Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jonathan Edwards learned it, John Piper learned it, and so did John Owen

I couldn't help but be reminded of Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon on Divine Light while reading John Owen today. John Owen writes:
Moreover, be not contented to have right notions of the love of Christ in your minds unless you can attain a gracious taste of it in your hearts; no more than you would be to see a feast or banquet richly prepared and not partake of it for your refreshment. It is of that nature that we may have a spiritual sensation of it in our minds; whence it is compared by the Spouse to apples and flagons of wine. We may taste that the Lord is gracious; and if we find nor a relish of it in our hearts, we shall not long retain the notion of it in our minds. Christ is the meat, the bread, the food of our souls. Nothing in Him is of a higher spiritual nourishment than His love, which we should always desire.

In this love He is glorious; for it is such as no creatures, angels or men, could have the least conception of, before its manifestation by its effects; and, after its manifestation, it is in this world absolutely incomprehensible. (1:338)

Jonathan Edwards 50 years later would write:
Thus there is a difference between having an opinion, that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness. A man may have the former, that knows not how honey tastes; but a man cannot have the latter unless he has an idea of the taste of honey in his mind. So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of his beauty. The former may be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance. There is a wide difference between mere speculative rational judging any thing to be excellent, and having a sense of its sweetness and beauty. The former rests only in the head, speculation only is concerned in it; but the heart is concerned in the latter. When the heart is sensible of the beauty and amiableness of a thing, it necessarily feels pleasure in the apprehension. It is implied in a person's being heartily sensible of the loveliness of a thing, that the idea of it is sweet and pleasant to his soul; which is a far different thing from having a rational opinion that it is excellent.


  1. I have have been thinking about and reading about beauty, the sublime, wonder, and how these are often connected to, or a part of worship. I really enjoyed the Edwards quote, and would like to know where I can find it.


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