First, this is their portion and they have a right to it. Jesus Himself is their Jesus and all His benefits are theirs.
Secondly, since it grieves you, believers, to be so empty in yourself, and you desire neither not to be distracted by nor filled with anything but Jesus and His fullness, why do you remain so long in this empty frame? Arise, satisfy and fill yourself with Him; rejoice in Him and His benefits.
~Wilhelmus à Brakel~
The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1993), 92–93.
“You believe in God,” says Christ, “believe also in me” (John 14:1)—“Believe also, act faith distinctly on me; faith divine, supernatural, that faith whereby you believe in God, that is, the Father.” There is a believing of Christ, namely, that he is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. That is that whose neglect our Savior so threatened unto the Pharisees, “If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). In this sense faith is not immediately fixed on the Son, being only an owning of him (that is, the Christ to be the Son), by closing with the testimony of the Father concerning him. But there is also a believing on him, called “believing on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13; so also John 9:36)—yea, the distinct affixing of faith, affiance, and confidence on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, as the Son of God, is most frequently pressed. John 3:16, “God” (that is, the Father) “so loved the world . . . that whosoever believes in him” (that is, the Son) “should not perish.” The Son, who is given of the Father, is believed on. “He that believes on him is not condemned” (v. 18). “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (v. 36). “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” (John 6:29, 40; 1 John 5:10).
Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2007) p. 99-100.
For the Father. Faith, love, obedience, etc., are peculiarly and distinctly yielded by the saints unto him; and he is peculiarly manifested in those ways as acting peculiarly toward them: which should draw them forth and stir them up thereunto. He gives testimony unto, and bears witness of, his Son: “This is the witness of God which he has testified of his Son” (1 John 5:9). In his bearing witness he is an object of belief. When he gives testimony (which he does as the Father, because he does it of the Son) he is to be received in it by faith. And this is affirmed, “He that believes on the Son of God, has the witness in himself” (1 John 5:10). To believe on the Son of God in this place is to receive the Lord Christ as the Son, the Son given unto us, for all the ends of the Father’s love, upon the credit of the Father’s testimony; and, therefore, therein is faith immediately acted on the Father. So it follows in the next words, “he that believes not God” (that is, the Father, who bears witness to the Son) “has made him a liar” [1 John 5:10]. “You believe in God,” says our Savior (John 14:1); that is, the Father as such, for he adds, “Believe also in me”; or, “Believe you in God; believe also in me.” God, as the prima Veritas upon whose authority is founded and whereunto all divine faith is ultimately resolved, is not to be considered hupostatikōs, as peculiarly expressive of any person, but ousiōdōs, comprehending the whole Deity; which undividedly is the prime object thereof. But in this particular it is the testimony and authority of the Father (as such) therein, of which we speak, and whereupon faith is distinctly fixed on him—which, if it were not so, the Son could not add, “Believe also in me.”
Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2007) p. 98.
How wonderful a privilege did God bestow on the blessed virgin Mary in making her the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of the world, and the Savior of sinners and the Judge of angels and men. How wonderful was the privilege that such a person should be conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. Indeed she was highly favored and blessed among women as the angel told her in Luke 1:28, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
In this account she is deservedly called the blessed virgin, as she herself says in her song in Luke 1:48–49: “For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me
blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.” Therefore Christ in our text doesn’t deny what the woman says when she cries out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the paps which thou hast sucked,” but only that they are rather blessed who hear the word of God and keep it.
How great a privilege was it to this young virgin to conceive in her womb and hold in her arms and suckle at her breasts, a Child who was the Son of the highest, who was the great and eternal and infinitely beloved Son of God, the Creator and mighty Governor of heaven and earth and the great Savior of mankind. Well might she say upon it, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
But hearing and keeping the word of God renders a person more blessed than any of those privileges.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2008) p. 56-57
Adapted from “That Hearing and Keeping the Word of God Renders a Person More Blessed Than Any Other Privilege That Ever God Bestowed on Any of the Children of Men” by Jonathan Edwards, in The Glory and Honor of God: Volume 2 of the Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, edited by Michael D. McMullen.
The text leads me to speak to you that are saints as well as to you that are open and unconverted sinners. I need not tell you, that walking with God is not only honourable but pleasant and profitable also. For ye know it by happy experience and will find it more and more so every day. Only give me leave to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance and to beseech you by the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, to take heed to yourselves and walk closer with your God than you have in days past. For the nearer you walk with God, the more you will enjoy of him whose presence is life and be the better prepared for being placed at his right hand, where are pleasures forevermore. O do not follow Jesus afar off! O be not so formal, so dead and stupid in your attendance on holy ordinances! Do not so shamefully forsake the assembling yourselves together, or be so [scanty] or indifferent about the things of God. Remember what Jesus says of the church of Laodicea, ‘Because thou art neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.’ Think of the love of Jesus and let that love constrain you to keep near unto him. And though you die for him, do not deny him, do not keep at a distance from him in any way.
The Sermons of George Whitefield (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) Sermon 2: Walking With God.
The heart of a believer affected with the glory of Christ, is like the needle touched with the loadstone. It can no longer be quiet, no longer be satisfied in a distance from him. It is put into a continual motion towards him. This motion, indeed, is weak and tremulous. Pantings, breathing, sighings, groanings in prayer, in meditations, in the secret recesses of our minds, are the life of it. However, it is continually pressing towards him. But it obtains not its point, it comes not to its centre and rest, in this world.
But now above, all things are clear and serene, — all plain and evident in our beholding the glory of Christ, — we shall be ever with him, and see him as he is. This is heaven, this is blessedness, this is eternal rest.
The person of Christ in all his glory shall be continually before us; and the eyes of our understandings shall be so gloriously illuminated, as that we shall be able steadily to behold and comprehend that glory.
But, alas! here at present our minds recoil, our meditations fail, our hearts are overcome, our thoughts confused, and our eyes turn aside from the lustre of this glory; nor can we abide in the contemplation of it. But there, an immediate, constant view of it, will bring in everlasting refreshment and joy unto our whole souls.
The Glory of Christ (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth Trust; 1965) Chapter 12.
To sum up briefly what has been spoken: There are three things to be considered concerning the glory of Christ, three degrees in its manifestation, — the shadow, the perfect image, and the substance itself. Those under the Law had only the shadow of it, and of the things that belong unto it; — they had not the perfect image of them, Heb. x. 1. Under the Gospel we have the perfect image, which they had not; or a clear, complete revelation and declaration of it, presenting it unto us as in a glass: but the enjoyment of these things in their substance is reserved for heaven; we must be “where he is, that we may behold his glory.” Now, there is a greater difference and distance between the real substance of any thing and the most perfect image of it, than there is between the most perfect image and the lowest shadow of the same thing. If, then, they longed to be freed from their state of types and shadows, to enjoy the representation of the glory of Christ in that image of it which is given us in the Gospel; much more ought we to breathe and pant after our deliverance from beholding it in the image of it, that we may enjoy the substance itself. For, whatever can be manifest of Christ on this side heaven, it is granted unto us for this end, that we may the more fervently desire to be present with him.
The Glory of Christ (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth Trust; 1965) Chapter 12.
The saints see that in themselves they are still exceedingly deﬁled; and, indeed, to have a sight of the deﬁlements of sin is a more spiritual discovery than to have only a sense of the guilt of sin. This follows every conviction and is commensurate unto it; that, usually only such as reveal the purity and holiness of God and all his ways. Hereupon they cry with shame, within themselves, “Unclean, unclean”—unclean in their natures, unclean in their persons, unclean in their conversations; all rolled in the blood of their deﬁlements;19 their hearts by nature a very sink, and their lives a dung hill. They know, also, that no unclean thing shall enter into the kingdom of God [Eph. 5:5], or have place in the new Jerusalem; that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity [Hab. 1:13]. They cannot endure to look on themselves; and how shall they dare to appear in his presence? What remedies shall they now use? “Though they wash themselves with nitre, and take them much soap, yet their iniquity will continue marked” (Jer. 2:22). Wherewith, then, shall they come before the Lord? For the removal of this, I say, they look, in the ﬁrst place, to the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ, which is able to cleanse them from all their sins (1 John 1:7); being the spring from whence ﬂows all the purifying virtue, which in the issue will take away all their spots and stains, “make them holy and without blemish, and in the end present them glorious unto himself” (Eph. 5:26–27). This they dwell upon with thoughts of faith; they roll it in their minds and spirits. Here faith obtains new life, new vigor, when a sense of vileness has even overwhelmed it. Here is a fountain opened: draw nigh, and see its beauty, purity, and efﬁcacy. Here is a foundation laid of that work whose accomplishment we long for. One moment’s communion with Christ by faith herein is more effectual to the purging of the soul, to the increasing of grace, than the utmost self-endeavors of a thousand ages.
Communion With The Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2007) p. 330-331