Thomas Vincent was born in May, 1634. Both his father and brother were prominent ministers. He graduated from Christ's Church, Oxford, and appears to have entered into the ministry very early. It was said of him that he had memorized the entire New Testament as well as the Psalms. (He died when he was 44 years old!) - Jacket Cover, The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ.One of the best 24-hour time periods of my life was spent on a church bus on the way to CO to go snowboarding. It was March 2004. I would read a little, then stare out the window and think and pray about wanting to love Jesus like Thomas Vincent loved (loves) Him. Then I would read some more and continue the pattern. Few books have left the sort of imprint on me as Vincent's, The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ.
A Few Excerpts:
The life of Christianity consists very much in our love to Christ. Without love to Christ, we are as much without spiritual life as a carcass when the soul is fled from it is without natural life. Faith without love to Christ is a dead faith, and a Christian without love to Christ is a dead Christian, dead in sins and trespasses. Without love to Christ we may have the name of Christians, but we are wholly withhout the nature. Vincent, 1.
[Now] to show why true Christians love Christ, whom they have never seen.
Reason 1. True Christians love Christ because of the need which they have of Him. Men love their necessary food, without which their bodies would starve with hunger; men love theiry necessary raiment and habitations, without which, in winter seasons, their bodies would starve with cold. Men love their necessary friends, upon whom (under God) they have their dependence, and from whom they have all their subsistence. But nothing in the world, no friend in the world, is as needful to the body as the Lord Jesus Christ is unto the soul. And, as the excellencies of the soul are far beyond the excellencies of the body, so the necessities of the soul are far beyond the necessities of the body; which necessities can be answered by non but Jesus Christ, and, therefore, true Christians love Him. Vincent, 14-15.
I come now to give directions how you may attain much of this love to Christ where you have it but in a low degree and weak measure. Would you attain much love to Christ? Direction 1. Be much in contemplation of Christ. Get often into the mount of divine contemplation, and there look upwards unto heaven and think with yourselves, "Yonder, yonder, above the shining sun, is the more glorious Sun of righteousness. There, at the righht hand of the throne of God, seated and, though He is so high above me, both in place and dignity, yet He thinks upon me, and pleads for me, and many a gift has He sent and, by His Spirit, conveyed unto me; and I can ask nothing of the Father in His name but, if it is really for my good, I have it by His means." O dear Jesus, how lovely are Thou in Thyself! The darling of heaven! The delight of the Father! The admiration of angels! O what brightness of glory, what shining luster are Thou arrayed with! Thou art clothed with most excellent majesty and honor! Thou art girded with infinite might and power! The beauty of Thy face is most wonderful! The smiles of Thy countenance are most sweet and delightful! And does this lovely fair one, this fairest of ten thousand, this most excellent and altogether lovely person bear a particular love to me? To such a vile worm as me? To such a dead dog as me? To such an undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving sinner as me? O what marvelous kindness in this! What infinite riches of free grace! Vincent, 88-89.