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True Moral Beauty - "A Sanctified Eye"

"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

A man does not need to forever walk through life with blinders on in order to gain victory over his unholy lusts. In fact, as his mind and heart are gradually transformed by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, he finds that he can walk through this world with his eyes wide open and the things that were once stumbling blocks will have little to no power over him.

In fact, immoral things that once enticed him to sin, he will find as, not only unattractive to him, but actually nauseating. No "accountability group" can accomplish this; no amount of self discipline or behavior modification can accomplish this. Unless there is an inward transforming going on--a renewing of the mind; these "techniques" used to conquer lust will fail miserably every time. Until a man actually hates what used to entice him to sin, he will be a prisoner of it as long as he walks on this earth. Until he sees these things through a "sanctified eye" he will love them in all their ugliness.

Apply this to the so called "addiction to pornography" by professing Christians. A man whose mind is being transformed and renewed by God, will eventually feel nothing but sorrow and compassion for the women who are giving themselves to this industry. He would think of them as daughters to be rescued, not "things" to be used for his own sexual gratification. He would feel a righteous anger towards this entire industry. He would see it for the emptiness, ugliness, and animal like depravity that it truly is. He would see it as Christ sees it. Yes, this is possible and it is the only way that a man ever gains victory. As he is transformed by the Spirit through the Word, he will want to cover a woman's nakedness out of love for her, not "undress her with his eyes" and desire to defile her. Let us listen to Jonathan Edwards:

"When a holy and amiable action is suggested to the thoughts of a holy soul, that soul, if in the lively exercise of its spiritual taste, at once sees a beauty in it, and so inclines to it, and closes with it. On the contrary, if an unworthy, unholy action be suggested to it, its sanctified eye sees no beauty in it, and is not pleased with it; its sanctified taste relishes no sweetness in it, but on the contrary, it is nauseous to it."

"And as to a gracious leading of the Spirit, it consists in two things: partly in instructing a person in his duty by the Spirit, and partly in powerfully inducing him to comply with that instruction.

But so far as the gracious leading of the Spirit lies in instruction, it consists in a person's being guided by a spiritual and distinguishing taste of that which has in it true moral beauty. I have shown that spiritual knowledge primarily consists in a taste or relish of the amiableness and beauty of that which is truly good and holy: this holy relish is a thing that discerns and distinguishes between good and evil, between holy and unholy, without being at the trouble of a train of reasoning.

As he who has a true relish of external beauty, knows what is beautiful by looking upon it; he stands in no need of a train of reasoning about the proportion of the features, in order to determine whether that which he sees be a beautiful countenance or no; he needs nothing, but only the glance of his eye. He who has a rectified musical ear, knows whether the sound he hears be true harmony; he does not need first to be at the trouble of the reasonings of a mathematician about the proportion of the notes. He that has a rectified palate knows what is good food, as soon as he tastes it, without the reasoning of a physician about it.

There is a holy beauty and sweetness in words and actions, as well as a natural beauty in countenances and sounds, and sweetness in food: Job 12:11 , "Doth not the ear try words, and the mouth taste his meat?"

When a holy and amiable action is suggested to the thoughts of a holy soul, that soul, if in the lively exercise of its spiritual taste, at once sees a beauty in it, and so inclines to it, and closes with it. On the contrary, if an unworthy, unholy action be suggested to it, its sanctified eye sees no beauty in it, and is not pleased with it; its sanctified taste relishes no sweetness in it, but on the contrary, it is nauseous to it. Yea, its holy taste and appetite leads it to think of that which is truly lovely, and naturally suggests it; as a healthy taste and appetite naturally suggests the idea of its proper object.

Thus a holy person is led by the Spirit, as he is instructed and led by his holy taste and disposition of heart; whereby, in the lively exercise of grace, he easily distinguishes good and evil, and knows at once what is a suitable amiable behaviour towards God, and towards man, in this case and the other, and Judges what is right, as it were spontaneously, and of himself, without a particular deduction, by any other arguments than the beauty that is seen, and goodness that is tasted.

Thus Christ blames the Pharisees, that they "did not, even of their own selves, judge what was right," without needing miracles to prove it, Luke 12:57 . The apostle seems plainly to have respect to this way of judging of spiritual beauty, in Rom. 12:2: "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God."

Jonathan Edwards

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