[Holiness] is the divine beauty which chiefly engages the attention, admiration, and praise of the bright and burning seraphim: “One cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). And, “They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). … And the Scriptures represent the saints on earth as adoring God primarily on this account, and admiring and extolling all God’s attributes, either as deriving loveliness from his holiness, or as being a part of it. Thus when they praise God for his power, his holiness is the beauty that engages them (Psalm 98:1). So when they praise him for his justice and terrible majesty (Psalm 99:2-3, 5, 8-9). So when they praise God for his mercy and faithfulness (Psalm 97:11-12).

Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, 105–106.

This attribute should work in us a deep and reverential respect to God. This is the reason rendered why we should “worship at his footstool,” in the lowest posture of humility, prostrate before him, because “he is holy” (Psalm 99:5). Shoes must be put off from our feet (Exodus 3:5), that is, lusts from our affections, everything that our souls are clogged and bemired with, as the shoe is with dirt. He is not willing we should offer to him an impure soul, mired hearts, rotten carcasses, putrefied in vice, rotten in iniquity. Our services are to be as free from profaneness as the sacrifices of the law were to be free from sickliness or any blemish. Whatsoever is contrary to his purity is abhorred by him, and unlovely in his sight, and can meet with no other success at his hands, but a disdainful turning away both of his eye and ear (Isaiah 1:15). …

We are too low, too lame to lift up ourselves to it; too much in love with our own deformity, to admit of this beauty without a heavenly power inclining our desires for it, our affections to it, our willingness to be partakers of it. He can as soon set the beauty of holiness in a deformed heart, as the beauty of harmony in a confused mass when he made the world. He can as soon cause the light of parity to rise out of the darkness of corruption, as frame glorious spirits out of the insufficiency of nothing. His beauty doth not decay, he hath as much in himself now as he had in his eternity: he is as ready to impart it as he was at the creation; only we must wait upon him for it, and be content to have it by small measures and degrees. There is no fear of our sanctification, if we come to him as a God of holiness, since he is a God of peace, and the breach made by Adam is repaired by Christ: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He restores the sanctifying Spirit which was withdrawn by the fall, as he is a God pacified, and his holiness righted by the Redeemer. The beauty of it appears in its smiles upon a man in Christ, and is as ready to impart itself to the reconciled creature, as before justice was to punish the rebellious one.

Stephen Charnock, The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, 2:273-4.


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