1 Timothy 6:13-16
I give you charge in the sight of God, who vivifies all things, and before Christ Jesus…
I. Consider WHAT THE EYE ITSELF IS, THE POOR IMPLEMENT OF WHICH WE DEMAND SO MUCH. A ball of clay and mortality, it can act only on what is material and corruptible like itself. It is limited to a certain province even among these surrounding things. How delicate an organ it is, that is yet capable of taking in the broad scenes of the ocean and the land, and reaching as it were the stars at their immeasurable distances! At very short intervals of time it must be shut up within its fringes from the very light that it lives by; and when it is in its utmost vigour, the direct flash of a single sunbeam is more than it can bear. A tear dims it. A mote takes away from it every capacity but that of pain. A spark destroys it for ever. It cannot penetrate even the thin veils of outward nature. The true light may shine inward, though the body be dark. The soul sees otherwise and more nobly than through that narrow window. Is it through these lenses of flesh — so easily distempered, so often giving false pictures, so soon to perish — is it through these that we would gaze on the King Eternal?
II. Think, further, WHO HE IS WHOM WE ASK TO BE THUS MANIFESTED TO US. The very idea of God absolutely excludes the possibility of His being an object of sight. He is a pure Intelligence, circumscribed by no form, bounded by no space, and to be communicated with only through the Spirit which Himself imparts. But the unconvinced may say: This is not what we seek, or have ever imagined. But we would lay our eyes upon some undeniable signs and representatives of the Almighty Providence. Yet the Scriptures tell them, and their own religious reason tells them, that they are actually surrounded with just such signs and representatives in the natural creation. It is His spirit that gives it life. It is His wisdom that gives it law. It is not, however, with such as these, they may reply, that we are satisfied. We would have testimonies strictly miraculous, transcending all the powers of nature, and thus exhibiting an immediate connection with the Almighty One. The Scriptures and our religious reason then take up the word again and say: Foolish and slow of heart! unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. It does not seem, then, that there is the virtue you fancy in the spectacle that you ask. And why should there be? Why should transient visions and strange occurrences impart a steadier trust than the perpetual marvels of this glorious world, and the eternal chain of decrees and providences that can be held but in one sovereign hand? One thing more may be urged by those who withhold or utter faintly the ascription in the text, "To whom be honour and power ever lasting," because "no man hath seen nor can see Him." They may say, It is not even such wonders as you have alluded to that we crave. They are for the individual only, or at most have their chief concern with but a tribe or a generation of men. We would have a supernatural sign that should be permanent and universal. It should be for all eyes. To this suggestion we need not call on the Scriptures for a reply. It demands an open impossibility, and is inconsistent with itself. Whatever should be thus associated with the works of nature must necessarily be regarded as one of them, however marvellous and inexplicable it might appear. We can scarcely conceive of anything more wonderful than is somewhere or other already presented. From what has been said, I hope it has been made clear, that no one has cause for objection or mistrust because the Lord is invisible, for it is inconceivable how He should be otherwise. "To Him, whom no man hath seen or can see, be honour and power everlasting." "What we adore under the affection of our senses," says an old writer, "deserves not the honour of so pure a title. Nor is it strange that we should place affection on that which is invisible. All that we truly love is thus." The soul itself — is it not invisible, like its Source? To be born as we are, animal and moral beings, into two states at once — to dwell in a world like this we inhabit of pale reflections and shadows, where what is the most real is the least obvious — and at the same time to think the outward shape everything, and the secret intelligence and power that makes all to be what it is, nothing — this is to want the very sense that best becomes and exults us. The Scriptures, with a beautiful boldness of expression, speak of "seeing Him who is invisible." And when they thus speak, their meaning is twofold — to acquaint ourselves with him and to rejoice as in His presence. "He that doeth evil," says John, "hath not seen God." But" Blessed are the pure in heart," it is for them that the double privilege is reserved of knowing and enjoying Him.
(N. L. Frothingham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;