A Wealthy Woman!
James Smith, 1858
Wealthy people generally command attention. The squire's carriage, the nobleman's mansion, and the monarch's palace — never lack admirers. Earthly greatness and temporal grandeur strike the senses — and leave a deep impression on the memory. Who would not be rich — if they could? What rich man would not wear a high sounding title — if he could obtain one?
Yet, who ever was satisfied with riches or honors? I suppose no one yet. Some have got weary of them — but no one ever found satisfaction in them — for they are unsatisfactory in their very nature.
But I have just been reading of a wealthy woman, who was satisfied, yes, she was happy. She lived in a small cottage by the road side, she had a nice little garden for flowers and vegetables, and just enough food and clothing to meet her basic needs. Yet she was wealthy, she had a large fortune — for she was satisfied. She never envied the squire or his lady. She never wished that she lived in a mansion or owned a park. If she had been spoken to on this point, she would have said as Jacob to Esau, "I have enough!" She summed up all her property in these items. "I have," said she, "Christ in my Bible — Christ in my heart — and Christ in yonder Heaven." Was not this true wealth? Let us look at it.
Christ in the BIBLE. Here he is revealed as the Son of God, the Savior of sinners, and the Judge of all. Here he is proclaimed as the true Messiah, the Prince of peace, and the Lord of glory. Here he is presented as God's unspeakable gift, as the pearl of great price, and as the fullness of God.
He is revealed for our information.
He is proclaimed for our subjection.
He is presented for our reception.
The godly woman referred to — knew Christ, yielded herself to Christ, and received Christ. She knew him — so as to trust in him. She submitted to him — so as to obey him. She received him — so as to be saved by him.
Christ was the object of her faith, the subject of her meditation, and the example for her imitation! Her confidence in Christ, led her to surrender herself to Christ; and her surrender of herself to Christ, led her to copy the example of Christ. The Christ of the Bible, was her Christ. And as Christ was hers — all that he had was hers! She was therefore, immensely rich! But she had,
Christ in her HEART. Christ in the Bible is good — but Christ in the heart is better. Christ in the Bible may be mine — but Christ in the heart is mine! Christ in the Bible is a Savior for sinners — but Christ in the heart is my Savior! Christ in the Bible is presented to me — but Christ in the heart is possessed by me! By Christ in the Bible, I may be saved; by Christ in the heart I am saved.
Christ in the heart is: Christ enthroned in the affections — Christ satisfying the conscience — Christ swaying the will — Christ feasting the thoughts — Christ enlightening the understanding — Christ ruling the whole man. Christ in the heart — is the source of true holiness, the fountain of solid happiness, and the spring of gratitude and praise. Christ in the heart — proves our title to everlasting life, and makes us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
A woman with Christ in the heart, has all the elements of happiness in herself, and is in possession of the true riches. She cannot be comfortless at any time, lonely in any place, or destitute under any circumstances. While therefore, I say, "Give me Christ in the Bible;" with a powerful emphasis I say, "Give me Christ in the heart!"
Who shall undertake to fathom all the wealth, all the honor, or all the happiness contained in that blessed statement, "Christ in you — the hope of glory!" But he who has Christ in his heart, has also,
Christ in HEAVEN.
Christ in the Bible — is Christ presented to us.
Christ in the heart — is Christ possessed by us.
But Christ in Heaven — is Christ engaged for us.
Christ on earth, made an atonement for my sin;
Christ in my heart, subdues the power of my sin
and Christ in Heaven, pleads for my complete and everlasting deliverance from all the consequences of my sin.
If I claim Christ as he is revealed in the Bible — I shall enjoy Christ as inhabiting the heart. And if I enjoy Christ as inhabiting the heart — I shall be with Christ where he dwells in Heaven! O blessed assurance placed before us by the Apostle, that if we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son on earth — we shall certainly be saved by the life of his Son in Heaven! O comfortable thought, that under all the changes in life, and the vicissitudes of time — there is an unchangeable One in Heaven, who ever lives to make intercession for us! Well then may the woman be said to be rich — who had Christ in the Bible, Christ in her heart, and Christ in the highest Heaven!
Reader, are you rich? Or, are you poor? Is Christ yours? Have you embraced him by a living faith? Is he enthroned in your heart? Do you look to him as your Great High Priest before the throne of God? These different views of Christ may be distinguished — but they can never be separated. If God presents Christ to me, as in the Bible he does — then assuredly I should receive him. If I receive Christ by faith — then I receive him into my heart, and he lives and rules there. If I have Christ in my heart — then without doubt I may look up and say, Christ is in Heaven for me.
Happy, thrice happy, is the soul that can say, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I — but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of God, who has loved me, and given himself for me!"
With Christ, united to Christ — one must be rich — let our outward circumstances be as they may, because the unsearchable riches of Christ are ours! But without Christ — we must be poor — possess whatever we will of earthly wealth.
"It has pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell." Now, it all fullness dwells in Jesus, and if I have Jesus — I have all fullness. But if I have not Jesus — I must be exposed to poverty, destitution and death.
O for grace, with Mary, to choose the better part — and then having the one thing needful, all will be well. Then, with the Christian woman referred to above, let others boast of their health and wealth, their titles or estates, their pleasures or their prospects — we shall be able to look up and with holy satisfaction, if not with exultation, say, "I have Christ in the bible, Christ in my heart, and Christ in yonder Heaven!"
But if we should be Christless — how sad will this be! Without Christ! Then we can have no satisfaction in health, no comfort in sickness, no good hope in death! Without Christ! Then we shall be exposed to the sword of justice, the scorn of devils, and the endless lashing of an accusing conscience! Without Christ! Then we shall be eternally shut out from Heaven, and be eternally shut up in Hell! No pen can describe, no tongue can declare, no imagination can conceive — what will be the fearful, the tremendous, the eternal consequences of being without Christ!
As therefore we have Christ in the Bible — let us get Christ into our hearts — and then we shall have Christ in Heaven! And thus possessing Christ — all will be well, and well forever.
Holy Spirit, reveal Christ more clearly; give us simple, spiritual faith, that so Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith; and help us to look up to Heaven with joy, persuaded that Christ is there for us!
"For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory! 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" 1 Corinthians 15:53-57