THE MINISTRY OF HOME
Expository Lectures on Divine Truth"
by Octavius Winslow
The Fragrance of
"Because of the savor of Your good ointments Your Name is
as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love You." Song of
Solomon 1:3 (kjv)
"Pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfumes; Your name is
like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love You!" Song of Solomon
The preceding chapter has spoken of the Church of
Christ; the present will speak of CHRIST THE SAVIOR OF THE CHURCH. The two
sacred themes are mystically and inseparably one. Correct views of the
Church will ever be associated with correct views of Christ. Those who would
exalt the Church above Christ, can only do so at the expense of Christ
Himself. All the undue honor given to the Church, which is His Body, is so
much robbery of the dignity, authority, and glory belonging to Christ, who
is the Head.
The Church of God possesses no legislative authority, no power to enact
laws, to decree doctrines, or to institute rites; to control the conscience,
or to exact a blind submission of judgment to her interpretation of God's
Word. "The Lord is King in Zion." "The Lord is our Law-giver." But, still
the Church of God is a glorious Church, exalted to great privilege,
eminence, and power in virtue of her union with Christ her Head. And we
cannot think of her as the mystical Body of Christ, and as the "Pillar and
Ground of the truth," apart from the most exalted views of HIM who "loved
the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a
glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."
No wonder, then, that the Name of Jesus should be precious to the Church:
yes, in the experience of all His saints, fragrant as ointment poured forth,
awakening their warmest love, and inspiring their loftiest praise. Let these
two points engage our present meditation on the Name of Christ: the
Fragrance which it breathes, and the Love which it inspires.
"Your Name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love
you." "What is in a name?" is sometimes flippantly and facetiously
asked; and yet there is often magic in a name quite irresistible. Great
names are a power, a tower of strength; they have often mightier weight and
influence in a hero-worshiping world than even sound principles, or holy
deeds. If a man's name is great, he possesses a great power for evil or for
There are not many independent minds among men; few individuals think for
themselves: they like not the trouble of excavating the mine for the hidden
treasure, and even when the ore is provided at their hand, they have no
skill or taste to smelt, assay, and mold it for themselves. They would
rather accept other men's thoughts than conceive thought for themselves:
they prefer to adopt the opinions of others than form their own: and would
rather follow and worship an illustrious name, than carve their own upon
some grateful heart, or upon some imperishable monument of virtue and truth.
We have need to be on our watch against this powerful influence lest,
fascinated by the fame of some popular leader, we become the willing dupes
of a childish superstition, or the blind followers of a fatal error. Do not
take your views of Divine truth from man; draw them primarily from God's
Word. Do not study the Bible through your system, but let your system be
taken from, and faithfully weighed with, the Bible. Our system, be it
theological or ecclesiastical, must not be allowed to give its complexion
to, or to be the interpreter of, revealed truth. But, on the contrary, God's
Word is to suggest and mold and tint all our thoughts and opinions and
systems for eternity.
We must not set the sun by our watch, but our watch by the sun- in other
words, we must not attempt to make God's Word dovetail with our creed, but
must test every doctrine we hold, every opinion we receive, every principle
we maintain, the hope we cherish, by the unerring standard of revealed
truth. This will give a Divine and proper complexion to our views. If we
receive the light of the sun through a tinted lens, the light will
necessarily reflect the hue of the medium through which it passes; so, if we
receive the light of God's Word through any theological or ecclesiastical
system whatever, it will necessarily reflect the error and imperfection, if
such there be, of that system. And thus we shall fail to receive the
teaching of God as it flows pure and simple from His Word, as light flows
from the sun, and as streams from the fountain.
The Bible is our rule of faith and our only and ultimate appeal. By the
law and the testimony let every doctrine, and system, and hope for eternity
be tried. Be not, then, carried away by the learning, the influence, or even
the piety attaching to a popular name. Allow no human power the mastery of
your mind and conscience: yield yourself meekly and obediently to the
authority and teaching of Christ, accepting human guidance only so far as it
comes with a "thus says the Lord" as its divine endorsement.
Our only safeguard in a matter of such infinite moment as our future
well-being, is God's pure Word; our only secure place, the feet of the
Savior. Sitting there as His lowly disciple, the Holy Spirit will lead our
minds into the truth, even "the truth as it is in Jesus," as it emanates
from Jesus, as it speaks of Jesus, as it strengthens our faith in, and
inspires our love to, Jesus, and as it prepares us to go and be with Jesus
forever. But we turn from this digression, to the subject more immediately
The Church declares of the Name of her Beloved, that in her experience it
was as ointment poured forth. Our attention is thus invited to THE FRAGRANCE
OF THE NAME OF CHRIST. The reference to "ointment " would to the intelligent
and pious Jew, be a familiar image. His thoughts would naturally recur to
the royal coronation of Solomon, and to the sacred anointing of the
priesthood. He would think of the precious and fragrant materials prescribed
by God for its composition: the myrrh, the cinnamon, the sweet calamus, the
cassia, the oil olive. "And you shall make it an oil of holy ointment, an
ointment compound after the art of the apothecary; it shall be an holy
All these materials were significant. The cassia was medicinal, the myrrh
was preservative, the cinnamon was fragrant, the calamus was sweet, and the
whole formed a rich unguent, like unto the "precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the
skirts of his garments." All this was impressively significant of the Name
of Jesus. All these properties were typical of Him. His Name is healing,
preserving, fragrant and sweet to the spiritual taste.
A few particulars will suffice to justify this comprehensive view of what
Jesus is to a poor, believing sinner. Let us trace some of the costly and
fragrant materials of which the Name of Jesus is composed. The Divine Name
of Jesus is fragrant. His Name is God. "Unto the Son He says, Your throne, O
GOD, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your
kingdom." He Himself claims this Divine dignity. "I am the Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the ending, says the Lord: who is, and who is to come- THE
ALMIGHTY." We need not, though we might to any extent, multiply these
Scripture quotations in proof of the essential Deity of our Lord. If He was
not God- God essential, God absolute, as well might we fasten our faith to
the name of Caesar, or Napoleon, or Plato, or any other human name, as to
any saving benefit we should derive therefrom.
I would not trust my soul to a created Savior for millions of worlds. No
mere creature could save itself, and must fail, therefore, to save me. Every
angel in heaven stands by a power not his own, and all their combined merit
and strength could not keep me from falling into the bottomless abyss.
Deity, and Deity alone, must save me. How fragrant and precious, then, is
the Divine Name of Jesus. Believing soul, inhale its rich perfume!
When sin distresses you, when guilt burdens you, when sorrow saddens you,
when care corrodes you, when difficulties perplex you, when needs alarm you,
remember the Divine Name of Jesus, and all will vanish.
You trust your salvation to Deity, you hang your burden upon the arm of
Deity, you bring your sin and guilt to the merit of Deity, you make known
your need to the resources of Deity, you breathe your sorrow, grief, and woe
upon the bosom of Deity, when you hide you within the pavilion of Christ's
Name. Rejector of the Savior's God-head! Listen to Jehovah's words
concerning Christ and tremble- "Pay attention to Him, and obey all of His
instructions. Do not rebel against Him, for He will not forgive your sins.
He is my representative- He bears MY NAME."
The Atoning Name of Jesus is fragrant. All that Jesus did on earth was
representative, substitutionary, sacrificial. His one work was to atone. His
one mission was to save. "You shall call His name JESUS, for He shall SAVE
His people from their sins." With this harmonizes the wondrous declaration
of the Apostle, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." O marvellous,
precious saying this! of more worth to the soul in a dying hour than the
diadem of the universe studded with earth's richest jewels. We can pass into
eternity peacefully and happily, hopefully and savingly in the faith of no
other truth than this- "Christ died for our sins;" "Christ died for the
ungodly." "Christ has given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to
God, for a sweet smelling savor." "You were not redeemed with corruptible
things ...... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without
blemish and without spot." "By the obedience of One shall many be made
righteous." "Who is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification
Such are some of the Scripture testimonies to the sacrificial work of
Jesus. In all this truth how fragrant is HIS SAVING NAME! As a
law-fulfilling, sin-atoning; justice-satisfying Savior, His Name expresses
all that the guiltiest, the most despairing sinner needs. To those who are
saved, what fragrance breathes from the work of Him who has saved them, and
called them with a holy calling.
Whatever may be the advanced pilgrimage, the matured experience of the
Christian, he never can release himself from the first principles of Divine
truth. We close our spiritual course as we began it, with a believing
reliance upon the simple elements of the Gospel. The foundation truth of the
Gospel- that Jesus Christ saves sinners, which gave us comfort and peace and
hope when we first fled to the cross, is just the truth which sustains and
cheers us when we come to die. We terminate our spiritual life as we
commenced it- clinging as poor, empty, and worthless sinners to Jesus, the
Savior and Friend of sinners; the last believing look we have of Christ on
earth, is the first look we had of Him when He drew us to Himself and told
us our sins were all forgiven, and then filled our hearts with His love.
Embracing alone the first principles of the Gospel, resting only in the
single, simple, yet sublime declaration that Jesus was sacrificed for,
invites and receives, sinners- casts out none who come to Him, but saves
them to the uttermost- some of the greatest saints and most eminent divines
that ever lived have- either in the near expectation of their departure, or
in the actual passage of death- experienced the sweetest peace and richest
comfort and most assured hope. We might here cite the case of Bishop Butler,
the mightiest of reasoners, who, when he came to die, could find no comfort
but from the text quoted by his chaplain, "He who comes unto Me, I will not
Writing to a minister, the late Robert Hall (one of the most learned
divines and eloquent preachers of any age), thus testifies to this truth- "I
have been attacked with a violent fever, and in my own apprehension for
about two days was on the borders of eternity. I never before felt my mind
so calm and happy. Filled with the most overwhelming sense of my own
unworthiness, my mind was supported merely by a faith in Christ crucified. I
would not for the world have parted with that text, 'The blood of Christ
cleanses from all sin.' I never before saw such a beauty and grandeur in the
way of salvation by the death of Christ as on that occasion. I am fully
persuaded the Evangelical doctrines alone are able to support the mind in
the near view of death and eternity." What a sacred and precious fragrance
of Jesus and His finished work flows from this testimony!
"Like the sweet South
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor."
But we must limit our illustration of this truth. There were SEVERAL
INGREDIENTS, as we have shown, in the sacred ointment that consecrated, all
united in imparting to it its efficacy and perfume. There is everything we
need in Jesus to endear His name to our hearts. He is our Prophet- teaching
us the will of the Father. He is our Priest- offering up Himself as our
atoning Victim. He is our King- erecting His throne in our hearts, and
subduing us to Himself as His loving and obedient subjects. How fragrant,
too, His Name as our Friend- loving us at all times. As our Brother- bone of
our bone, and flesh of our flesh, born for our adversity. As our Great High
Priest- touched with the feeling of our infirmities, tempted in all points
as we are and in our sorrows, griefs, and trials encircling us with the
many-folded robe of His tender, loving sympathy.
A few PRACTICAL INFERENCES must close our meditation upon this delightful
theme. Remember that the Name of Jesus is as ointment poured forth. The box
must be broken, opened, distributed. It was when the loving woman broke the
alabaster box that the precious ointment- which was at once the expression
of her love and the anointing of her Lord- filled all the house with its
Why is it that the Name of Jesus has no sweetness, no charm, no fragrance
to unbelievers? Because the Holy Spirit has not broken the box and
poured out the ointment upon their hearts! It is not enough to hear of
Christ, to read of Christ, to assent to Christ- we must have Christ in us
the hope of glory.
We may be enchanted with the box, admire its shape, be charmed with its
carving, and yet experience nothing of its precious and priceless contents.
In other words, we may be captivated with the elegance of a book, and be
enchanted with the eloquence of a sermon, and be drawn in affection to the
preacher setting forth the Lord Jesus Christ; and yet His Name may not be to
our souls as ointment poured forth- a name above every name. The precious
ointment must become a part of our spiritual being.
But WHEN is the Name of Jesus really as ointment poured forth? It was
partially opened to the Old Testament saints who saw Christ's day and were
glad. Four thousand years before the great sacrifice upon the cross was
made, its fragrance floated upon the sin tainted atmosphere of Eden. In the
first promise of salvation to man the ointment was poured forth. This it was
too, which imparted such a sweet smelling savor to the offerings and
sacrifices under the law, and so deep a significance to the types, and
shadows, and symbols of the Mosaic dispensation. Christ was the meaning, the
sweetness and the substance of all. And yet how partial was the unfolding!
"Why ask you ask My name, seeing it is secret?"
But the full outflow of this precious ointment was reserved for the
solemn scene of CALVARY. We travel back to His agony and bloody sweat, His
cross and passion, in the garden and on Calvary, when the nails cruelly
penetrated His hands and feet, when the soldiers rudely pierced His side;
when the thorn-crown bound His sacred temples, when the Father bruised and
put Him to grief. Then was the sacred casket broken- then did the precious
ointment pour forth its rich perfume, wafted to the remotest part of earth,
and filled the temple of heaven with its fragrance.
O what must have been the wonder- swelling into transport and then
bursting into song- when angels and the spirits of the glorified caught the
first breath of that precious perfume as it rose from Calvary and ascended
into heaven! Around the throne of glory it circled, and Jehovah
Himself was well pleased with the sweet smelling savor of that sacrifice,
which had harmonized all His attributes and glorified His name in the full
salvation of His Church!
The fragrance of this ointment is poured forth when the PULPIT lifts high
the Lamb of God, and sets forth the glory, the grace, the love of the Lord
Jesus. That is the most fragrant sanctuary, that the holiest atmosphere, and
that the richest temple-service, where Christ crucified is the most simply
and fully preached. It may be with severe simplicity of ritual, in a crude
structure, with but little human talent: nevertheless, Christ is preached,
the box of ointment is opened, and the sacred house is filled with the odor
O how great and blessed the privilege of a ministry which sets forth a
full Christ for empty sinners, accompanied with the unction of the Spirit,
and enfolds our whole being with the fragrance of His Name. I ask not where,
nor how, nor by whom. It is enough that "Christ is preached, and I therein
do rejoice; yes, and will rejoice."
This ointment is 'poured forth' at the Communion of the LORD'S SUPPER,
when the disciples of Jesus meet in His Name, to remember and commemorate
His dying love. Happy, holy season this! Here, if ever, all other
names fade for the while from memory, and all our thoughts and affections
and desires concentrate upon that one Name, which is above every name -the
Name of Jesus, our Redeemer Lord. Approach this sacred banquet, desiring
only to meet Jesus. Come to these solemn symbols, these precious memorials
of His dying love, looking only to Jesus. Draw near in faith, expecting to
meet and to receive a blessing directly from Jesus.
It is not your name in this ordinance you remember, nor your love you
celebrate, nor your worthiness you present; but the Name, the love,
the worthiness of JESUS! Hesitate not, then, to take your place at the
feast, losing your sins, your sorrows, your trials, your needs, yourself in
the sweet fragrance of this "ointment," as with a cloud it envelopes you.
This "ointment" is "poured forth" in Christian communion and FELLOWSHIP
of the Lord's people. "Then those who feared the Lord spoke often one to
another." This is the true idea of the "communion of saints," speaking often
one to another of Jesus. Christian fellowship is one of the sweetest
privileges, one of the most heaven-helpful engagements of the saints on
earth. How the ointment flows, how the fragrance diffuses, how the spirit
revives, how the heart burns when Christians meet to talk of Jesus.
Jesus Himself draws near and communes with them. "Where two or three are
gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." And where
Jesus is, there is heaven. Aim in every circle to promote the communion of
saints- not restricting it to your own peculiar sect, but embracing all of
every sect upon whom this fragrant ointment rests. Let not the communion of
saints be a cold, lifeless article of your religious belief, but a vital,
influential element of your Christian life. See how the holy Apostle panted
for Christian fellowship- "I long to see you, that I may impart unto you
some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; that is, that I may
be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and I." So
let us speak often one to another of Jesus.
"Forgotten be each worldly theme,
When Christians meet together thus
We only wish to speak of Him
Who lived and died and reigns for us."
"We'll talk of all He did and said
And suffered for us here below,
The path He marked for us to tread,
And what He's doing for us now."
"Thus, as the moments pass away,
We'll love and wonder and adore,
And hasten on the glorious day
When we shall meet to part no more."
Seek to be a sweet savor of Christ in every place. Be not ashamed of Him.
The alabaster box must be opened. The ointment must be poured forth. Christ
must be confessed before the world. There is no diffusive, reviving,
healthful influence, where the Name of Jesus is either basely denied, or
timidly concealed. We must not be ashamed of our Lord and Master on the one
hand, nor, on the other, consulting our personal ease and indolence,
selfishly withhold Him from our fellow sinners.
The ointment on our right hand must betray us. The world and the saints
must take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. Every hour we
occupy, every service we engage in, every relation we sustain should be
redolent of the ointment poured forth. We must seek to bring souls to
Christ. Life should be one continuous sacred fragrance. But to this end we
must be more with Jesus the Anointed One. The spiritual verdure that clothes
us, the divine fruit that enriches us, and the holy fragrance our personal
religion sheds around us, emanates from Christ!
We must know our union with Christ. We must walk with Christ. We
must abide in Christ. We must open the conservatory of the soul and let the
Divine Sun shine in upon the flowers. We must throw wide every avenue of the
heart that the ointment may penetrate, yes even saturate, our entire being-
blending Jesus with every sorrow, entwining Him with every joy, and
associating Him with every service. Thus will our "garments smell of myrrh,
and aloes, and cassia, out of the very palace;" and we shall go forth to
duty, to suffering, and to toil, perfuming the moral atmosphere in which we
move with the odoriferous influence of His precious Name.
This ointment possesses a marvellous soothing, softening virtue in
seasons of sorrow. Never is the Name of Jesus as the "Brother born for
adversity," more precious to the believing heart than in the time of
adversity. It would seem as if Jesus bore a title appropriate to every
condition of the believer's life. It pleased the Father that in Him, as the
Mediator of His Church, ALL fulness should dwell- all fulness for all
circumstances. But especially does His life of sorrow fit Him to be "the
Consolation of Israel." Born in adversity- Sharon's Rose bruised and crushed
by God, by man, and by Satan- how well was Jesus fitted by the discipline
through which He passed, to enfold His suffering Church within the robe of
You are, perhaps, smarting under the severe chastening of your Heavenly
Father. The vase is shattered, and the flower that lent to life its sweetest
perfume, lies smitten and trailing in the dust, and the hand of God is heavy
upon you. But think of the Name of Jesus, what it involves. Think of it as
containing all, and infinitely more, than you have lost. Recall the
sweetness of a wife's fond love, of a husband's faithful protection, of a
child's tender devotion, of a friend's soothing sympathy, of a minister's
unvarying kindness: yes, the sweetness of every earthly good you once
possessed, but possess no longer.
Then remember that all this is in Christ; that all this affection, all
this counsel, all this care, all this sympathy, and all this pleasantness
distilled from Him, the infinite Spring-head of all blessing! O what a mercy
that, when the rivulet is dried, and the stream is gone, and the cloud
shades the pleasant picture that adorned with its presence and brightened
with its smile our home-circle, Christ remains a sufficient substitute for
all- all of which combined could never have been an all-satisfying
substitute for Him.
Accept, then, the fragrant sympathy of Christ. No being in the universe
is so near to you, loves or compassionates you so deeply in your present
calamity as Christ does. Deem it not hard that He has dealt with you thus.
He has but transferred the flower from your bosom to His own- transplanting
it to a sunnier and holier climate. Jealous of your love, He would have your
undivided heart, and absorb your whole being in Himself. And O how honored
and blest you now are! You shall experimentally know more of Christ,
see more clearly His surpassing glory, drink more deeply His fathomless
love, and experience more fully His tender sympathy than in all the past of
It is only in the school of adversity that we really know what the Lord
Jesus is. How much we learn from Him and of Him in one trial! Until the
trial brought us sobbing upon His heart, how little we knew what that heart
contained. Welcome, then, the grief that lifts you nearer to God, and that
increases your acquaintance with, and your peace and joy in, the Lord Jesus.
Equally salutary is this sacred "ointment" in its influence upon the
intellectual powers of the soul. It enlightens and quickens the mind. The
human intellect is dark, stunted, and scentless, until it knows Christ; and
until it knows Christ by the teaching of the Spirit (that anointing that
teaches us of all things)- it does not know God. We may put it simply thus.
Christ is the true Revealer of God- God is the great Object of man's
knowledge- therefore, we must know Jesus properly and savingly to know God.
Thus he who becomes a humble and earnest student at Christ's feet, however
limited his intellectual powers; really knows more of the wisdom and power
and goodness of God, than the most learned astronomer, the profoundest
philosopher, or the wisest sage, whose research has been limited by the
range of creation. Thus the study of Christ strengthens the intellect, while
the knowledge of God thus gained enriches, sanctifies, and ennobles it.
Would you quiet and sooth your heart? Bring it in close contact with
Christ's human sympathy. Would you enlarge and enrich your mind? Bring
it into believing contact with Christ's Divine person. O to know Jesus, that
most excellent and superlative knowledge! With Paul we may well count all
things but loss for its possession. To know Him as the Savior, to know Him
as our Friend, to know Him as our Brother, to know Him as our Advocate, to
know Him as our Portion, is endless life and glory. "This is life eternal,
that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have
My reader, when death approaches what will all your human learning and
science avail you, without a saving knowledge of Christ? What if you fathom
all mysteries but the great mystery of God's love in Jesus, and understand
all knowledge but the knowledge that you are saved? In that very hour
all your worldly, self-righteous, and erroneous thoughts perish. But a
spiritual knowledge of the Savior will stand by you at that awful moment,
sustain and comfort you, and light your soul's pathway to glory.
It is the fragrance of this ointment which imparts such sacred and
divinely acceptable perfume to the believer's PRAYERS. What, O suppliant,
bending before the mercy-seat, gives such touching eloquence and such
irresistible power to the devout breathings of your heart, to the faint and
faltering utterances of your lips, filling the temple above with their
fragrance? It is the power of Jesus' atoning merit, investing with its
incense-cloud every petition you send up to heaven. "Whatever" (says the
Savior) "you ask in My Name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified
in the Son. If you will ask anything in My Name, that will I do."
O for more faith in the power of prayer offered in the Name of Jesus!
Not for your merit, O suppliant, will God grant this request, nor for your
demerit will He deny it- but He will do it all for Christ's sake. Approach
then, sad heart, the mercy-seat. You wave in faith the true censer, whose
much incense is offered with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar
which is before the throne, when you ask your blessing and present your
petition and make your confession of sin, in the Name of Jesus, which wafts
it to heaven as the sweetest perfume.
You need no interceding 'virgin Mary', no praying dead saint, no
suppliant angel, no human merit, of your own. Jesus supplies it all.
"Jesus alone shall bear my cries
Up to His Father's throne
He, dearest Lord, perfumes my sighs,
And sweetens every groan."
"Petitions now and praise may rise,
And saints their offerings bring
The Priest, with His own sacrifice,
Presents them to the King."
So powerful is this "ointment," IT IMPARTS AN UNDYING FRAGRANCE TO ALL IT
TOUCHES. A sphere the most obscure, a craft the most lowly, a service the
most feeble that is associated with Christ, becomes sacred and ennobled. One
touch of Christ sanctifies and immortalizes all. O how the sacred perfume
lives! Years have passed away, time's many chequered, changeful scenes have
transpired, and yet the remembrance of that holy life smells sweet and
blossoms from the dust. Through some living character it aided to form- or
some eminent intellect it taught to shoot- or some Christian work it
indirectly started- or in some printed narrative which records its history,
the fragrance of that one life devoted to God still lives, and will live
What holy fragrance, too, breathes from pious books penned centuries ago!
And why? Because the holy men who wrote them were baptized in the perfume of
Christ's Name. Of Him they wrote, to Him they still bear witness, and every
page is redolent of the sweetness of His truth. Who can turn over the pages
of Charnock, and Caryl, and Traill, and Rutherford, and Leighton, and
Bunyan, and a host of others, and not feel how precious and undying is the
fragrance that flows from Christ through the writings of His servants long
since gathered unto Him, who set forth the glories of His person, the
perfection of His work, the greatness of His love, and the preciousness of
His Word. Would that the pulpit and the press- the preaching and the
literature of the nation- were more deeply imbued with the fragrance of this
divine ointment- with the principles, and precepts, and spirit of Christ's
holy Gospel! Of this we are thoroughly persuaded, that the influence of this
anointing is the only safe-guard of the nation's pulpit, and the only
conservative element of the nation's sacred literature.
One or two words of CAUTION. Be watchful against that which would mar the
sweet savor of this holy ointment, and change its perfume into a pestilent
odor. There are many decomposing influences destructive of this sacred
confection, against which we must be prayerfully vigilant. Inbred
corruption, unholy selfishness, morbid irritability, an uncharitable spirit,
an unsanctified temper, levity of manner, tampering with error, sporting
with sin, trifling with sin, needless exposure to temptation, are as
"dead flies which spoil the ointment," and cause it to send forth an sickly
savor. Let us then, as the Lord's anointed, as the royal priesthood upon
whose head the golden oil has been poured- bear it holily, employ it
usefully, and in its sacred fragrance walk humbly with our God.
A second caution is- beware of mixing up with this Divine ointment,
anything of your own miserable invention, or of sinfully attempting its
imitation. God gave especial instructions respecting this point: "Whoever
compounds any like it, shall even be cut off from the people." God's work is
perfect- Christ's salvation is complete- the Savior's sacrifice is finished,
and needs no creature merit, or human ceremonial to perfect its efficacy, or
heighten its splendor. Jesus is the one and only Savior of sinners- "Neither
is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven,
given among men, whereby we must be saved." Away, then, with all your vain,
contemptible, and sinful attempts to add to the virtue, fragrance, and worth
of this Divine and precious ointment by self-righteous doings, dead duties,
and worldly ritual of your own. Attempt to improve God's works in creation
if you will- add warmth to the sun-beam, glow to the stars, beauty to the
lily, fragrance to the violet, luster to the diamond, and let your
littleness and folly be manifest, but lay no unhallowed hand upon the Ark of
salvation, mix no human ingredient with the anointing of God, tamper not
with the fragrance, preciousness, and efficacy of the name of Jesus, lest
you perish in your sin, and your crime be written in eternal misery,
lamentation, and woe.
Deep and lasting is the love to Jesus which the fragrance of this
ointment inspires. "Therefore do the virgins love You." When the Holy Spirit
opens up this glorious Gospel, (the Divine and precious box which contains
the 'ointment') and reveals the Name of Jesus to the heart, love admiring,
love adoring, love obeying, love serving, love sacrificing, love
assimilating will bear the whole being onward by its all-commanding and
irresistible force! Would you love the Savior with a more intense and
influential affection? Inhale much of the fragrance of His Name, and ask for
more copious effusion upon your soul of this Divine and precious ointment.
Seek in every service and in every trial, and in every duty, with David, to
be "anointed with FRESH Oil."
UNCONVERTED SINNER! You may think lightly of the Name of Jesus now. You
may hate and despise it. It may have no music in your ear, or sweetness to
your soul. But remember that the day is coming- how fast it speeds! -when,
"at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things
on earth and things under the earth, and when every tongue shall confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In that last
great day your knee shall bow, either in adoring love or in trembling
submission -yes, even yours! Bow your heart to Him now, that it may be
well with you in that solemn day.
And what, we ask, in conclusion, is that which makes your sick-room so
sweet, and your dying-bed so pleasant? It is Christ's precious name poured
forth! Death, so dreaded by others, will come to you, around whose pillow
glory streams down from Immanuel's land, wearing a countenance of beauty and
a robe of fragrance, supremely, unutterably glorious and precious.
The departing believer views death through Christ, the lovely and the
all-conquering One; and so death looks lovely, pleasant, and harmless. Oh!
then, as, perhaps, never before, the Holy Spirit will unseal this sacred box
of ointment, and the NAME OF JESUS, when every other name has faded, will
cling to your memory and heart, you blest saint, departing now amid its
life-sustaining and heaven wafting fragrance. "Unto You Therefore Who
Believe He Is Precious."
"There is A NAME I love to hear;
I love to sing its worth
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest name on earth.
"It tells me of a Savior's love,
Who died to set me free
It tells me of His precious blood-
The sinner's perfect plea.
"It tells me of a Father's smile
Beaming upon His child
It cheers me through this little while,
Through desert, waste, and wild.
"It tells me what my Father has
In store for every day;
And though I tread a darksome path,
Yields sunshine all the way.
"It tells of One whose loving heart
Can feel my smallest woe;
Who in each sorrow bears a part
That none can bear below.
"It bids my trembling soul rejoice,
And dries each rising tear
It tells me, in a 'still small voice,'
To trust and not to fear.
"Jesus! the name I love so well,
The name I love to hear!
No saint on earth its worth can tell
No heart conceive how dear.
"This name shall shed its fragrance still
Along this thorny road;
Shall sweetly smooth the rugged hill
That leads me up to God!
"And there, with all the blood-bought throng,
From sin and sorrow free,
I'll sing the new eternal song
Of Jesus' love to me!"