by Ralph Erskine
“Thoughts of Christ are assimilating thoughts, sanctifying and transforming thoughts:
‘But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’(2 Cor. 3:18).
They that see Christ, cannot but love him, and desire to be like him, for there is a smitting [infectious] favor in his face. They that are in heaven are like him, because they see him as he is: the beautiful vision brings in full conformity to him. Now, a spiritual thought, and a believing thought, is a mental sight, a fiducial vision of him, and the more of this, the more conformity to him in holiness. The thought that endears Christ, embitters sin. A man cannot think duly of the loveliness of Christ, without thinking of the loathsomeness of sin. O! When the Sun of righteousness ariseth, there is a heat that accompanies the light, and warms the heart. And, indeed, high thoughts of Christ do warm the heart, and make it burn within him. And heart-warming thoughts tend to burn up corruption, for, as Christ comes into the heart, sin must go out, according to the measure and degree of his coming. As a talent of gold, or some weighty metal, falling into a vessel of water, dashes out all that is in the vessel to make room for itself, so Christ coming into the heart, dashes out sin to make room for himself. And, indeed, they that have honorable thoughts of Christ in their hearts, cannot have favorable thoughts of sin, because, whenever Christ comes into the thoughts, if he do not wash out the life, yet he dashes out the love of sin. . . . So far as Christ comes in, sin goes out. It is possible, indeed, that a believer that hath Christ in him may think that he hath more sin than ever, and that sin is on the growing hand, instead of the decaying. But he is mistaken. It is in this case as it is with a cup of water. Put silver and gold in a cup, and the water swells up, and the more you put in, the more will the water swell and run over, that you would think there is still more water than before, the more gold is put in. Christ is the tried gold, and the more the vessel of the believer’s heart is filled with it, the more may sin appear to rise and swell, and run over all its banks. This frightens and terrifies the poor soul, because now he sees that which it may be, was hid in the vessel of his heart before, and out of his sight. But it is not that there is more sin, more water than before, but more gold cast in, only every dash perhaps makes the water flee about, that he thinks he was never so full of sin and corruption as now, yet still it holds good, Christ’s coming in makes sin flee out, and the more it seems to rise and swell, the more does the soul’s indignation rise and swell against it. All right thoughts of Christ are sanctifying thoughts”
(The Sermon and Other Practical Works of the Reverend and Learned Ralph Erskine [London, 1821], 4:78–79). 23 Letters (Clunie), 191.