Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified, and be often in the thoughts and study of him.
Study Christ, not only as living, but dying; not as breathing in our air, but suffering in our stead; know him as a victim, which is the way to know him as a conqueror. Christ as crucified is the great object of faith. . . . It was this death which as a sacrifice appeased God, and as a price redeemed us; nothing is so strong to encourage us, nothing so powerful to purify us; how can we be without thinking of it! . . . If we study it well, we shall be sensible how God hated sin and loved a world; how much he would part with to restore a fallen creature.
We cannot look upon Christ crucified for us, for our guilt, and consider that we had deserved all that he suffered, and that he suffered not by our entreaty, nor by any obligation from us, but merely from his own love, but the meditation of this must needs melt us into sorrow. Should we not bleed as often as we seriously thought of Christ’s bleeding for us?
You cannot see a malefactor led to execution for a notorious crime, but you have some detesting thoughts of the fact, as well as some motions of pity to the person. A strong meditation on Christ will excite not only compassions for his sufferings, but a detestation of our sins and selves as, the cause of it. It is a ‘look upon Christ pierced’ that pierceth the soul (Zech 12:10).
Would not this blood acquaint us that the malignity of sin was so great, that it could not be blotted out by the blood of the whole creation! Would it not astonish us that none had strength enough to match it, but one equal with God! Would not such an astonishment break out into penitent reflections! Would not the thoughts of this make us emulate the veil of the temple, and be ashamed that it should outstrip us in rending, while our hearts remain unbroken! Should we not be confounded, that a lifeless earth should shake in the time of his sufferings, while our reasonable souls stand immoveable!
Could any of the Israelites, that understood the nature and intent of sacrifices, be without some penitent motions, while they saw the innocent victim slain for their sin, not for any fault of its own; and should we be unmelted, if we considered the cross, the punishment of our crimes, not any of his!