Meditation 1 from The Life of John Brown with Select Writings, pages 159-161.
Lord, what am I in myself? Dust and ashes; formed from nothing: I am ‘nothing, less than nothing, and vanity.’ But what am I as a sinner? An infinitely criminal enemy of God, my Maker, my Preserver, and Redeemer; whose heart is full of malice and hatred, and my life filled up with rebellion against him. My heart is the very reverse of all the excellency that is in God; my life a presumptuous trampling on all the authority, and an ungrateful contempt and abuse of all the kindness of God. In my heart there is the quintessence of all evil; it is harder than a flinty rock; more loathsome than a noisome carcass; more rotten than a long dead corpse; more noxious than a pestilential pit, or an unripe grave; more mischievous than a tiger or scorpion; more ugly than a monster; more proud, deceitful, and desperately wicked, than a devil. ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ Where sin abounded, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, might have justly for ever abounded. Had I been in hell these many years, I had received only the due reward of my deeds; but ‘where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’
I have done all that I could to dishonour God; and God doth all he can to save and exalt me. Grace how undeserved! how unasked! how refused and trampled on by me! But how dear to God! how strong! how unbounded in God!
By the grace, the free favour of God, I am what I am.
By his forbearing grace I am out of hell.
By his saving grace I am on my way to heaven.
By grace I was chosen in Christ.
By grace I am redeemed to God by the blood of Christ.
By grace I am pardoned, reconciled, and accepted in Christ.
By grace I am one in spirit with Christ.
By grace I am a child and heir of God in Christ.
By grace I am quickened and fortified in Christ.
By grace I am preserved and comforted in Christ.
And by grace I shall quickly be glorified with and in Christ.
What is this! ‘Saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation!’ Grace, grace unto it! ‘Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ.’
Who is this Jesus Christ? Immanuel, God with us; the Son of God, in two distinct natures and one person for ever. What is Christ? He is all in all, and all in all to me.
I am a lost sinner; Christ is my Saviour.
I am a captive, enslaved and miserable; Christ is my Redeemer.
I am an enemy to, and a rebel against God; Christ is the mediator between God and me.
I am a bankrupt infinitely indebted to God’s law and justice; Christ is my surety that paid all my debt.
I am infinitely guilty before God; Christ is my atoning priest, and sacrifice, and ransom.
I am ignorant; Christ is my instructing prophet.
I am stubborn and rebellious; Christ is my all-subduing king.
I am a lost sheep; Christ is my shepherd.
I am destitute; Christ is my friend.
I am forsaken; Christ is my refuge and my helper.
I am blind; Christ is my light.
I am naked; Christ is my white raiment.
I am disobedient; Christ is my righteousness.
I am polluted; Christ is my sanctification, a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.
I am grieved; Christ is my comforter.
I am poor; Christ is my wealth.
I am diseased; Christ is my physician.
I am dead; Christ is my life.
I am dying; Christ is my portion for ever.
If I look through my Bible, Christ fills every page. He is the end of every genealogy, the centre of every history, the fulfilment of every law, the substance of every promise, the exemplification of every doctrine, and the accomplishment of every prophecy.
If I look through creation, I see Christ the maker, Christ the preserver, Christ the end, Christ the centre and glory of all things. I see thousands of them bright emblems of my Christ! Oh, my soul! art thou also full of Christ?