More of Christ! More of Christ!
by James Smith, 1860
What is it my soul, which causes this uneasiness, this dissatisfaction, this deep inward yearning after something which you have not, or do not at present enjoy? I am not at rest. I am not rejoicing in God. I am not singing from the heights of Zion. Yet, I have no slavish fears, I have no gloomy doubts of my saving interest in Christ, I have no actual dread of death or the judgment. But I feel a desire to climb higher, to know more, and to enjoy the power of religion within — as I have not of late. It seems to me that all my needs lead me to Christ, and all my desires go out toward Christ. I want — well, what do I want?
I want to feel more of my NEED of Christ. I have imagined at times, that I could not have a deeper sense of my need of Christ, and of all that Christ is, and has — than I have already experienced. But I am persuaded now that I may, and that only in proportion as I daily feel my need of Christ — shall I desire to know him, trust in him, and enjoy him. I know theoretically, that I need Christ in every office which he sustains, in every relationship which he fills, and in every character which he has assumed. I need him not only to rescue me from death — but to feed me, clothe me, teach me, keep me, guide me, and comfort me. I need him to do all for me, and all within me — which either God, or my circumstances require. O to feel more of my need of Jesus, that I may not be happy one moment — but only as I look to him, lean on him, and receive from him!
I want to KNOW more of Christ. O how little do I really know of Christ! I have thought of him, spoken of him, and wrote about him — but how little I really know of him. I want to know more of the person of Christ, more of the grace of Christ, and more of the work of Christ. I want to know more of Christ for me, and more of Christ within me. I want to know more of the words of Christ, and more of the heart of Christ. I want to know Jesus as God's Christ — and as my Christ. I want so to know Christ, as never to doubt his love, question his veracity, or to fear his coming. Yes, so to know him — as to devote myself wholly to him, and be ready at any time to depart and be with him!
I want more AFFECTION for Christ. Yes, I want to love Jesus — and to feel that I love him. I want to love him — and to prove by my conversation, conduct, and spirit — that I do so love him. There ought to be no doubt on my own mind on this point — but I should be ready to say, "I love him — because he first loved me." There ought to be no cause or occasion for any who know me, to question whether I love him. O no, his love should so influence my conduct, and his love should so season my conversation — that all about me may feel sure, that if I love anyone, I love Jesus. O that the Holy Spirit would shed abroad the love of Christ in my heart more and more — that my love to him may be as strong as death!
I want to realize more sensibly my UNION with Christ. Christ is the head of the church, and all the true members of that church are in union with him. I cannot but believe that I am one with Christ. I often feel as if I could not live without Christ. But I want daily and hourly to live under the impression — that Christ and my soul are one. That I am a member of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. What privilege can exceed this — to be united to Christ! Then, because he lives — I shall live also. Then he will use his influence for me, spend his wealth upon me, and desire to have me with him to behold his glory. O Jesus, dwell more sensibly in my heart, and let me dwell more sensibly in you!
I want more COMMUNION with Christ. Communion flows from union — and proves its vitality. No union to Christ — no communion with Christ. And if there is no communion with Christ — then there is no evidence of union to Christ. The branch being one with the vine — receives its life, sap, and nourishment from the vine. Just so, we being one with Christ — receive our spiritual life, holiness, and happiness from Christ. The member lives, grows, and is strong — because it is in union with the head. Just so, the believer lives, grows, and is strong — because he is in union with Christ, the head. In proportion as we realize our union with Christ, will be the sweetness and constancy of our communion with Christ. And in proportion to the sweetness and constancy of our communion with Christ — will be the assurance of our union to Christ. O for more sweet, sanctifying, and soul-ennobling communion with Jesus!
I want more ASSIMILATION to Christ. What I see in Christ I admire, and I admire all that I see in Christ. But admiration is not enough. I want to be like Jesus, just like him — altogether like him. The more I am with him, and the more I see of him — the more I sigh, cry, and long to be like him! I think one may live at such a distance from Christ, and have so little to do with Christ — that he may not be very anxious or desirous to be like him. But I am sure that we cannot be much in his company, or be led by the Holy Spirit, to see much of his moral and spiritual beauty — but we shall desire to be fully like him. At times, this seems to be the one thing needful with me, the one thing that I desire of the Lord — that I may be like Jesus. But it is not always so, it is not sufficiently so — therefore I cannot but wish for more assimilation to Christ.
I want to be fully POSSESSED of Christ. Not only to be like him — but to be with him — not only with him in grace — but with him in glory! I am sure that I shall never be perfectly satisfied — until I have Christ always with me — until I am always with him in his Father's home and kingdom. This is promised me, I must believe the promise, and wait for its fulfillment. Soon it will be true in my experience, "Absent from the body — present with the Lord." I shall "depart and be with Christ — which is far better" than being here, distant from him, and so often sighing for the enjoyment of him! Then I shall possess Christ! Then I shall be fully satisfied with the presence of Christ.
O Lord, let me have a deeper sense of my saving interest in Christ now, let me enjoy more of him while on earth — and then I know that I shall be satisfied when I awake up in his glorious likeness!
Now it seems to me that these things go together, or naturally follow each other:
In proportion as I feel my need of Christ — I shall desire to know Christ — to know him fully, to know him experimentally.
In proportion as I know Christ — shall I desire to set my affections on Christ, and to love him with an unquenchable love.
Just in proportion to my love to him — will be my desire to realize close and vital union to him.
In proportion as I realize my union to Christ — shall I want to have and enjoy communion with Christ.
In proportion as I enjoy communion with Christ — shall I long for assimilation to Christ.
And as I long for assimilation to Christ — shall I desire fully to possess him, and to be forever with him!
Reader, do you know anything about these things? I have written these lines out of my own heart, and they express the feelings and desires of my soul.
If I know anything — I do know in a degree my need of Christ.
If I desire anything — I do desire to know Christ.
If I wish to love at all — I wish to love Christ supremely.
If I prize anything — I prize union to Christ.
If I desire anything — I desire communion with Christ.
If I aspire to anything — I aspire to be like Christ.
If I am persuaded that I shall be satisfied with anything — I am persuaded that I shall be satisfied with the presence and possession of Christ.
All my religion finds its center in Christ!
My whole creed begins, goes on, and ends with Christ!
I value doctrines — but I set more value on Christ!
I prize ordinances — but I think more highly of Christ!
With me it is — Christ first, Christ middle, Christ last!
Reader, is it so with you?