from Bonar's book, "The Night of Weeping"
Selfishness, in reference to the things
of Christ, obviously springs from coldness
towards Christ Himself. A preference of
self to Christ is its root and source.
Anything, therefore, that tends to obscure
or keep out of view the person of Christ
must lead to selfishness. It may be the
love of the world; it may be the love of
the creature, it may be the love of man's
applause. These are the dark bodies that
eclipse the glory of a living Savior and
But these are not all. Satan has deeper
devices still. He brings in religion between
us and the Savior! Religious acts, ordinances,
duties, are all turned by him into so many
instruments for exalting self and lowering
But even this is not all. He has a subtler
device still for these last days. He is trying
to make the work of Christ a substitute
for His person, to fix attention so much
upon the one as to exclude the other.
The result of this is a thoroughly selfish
and sectarian religion. I know this is delicate
ground, but the evil is an augmenting one
and ought to be made known.
There are not a few who are so occupied
with truth that they forget "the true one,"
so occupied with faith that they lose sight
of its personal object, so given to dwelling
upon the work of Christ that they overlook
What and Who He is seems a question of
small importance, provided they know that
He has accomplished a work by which they
may secure eternal life. "We are forgiven,"
they say, "we have peace; all is well."
They take but little interest in the person
of Him who has purchased these blessings.
The redemption is all, and the Redeemer
is nothing, or, at least, very little to them.
The sufficiency of His work is all, the glory
and excellence of His person, nothing.
What is this but selfishness? We get all the
benefit we can out of the work of Christ,
and then have no desire for Him! And this
selfishness introduces itself everywhere into
the actions and thinking of this class of people.
We can trace it in their doctrines:
Their views of the atonement are selfish, being
framed not upon the principle of how God is to
get His purpose fulfilled and His glory displayed,
but simply of how a sinner is to be saved.
Their views of Jehovah's sovereignty and
electing grace are selfish, being just so many
devices for taking the sinner out of God's
hands; and leaving him in his own control.
Their views of the Spirit's work are selfish,
being just an attempt to make His aid appear
less absolutely indispensable; and man's own
skill and strength of very considerable avail in
the matter of salvation.
But even where those selfish views of
doctrine have not been adopted, there is a
latent tendency toward selfishness among
many, which can only be ascribed to their
neglect of the person of Christ!
His truth is precious; His work is precious;
but it is with Him that we have chiefly to do.
It is Jesus! Jesus alone! Jesus Himself!
whom we feel to be absolutely necessary!
We must go beyond truth to "Him who is true."
Truth is precious, but in itself it is cold. But the
glory of the Gospel is this that it carries us up
beyond truth to its living fountainhead! No, it
brings us into the very bosom of Him who came
out of the Father's bosom and has now returned
to it, carrying with Him all those whom the Father
has given Him; there, with Him to abide in happy
fellowship, world without end!