Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is congregation or meeting-place of all waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. . . .
Christ and his benefits go inseparably and undividedly... Many would willingly receive his privileges, who will not receive his person; but it cannot be; if we will have one, we must take the other too: Yea, we must accept his person first, and then his benefits: as it is in the marriage covenant, so it is here.
What is a child, but a piece of the parent enrapt up in another skin? And yet our dearest children are but as strangers to us, in comparison of the unspeakable dearness that was between the Father and Christ. Now, that he should ever be content to part with a Son, and such an only One, is such a manifestation of love, as will be admired to all eternity.
Ah, did we but rightly understand what the demerit of sin is, we would rather admire the bounty of God than complain of the straithandedness of Providence. And if we did but consider that there lies upon God no obligation of justice or gratitud to reward any of our duties, it would cure our murmurs (Gen. 32:10).
There is no grace more excellent than faith; no sin more execrable and abominable then unbelief. Faith is the saving grace and unbelief the damning sin. (Mark 16:16) ... Before Christ can be received, the heart must be emptied and opened: but men's heart's are full of self-righteousn ess and vain confidence (Rom 10:3).
Turn in upon yourselves, get into your closets, and now resolve to dwell there. You have been strangers to this work too long; you have kept other vineyards too long; you have trifled about the borders of religion too long. Will you now resolve to look better to your hearts? Will you hate and come out of the crowds of business and clamors of the world and retire yourselves more than you have done? Oh, that this day you would resolve upon it!
I think it is not very difficult to discern by the duties and converses of Christians, what frames their spirits are under. Take a Christian in a good frame, and how serious, heavenly, and profitable, will his converses and duties be! what a lovely companion is he during the continuance of it!
When the world smiles upon us, and we have got a warm nest, how do we prophesy of rest and peace in those acquisitions, thinking with good Baruch, great things for ourselves, but Providence by a particular or general calamity overturns our plans (Jer. 45:4,5), and all this to turn our hearts from the creature to God.
Surely if He would not spare His own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever He should, after this, deny or withhold from His people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.
Tell me, you vain professor, when did you shed a tear for the deadness, hardness, unbelief, or earthliness of your heart? Do you think that such an easy religion can save you? If so, we may invert Christ's words and say, 'Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to life, and may there be that go in there.'
Let us consider and marvel that ever this great and blessed God should be so much concerned, as you have heard He is in all His providences, about such vile, despicable worms as we are! He does not need us, but is perfectly blessed and happy in Himself without us. We can add nothing to Him.