All the fruits of the Spirit which we are to lay weight upon as evidential of grace, are summed up in charity, or Christian love; because this is the sum of all grace. And the only way, therefore, in which any can know their good estate, is by discerning the exercises of this divine charity in their hearts; for without charity, let men have what gifts you please, they are nothing.
I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate "the pearl oyster"—A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but "cover" it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us.
What a support to our faith is this, that God the Father, the party offended by our sins, is so well pleased with the work of redemption! And what a comfort is this, that, seeing God’s love rests on Christ, as well pleased in Him, we may gather that He is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ! For His love rests in a whole Christ, in Christ mystical, as well as Christ natural, because He loves him and us with one love. Let us, therefore, embrace Christ, and in Him God’s love, and build our faith safely on such a Savior that is furnished with so high a communion.
In pursuing His calling, Christ will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, in which more is meant than spoken, for He will not only not break nor quench, but He will cherish those with whom he so deals.
The love and grace of God shining out and living in the glorified person of Christ is the same communicated to His saints and living in them.
Let a man have what he will, and do what he will, it signifies nothing without charity; which surely implies that charity is the great thing, and that everything which has not charity in some way contained or implied in it is nothing, and that this charity is the life and soul of all religion, without which all things that wear the name of virtues are empty and vain.
The love of God is our uniting adhesion to Him: and God that first draweth up the soul to this union, will not Himself reject us, and avoid it.