by James Smith, 1858
A few years ago it pleased the Holy Spirit to work a saving change in the heart of a poor sailor, while out at sea. Jack knew nothing of real religion, nor had he one on board with him to whom he could open his mind. Convinced of sin, afraid of hell — he was terrified and alarmed, and knew not what to do. He prayed, obtained a Bible, read it, and sunk still deeper into distress of soul. At length all hope that he could be saved was taken away, and self-despair seized him. He considered his case to be singular, and was now tempted to drown his convictions in the intoxicating cup, and then to end his miserable life by suicide.
At length, when he had done business in these deep waters of despair for a time, the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to his soul as an able and willing Savior; and, committing himself entirely to Jesus, to be saved wholly by him — he found peace, and was filled with unspeakable joy.
In this state of mind he reached the port, and soon inquired where he could hear the Gospel. He was directed to a place of worship, where a friend of mine was preaching. When Jack entered, he was all eyes and ears. The first hymn was full of Christ, and poor Jack felt his heart swell. In the prayer, the minister appeared to speak the very feelings of his soul. As sweet as the first hymn was — the second appeared to be sweeter, and the tears flowed down poor Jack's cheeks!
At length the minister arose to announce his text, which was Colossians 3:11, and fixing his eyes on the poor sailor, he emphatically pronounced the words, "Christ is all!" When the minister once more said, "Christ is all!" Jack could contain himself no longer, and at the top of his voice, Jack shouted — "And poor Jack's nothing at all!"
This was just the poor sailor's religion — "Jesus Christ all in all — and poor Jack is nothing at all!" And this is the religion of every one who is taught of God!
The work of the Holy Spirit has a twofold tendency — to humble the sinner, and exalt the Savior! And just in proportion as we are taught by the Spirit of God, shall we have low views of ourselves — and high thoughts of Christ. As the sinner sinks — the Savior rises in his estimation.
Christ is all that the sinner needs — and all that the saint desires. He is a perfect Savior — and an infinite portion. Christ has all, and gives all we can need: his blood procures our pardon, his righteousness secures our justification, his Spirit sanctifies our nature, and his fullness supplies all our needs! He is just suited to the sinner — and the sinner is just suited to him. He loves to save, to save freely, to save perfectly, and to save forever; and the sinner who is taught of God, feels that he needs just such a Savior. And this makes the Gospel so sweet and precious to every truly convinced sinner, because it proclaims as from the mouth of God, that the Lord Jesus is a perfect Savior — a present Savior — a willing Savior — who never did, and never will, cast out one that comes to him.
Reader, are you truly saved? If so, is your religion the same as poor Jack's? Can you say,
"I am a poor sinner and nothing at all,
And Jesus Christ is all in all!"
You must be brought to this — before you can be saved, for salvation is entirely of grace, and grace only saves the unworthy. Grace will save you — if you feel you are lost, and unable to do anything toward your own salvation, and are willing to be saved gratuitously through simple faith in Christ. Anyone may be saved in this way — but there is no possibility of being saved in any other way; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ — and you shall be saved!" For, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him!"