One hour spent under the cross, while the soul is thus elevated—thus abased—thus joyful—and thus sorrowful—is better than a thousand of earthly delights.
But, however lively the affection of love in the exercises of the real Christian, he never can lose sight of his own unworthiness. Indeed, the brighter his discoveries of the divine glory, and the stronger his love, the deeper are his views of the turpitude of sin; the more he is elevated in affection and assured hope, the deeper is he depressed in humility and self-abasement. His penitential feelings, from the nature of the case, keep pace with his love and joy; and when his tears flow in copious showers, he would be at a loss to tell, whether he was weeping for joy or for sorrow. He might say, for both; for in these pious exercises, these opposite emotions sweetly mingle their streams; and so delightful is this mingling of affections naturally opposite, that the person could hardly be persuaded, that the sweet would be as agreeable, without, as with the bitter. One hour spent under the cross, while the soul is thus elevated—thus abased—thus joyful—and thus sorrowful—is better than a thousand of earthly delights. Observe, Bunyan does not make the burden of Christian fall off instantly on his entering in at the strait gate; but when, as he travelled, he came in sight of the cross. Then, in a moment, those cords which had bound it to his back, and which none could loose, were burst asunder, and his burden fell off, and never was fastened on him again; although he lay so long in the prison of Giant Despair. The feelings of a renewed heart, are never afterwards the same as under legal conviction. There are scenes, in the experience of the lively Christian, of which the wise men of the world never dream; and which, if they were told of them, they would not believe; and these things, while they are hidden from the wise and prudent, are revealed unto babes. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him. The soul, which has thus returned from its wanderings to the bishop and shepherd, feels under the strongest obligations to live for God—to deny itself—to forsake the world—to do any thing—be any thing—or suffer any thing, which may be for the honour of its divine Master. Hence a new life commences—a new spirit is manifested—and the new man, maugre all his remaining ignorance and imperfection, gives lucid evidence to all who carefully observe him, that he has been with Jesus, and has been baptized with the Holy Ghost; and, the more frequently these views and exercises are reiterated, the more spiritual and heavenly is his conversation. This is a light which cannot be hid, and which ought to shine more and more unto the perfect day. Hear then the exhortation of the apostle Jude, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Alexander, A. (1841). Thoughts on Religious Experience (pp. 100–102). Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication.
- One hour spent under the cross, while the soul is thus elevated—thus abased—thus joyful—and thus sorrowful—is better than a thousand of earthly delights.
- Meditation is the chewing upon the truths we have heard: The beasts in the old law that did not chew the cud, were unclean: the christian that doth not by meditation chew the cud, is to be accounted unclean. Meditation is like the watering of the seed, it makes the fruits of grace to flourish.
- The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.
- Remember you are not a tree, that can stand alone; you are only “a branch,” and it is only while you abide in Him, as a branch, that you will flourish.
- The Sabbath is the great day for gathering in souls—it is Christ’s market-day.