MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I 5. THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
Figure of a Saint
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
5. THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
I. God is good in Himself with natural goodness ; that is to say, He possesses all the natural qualities which belong to His nature. God, being truly God, is what God ought to be, and possesses all that God ought to possess ; being infinitely perfect, He possesses this entirely and not parti ally ; being necessary, He possesses His perfections ab solutely, and cannot suffer any loss or diminution of them. God possesses every conceivable goodness in an infinite degree. He is all that is most beautiful, holy, pure, delight ful, useful, wonderful, lovable. Therefore when Moses asked to see His face, God answered, " I will show thee all good" (Ex. xxxiii. 19). God holds this not from another, or by participation, but of Himself and by virtue of His own nature. No other being is good in this supereminent way ; whence it is written, " None is good but God alone " (Luke xviii. 19). How admirable, then, and desirable is God, and deserving of our highest love, even apart from all that He has done for us and the love that He has shown us. Render Him love and service purely for His own sake. This is the highest kind of love and homage. Pray Him, with Moses, to show you His face, and with it supreme and total goodness, not only in the next world, but here too in your meditations.
II. Goodness is, of its nature, "diffusive of itself" (St. Denis). God is good with respect to His creatures, as being the source from which all goodness of every kind is originated and poured forth. He may be compared to the sun, which is ever emitting heat and light and vital force in every direction, on all the worlds which come within its range. " The eyes of all hope in Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest them meat in due season. Thou openest Thy hand and fillest every creature with blessing" (Ps. cxliv. 15, 16). This diffusion of good is always in full activity, and is never checked for an instant. It falls on all alike, however great their unworthiness or the bad use they make of it. None can escape the continual outpouring of blessings. All this God does, not under constraint, not moved by any desert on our part, not for any advantage or gain to be expected from us, but simply from the very nature of His goodness itself. There fore " give glory to the Lord because He is good. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to Him, and His wonderful works towards the children of men " (Ps. cvi. 1, 15). Glorify God by imitation, and by diffusing upon others, without hope of gain or even of gratitude, such blessings temporal and spiritual as may be within your gift.
III. The immense goodness and kindness of God towards man, the chief of the works of His hands, is manifested in a special way by every one of His attributes ; by His power which has created us, wisdom which ordains all for our good, love which caresses, providence which foresees and protects, justice which renders to us what is due, mercy which par dons sin, eternity which assures us endless happiness, beauty which ravishes our souls. God is good to us variously as father, as friend, as brother, as spouse, as master, as benefactor, as our " reward exceeding great." He is Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, Advocate, Sacrifice, End, Beatitude. Further He is our supreme good as being the author of all the good that is in us ; He has given us our natural powers, our virtues, our moral perfection, our efficacy for good, all our successes, and all enjoyments. " The Lord is good to them that hope in Him, to the soul that seeketh Him " (Lam. iii. 25). Seek God alone, and all these good things will be yours. God gives Himself entirely to you; take care to give yourself entirely to Him. Dedicate your body, your thoughts, your action, your life to Him. Strive to be like God, to be good in every quality, in the practice of every virtue, in your relations to every creature that God has made.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.