Nothing humbles the soul like a spiritual view of him "who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich." How the world lessens and all its fading honors darken on the eye of faith! How is self annihilated, how is pride hid from man, under the shining of the Mediator's majesty and meekness! A believing sight of him is the only source whence evangelic repentance can flow. True repentance, as one excellently observes, is the tear of faith; and as the eye must exist previously to the tear it sheds, so must faith be wrought in the heart ere true repentance weeps.
When God made a peculiar discovery of himself to the soul of Job, what was the effect on that holy man? "I abhor myself," said he, "and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:6) "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," says God; (Zech. 12:10) first look and then mourn; first believe, and then repent. The rock is first smitten, and then the waters flow; the almighty Sun of Righteousness must point the beams of his converting power upon the soul, and then a gracious melting ensues; the frost breaks, the ice dissolves, and the vanquished sinner, who was sometime afar off, is brought nigh by the blood of Christ. The devout Mr. Henry has a remark to this effect: "If Christ had not looked upon Peter, Peter had not wept; Peter's tears flowed first from the eyes of Christ." Grace alone can work repentance unto life. Only the sight of a broken, bleeding Saviour, can give a broken, bleeding heart.
When we hear of the death of a stranger, we are seldom very deeply affected, but when we read of the death of a beneficent friend, or of a loving and beloved relation, our relentings are kindled, and our eyes overflow; so the death of Christ makes but a slight impression on the heart, considered merely as a historical event; but, when the Christian is made to see that it was his everlasting Friend who died, and, that he died, moreover, for his particular salvation, it is such looking that produces godly sorrow. Jesus need but show himself to a sinner, and the sinner falls before him. "I came; I saw; I conquered;" may be inscribed by the Saviour on every monument of grace. I came to the sinner; I looked upon him; and, with a look of omnipotent love, I overcame him.