Heavenly grace implanted in the soul, is the magic stone—which turns
everything in our possession into a more excellent nature, and greater
value. Grace turns iron into silver, and silver into gold.
Shedding divine contentment through the soul, divine
grace turns our water into wine, our pennies into pounds, our poor cottages
into splendid palaces, bare supply into abundant plenty, and everything into
sufficiency—because our satisfaction is the same in this, as if possessed of
Grace diminishes distress, magnifies mercies, lessens
grief, enlarges love, despises vanities, breathes after future bliss,
rectifies our desires, subdues our corruptions, regulates our desires,
restrains our ambition, raises and refines our affections, removes the
present world, and presents the world to come. By grace we are refined in
affliction, triumph in our troubles, in all our conflicts we are more than
conquerors, and win the battle. By grace, we listen to rebuke, are
instructed by the rod, submissive under crosses, silent under losses,
patient in tribulation, meek under reproaches, humble, though exalted,
forgetful of injuries, mindful of benefits, faithful to our duty, merciful
to our enemies, and friends with the whole world.
By grace we tremble at judgments, rejoice in mercies,
observe providences, wrestle against our unbelief, are grieved at our
ingratitude, and struggle against our daily failings.
By grace our souls taste divine joys, and loathe the
light food of worldly vanities. Grace sweetens our sorrows, mitigates our
misfortunes, pierces the shadows, and seeks after unseen realities. Where
grace is implanted in the bosom, everything turns out to the advantage of
the soul. The way of life, to others thorny—is flowery to us—and our path to
our latter end is peace.
What to the carnal world is a curse, is to the possessors
of this precious gem a blessing. By grace our pains are banished, our
pleasures are purified, expectation honied, burdens lightened, weakness
strengthened, storms scattered, and harmony diffused within. What a noble
thing is grace—or Christ by his spirit dwelling in the soul! No wonder,
then, that such a glorious change is made, and all to the better, so that we
can look towards eternity undismayed, expect the solemn judgment with
unshaken faith, meet the king of terrors with undaunted courage, and have
hope in the expiring pang.
Let gold be a portion to the misers; honor to the
ambitious; pleasures to the voluptuous—but let grace be mine! For thus my
afflictions are sweeter than the prosperity of the wicked; my reproaches
preferable to the applauses of a giddy world; and my very death more
desirable than the life of the most splendid, if impious monarch!