Edward Payson Archive

Selected Thoughts

Reverence For God

With what profound veneration does it become us to enter the presence, and to receive the favors of the awful Majesty of heaven and earth! And how ought we to dread grieving or offending goodness so great, so glorious, so venerable! To illustrate this remark, suppose that the sun, whose brightness, even at this distance, you cannot gaze upon without shrinking, were an animated, intelligent body; and that, with a design to do you good, he should leave his place in the heavens, and gradually approach you. As he drew more and more near, his apparent magnitude and effulgence would every moment increase; he would occupy a larger and larger portion of the visible heavens, until at length all other objects would be lost, and yourselves swallowed up in one insufferably dazzling, overpowering flood of light. Would you not, in such circumstances, feel the strongest emotions of awe, of something like fear? Would a knowledge that the glorious luminary was approaching with a benevolent design for your good, banish these emotions? What, then, ought to be the feelings of a sinful worm of the dust, when the father of lights, the eternal Sun of the universe, who dwells in the high and holy place, and in the contrite heart, stoops from his awful throne, to visit him, to smile upon him, to pardon him, to purify him from his moral defilement, to adopt him as a child, to make him an heir of heaven, to take possession of his heart as his earthly habitation?

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