We beg the Lord, sometimes, to give us a broken heart, a contrite spirit, a tender conscience, and a humble mind; but it is only a view by faith of what the gracious Redeemer endured upon the cross, when he bare our sins in his own body with all their weight and pressure, and with all the anger of God due to them that can really melt a heart, and break a stony heart. No sight, short of this, can make sin felt to be hateful; bring tears of Godly sorrow out of the eyes, sobs of true repentance out of the breast, and the deepest, humblest confessions before God what dreadful sinners and base backsliders we have been before the eyes of his infinite Purity, Majesty, and Holiness.
Oh, what hope is there for our guilty souls; what refuge from the wrath of God so justly our due; what shelter from the curse of a fiery law, except it be in the cross of Jesus? O for a view of him revealed to the eyes of our enlightened understanding, as bearing our sins in his own body on the tree. O to see by the eye of faith, all those dreadful sins which have caused us so much inward grief and trouble, all those fearful backslidings and sad entanglements on which we can but reflect with shame and grief; O to see all we have said and thought and done, which conscience testifies against, and all those innumerable evils that we have never seen or conscience has forgotten; to view them by the eye of faith taken off our guilty head and put upon the head of the Lord the Lamb.
Where, oh where, can we get relief from any other source or by any other way? There is no relief anywhere else. Where can you find pardon sealed upon your breast, forgiveness manifested to your soul, or any expectation of winning heaven and escaping hell, except in the cross, and some testimony in your own bosom of your interest in that precious blood and righteousness, and the knowledge for yourself that the dear Redeemer bare your sin in his body on the tree?
I know, indeed, full well, that it requires a special faith, a faith of God’s own giving and raising up to believe this, an especial manifestation of salvation by the blood of the Lamb to the soul; a blessing bringing in the power of Christ crucified to the heart. But I believe I do but speak the inmost conviction of every heart touched by the finger of God when I say, that until this is in some measure done, there is no solid relief; no true peace with God; no firm, abiding foundation on which we can stand, as if for eternity; nothing strong enough to banish the fear of death and open the gates of heaven.