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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

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Oh! if we did but verily believe that the promise of this glory is the word of God, and that God doth truly mean as he speaks, and is fully resolved to make it good; if we did verily believe that there is, indeed, such blessedness prepared for believers as the Scripture mentioneth, surely we should be as impatient of living as we are now fearful of dying, and should think every day a year till our last day should come. [footnote citing Cyprian: “Let him fear to die, who being not born again… Let him fear to die, who is not judged to be Christ’s in his cross and passion…”]  …

Is it possible that we can truly believe that death will remove us from misery to such glory, and yet be loath to die? If it were the doubts of our interest which made us afraid, yet a true belief of the certainty and excellency of this rest would make us restless till our interest be cleared.

If a man that is desperately sick today, did believe he should arise sound the next morning; or a man today, in despicable poverty, had assurance that he should tomorrow arise a prince; would they be afraid to go to bed, or rather think it the longest day of their lives, till that desired night and morning came? The truth is, though there is much faith and Christianity in our mouths, yet there is much infidelity and paganism in our hearts, which is the main cause that we are so loath to die.

—Richard Baxter
Works, 23:193.

When the world had revolted against its Maker, and the Creator had been defied by His own creatures, a great gulf was opened between God and man. The first coming of Christ was like a bridge which crossed the chasm, and made a way of access from God to man, and then from man to God. Our Lord’s second advent will make that bridge far broader, until heaven shall come down to earth; and, ultimately, earth shall go up to Heaven.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Christ’s Incarnation: The Foundation of Christianity, 143.

Little would an unbeliever think what a body God will make of this, that now is corruptible flesh and blood! It shall then be loathsome and troublesome no more. It shall be hungry, or thirsty, or weary, or cold, or pained no more. As the stars of heaven do differ from a clod of earth, or from a carrion in a ditch, so will our glorified, immortal bodies differ from this mortal, corruptible flesh. If a skilful workman can turn a little earth and ashes into such curious transparent glasses, as we daily see; and if a little seed that bears no show of such a thing, can produce the more beautiful flowers of the earth; and if a little acorn can bring forth the greatest oak; why should we once doubt whether the seed of everlasting life and glory which is now in the blessed souls with Christ, can by him communicate a perfection to the flesh that is dissolved into its elements?

There is no true beauty but that which is there received from the face of God: and if a glimpse made Moses’ face to shine, what glory will God’s glory communicate to us, when we have the fullest endless intuition of it! There only is the strength, and there is the riches, and there is the honour, and there is the pleasure; and here are but the shadows, and dreams, and names, and images of these precious things.

And the perfection of the soul that is now imperfect, will be such as cannot now be known. The very nature and manner of intellection, memory, volition, and affections, will be inconceivably altered and elevated, even as the soul itself will be, and much more, because of the change on the corruptible body, which in these acts it now makes use of.

—Richard Baxter
The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, 11:255–256.

Question: How shall I know I love the world?

Answer: That will be seen by observing the bent of our heart, how it is swayed towards God and his service, and how towards things below. When two masters are parted, their servants will be known whom they serve, by following their own master. Blessed be God, in these times we enjoy both religion and the world together; but if times of suffering should approach, then it would be known whose servants we are. Consider therefore beforehand what thou wouldst do. If trouble and persecution should arise, wouldst thou stand up for Christ, and set light by liberty, riches, credit, all in comparison of him?

Yet we must know it is not the world simply that draws our heart from God and goodness, but the love of the world. Worldly things are good in themselves, and given to sweeten our passage to heaven. They sweeten the profession of religion, therefore bring not a false report upon the world. It is thy falseness that makes it hurtful, in loving it so much. Use it as a servant all thy days, and not as a master, and thou mayest have comfort therein. It is not the world properly that hurts us, but our setting our hearts upon it; whenas God should be in our thoughts, our spirits are even drunk with the cares below. Thorns will not prick of themselves, but when they are grasped in a man’s hand they prick deep. So this world and the things thereof are all good, and were all made of God for the benefit of his creature, did not our immoderate affection make them hurtful, which indeed embitters every sweet unto us. This is the root of all evil. When once a man’s heart is set upon the world, how doth he set light by God, and the peace of his conscience, to attain his ends! How doth he break with God, his truth, religion, and all, to satisfy a lust! And indeed as we fasten our love, so we are either good or bad. We are not as we know, but as we love. If we set our love on earthly things, we ourselves become base and earthly; but if we love heavenly things, our conversations will be spiritual and divine. Our affections are those things which declare what we are.

—Richard Sibbes
The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 7:412–413.

The mind and affections of the new creature are set upon heavenly and spiritual things (cf. Col 3:1-2; Eph 4:23; Rom 8:5). If, therefore, thy heart and affections be habitually earthly and wholly intent upon things below, driving eagerly after the world, as the great business and end of thy life, deceive not thyself, this is not the fruit of the new creature, nor consistent with it.

—John Flavel
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 2:366.

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