The Spirit's Work
James Smith, 1855
I find more and more the necessity and blessedness of living by simple faith in Christ, as he is set before us in the everlasting gospel; to aim to have the mind, thoughts, and affections engaged, and taken up with him. I feel nothing in myself but what is calculated to distress, disgust, and lend me to despondency! But in Jesus I find all that I need. I am altogether a sinner — he is a complete Savior. Every now and then I think I see some fresh and undiscovered beauty in him. I feel him to be unspeakably precious. I call him my Lord and my God, and go forth with a determination to exalt him higher than ever. Oh, it is the delight of my soul to lift him up on high! I hope to live and die preaching and honoring Jesus. I often long for opportunities to speak of him, and yet I feel totally unfit and unworthy to mention his dear name.
To believe in him, commune with him, and receive from him — is the privilege of every Christian.
To see him, love him, and bless him — is the Heaven of every saint.
To speak of him, glorify him, and lead poor sinners to him — is the delight of every gospel minister.
To embrace him, feel interested in him, and be certain of being glorified with him — is the essence of the prayers of every regenerated soul.
He is . . .
sweeter than honey,
more pleasant than the light, and
more precious than life itself!
To know him — is to be truly wise.
To live upon him — is to be happy.
To walk with him — is to be holy.
To look to him, expect from him, and cast all our cares upon him — is to honor him.
We shall never ascend to the height, nor fathom the depth of our glorious privileges; nor taste, tell, or enjoy all that is in Jesus throughout eternity! And the great mystery is, every believer has a whole Christ. Christ for every day, and Christ to satisfy all the cravings of his soul. I feel satisfied that God can give me nothing more worthy of himself, more suited to me, or that would please me so well — as Jesus! I am perfectly satisfied with him, when dissatisfied with all beside. But I am often dissatisfied with my knowledge of him, my love to him, and my efforts to glorify him. He is a wonderful lover — a precious Savior — a glorious portion! There is nothing in or under Heaven — which could be set in competition with him.
Of this I am persuaded, that all my trials,
disappointments, losses, and crosses, are sent on purpose — to lead me to
make Jesus my all; and to compel me to make up my happiness only in him. He
will allow of no rivals, nor allow us to have, or hold — our household
gods. If we knew Jesus better — we would love him, trust him, and depend
on him more. His glories are inconceivable,
his love is eternal, and
his excellencies are unspeakable.
The more I know, love, and enjoy the Savior — the more I wish, long, desire, and pray, that others may see, feel, and enjoy what I do. There is enough in Christ for me, for all my friends, for all who will ever know him.
The Holy Spirit always leads us to Jesus — he unveils his
glories, and opens his loving heart. He loves to glorify Jesus, to exalt and
honor our beloved Lord. It is his office. It is his work. In answer to
prayer, he endears him to the soul, enthrones him in the affections, and
witnesses for him in the conscience. This . . .
feasts the understanding,
leads captive the will,
stores the memory,
wings the soul,
sanctities the heart,
purifies the conscience, and
dedicates the whole man as a consecrated vessel to God.
This leads us to admire, prize, and speak of everlasting
love, precious blood, and spiritual operation. It leads us into all the
paths of practical godliness. The heart expands, the soul aspires, and the
feet run in the way of God's commandments. Christ is now the object,
salvation the subject, and to glorify God the aim. The sinner
is free, the believer is happy, and he wants to be doing good. He realizes
his union with Christ, proves his relationship to Christ, and offers up his
body and soul as a living sacrifice to God: according to Romans 12:1-2. He
now . . .
loves his Heavenly Father,
cleaves to his adorable Savior, and
views himself as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
He hates, fears, and flies from sin.
He painfully feels, daily groans over, and prays for grace to keep down the corruptions of his heart.
He loves, pants for, and follows after holiness.
He . . .
depends on God,
flies to Jesus, and
makes use of all appointed means, knowing that they are for the perfecting of the saints, and for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
He pleads the promises, depends on God's oath, and accepts of the invitations of the Most High.
He . . .
lives above legality,
breathes the pure air of free grace,
and washes in the fountain of atoning blood.
He . . .
worships a sovereign Jehovah,
obeys a reigning Redeemer, and
ascribes all his privileges to sovereign grace.
He . . .
abhors his own righteousness,
and glories in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14).
He leaves the world in spirit, is transformed by the renewing of his mind, and finds suitable associates in sanctified believers. He speaks the language of Canaan, passes through the valley of Achor, and dies daily (1 Corinthians 15:31).
He . . .
flies from the wrath to come,
embraces the rock for the want of a shelter,
and lays hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12).
He . . .
forgets the things which are behind,
enjoys Jesus at present, and
presses forwards towards the mark for the prize (Philippians 3:13, 14).
He . . .
is in a state of constant warfare,
determines that he will never yield to his foes,
and yet loves and longs for peace.
He is . . .
a mystery to himself,
a wonder to others, and
a constant eyesore to Satan.
His life is hidden,
his way is on high, and
his end is glory, honor, and immortality.
Such is the character which the Holy Spirit forms, and such the effect of his work in the heart.
If we have received the Holy Spirit, we . . .
love the Savior,
labor for God,
imitate Christ, and
long to be holy in body, soul, and spirit.
We . . .
can trust nothing but God's Word,
rest for acceptance only on the finished work of Christ,
and expect our prayers to be heard only for his sake.
Self-righteousness is dethroned.
Self-seeking is destroyed.
Self-glorying is loathed.
The motto is, "Jesus Only!"
The aim is, God's Glory.
The rule is, God's Word.
The desire is, to do good to the greatest possible extent.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we shall be able honestly to say, "For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:7-8)