It is a blessed thing to be with Christ while we are here. ‘I am ever with thee.’ What is it the pious soul desires in this life? Is it not to have the sweet presence of Christ? He cares for nothing but what hath something of Christ in it; he loves duties only as they [lead] to Christ: Why is prayer so sweet, but because the soul hath private conference with Christ? Why is the word precious but because it is a means to convey Christ? He comes down to us upon the wings of the Spirit, and we go up to him upon the wings of faith. An ordinance without Christ, is but feeding upon the dish instead of the meat. Why doth the wife love the letter, but because it brings news of her husband? Here we enjoy Christ by letters, and that is sweet; but what will it be to enjoy his presence in glory? Here is that which may amaze us, we shall be with Christ. Christ is all that is desirable: nay, he is more than we can desire. A man that is thirsty, he desires only a little water to quench his thirst; but bring him to the sea, and here he has more than he can desire. In Christ there is not only a fullness of sufficiency, but a fullness of redundancy; it overflows all the banks. A Christian that is most sublimated by faith, hath neither a head to devise, nor an heart to desire all that which is in Christ. Only when we come to heaven, God will enlarge the vessel of our desire, and will fill us as Christ did the water-pots with wine, ‘up to the brim.’John Newton
[Holiness] is the divine beauty which chiefly engages the attention, admiration, and praise of the bright and burning seraphim: “One cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). And, “They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). … And the Scriptures represent the saints on earth as adoring God primarily on this account, and admiring and extolling all God’s attributes, either as deriving loveliness from his holiness, or as being a part of it. Thus when they praise God for his power, his holiness is the beauty that engages them (Psalm 98:1). So when they praise him for his justice and terrible majesty (Psalm 99:2-3, 5, 8-9). So when they praise God for his mercy and faithfulness (Psalm 97:11-12).
Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, 105–106.
This attribute should work in us a deep and reverential respect to God. This is the reason rendered why we should “worship at his footstool,” in the lowest posture of humility, prostrate before him, because “he is holy” (Psalm 99:5). Shoes must be put off from our feet (Exodus 3:5), that is, lusts from our affections, everything that our souls are clogged and bemired with, as the shoe is with dirt. He is not willing we should offer to him an impure soul, mired hearts, rotten carcasses, putrefied in vice, rotten in iniquity. Our services are to be as free from profaneness as the sacrifices of the law were to be free from sickliness or any blemish. Whatsoever is contrary to his purity is abhorred by him, and unlovely in his sight, and can meet with no other success at his hands, but a disdainful turning away both of his eye and ear (Isaiah 1:15). …
We are too low, too lame to lift up ourselves to it; too much in love with our own deformity, to admit of this beauty without a heavenly power inclining our desires for it, our affections to it, our willingness to be partakers of it. He can as soon set the beauty of holiness in a deformed heart, as the beauty of harmony in a confused mass when he made the world. He can as soon cause the light of parity to rise out of the darkness of corruption, as frame glorious spirits out of the insufficiency of nothing. His beauty doth not decay, he hath as much in himself now as he had in his eternity: he is as ready to impart it as he was at the creation; only we must wait upon him for it, and be content to have it by small measures and degrees. There is no fear of our sanctification, if we come to him as a God of holiness, since he is a God of peace, and the breach made by Adam is repaired by Christ: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He restores the sanctifying Spirit which was withdrawn by the fall, as he is a God pacified, and his holiness righted by the Redeemer. The beauty of it appears in its smiles upon a man in Christ, and is as ready to impart itself to the reconciled creature, as before justice was to punish the rebellious one.
Stephen Charnock, The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, 2:273-4.
True faith is a Christ-receiving faith; it receives and embraces the whole Christ, Christ as a Savior and Christ as a Lord in all His offices, Prophet, Priest, and King. It causes those that have it to give up themselves wholly to Christ, to be ruled by Him in all things, according to His Word. Thus the gospel tenders Christ, and thus a true believer receives Christ. “My Lord and my God,” says believing Thomas of Christ (John 20:28), and it is the property of justifying faith thus to embrace Christ. “They gave themselves unto the Lord,” says the apostle of some true believers (2 Corinthians 8:5). And this is universally true of all that are true believers; they give themselves unto the Lord, and that freely and voluntarily. This faith also puts a price upon Christ above all things, and cleaves to the mercy of God in Christ as better than life, both positively and comparatively. ‘‘To you which believe He is precious” (1 Peter 2:7); “He is the chiefest of ten thousand” (Song 5:10); “fairer than all the children of men” (Psalm 45:2); “He is altogether lovely” (Song 5:16); “as the apple tree amongst the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the sons” (Song 2:3); “His mouth is most sweet” (Song 5:16); “His love is better than wine” (Song 1:2). … By all these places it is evident that it is the property of true faith highly to prize Christ in all things, places, persons, and conditions, above all things, and beyond all time.
Edmund Calamy, Evidence for Heaven (1657), 10-11.
The humble soul knows that God out of Christ is incommunicable, that God out of Christ is incomprehensible, that God out of Christ is very terrible, and that God out of Christ is inaccessible; and, therefore, he always brings Christ with him, presents all his requests in his name, and so prevails.Thomas Brooks, Smooth Stones Taken From Ancient Brooks, 145
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6
What does it mean to come to the Father? It means nothing else but to come from death to life, from sin and condemnation to innocence and godliness, from distress and sorrow to eternal joy and blessedness. Christ is saying, “No one should try to come to the Father through a different way than through Me. I alone am the way, the truth, and the life.” Christ clearly rules out and powerfully disproves all teaching that salvation can be obtained by works. He completely denies that we can get to heaven by any other way. For Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no other way. …
Though everyone else may abandon me and leave me lying in ruins, I will still have an eternal treasure that can never fail me. This treasure isn’t the result of my own works or efforts. The treasure is Christ—the way, the truth, and the life. Only through Christ do I come to the Father. I will hold to this, live by this, die by it.
Martin Luther, His Passion, 94.