If we ought ever to exercise our affections at all, then they ought to be exercised about those objects which are most worthy of them. But is there anything which Christians can find in heaven or earth so worthy to be objects of their admiration and love, their earnest and longing desires, their hope, and their rejoicing, and their fervent zeal, as those things that are held forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ? In which not only are things declared most worthy to affect us, but they are exhibited in the most affecting manner. The glory and beauty of the blessed Jehovah, which is most worthy in itself to be the object of our admiration and love, is there exhibited in the most affecting manner that can be conceived of, as it appears shining in all its lustre in the face of an incarnate, infinitely loving, meak, compassionate, dying Redeemer.
All the virtues of the Lamb of God, His humility, patience, meekness, submission, obedience, love and compassion, are exhibited to our view in a manner the most tending to move our affections of any that can be imagined; as they all had their greatest trial, and their highest excercise, and so their brightest manifestation, when He was in the most affecting circumstances; even when He was under His last sufferings, those unutterable and unparalleled sufferings He endured from His tender love and pity to us. There also the hateful nature of our sins is manifested in the most affecting manner possible: as we see the dreadful effects of them in what our Redeemer, who undertook to answer for us, suffered for them. And there we have the most affecting manifestation of God's hatred of sin, and His wrath and justice in punishing it; as we see His justice in the strictness and inflexibleness of it; and His wrath in its terribleness, in so dreadfully punishing our sins, in One who was infinitely dear to Him, and loving to us, and in His glorious dispensations, revealed to us in the gospel, as though every thing were purposely contrived in such a manner as to have the greatest possible tendency to reach our hearts in the most tender part, and move our affections most sensibly and strongly. How great cause have we therefore to be humbled to the dust that we are no more affected!
- Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (1746)