He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows, is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth. Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him.

Every event in the kingdoms of providence and of grace are under His rule. His providence pervades and manages the whole, and is as minutely attentive to every part as if there were only that single object in His view.

From the tallest archangel to the meanest ant or fly, all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and to find their food.

He overrules the rise and fall of nations, and bends, with an invincible energy and unerring wisdom, all events, so that while many intend nothing less, in the issue their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.

He restrains with a mighty hand the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness, and Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair’s-breadth beyond the limits of His permission.

This is He who is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are they whom it is His good pleasure to bless!

How safe are they whom He has engaged to protect! How honoured and privileged are they to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their friend and their portion!

Having redeemed them by His own blood, He sets a high value upon them. He esteems them His treasure, His jewels, and keeps them as the apple of his eye.

They shall not want. They need not fear. His eye is upon them in every situation, His ear is open to their prayers, and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support.

On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their good.

While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing them a place, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory that shall be shortly revealed.

O how is this mystery hidden from an unbelieving world! Who can believe it, till it is made known by experience, what an intercourse is maintained in this land of shadows between the Lord of glory and sinful worms!

How should we praise Him that He has visited us! For we were once blind to His beauty, and insensible to His love, and should have remained so to the last, had He not prevented us with His goodness, and been found of us when we sought Him not.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 237-239.

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“The glorious excellencies and beauty of God” by Jonathan Edwards

“The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God Himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption.

He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; He is the portion of their souls.

God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God.

He is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, He is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem, and is the ‘river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God’.

The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast.

The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things. They will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another: but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield then delight and happiness, will be what will be seen of God in them.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by the Greatness of Man’s Dependance upon Him, in the Whole of It (1731),” in The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth P. Minkema, and Douglas A Sweeney (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 74-75.

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“The brighter glories and beauties of the Creator” by Jonathan Edwards

“God is infinitely exalted above all created beings in excellency and loveliness. It all runs upon infinities in God: so great as is His duration, so great as is His being and essence, so great is His excellency and loveliness.

His excellency excels all other excellencies that ever were seen or heard of, as much as His being exceeds created beings in greatness. It must needs be so: for all other excellencies proceed from Him as the fountain, for He has made them all.

He has made all things that are excellent, and therefore He must have given them their excellency, and so must have all that excellency in Himself, or else could not have given it.

He must have all the glories, perfections, and beauties of the whole creation in Himself in an infinite degree, for they all proceed from Him, as beams do from the sun, and He is as much more excellent than they all, as the whole sun is than one single ray.

We admire at the beauty of creation, at the beautiful order of it, at the glory of the sun, moon, and stars. The sun appears very bright and glorious.

So beautiful doth the sun appear that many nations take it to be the supreme God, and worship it accordingly. But we have much more reason from the beauty of the sun to admire at the invisible glory of that God whose fingers have formed it.

The beauty of trees, plants, and flowers, with which God has bespangled the face of the earth, is delightful. The beautiful frame of the body of man, especially in its perfection, is astonishing.

The beauty of the moon and stars is wonderful. The beauty of the highest heavens is transcendent. The excellency of angels and the saints in light is very glorious.

But it is all deformity and darkness in comparison of the brighter glories and beauties of the Creator of all, for ‘behold even to the moon, and it shineth not’ (Job 25:5).

Think of the excellency of God and the moon will not seem to shine to you, God’s excellency so much outshines it. And the stars are not pure in His sight, and so we know that at the great Day when God appears, the sun shall be turned into darkness, shall hide his face as if he were ashamed to see himself so much outshined.

And the very angels, they hide their faces before Him. The highest heavens are not clean in His sight, and He charges His angels with folly (Job 4:18).

God’s is an infinite excellency, infinite glory, and beauty itself. He is an infinite, eternal, and immutable excellency. He is not only an infinitely excellent being, but a being that is infinite excellency, beauty, and loveliness.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “God’s Excellencies” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 420-421. You can read this sermon on Psalm 89:6 in its entirety here.

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