on Zechariah 9 :17
How great is his goodness - In himself and towards them.
And how great is his beauty! - His comeliness, holiness, and purity, put in and upon them.
Corn shall make the young men cheerful - They shall be gladdened and strengthened by plenty of food; and they shall speak aloud of God's mercies in their harvest home.
And new wine the maids - Who shall prepare the wine from an abundant vintage.
on Zechariah 9 :17
For how great is His goodness - For it is unutterable! As the Psalmist said, "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy Name in all the earth!" Psalm 8:1, and Jacob, "How awful is this place!" Genesis 28:17, and the Psalmist, "How awful are Thy doings!" The goodness and the beauty are the goodness and beauty of God, whose great doings had been his theme throughout before. Of the goodness the sacred writers often speak , since of this we have extremest need. And this He showed to Moses, "I will cause all My goodness to pass before thy face" Exodus 33:19. Of this we know somewhat personally in this life; for beside the surpassing. amazingness of it in the work of our redemption, we are surrounded by it, immersed in it, as in a fathomless, shoreless ocean of infinite love, which finds entrance into our souls, whenever we bar it not out.
Goodness is that attribute of God, whereby He loveth to communicate to all, who can or will receive it, all good; yea, Himself , "who is the fullness and universality of good, Creator of all good, not in one way, not in one kind of goodness only, but absolutely, without beginning, without limit, without measure, save that whereby without measurement He possesseth and embraceth all excellence, all perfection, all blessedness, all good." This Good His Goodness bestoweth on all and each, according to the capacity of each to receive it, nor is there any limit to His giving, save His creature's capacity of receiving, which also is a good gift from Him. "From Him all things sweet derive their sweetness; all things fair, their beauty; all things bright, their splendor; all things that live, their life; all things sentient, their sense; all that move, their vigor; all intelligences, their knowledge; all things perfect, their perfection; all things in any wise good, their goodness."
The beauty of God - Belongs rather to the beatific vision. Yet David speaks of the Beauty of Christ, "Thou art exceeding fairer then the children of men" Psalm 45:2; and Isaiah says, "Thine eyes shall behold the King in His beauty" Isaiah 33:17. But the Beauty of God "eye hath not seen nor ear heard nor can heart of man conceive." Here, on earth, created beauty can, at least when suddenly seen, hold the frame motionless, pierce the soul, glue the heart to it, entrance the affections. Light from heaven kindles into beauty our dullest material substances; the soul in grace diffuses beauty over the dullest human countenance; the soul, ere it has passed from the body, has been known to catch, through the half-opened portals, such brilliancy of light, that the eye even for some time after death has retained a brightness, beyond anything of earth . "The earth's form of beauty is a sort of voice of the dumb earth. Doth not, on considering the beauty of this universe, its very form answer thee with one voice, 'Not I made myself, but God?'" Poets have said:
"Old friends ... shall lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see,"
(Christian Year. Morning Hymn.)
"When he saw,
" - God within him light his face."
(Tennyson, In memoriam. T. has "The God.")
And Holy Scripture tells us that when Stephen, "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit," was about to speak of Jesus to the council which arraigned him, "all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel" Acts 6:5, Acts 6:15. It has been said, that if we could see a soul in grace, its beauty would so pierce us, that we should die. But the natural beauty of the soul transcends all corporeal beauty which so attracts us; the natural beauty of the last angel surpasseth all natural beauty of soul. If we could ascend from the most beautiful form, which the soul could here imagine, to the least glorious body of the beatified, on and on through the countless thousands of glorious bodies, compared wherewith heaven would be dark and the sun lose its shining; and yet more from the most beautiful deified soul, as visible here, to the beauty of the disembodied soul, whose image would scarce be recognized, because , "the bodily eyes gleamed with angelic radiancy;" yea, let the God-enlightened soul go on and on, through all those choirs of the heavenly hierarchies, clad with the raiment of Divinity, from choir to choir, from hierarchy to hierarchy, admiring the order and beauty and harmony of the house of God; yea, let it, aided by divine grace and light, ascend even higher, and reach the bound and term of all created beauty, yet it must know that the divine power and wisdom could create other creatures, far more perfect and beautiful than all which He hath hitherto created.
Nay, let the highest of all the Seraphs sum in one all the beauty by nature and grace and glory of all creatures, yet could it not be satisfied with that beauty, but must, because it was not satisfied with it, conceive some higher beauty. Were God immediately, at every moment to create that higher beauty at its wish, it could still conceive something beyond; for, not being God, its beauty could not satisfy its conception. So let him still, and in hundred thousand, hundred thousand, thousand years with swiftest flight of understanding multiply continually those degrees of beauty, so that each fresh degree should ever double that preceding, and the divine power should, with like swiftness, concur in creating that beauty, as in the beginning He said, "let there be light and there was light;" after all those millions of years, he would be again. at the beginning, and there would be no comparison between it and the divine beauty of Jesus Christ, God and Man. For it is the bliss of the finite not to reach the Infinite . That city of the blest which is lightened by the glory of God, and the Lamb is the light thereof, sees It, enabled by God, as created eye can see It, and is held fast to God in one jubilant exstacy of everlasting love.
"The prophet, borne out of himself by consideration of the divine goodness, stands amazed, while he contemplates the beauty and Deity of Christ: he bursts out with unaccustomed admiration! How great is His goodness, who, to guard His flock, shall come down on earth to lay down His life for the salvation of His sheep! How great His beauty, who is the ""brightnesss of the glory and the Image of the Father," and comprises in His Godhead the measure of all order and beauty! With what firm might does He strengthen, with what joy does He overwhelm the souls which gaze most frequently on His beauty, and gives largely and bountifully that corn, by whose strength the youths are made strong. He supplieth abundantly the wine, whereby the virgins, on fire with His love, are exhilarated and beautified. But both are necessary, that the strength of the strong should be upheld by the "bread from heaven," and that sound and uncorrupt minds, melted with the sweetness of love, should be recreated with wine, that is, the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, and be borne aloft with great joy, in the midst of extreme toils. For all who keep holily the faith of Christ, may be called "youths," for their unconquered strength, and virgins for their purity and integrity of soul. For all these that heavenly bread is prepared, that their strength be not weakened, and the wine is inpoured, that they be not only refreshed, but may live in utmost sweetness."
on Zechariah 9 :17