The Glories of Christ!
James Smith, 1842
"The glorious Lord!" Isaiah 33:21
"Glorious and majestic are His deeds!" Psalm 111:3
There is but one object that can be presented to a sinner's mind, that contains all that is needful for him, or delightful to him; and that is Jesus. In Jesus, he finds an infinite variety, which is always pleasing and profitable; and the more he knows of the person and perfections of Immanuel — the more happy, holy, and useful will he be.
To know Christ — is true wisdom;
to love Him — is the evidence of grace; and
to walk with Him — the highest honor that can be put upon a sinful creature.
It is the office of the Holy Spirit, to open the understanding to behold His glories, and to communicate to the soul the enjoyment of His love. And it is the delight of a truly spiritual mind — to think of Him, feed on Him, and rejoice in Him. There is nothing in Christ — but what is precious to him; there is nothing out of Christ, or that does not conduce to His glory — that is highly esteemed by him. Christ is . . .
the object of His faith, love, and desire;
the subject of His meditation; and
his song in the house of His pilgrimage.
To a Christian, Christ is all. By a worldling, Christ is despised and rejected. The Christian sympathizes with Jehovah the Father, who delights in Him; the worldling sympathizes with the prince of darkness, who hates and belies Him. The believer is knit to Him, walks in fellowship with Him, and desires above all things to exalt and glorify Him; he wishes he could bring the whole world to know, love, and adore Him. Jesus is just suited to the believer, and he reflects on Him with delight and satisfaction.
The PERSON of Immanuel is to him peculiarly glorious; here manhood and divinity are united — God and man is one Christ. Here he beholds all the solemn and amiable perfections of God, united to the sinless passions and affections of man; the glory of the former is softened by the latter, and the latter becomes dignified and glorious by the former. He demands our adoration. He invites our love. He may be . . .
trusted without fear,
worshiped without idolatry,
served without dread, and
approached without alarm.
To love Him is the natural effect of knowing Him; and adoration is always connected with this love. His very nature is love, He possesses a fullness of grace, and His heart overflows with mercy. His every act, word, and work, as the Savior — is mixed with love, exhibits grace, and displays mercy. His compassion is unbounded, He is full of pity, and is long-suffering to us, not willing that any should perish — but that all should come to repentance. Love always reigned in His heart, and is the peculiar glory of His character; out of love to us He came into our world to bless us.
Jesus is glorious in the love He displays in the salvation of His people. He freely fixed His heart upon them — and took an eternal delight in the idea of saving, honoring, and glorifying them. His love to them was the great cause of all He . . .
did for them,
promised to them,
and bestows upon them.
His love, like Himself, remains immutably the same. It is not that He did love, or He will love only — but He LOVES; He always did, does, and always will. All the perfections of His nature, and all the resources He has provided — are at the command of His love; and all will be manifested, and, if necessary, expended to do His people good.
Love brought Him from Heaven to earth, that He might fill our place; love took Him back to Heaven that be might plead our cause, and prepare for us a mansion; and love will bring Him to earth again, that He may . . .
raise our dust,
glorify our persons,
and receive us to Himself.
Love never thinks it stoops too low, does too much, or conceives too highly of the beloved object. And the love of Jesus is glorified by the depth of His humiliation, the extent of His work, and the expression of His estimation contained in His word.
When we look at the objects of His love, in their poverty, rebellion, and wretchedness; at the price paid for them, the blessings bestowed on them, and the glory prepared for them — we may well exclaim, "What manner of love is this!" "Behold how He loved them!"
His love is the spring from whence flows salvation, comfort, protection, holiness, and Heaven. Could His love be removed, our souls would be undone, our hopes would be blighted, and all our bright prospects would perish. But here is its glory — His love is always the same — just as vigorous, as active, and as settled.
"His love no end or measure knows,
No change can turn its course;
Immutably the same it flows
From one eternal source."
The WORK of Jesus is glorious! He undertook to reconcile Heaven and earth; to render Jehovah glorious in the eyes of His creatures, and the church glorious in the eyes of Jehovah. In our nature He performed all the conditions of the better covenant, and obtained all power and authority in Heaven and in earth. He . . .
put away sin,
brought in everlasting righteousness,
abolished death, and
passed sentence on the world lying in wickedness.
He conquered every foe, satisfied every claim, and ascended triumphant to Heaven. His work the Father accepted — and accepts every sinner who embraces and depends upon it.
His name was sounded as the object of angelic adoration through the heavenly world, and is published as the ordinance of salvation through our miserable earth. Angels admire and wonder at His work — they love and adore His person. Sinners who know their danger, fly to His arms for refuge, rely upon what He has done, and glory in His adorable name. But too many, alas! close their eyes to His beauties, stop their ears against the proclamation of His grace, and perish in their sin!
"His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever." It is an eternal honor to Himself, an honor to His Father's throne, and an honor to His people, too. All who know it — trust it; all who trust it — find peace and joy in believing it. It is . . .
our song in the house of our pilgrimage,
our comfort in the time of death,
our title to mansions in the skies,
and will be our boast and glory forever.
His DISPOSITION, as manifested in His conduct when on earth, and since seated at the right hand of power — is truly glorious unbounded kindness. Unparalleled meekness, and exquisite tenderness, shine in all His dealings with His people. Toward poor sensible sinners He manifests incomparable gentleness, long-suffering, and the patience of a God! He . . .
receives them graciously,
loves them freely,
and forgives them heartily.
He has never left room for one to doubt . . .
the kindness of His heart,
the power of His arm, or
the faithfulness of His word.
And if He had never invited us to Him, or promised to receive us — yet if we knew the kindness of His disposition we could not despair.
He forgets past injuries when the sinner confesses at His throne; and receives to His bosom, even those who had spurned at His grace. He receives sinners, and rejoices at the return of the lost sheep to the fold.
His NAMES are precious — they sparkle in the believer's eye, and fall like sweetest music on the ear; there is a glory and excellence in them not to be found in others.
He is called Jesus, because He came into the world to save sinners! He loved, labored, suffered, bled, died, rose, ascended, and intercedes — to save His people from their sins.
His merit is the price He paid,
His gospel the instrument He uses,
His Spirit the agent He sends,
His power the attribute He employs —
to accomplish the purpose so near to His heart. He will save, He will rest in His love, and will rejoice over His people with singing.
He is called Christ, because anointed by the Father to be the Mediator between God and man; He stands between earth and Heaven, between justice and mercy, between the sinner and his Maker's wrath. He presents satisfaction to God — He presents salvation to man. He gives God His demands — and the sinner a supply for all His needs. The sinner looks to Jesus for acceptance — and God looks to Jesus to maintain the honor of His throne. The sinner is received — and Jehovah is glorified.
He is called Immanuel, God with us — to show us that God can dwell with us, and manifest Himself unto us. He is God in human nature — in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Thus He brings all the attributes and perfections of God to the great work of salvation. How then can we fear, when He is able and willing to save to the very uttermost? Able, because God. Willing, or why was He made flesh to dwell among us?
His arm is omnipotent,
His merit is infinite, and
His mercy inconceivably great!
He is near of kin unto us as man, our Brother; bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; His heart is set upon us as God, for He loves us with an everlasting love: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us."
Christ's OFFICES render Him glorious in the believer's eye, and dear to the believer's heart. He is in office for us, for our salvation, peace, and satisfaction.
He is a Prophet, who, possessing all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, condescends to instruct the ignorant sons of men. He opens to our view, the mysteries of redeeming mercy, and reveals the glorious designs of sovereign grace. He teaches man his true condition, and discovers to him how God can be just, and the justifier of such a sinner as he feels himself to be.
He is a Priest, who has made an atonement for the guilty, by offering one sacrifice to God, and has entered to the holy place, ever living to make intercession for us. He reconciled us to God, by His expiating death, and saves us by His life of intercession. He presents our prayers, persons, and sacrifices to God; making them acceptable by the incense of His merits.
He is a King, who receives the returning rebel, and grants a pardon. He rules over His people by His love and His laws; and defends all who trust Him, from danger and death. He rules over mankind, and in the believer; and is King of kings, and Lord of lords.
As a Prophet — He saves from ignorance and error;
as a Priest — He saves from guilt and condemnation; and
as a King — He saves from dangers and foes.
In these offices, the sinner finds all that he needs, and the believer loves His Savior in each; he would be a scholar as well as a dependant; a subject as well as a son; he cannot dispense with the lesson, the sacrifice, or the scepter; but learns of His Master, trusts in His Savior, and obeys His King.
Christ's RELATIONS endear Him to the Christian's heart, and add to the glories He wears.
He is the Father, who receives the poor returning prodigal, and pities His spendthrift children, when reduced to destitution. "Like as a father pities his children — so Jesus pities them that fear Him; He knows their frame, He remembers that they are dust."
He is a Brother born for adversity — to relieve, acknowledge, and raise the degraded family of God. He raises the poor from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill. He deals out His bread to the hungry, provides a garment for the naked, and receives the outcast home. He not only wears our nature — but has our interests at heart.
He is the Husband, who . . .
brings us into marriage-union with Himself,
provides for all our necessities,
supplies all our needs, and
assures us of His unalterable love!
He gives us . . .
His arm to support us,
His fullness to supply us,
His name to entitle us,
His robes to cover us,
His angels to guard us,
His Word to assure us, and
His Heaven to be our habitation at last!
"He is my Shepherd, Husband,
Friend, My Prophet, Priest, and King;
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
To whom my praise I bring."
His glories appear in the numerous and appropriate COMPARISONS employed to set Him forth.
He is the City of refuge, that receives the poor sinner who flies from the avenger of blood; the gates are always open, the way is made plain, and the gracious assurance is given, "Him that comes unto me, I will never cast out; but he shall dwell in safety, and be free from fear of evil." Threatened vengeance may terrify while at a distance from Jesus; but at His feet there is safety, and peace at His cross.
As the Tower of strength, He protects from the army that invades, and supplies the necessitous and distressed with provision. No officer can arrest us, no foe can overcome us, no danger can harm us — if sheltered in Jesus, the sinner's stronghold. His name is a strong tower, into which the righteous run and are safe; for they then dwell on high, and the place of their defense is the munition of rocks.
He is compared to the choicest food,
and represented as the kindest friend;
as affording a grateful shade,
and bestowing an invaluable portion;
as imparting the sweetest light,
and bearing precious fruit;
as communicating the richest perfumes,
and preventing all evil and harm.
There is nothing that delights the senses, dignifies the mind, or ennobles the character — but Jesus is compared to it, and represented by it!
"The whole creation can afford
But some faint shadow of our Lord;
Nature, to make His glories known
Must mingle colors not her own."
The Lord Jesus is all God can make Him — and all man can wish Him to be! He is glorious in holiness, grace, and truth! Eternity is set apart for the unfolding of His glories — to our everlasting satisfaction and unceasing delight. To see Him here, in the looking-glass of the gospel, by the eye of faith — fills us with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Yet we then look forward to eternity, and delighted, sing,
"There, where my blessed Jesus reigns
In heaven's unmeasured space,
I'll spend a long eternity,
In pleasure and in praise!
Millions of years my wondering eyes
Shall o'er your beauties rove;
And endless ages I'll adore
The glories of your love!"
Reader, do you know this Jesus? Have you committed your soul to Him? is He precious to you? If you are . . .
believing his word,
relying on His work, and
looking for His mercy —
you are blessed indeed! But if you have not fled to Him for refuge, if you are living at a distance from Him, a stranger to Him — your case is sad, your state is highly dangerous! "He puts away all the wicked of the earth as dross! He hates all workers of iniquity!" He will be glorified in your eternal punishment, as one who has . . .
rejected His word,
despised His grace,
and trifled with His mercy!
Oh, think of your danger! Reflect on your dreadful condition! Unless you repent — you must perish! If you do not repent — He will whet His sword, and make His ready arrows upon the string. Flee, oh flee from the wrath to come! Jesus is ready to receive, save, and bless you!