Undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving!
(Thomas Vincent, "The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ!")
How may I attain great degrees of love to Christ?
Be much in holy contemplation of Christ. Spend time in secret retirement, and there think and think again — of the superlative excellencies and perfections which are in Christ. Think how wonderful and matchless His love is:
what heights of His love — which cannot be reached;
what depths of His love — which cannot be fathomed;
what dimensions of His love — which cannot be comprehended!
O the transports of soul, which some believers have found in their retired thoughts and views of Christ!
"O dear Jesus, how lovely You are in Yourself . . .
the darling of Heaven,
the delight of the Father,
the admiration of angels!
O what brightness of glory, what shining luster are You arrayed with!
You are clothed with most excellent majesty and honor!
You are girded with infinite might and power!
The smiles of Your countenance are most sweet and delightful!
O the ravishments of Your love!"
"And does this beauteous One, this fairest of ten thousand, this most excellent and altogether lovely One — bear a special love to me?
To such a vile worm as me!
To such a dead dog as me!
To such an undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving sinner as me!
O what marvelous kindness is this! What infinite riches of free grace!
Has He given Himself for me, and given Himself to me — and shall not I give Him my heart! I am . . .
written in His book,
redeemed with His blood,
clothed with His righteousness,
beautified with His image!
Has He made me His child, and prepared a place in the Father's house for me!
O how wonderful! O how astonishing!"
"What shall I render unto Him? What returns shall I make? Had I a thousand tongues — should I not employ them all in speaking His praise? Had I a thousand hearts — should I not present them all, as too poor for a thank-offering unto Him? And yet am I slow — slow of heart, to love this dear and sweet Jesus! Awake, O my soul! Awake from your dullness and stupidity! Shake out the dust of the earth which has gotten into your eyes — and keeps you from the view of your matchless Beloved! Arise, O my soul, unfetter yourself, take the wing, and mount up above the sky and visible heavens — to the place where my lovely and dear Jesus is! Bid farewell to the flattering honors, the deceitful riches, the glancing pleasures — which are here below! Bid adieu to them, and leave them to those who place their chief happiness in them!"
"Why do you hang downwards, O my soul? Why do you bend so much to the earth and earthly things? Everything here below — is altogether unworthy of your love. How empty and vain and thorny — are these worldly things! Do not waste your time — and weary yourself for every vanity! Do not sting and wound yourself with these things anymore!"
"Come, O my soul! Ascend, and soar aloft — with your thoughts, and desires, and loves, and hopes, and joys — unto the Heavens! There you may see, and view, and admire, and embrace your dearest Lord Jesus!"
Such retired contemplations of Christ, and soliloquies, and pleadings with your own souls, when alone by yourselves — will tend exceedingly to the promotion of your love unto Christ.