I’ve been reading portions of a new book called Acting the Miracle. The subtitle gives you the gist of the theme covered: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification. The contributors include Kevin DeYoung, Russell D. Moore, Ed Welch and Jarvis Williams. In a chapter by John Piper entitled “Act the Miracle” he talks about the beauty of holiness. It’s no surprise to those who know Piper that he finds a wonderful description of the beauty of holiness from Jonathan Edwards. I thought it was amazing and is worth pondering. Here’s the quote as Piper gives it:
We drink in strange notions of holiness from our childhood, as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour, and unpleasant thing; but there is nothing in it but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. ’Tis the highest beauty and amiableness, vastly above all other beauties. ’Tis a divine beauty, makes the soul heavenly and far purer than anything here on earth. . . . ’Tis of a sweet, pleasant, charming, lovely, amiable, delightful, serene, calm, and still nature. ’Tis almost too high a beauty for any creatures to be adored with; it makes the soul a little, sweet, and delightful image of the blessed Jehovah.
Oh how many angels stand, with pleased, delighted, and charmed eyes, and look and look, with smiles of pleasure upon their lips, upon that soul that is holy; how many they hover over such a soul, to delight to behold such loveliness! . . . What a sweet calmness, what a calm ecstasy, doth it bring to the soul! How doth it make the soul love itself; how doth it make the pure invisible world love it; yea, how doth God love it and delight in it; how do even the whole creation, the sun, the fields, and trees love a humble holiness; how doth all the world congratulate, embrace, and sing to a sanctified soul! . . .
It makes the soul like a delightful field or garden planted by God . . . where the sun is Jesus Christ; the blessed beams and calm breeze, the Holy Spirit; the sweet and delightful flowers, and the pleasant shrill of music of the little birds, are the Christian graces.
Or like the little white flower: pure, unspotted, and undefiled, low and humble, pleasing and harmless; receiving the beams, the pleasant beams of the serene sun, gently moved and a little shaken by a sweet breeze, rejoicing as it were in a calm rapture, diffusing around [a] most delightful fragrancy, standing most peacefully and lovingly in the midst of the other like flowers round about. (128)
Acting the Miracle is a paperback with 176 pages and sells for $16.99.