Love to Christ
James Smith, 1861
"The upright love you." Song of Solomon 1:4
Jesus prizes the love of his people. He has done everything to win our love, even to the laying down of his life for us. He has said everything that is calculated to draw forth our love. He is determined that we should love him, and therefore he sends the Holy Spirit to reveal his excellencies, to unfold his beauties, and to enlighten our minds in reference to him. All believers love him — but not one of them love him as he deserves to be loved. The spouse in the Canticles, gives expression to her love, and often speaks of the love of others. She says, "The upright love you."
The Upright.Who are they? There are none so by nature — and yet man was naturally upright. God made man upright — but he listened to temptation, he fell into sin, and now there is none righteous by nature, no not one. All are gone out of the way. There is not one upright person among them.
Uprightness is from God's grace, which creates us anew, imparts a holy principle, and awakens, an all absorbing desire to resemble Jesus, the great standard of uprightness.
The upright are the justified. They have heard of Jesus. They have felt their need of Jesus. They have believed the testimony concerning Jesus. They have come to Jesus. They Lave entrusted their souls to Jesus. They have found salvation in Jesus. They love Jesus. Their daily aim is to imitate Jesus.
Though not always guiltless — they are sincere.
They regard the eye of God as upon them, and act under this
impression. They regard the word of God, and make it their rule and
guide. They regard the approbation of God, and seek it above all
things. They regard the judgment of God, and reverence it beyond the
opinions of men. From an upright heart — proceeds an upright
course, and the life is adorned with holiness and righteousness.
The Upright Love Jesus.He made them what they are, that feeling their obligation to him — they might love him. They love him sincerely, there is no pretending to be what they are not, they never wear a mask; but professing to love him — they do so in deed and in truth. As a proof of their love, they rejoice in his presence, which to them is ever pleasant and delightful, a present Heaven — and the Heaven they hope for, is very much made up of the presence of Jesus. They grieve in his absence. No one can satisfy them but Jesus. Nothing will satisfy them but the presence of Jesus. So that if their Lord withdraws, or but hides his face from them, they are uncomfortable and dissatisfied. They desire the closest union and communion with him. They love to hear of him. They enjoy his ordinances. They are happy lying at his feet. But they want to be one with him. Nor will any union do — they will desire the closest, they want to realize and enjoy that they are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
They aim to please him in all things. They do nothing without referring to him. In every plan they form, in every change they make, in every work they undertake — they think of Jesus, and ask if it will it please him. Indeed, when their love is strong and lively — to please Jesus is the highest aim, end, and object of their life.
They will give up anything for Christ. Everything is subordinated to him. As Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his Isaac, when bidden — so are they willing to sacrifice theirs.
Everything is held in subjection to Christ, so that as the Hebrews took joyfully the confiscation of their goods for his sake — they desire ever to stand ready, to surrender anything he may call for.
They speak for Christ, and always speak well of him. They do not always speak for Christ when they ought, nor do they ever speak of Christ as they wish; yet at times they feel that they must speak of him, and do speak for him. Nor do they ever leave any society very happy, if they have not dropped a word for Jesus, or if someone else has not spoken well of his name.
They are willing to do anything for Christ. Any duty however arduous, if Jesus requires it — they are willing to do it. Every sin that would grieve the loving heart of Jesus — they are anxious to avoid. For him they would pluck out the right eye, and cut off the right hand. Anything, everything which the Lord requires — they wish to do, and will do — if the Lord will only give them grace. They deeply sympathize with Augustine who said, "Give what you command — and then command what you will." That is, only give me grace to enable me to obey your commands — and command whatever you shall please.
They are prepared to suffer for Christ, rather than deny him. Yes, the sin of Peter appears most odious to them, and they would rather, with Paul, suffer the loss of all things, than with Peter deny him.
Reader, are you an upright soul? Do you deal honestly with yourself as before God? Do you act uprightly with your fellow men, giving no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully? Do you walk humbly with God, endeavoring to do his will from your heart? Do you love Jesus? Is his presence sweet to you? Is his absence painful? Do you want to get as near to Christ as possible, and to be as closely united to him as you can be? Is it your habitual aim to please him? Can you give up your carnal pleasures, worldly connections, and gainful sins — for Christ? Do you love to speak of Christ to others, and to speak well of his name to all? Are you desirous to do anything for Christ you can, cost what it may; and to give up every sin for Christ, however dear? Would you rather suffer for Christ — than deny him, or grieve him, or in any way sin against him?
These are close questions — but if the love of Christ is in your heart, you can reply in the affirmative to some of them, and you will desire from your heart, to be able so to reply to them all — and your soul will cry, "O to love Jesus, to love him uprightly!"