He Who Seeks, Finds
James Smith, 1842
"He who seeks, finds." Matthew 7:8
My dear reader, you have perhaps lately discovered that you are a sinner; that your heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; that your nature is a sink of sin; that in you dwells no good thing.
And you have endeavored to amend, and change your ways — but find that sin rises, reigns, and hinders you. You have tried to exercise confidence in Jesus — but are unable. And now you fear your case is desperate, and your state hopeless. But to you is the word of God's salvation sent! For such as you — the consolations of the gospel are intended; and Jesus Christ, with all that His fullness contains, is designed for you! There is no real reason why you should be cast down — Jesus loves you, and all who feel and desire as you do. You feel that you are unworthy to receive or expect any blessing from the Lord. You desire to enjoy mercy — but fear that you shall never have a crumb! Fear not, Jesus is love; and He will, in His own time and way, manifest His love to you.
Every seeking sinner is an object of His love! He
delights to see them . . .
mourning over sin,
sighing for pardon,
humbling themselves in the dust, and
longing to share in the blessings of His grace.
He loves such a sinner, more than He loves an angel, more
than He loves the whole world beside! He turns from all other objects — to
look with delight and pleasure upon such a soul. Jesus loves sinners
— all sensible sinners, who desire to be . . .
delivered from the power of sin,
cleansed from the filth of sin, and
saved from the desert of sin!
He loves all such with the highest possible love —
such as the love which Father has loved Him. John 15:9. His love will not
allow, that any such shall be driven from His throne, be denied their
petition, or allowed to perish. He may delay — but He will never
deny; He delights to show mercy to such, and what He delights in
— He will do. I know it is hard to believe this, when corruption rises; the
heart seems to get harder, no answers to prayer are given, and everything
appears to be against the soul; but it is true notwithstanding. All this
humbling, is to . . .
empty you of self,
show the fruitlessness of your own efforts, and
convince you that if ever you are saved — it must be by sheer sovereign grace.
The greatness, number, or peculiarity of your sins —
afford no argument against you; for His precious, most precious blood —
cleanses from all sin. It is the easiest thing in the world for God . . .
to pardon you now, for the sake of Jesus;
to cleanse you from all your pollutions, by atoning blood;
to justify you now, in the righteousness of Immanuel!
And not only is it easy — but God has pledged Himself to do it, and to do it for every one who confesses his sins, and seeks for salvation.
There are no exceptions made; every sinner, in
every place, who feels his wretched, ruined, lost, and dreadful condition
through sin, and applies to Jesus with humble confession, earnest prayer,
and heartfelt desire — MUST be saved. 1 John 1:7-9. Isaiah 1:18. There can
be no doubts upon this subject:
the faithfulness of God,
the love of Jesus,
the veracity of the Bible
— are all at stake here. Our very doubts about it are sins, heinous sins in the sight of God! He has . . .
pledged His word,
sacrificed His Son,
sent His gospel, and
proved the truth of what He has said —
in thousands of instances; and though we believe not, yet He abides faithful, He cannot deny Himself.
Our doubts spring from the depravity, wickedness, and deceitfulness of our own hearts — and from thinking that Jehovah is altogether such a one as ourselves; they are the offspring of unbelief, and are fostered by Satan, that enemy of God and man.
Does not Jesus invite . . .
all who are thirsty — to come and drink?
all who are weary — to come for rest?
all who are poor — to come for riches?
all who are blind — to come for eye-salve?
all who are naked — to come for clothing?
all who are lost — to come for salvation?
Has He not promised that He will never cast out any who sincerely come — but that He will give His blessings freely? Have we not the promise and the oath of God in His word — and both designed to administer strong consolation to those "who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel?
And are you not you thirsty, weary, poor, blind, naked, and lost? Are not you coming to Jesus, in the desires, prayers, and earnest longings of your soul? How then, can Jesus reject you — if He is faithful, and His word be true? It is impossible!
But look at the examples left on record in the word, and living in the church; thousands of sinners just like you! Yes, let Satan and your evil heart say what they will — they were just like you: just as vile, just as undeserving, just as likely to be rejected. But was one of them ever refused? No! Jesus has been found faithful in every case; and Mary Magdalene, the dying thief, Saul of Tarsus, and I, with thousands more — can witness that we have found Jesus exactly what the scriptures represent Him to be; though once we thought, feared, and wickedly doubted, as you do now.
Consider what is Jehovah's design in giving you the scriptures, the ministry of the gospel, in the death and exaltation of Jesus; and in giving you a longing desire to enjoy the blessings of His grace. His design is to glorify His own grace in your present and eternal salvation — and that you might see that it is all of grace, and glorify the God of grace accordingly. You are left to feel what you are in yourself, what you can do of yourself, and what you must everlastingly be — but for the grace of God! And thus boasting is excluded, mercy reigns triumphant, "so that no one can boast in His presence!" 1 Corinthians 1:29
The great contest is:
whether Christ is to be all in salvation — or only part;
whether it is to be Christ alone — or Christ and the creature;
whether grace alone is to reign — or whether grace and human endeavor are to sit united on the same throne.
God will have it . . .
all grace — or all works;
all Christ — or all creature!
And therefore we must be . . .
emptied from vessel to vessel,
tossed from side to side,
stripped from all our fig-leaf coverings —
and made to fly naked and wounded, out of self — to Jesus; to be saved wholly, solely, and entirely by Him, of His own free grace and undeserved mercy!
We must be led to see that there is . . .
not a good desire,
not an acceptable prayer,
not a holy feeling,
not a sigh for sin,
not a groan for deliverance
— but what flows from the grace of God, and the Holy Spirit's work in the heart!
But it takes . . .
and soul-distressing discipline —
to bring us to this! Therefore it is, that we suffer so much.
When the pride of our nature is brought down, the haughty
spirit is humbled, and the sinner feels Himself to be a Hell-deserving,
condemned, and ruined creature — then deliverance, sweet deliverance is near
at hand! Jesus will soon be revealed in . . .
the glory of His person,
the fullness of grace, and
His perfect salvation!
The efficacy of His blood will be felt; His love will be shed abroad in the heart; and the joys of salvation be realized.
Therefore, consider, my poor brother, or sister, who are seeking the Lord sorrowing — that all your disappointments, griefs, and sorrows — are intended to produce the most beneficial effects. You will be led to see by and by, that it was all necessary, that it was all in love; and, though a rough way — that it led you to Jesus and the realms of eternal bliss!
Consider also, the opposition that is made to you by Satan, unbelief, and perhaps by your carnal friends. Why is it that they oppose you — but because Jesus loves you, and is drawing you to Himself. The cords of His loving-kindness draw you so, that you cannot help praying — though it appears to you to be dull, lifeless, faithless, and anything but prayer. You cannot help desiring, hearing, reading, and longing to enjoy what the Lord's people do — though you think it is all in vain; and though Satan tempts you to give all up, and your own unbelieving heart would lead you to conclude that it is useless to seek. And yet you must go on, you cannot give up; you are insensibly led, and the work is carried on — yet you scarcely know how, or why, or by whom. All this is from the Holy Spirit's work in your heart — and proceeds from Jehovah's love to your soul; and illustrates John 3:8: "The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound — but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
You are not allowed to fall in love with and admire your prayers, nor to look to your fine frames and feelings, and such like things, as many do. And why is this? Because Jehovah is determined that you shall look to Jesus, and to Jesus only — and find all that you need in Him, and in Him alone. This is exceedingly merciful of the Lord, though very painful to you. It is very profitable, and absolutely necessary. It is for your good — and your loving Redeemer's glory.
But you may be ready to ask, while feeling all this, and
passing through ten times worse than you have stated, "May I conclude
that there is salvation for me?" Yes! You are now saved in the Lord with
an everlasting salvation; and you shall enjoy the sweets, blessings, and
joys of that salvation by and by. You have many evidences in
you, even in this state:
you cannot be happy without Christ,
you desire to be delivered from sin,
you groan, being burdened,
you long for fellowship with God,
you love and wish to be like and among the saints of God,
you cannot rest on a form, a duty, or anything short of Christ,
you admire and long for holiness,
you would give up all to win Christ,
you are daily coming to Jesus, and crying after him,
you cannot delight in the present evil world,
you feel a conflict at times in your soul — between good and evil, light and darkness, hope and fear,
you are willing that God should search you, purge you, or do anything with you — so that He will but save you and give you Christ.
Now all these are evidences . . .
of a work of grace,
of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and
of a saving interest in the love of God and death of Christ.
And though there remains much to distress you, and the work is but small at present — yet He who has begun, will carry it on, and make it perfect in the day of Jesus Christ.
Look then away from self — to Jesus only! Wait upon the Lord continually; and cast yourself at His throne, as a poor, lost, undone, ruined creature; and, as sure as God has spoken, is faithful, and can save — so sure shall you be saved, receive Christ, be united to His dear person, rejoice in His complete salvation, and glory in His precious name! Amen.
All you, who feel distressed for sin,
And fear eternal woe;
You, Christ invites to enter in —
This hour to Jesus go!
He, by His own almighty word,
Will all your fears remove;
For every wound, His precious blood
A sovereign balm shall prove.
His conquering grace shall set you free
From sin's oppressive chains,
From Satan's hateful tyranny,
And everlasting pains!
Come, then, you heavy-laden, come!
His instant help implore:
Millions have found a peaceful home;
There's room for millions more!