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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

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I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.

—John Vincent

There are two ways of beholding the glory of Christ

The one is by faith, in this world,—which is “the evidence of things not seen;” the other is by sight, or immediate vision in eternity, “We walk by faith, and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). We do so whilst we are in this world, “whilst we are present in the body, and absent from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). But we shall live and walk by sight hereafter. And it is the Lord Christ and his glory which are the immediate object both of this faith and sight For we here “behold him darkly in a glass” (that is, by faith); “but we shall see him face to face” (by immediate vision). “Now we know him in part; but then we shall know him as we are known” (1 Cor 13:12).

What is the difference between these two ways of beholding the glory of Christ?

It is the second way—namely, by vision in the light of glory—that is principally included in that prayer of our blessed Saviour, that his disciples may be where he is, to behold his glory (John 17:24). But I shall not confine my inquiry thereunto; nor doth our Lord Jesus exclude from his desire that sight of his glory which we have by faith in this world, but prays for the perfection of it in heaven.

It is therefore the first way in which we must labor:

1. No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who doth not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight.

2. The beholding of Christ in glory is that which in itself is too high, illustrious, and marvellous for us in our present condition. It hath a splendour and glory too great for our present spiritual visible [visive] faculty; as the direct, immediate sight of the sun darkens our sight, and doth not relieve or strengthen it at all.

3. Herein, then, our present edification is principally concerned; for in this present beholding of the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminently acted. And from this exercise of faith doth love unto Christ principally, if not solely, arise and spring. If, therefore, we desire to have faith in its vigour or love in its power, giving rest, complacency, and satisfaction unto our own souls, we are to seek for them in the diligent discharge of this duty;—elsewhere they will not be found.

Herein would I live;—herein would I live;—hereon would I dwell in my thoughts and affections, to the withering and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, unto the crucifying all things here below, until they become unto me a dead and deformed thing, no way meet for affectionate embraces.

—John Owen
Adapted from The Works of John Owen, 1:288-291.

Profession of the life of God passeth with many at a very low and easy rate. Their thoughts are for the most part vain and earthly, their communication unsavoury, and sometimes corrupt, their lives at best uneven and uncertain as unto the rule of obedience; yet all is well, all is life and peace!

The holy men of old, who obtained this testimony, that they pleased God, did not so walk before Him. They meditated continually on the law; thought of God in the night seasons; spake of His ways, His works, His praise; their whole delight was in Him, and in all things they followed hard after Him.

—John Owen
The Works of John Owen, 7:301.

We must not be strange to him in our thoughts, but make him the object of our most serious meditations: It is said of the wicked that “they are far from God;” and that “God is not in all their thoughts” (Ps 73:27; 10:4). The thoughts are the mind’s employment. It dwells on that which it frequently thinks of. It is a walk of the mind, and not of the body which we are treating of. To mind the world, and fleshly things, is contrary to this walk with God: we are far from him, when our thoughts are (ordinarily) far from him.

—Richard Baxter
The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter: Volume XIII, 167.

Because faith is the most receptive grace, it proves to be most fit for the needy condition of the creature. Other graces are more operative, but faith is most receptive. It is the right hand of the soul, to take in the fullness of Jesus Christ.

Nature liveth upon alms, and the continued bounty and supplies of heaven, since the fall; and therefore those graces are most serviceable that are most receptive. Love giveth, but faith taketh. All God’s stars shine with a borrowed light. We are beggars now, rather than workers. The blessing of life is not in ourselves, but in Christ.

Faith standeth in a passive receptiveness to take the conveyances of grace: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life” (1 John 5:12). It is all in having Christ. We must be beholden to another. God will trust us no more with the keeping of it, but hath placed our support in Jesus Christ. Our safety is like the ivy, or those weaker strings that are strengthened by cleaving about the oak. Now faith serveth for that, for relying on Christ to clothe us with his righteousness.

—Thomas Manton
Adapted from The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 3:435.

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