|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by Thomas Shepard
Consider the glory of the person for whom I plead for love. What can you love besides him? Where can you find any like unto him? I know the glory of the Lord is not revealed, because the grass withers not, the flower fades not, the creature appears not in his withering vanity. Is. 40. But if the Lord would but open your eyes to see him, this would win your hearts alone to him.
Now, I shall single out only these five things, to give you a glimpse of his glory. Lift up thy heart, and say, "Lord, hide not now thy face from me."
1. He is the Prince of the kings of the earth. Rev. 1:5. The glory of the world is a kingdom, the glorious diamond of that kingdom is a prince in his glory. Now, for a poor beggar to have an offer of love from the greatest prince in the world, would it not tempt her? Would she not forsake her lovers, and set her heart on him? Why, look what a distance there is between the poorest peasant and the highest prince; so base, and a thousand times, are all the princes of the world to Christ, whose dominion is from sea to sea, from sun to sun, who sets up and pulls down kings like counters, who rules their courts, their kingdoms, their hearts, and they do not do, they can not do, but what he will. Other kings are princes, are rulers of men; Christ Prince of Kings. Now, who would not be glad of his love? Who, having tasted death, is set down on the right hand of God on high, clothed with endless glory, who has kings in his chains, whose breath is not in his nostrils, whose favor is not for a day, but he lives and reigns forever. Now, does Christ reign? Is he a Lord, and in glory upon his throne? Methinks I see Jesus at the right hand of God. Your foolish affections have undone you, if you love him not.
2. He is appointed by the Father to be Judge of quick and dead at the last day, (John 5:22, 23,) as well as to rule all now. So that if you do maintain enmity against him, he may let you alone, you may live in health and die in peace, in the eye of man, and in thine own eyes, too; yet there is a day coming he will break out of heaven, with a shout, and appear in the clouds, in the amazing glory of his Father, "with all his mighty angels, and all the dead shall hear his voice," and you shall appear before him with this body, when the heavens shall burn round about him, and the earth shall tremble under him, and all guilty eyes mourning and wailing because of him. Then you shall know what it is to despise him, and wish, O that I had loved him. Rev. 1:7. You that say you love him, yet by an impenitent heart pierce him, you shall wail, even so, Amen. Men do not see an end of these things, nor the glory of the Lord another day. Hence creatures are loved, and the Lord of glory is loathed. A great prince may not be so highly esteemed until he appears in his state. Prisoners would give any money (much more love) for the judge's favor.
3. He only is the procurer and author of all the good that ever thou didst suck out here, though thou hast neither known him, nor been thankful to him. For look, as it was with angels, so it should have been with man; the wrath of God should have been poured out upon him, and on all the world, and creatures should have been tormentors of him, but that the Lord Jesus begged and bought the world. And hence (1 Tim. 4:10) called "Saviour of all, but chiefly of the elect." Micah 4:4, "In his days, men shall sit under vines and fig trees." So that if ever any creature ever did thee good, it was Jesus that put that sweetness in it, out of his fullness, and set it a work, sent it to thee, gave it thee to do thee good. Thou shouldst never have had wink of sleep, never restrained from one sin, but lived in blaspheming God, never have heard of a gospel but for Christ. and will you not love him? O ungrateful world! Unnatural generation of men! Why dost thou love any creature? It is for the paint of it and good in it. If there be so much in it, what is there in Christ that gave it, that dropped it into it? Never love him if there be any thing good that is not by him. Ps. 116:1, "The Lord hath heard my prayer; I will call on him as long as I live." Much more when the Lord hath delivered, and thou didst never seek to him.
4. He is the everlasting wonderment of saints in heaven. The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon, which made her come to see him; but she before imagined but that which now she saw with her own eyes, and that rapt her out of herself. Here we hear of the Lord Jesus, of his beauty and glory, and this draws saints to him; and, when come, they see that which they never saw before, especially when in heaven. Then fall down in everlasting admiration at this mystery, for the blessedness of saints is to see Christ in his glory. John 17:24. Now, this lies in an infinite good; this can not be seen in a finite time. Hence saints shall be piercing their eyes deeper and deeper into this mystery, and shall ever see more and more, but never see all; and this is their joy and glory in heaven. Is it so? What think you, is Christ worthy of your love, or not? Look upon all the glory of the field of this world, you may see an end of all perfection, but never here.
5. He is the delights and bosom love of God himself. Prov. 8:30.
Hence John, when he came to set Christ out, (John 3:35,) "The
Father loveth the Son." Now is it so; surely though you see
not, taste not this good, yet there it is; now, tell me if this
person do not challenge love, would you not be glad to have him?
You will say, "Can he look upon such a wretch, embrace such
a leper as I? No, surely, he will never do it."
Love Him because of His Love to You
Index to Thomas Shepard
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