All the graces of Christianity always go together. They so go together that where there is one, there are all, and where one is wanting, all are wanting. Where there is faith, there are love, and hope, and humility; and where there is love, there is also trust; and where there is a holy trust in God, there is love to God; and where there is a gracious hope, there also is a holy fear of God.
All the virtues which appeared in Christ shone brightest in the close of His life, under the trials He then met. Eminent virtue always shows brightest in the fire. Pure gold shows its purity chiefly in the furnace. It was chiefly under those trials which Christ endured in the close of His life that His love to God, His honor of Gods majesty, His regard to the honor of His law, His spirit of obedience, His humility, contempt of the world, His patience, meekness, and spirit of forgiveness towards men, appeared. Indeed, everything that Christ did to work out redemption for us appears mainly in the close of His life. Here mainly is His satisfaction for sin, and here chiefly is His merit of eternal life for sinners, and here chiefly appears the brightness of His example which He has set us for imitation.
Among the many acts of gratitude we owe to God, it may be accounted one to study and contemplate the perfections and beauties of His work of creation. Every new discovery must necessarily raise in us a fresh sense of the greatness, wisdom, and power of God.
As God carries on the work of converting the souls of fallen men through all ages, so He goes on to justify them, to blot out all their sins, and to accept them as righteous in His sight through the righteousness of Christ. He goes on to adopt and receive them from being the children of Satan to be His own children, to carry on the work of His grace which He has begun in them, to comfort them with the consolations of His Spirit, and to bestow upon them, when their bodies die, that eternal glory which is the fruit of Christs purchase.
By Christs purchasing redemption, two things are intended, His satisfaction and His merit. All is done by the price that Christ lays down, which does two things: it pays our debt, and so it satisfies; by its intrinsic value, and by the agreement between the Father and the Son it procures our title, and so it merits. The satisfaction of Christ is to free us from misery, and the merit of Christ is to purchase happiness for us.
If any man thinks that he can conceive well enough how there should be nothing, I will engage that what he means by nothing is as much something as anything that he ever thought of in his life; and I believe that if he knew what nothing was, it would be intuitively evident to him that it could not be. * * * Absolute nothing is the aggregate of all the contradictions in the world.
The soul of a true Christian appears like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year, low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the suns glory, rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture, diffusing around a sweet fragrancy, standing peacefully and lovingly in the midst of other flowers round about, all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun.
What self-righteous persons take to themselves, is the same work that Christ was engaged in when He was in His agony and bloody sweat, and when He died on the cross, which was the greatest thing that ever the eyes of angels beheld. Christ could accomplish other parts of this work without cost; but this cost Him His life, as well as innumerable pains and labors. Yet this is the part which self-righteous persons go about to accomplish for themselves.
What tranquillity will there be in heaven! Who can express the fullness and blessedness of this peace! What a calm is this! How sweet and holy and joyous! What a haven of rest to enter, after having passed through the storms and tempests of this world, in which pride and selfishness and envy and malice and scorn and contempt and contention and vice are as waves of a restless ocean, always rolling, and often dashed about in violence and fury! What a Canaan of rest to come to, after going through this waste and howling wilderness, full of snares and pitfalls and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found.