I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.…
These are the words of one of the most virtuous of our race. This is the language of one who added to moral virtues the noblest beneficence; and who added to a charity almost unbounded a piety the most sincere and consistent. Exalted as were his attainments in the school of religion, he had much more yet to learn. There appears through the whole of his conversations with his friends the indications of a mind claiming too unqualified a freedom from guilt, and yielding to a spirit of impatience. The Lord appears, and answers Job out of the whirlwind. He makes such a glorious display of His greatness and majesty; of the multitude and stupendous character of His works, interspersed with notices of the littleness and short-sightedness of man, that Job seems now to know more than he had ever known before. Evidently, then, there are various manners in which God may be known; various degrees in the clearness, the certainty, and the satisfaction of knowing Him. Discoveries of God produce effects upon the mind proportionably to their nature. The men who have a speculative knowledge of God, which is defective and false. They speak of the heavenly Father; the claims of the Ruler they overlook. They dwell on the mercies of the God of grace; they pass by the awfulness of the avenger of sin. Such persons may glow with enthusiasm as they contemplate the vast or the beautiful; but all this may be without any beneficial influence on the soul.
2. The speculative knowledge of God that is true. This is the true knowledge of God, which comes to the intellect, and there it is arrested, — which stands in idea and sentiment. Everything is acknowledged. The Divine perfections are not separated and sacrificed. The theological system is correct. Religion has been learned as a science, but with no better a moral and spiritual influence. These men have not seen God; they never had those views of God that are peculiar to a regenerate and purified heart. The report has reached the understanding, but has never been echoed through the soul. Bare knowledge does but "puff up."
3. A knowledge of God which is spiritual and true, but an incipient acquaintance with God. This is a higher description of knowledge, yet is it only a beginning. Such a knowledge is as decided in its effects as it is Divine in its nature. But in its first degrees, although it brings salvation into the soul, this knowledge of God is but as the distant, though well-established report of what is true. We come now to the consideration of an advanced stage in the spiritual knowledge of God; that which constitutes its ripeness in the present world. Such a maturity in grace is not to be attributed to more abundant instruction, or to any new method of instruction. It was a purifying of his heart by the influences of the Holy Spirit. The perfection of the knowledge of God must not be hoped for in the present world. Examine, then, into the nature of that knowledge of God which you possess.
(T. Kennion, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.