“The foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty” by Jonathan Edwards

“As God is infinitely the greatest being, so He is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent. And all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory.

God’s beauty is infinitely more valuable than that of all other beings upon both those accounts mentioned, that is to say, the degree of his virtue and the greatness of the being possessed of this virtue. And God has sufficiently exhibited Himself, in His being, His infinite greatness and excellency.

And He has given us faculties, whereby we are capable of plainly discovering immense superiority to all other beings in these respects. Therefore He that has true virtue, consisting in benevolence to Being in general, and in that complacence in virtue, or moral beauty, and benevolence to virtuous being, must necessarily have a supreme love to God, both of benevolence and complacence.

And all true virtue must radically and essentially, and as it were summarily, consist in this. Because God is not only infinitely greater and more excellent than all other being, but He is the head of the universal system of existence; the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty; from whom all is perfectly derived, and on whom all is most absolutely and perfectly dependent; of whom, and through whom, and to whom is all being and all perfection; and whose being and beauty is as it were the sum and comprehension of all existence and excellence: much more than the sun is the fountain and summary comprehension of all the light and brightness of the day.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Nature of True Virtue,” Ethical Writings, Ed. Paul Ramsey, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 550-551.