Christ was to make satisfaction by suffering all that we were to suffer. We are cursed, therefore Christ was made a curse (Gal. 3:13). We were to endure the wrath of God, therefore he bore our griefs (Isa. 53:4). We are to blame, and deserve shame, therefore he would undergo that, and suffer in his credit and honour. Our reproach is taken away, because Christ would take it upon himself: he was ‘the reproach of men’ (Ps. 22:6). We were sinners, and therefore Christ is called a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, one that had a devil. This was a circumstance that commended the greatness of the satisfaction. What greater satisfaction could we expect or desire than that Christ, who is holiness itself, should not only suffer, but suffer under ignominies—that innocency itself should suffer as a malefactor? This made the sufferings of Christ exceeding great and valuable. Christ would lay aside all his glory, pleasure, and honour, and sacrifice everything for the good of the creature. You have the life of God, and the honour of God, and all. There is nothing that God prizeth so much as his honour, and Christ would suffer that God’s honour might not be obscured by these imputations, but repaired.
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 3:478.
[Meditation] is a duty wherein the very heart and life-blood of piety lies. Meditation may be thus described: it is a holy exercise of the mind; whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves. In meditation there are two things:
- A Christian’s retiring of himself, a locking himself up from the world. Meditation is a work which cannot be done in a crowd.
- It is a serious thinking upon God. It is not a few transient thoughts that are quickly gone—but a fixing and staying of the mind upon heavenly objects: this cannot be done without exciting all the powers of our souls, and offering violence to ourselves.
The Christian Soldier, or Heaven Taken by Storm (Robert Moore, 1816).
“Empty the bucket before you go to the fountain.”
Wise advice. If the pail be full of the best and cleanest water it is idle to carry it to the well, for its fulness disqualifies it for being a receiver. Those who think themselves full of grace are not likely to pray aright, for prayer is a beggar’s trade, and supposes the existence of need. What does a full bucket want with the well? Let it stay where it is. Fitness for mercy is not found in self-sufficiency, but in emptiness and want.
He can and will receive most of the Lord who has least of his own.
If the bucket is full of foul water, it is wise to throw it away as we go to the crystal spring. We must not come to the Lord with our minds full of vanity, lust, covetousness, and pride. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” He will not make his grace the medium of floating our unclean desires. Grace will cleanse out sin, but it will not mix with it, neither may we desire such a dishonorable compromising of the holy name of the Lord our God. Let the bucket of the heart be turned upside down and drained of the love of sin, and then prayer will be heard, and Jesus will come in and fill it.
Lord, empty me of self, of pride, of worldliness, of unbelief, and then fill me with all the fulness of God.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption. …
The plain truth is that a right knowledge of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity. Without it such doctrines as justification, conversion, sanctification, are “words and names” which convey no meaning to the mind. The first thing, therefore, that God does when He makes any one a new creature in Christ, is to send light into his heart, and show him that he is a guilty sinner. The material creation in Genesis began with “light,” and so also does the spiritual creation. God “shines into our hearts” by the work of the Holy Ghost, and then spiritual life begins (2 Cor 4:6). Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies, and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies. I believe that one of the chief wants of the Church in the nineteenth century has been, and is, clearer, fuller teaching about sin.
—J. C. Ryle
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 1–2.
The true Christian is one whose religion is in his heart and life. It is felt by himself in his heart. It is seen by others in his conduct and life. He feels his sinfulness, guilt, and badness, and repents. He sees Jesus Christ to be that Divine Saviour whom his soul needs, and commits himself to Him. He puts off the old man with his corrupt and carnal habits, and puts on the new man. He lives a new and holy life, fighting habitually against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ Himself is the corner stone of His Christianity. Ask him in what he trusts for the forgiveness of his many sins, and he will tell you, in the death of Christ.—Ask him in what righteousness he hopes to stand innocent at the judgment day, and he will tell You it is the righteousness of Christ.—Ask him by what pattern he tries to frame his life, and he will tell you that it is the example of Christ.
But, beside all this, there is one thing in a true Christian which is eminently peculiar to him. That thing is love to Christ. Knowledge, faith, hope, reverence, obedience, are all marked features in a true Christian’s character. But his picture would be very imperfect if you omitted his “love” to his Divine Master. He not only knows, trusts, and obeys. He goes further than this,—he loves.
—J. C. Ryle
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 341.