What follows here constitutes the main part of Andrew Bonar’s preface to his little book The Person of Christ. It is of vast importance, he says, to ‘connect at all times the person of Christ with his work’ (which is what he aimed to draw attention to in writing).
Toplady quotes the following case from the diary of … Mr Thomas Cole. Listen to his interesting statement:- “I was convinced I could be saved no other way than by grace, if I could but find grace enough. But at that time I saw more in my own sin than in God’s mercy. But this put me on a further inquiry after the grace of God, because my life lay upon it: and then I was brought to the gospel. When, however, I came to the gospel, I met with the law in it; that is, I was for turning the gospel into law. I began to settle myself upon gospel-duties, such as repentance, humiliation, believing, praying; and (I know not how) I forgot the promise of grace which first brought me to the gospel. Soon I found I could neither believe nor pray as the gospel required. While I was in this plunge, it pleased the Lord to direct me to the study of the person of Christ, whom I looked on as the great undertaker in the work of man’s salvation. And … God overcame my heart with this. I saw so much mercy in his mercy, so much love in his love, so much grace in his grace, that I knew not what to liken it to. And here my heart broke, I knew not how. Before this faith came, I knew not how to secure myself against past, present, and future sins: but there was that largeness of grace, that all-sufficiency of mercy, that infinity of righteousness, revealed to me in Christ, that I found sufficient for all the days of my life.”
It’s only 120 pages long, but even after re-reading it a couple of times it’s hard not to be struck with how profound some of its contents are. (Bonar was the great friend (and biographer) of Robert Murray McCheyne, and with his brother Horatius and others they were among the best of the nineteenth Scottish ministers. This book must have been published sometime in the 1850s.)
Meanwhile, just to let you know, I’m unlikely to be around much for the next few days, probably until Tuesday.