The Lord's Goodness
James Smith, 1855
It is natural for sinners to be dissatisfied — and we find that they generally are so. The saints have a remedy for this disorder — but we seldom find them manifesting it. Perfect satisfaction can only be found in God's presence and likeness — we must be like him and with him, before we can say, "I am perfectly satisfied!"
Still, there is a degree of holy satisfaction experienced by the believer now. When his evidences are bright, his Savior is near, and he can claim the promises as his own — he feels satisfied for the time. God's communications are of a satisfying nature, and he has said, "My people shall be satisfied with my goodness" (Jeremiah 31:14).
Our gracious God is the fountain of all goodness; it dwells in him in fullness and perfection, and it flows from him in ten thousand streams. "The Lord is good, ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy, unto all them that call upon him" (Psalm 86:5). His goodness, love, grace, and mercy — are in exercise and operation for his people's welfare. His goodness finds a channel for its communications — in the person, work, and offices of Christ. It finds suitable objects in the elect of God; in such poor, empty, unhappy sinners as we are. Our emptiness, poverty, and wants exactly fit us to be the objects of Divine goodness. It can and will glorify itself in such. It finds opportunities enough in the lives of such miserable, sinful, and changeable creatures as we are. Our God takes advantage of our distressing circumstances — to manifest and magnify the riches of his goodness.
God's goodness finds means in abundance to employ for its
ravens will minister to Elijah,
a whale will house Jonah,
angels will deliver Hezekiah, and
a lad will carry the news that saves Paul (Acts 23. 16).
God's goodness has its ends in view and will
certainly accomplish them:
it devotes us to God,
makes us happy as poor pensioners upon his bounty, and
brings a revenue of praise to Jehovah, the holy Three In One.
When led to view things in the looking-glass of the holy
Scriptures, we are satisfied with what God's goodness has designed; because
we discover that design to be . . .
our present good,
complete salvation, and
our glorious Redeemer's honor and exaltation.
We are satisfied with what his goodness works —
even our deliverance from . . .
the spirit, maxims, and friendship of the world;
and the power, craft, and doom of Satan.
We are satisfied with what his goodness bestows — even all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings — or "all things that pertain to life and godliness."
We rejoice in what his goodness exhibits — even his love, care, and concern for our welfare.
We glory in what his goodness secures — our freedom from the law's curse, its righteous condemnation, and every real evil.
We triumph in what his goodness introduces us to — friendship with God, trust in God, and love to God; for in these consist the very essence of real religion. We then view our God as our friend, and hold fellowship with him as such. We realize that he is most gracious and good, and in him place our confidence. We feel and enjoy his love, and go forth in love to him again.
In this subject we find spiritual pleasure, while we consider that we are savingly interested in divine goodness. We feel comfort, being persuaded that all our needs shall be supplied. We rest assured that we shall never be wretched, while God is good.
We here find a center, to which at all times and in all
places we can turn. With this we feel satisfied, especially . . .
when led to see our desert as transgressors of God's law — and think over the favors he has conferred;
when we feel our unworthiness — and compare it with the goodness of God;
when we look at others, as naturally better than ourselves, more exalted in station, more amiable in disposition, more correct in their outward conduct — and yet strangers to God's grace, and destitute of the vital power of godliness; yes, and suffering as much or more than we are — without hope, without Christ, and without God in the world.
Did I say we feel satisfied when we reflect on
this? It is not enough; we are filled with astonishment, and are
constrained to say, "O the riches of grace!" When we look forward to
. . .
the throne of glory,
the crown of righteousness,
the palm of victory,
the regions of felicity —
and trace all up to Divine goodness — we are fully, and shall be eternally, satisfied.
When Jesus endears himself to our hearts, by the communications of his love, the whispers of his grace; and by the Holy Spirit speaks peace to our souls — then we are satisfied with the Lord's goodness, and the promise is fulfilled!