"The Preciousness of
by Octavius Winslow
"Unto you therefore who believe He is precious." 1
Peter 2: 7.
A felt conviction of the preciousness of the Savior has
ever been regarded by enlightened ministers of the gospel as constituting a
scriptural and unmistakable evidence of the existence of divine life in the
soul; and in moments when neither time nor circumstance would admit of the
close scrutiny of a theological creed, or a nice analysis of spiritual
feelings and emotions, the one and simple inquiry upon which the whole
matter is made to hinge has been- "What is your experience of the worth of
the Savior? Is Christ precious to your heart?" And the answer to this
question has been to the examiner, the test and the measure of the soul's
spiritual and vital change. And how proper that it should be so. In
proportion as the Holy Spirit imparts a real, intelligent sense of personal
sinfulness, there will be the heart's appreciation of the value,
sufficiency, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. An enlightened and thorough
conviction of the nature and aggravation of the disease, will enable a
physician to form a just conception of the remedial process by which it may
be arrested and cured. We estimate the force of a motive power by the
strength of the body it propels. Thus, as the conviction of our lost and
undone condition deepens, as sin's "exceeding sinfulness " unveils, as the
purity and extent of God's law opens, as the utter helplessness and
impotence of self is forced upon the mind, the glory, the worth, the
suitableness, and the preciousness of Jesus will, through the teaching of
the Spirit, present itself vividly to the mind and heart, as constituting
the one only foundation and hope of the soul!
The Bible recognizes but two specific and distinctive characters- the
SINNER- the SAVIOR; and all others are but modifications of these. The saint
is but the sinner converted, justified, pardoned, adopted, sanctified,
saved, glorified. And all the official relations sustained by Christ in the
economy of salvation are but so many varied and beautiful forms of the one
Savior, of whom it is said, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for
there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be
saved." Thus, then, as you feel your sinfulness, you will estimate the
fitness and suitableness of the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. There will
be a perfect agreement between your consciousness of guilt and your
believing apprehension of the excellence of the Atonement to meet your case.
Your sinnership and Christ's Saviorship will harmonize and dovetail in exact
and beautiful fitness and proportion.
Oh, what a divine and blessed arrangement is this! With what grandeur,
yet with what simplicity, does it invest the scheme of salvation! What
solemnity, yet what hope, does it throw around the present and the future of
the soul! It seems to fathom the lowest depth of my sinfulness, while it
lifts me to the loftiest height of God's grace. In a volume designed to
place before its readers a few of the precious things of God's revealed
word, we commence, as is most proper, with the foundation and source of them
all- the dignity, worth, suitability, and preciousness of Christ. The great
truth upon which we are about to expatiate is announced in the words placed
at the head of this chapter- "Unto you therefore who believe He is
In the unfolding of this subject may there rest upon the writer and the
reader the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, even Him of whom Jesus said,
"He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me"
-that, while we treat of a precious Savior, His preciousness may be FELT in
our hearts, filling the whole soul with penitence, faith, and love. We
propose, in the present chapter, to group our thoughts around two specific
views of the subject- the Preciousness of Christ - and the Character of
those to whom He is precious.
We commence with a consideration of CHRIST'S PERSONAL PRECIOUSNESS- His
preciousness in Himself. It is the conviction of Christ's personal dignity
and worth that gives to faith such a substantial realization of the
greatness and preciousness of His work. We have need, beloved, to be
cautioned against an error into which some have fallen- of exalting the work
of Christ above the person of Christ- in other words, not tracing the
efficacy of Christ's sacrifice to the essential dignity of Christ's person.
The Godhead of the Savior admitted- His atoning death becomes a fact of easy
belief. Once concede that He who died upon the cross was "GOD manifest in
the flesh," and the mind will experience no difficulty in admitting that
that death was sacrificial and expiatory.
The sufferings and death of a Being so illustrious must be in harmony
with an object, and in connection with a result of equal dignity and
momentousness; and where will there be found such an object and such a
result as the SALVATION of man? The brilliant achievements of a general
rushing to the rescue of a beleaguered garrison may so exalt his personal
genius and valor as to invest his name with a glory peerless and immortal;
but the reverse of this holds good with Christ.
There had been no glory in His achievements, no significance in His work,
no efficacy in His blood, had there been no divine dignity and worth in His
person. And, had He not taken a single step in working out the salvation of
man- had He repaired no breach, wept no tear, endured no agony, shed no
blood in the redemption of His Church,- had He, in a word, conferred not a
solitary blessing upon our race- He still had been the ETERNAL SON OF GOD,
divine, peerless, glorious- the object of supreme love, adoration, and
worship by all celestial beings and through all eternal ages.
While, then, His sacrificial work illustrates His marvellous grace and
love to sinners, that work owes all its acceptance and efficacy to the value
imparted to it by the essential Deity of His person. Thus, it is the
personal preciousness of Christ that imparts an official preciousness to His
work. Who, then, is the Lord Jesus Christ? In common parlance, men term Him,
"our Savior." But do the great body pause and reflect who Christ really is?
Do they regard Him as the CREATOR Of this world- of all worlds? of their
being- of all beings? Do they consider that "all things were made by Him;
and without Him was not anything made that was made?" If so, would they not
give Him divine homage, since that Who creates must be antecedent to and
above the thing created, and therefore must be pre-existent and divine?
But what a grand and glorious truth is this to the believing soul- the
absolute Deity of the Savior- the essential Godhead of Christ! How it
endears Him to the heart as the Rock of ages upon which its hope is built!
How precious must be every evidence of the divine strength, stability, and
durability of that basis upon which the believing sinner reposes his whole
salvation. Precious, then, is Christ as God. Precious in His Deity- precious
as a distinct person in the adorable Godhead- precious as "God over all,
blessed for evermore."
But pause, Christian reader, for a moment, in wonder and praise before
this august truth. If there is a spot where we should put off the shoes from
our feet, surely it is this. With what profound reverence, with what silent
awe, yet with what adoring love should we contemplate the GODHEAD of our
Redeemer! But for that Godhead we had been forever lost! His obedience to
the law, His satisfaction to the justice of Jehovah, had been of no efficacy
or avail, except only as it partook of the authority, dignity, and virtue of
His higher nature. Do not question the existence of the fact because of the
mystery of its mode. How Jehovah could become incarnate is a wonder we shall
never, in this state of limited knowledge, fully understand; enough that it
is so. Let reason reverently adore, and faith implicitly trust.
Hesitate not, then, to give full credence to all the glorious truths of
the gospel, and to place the entire weight of your soul upon the Atonement
of Jesus, and to believe that, sinner though you are, be it the very chief,
such is the divine worth and sovereign efficacy of His sacrifice, you will,
you must, you shall be saved to the uttermost, because your Creator is your
Savior, and your Judge is your Justifier.
But this personal representation of the Lord Jesus involves also the
preciousness of His manhood. His personal alliance with our nature, His
condescending stoop to our humanity, is not the least endearing feature to
the heart of His believing saints. We have claimed for the Son of God
absolute Deity; we now claim for Him perfect humanity. "Flesh," real and
substantial, yet, "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,"
was He "made." A humanity identical with His people in all but its original
and actual sinfulness. "He knew no sin."
And yet, what a sin-bearer was He! All the transgressions of His elect
met upon Him! But He could only bear sin, as He himself was essentially free
from its taint. Had there been the remotest breath of pollution adhering to
Him- had one drop of the moral virus circulated through His veins, it had
rendered Him utterly and forever incapable of presenting to the justice of
God, an atonement for sin. He then would have needed, like the high priest
of old, to have offered for sins "first for Himself, then for the people."
How precious, then, beloved, is our Lord Jesus as "bone of our bone and
flesh of our flesh."
Think of His perfect humanity- a humanity free from sin, and therefore
capable of dying for the ungodly, -a humanity laden with sorrow, and
therefore capable of sympathizing with the afflicted. Precious to our hearts
as God- precious as Man- precious as both united in one- inconceivably and
eternally precious is He, whose name is "Wonderful," to His believing
saints. Tell, oh tell, how precious is that humanity of the Son of God that
partook, by actual participation, and still bears, by the most perfect
sympathy, all the sinless weaknesses, infirmities, temptations, and sorrows
of His people. Precious humanity! to which, when other human friendships are
changed, and other human love is chilled, and other human sympathy is
exhausted, you may repair, and find it an evergreen, a perennial stream, a
gushing fountain of unchanged affection, tenderness, and sympathy, meeting
and satisfying, to their utmost capacity, your hearts' deep pantings!
Precious humanity! that dries each tear, that bears each burden, that is
touched with each infirmity, that soothes each sorrow, and that succours
each temptation of His people. "In all things it behooved Him to be made
like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest
in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of His
people. For in that He himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to
succor those who are tempted." Oh, love the Lord, then, all you His saints;
laud Him, all you His people; and, in all your deep griefs, your lonely
sorrows, your sore trials, your fiery temptations, your pressing needs, your
daily infirmities, repair to the succourings, and the sympathies, and the
intercessions of His humanity, and learn how precious Jesus can be to the
hearts of His suffering and sorrowing ones.
Upon this rock of Christ's complex person God has built His Church, and
the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Precious is the Lord Jesus in
His work. That must be a costly and substantial superstructure that reposes
upon a basis so divine and perfect. No wise or experienced architect would,
at a vast expenditure, lay a deep, broad foundation for the purpose of
rearing upon it a small and fragile fabric. Look at the ground work of our
salvation. "Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation
a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation." Upon
such a foundation we look for a superstructure in all respects worthy of its
costliness and capability. We find it in the work of Jesus.
Oh, what a superstructure is it--nothing less than the salvation of His
Church! Such a work was worthy of God, and of all the glory, wisdom, and
power embarked in its accomplishment. Nowhere have we such a perfect view of
the Divine glory as through the medium of the cross! That magnificent sky
that spreads above us, studded and glowing with countless myriads of worlds,
pales before the subdued glory, the softened splendor of the cross of
Christ! Nowhere does Jehovah-Jesus appear to the spiritual, believing mind
so exalted as when He stoops! so glorious as when in eclipse! so holy as
when bearing sin! so loving as when enduring its punishment! so triumphant
as when vanquished upon the cross!
Oh, do not study God in the jeweled heavens- in the sublimity of the
mountain- in the beauty of the valley- in the grandeur of the ocean- in the
murmurs of the stream- in the music of the winds. God made all this, but all
this is not God. Study Him in the cross of Jesus! Look at Him through this
wondrous telescope, and although, as through a glass darkly, you behold His
glory- the Godhead in awful eclipse, the Sun of His Deity setting in blood-
yet that rude and crimsoned cross more fully reveals the mind of God, more
harmoniously discloses the perfections of God, and more perfectly unveils
the heart of God, and more fully exhibits the glory of God, than the
combined power of ten thousand worlds like this, even though sin had never
marred, and the curse had never blighted it.
Study God in Christ, and Christ on the cross! Oh, the marvels that meet
in it- the glory that gathers round it- the streams of blessing that flow
from it- the deep refreshing shadow it casts, in the happy experience of all
who look to Jesus and live- who look to Jesus and love- who look to Jesus
and obey-who look to Jesus and embrace that blessed "hope of eternal life
which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began." A worthy
structure this of a foundation so divine!
What could be more worthy of God, whose essence is "love," than the
salvation of His people? In nothing could He appear more like Himself. Upon
no platform could He so honorably and completely withdraw the veil from His
perfections, and stand forth in His full-orbed majesty, "mighty to save," as
this! Humble believer in Christ, you are saved! Happy saint of God, you
shall be in heaven! Christ has paid your debt, opened your prison, broken
your chains, and set you free from the law's curse, from sin's condemnation,
and from death's penalty, and you will be forever with the Lord! Is not this
enough to make your whole life, clouded and chequered though it be, a sweet
psalm of praise- thus learning the first notes of the song that will employ
your tongue through eternity?
How precious is the righteousness of Christ- a righteousness that fully
justifies our person, completely covering all our deformity, and presenting
us to God, "lovely through His loveliness put upon us;" wherefore the renown
of the clothed and adorned Church goes forth through all the earth, and men
inquire, "Who is she that looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon,
clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?"
And look at the preciousness of His sacrifice, which is as a
"sweet-smelling savor unto God," ascending ever from off the golden altar
before the throne, in one continuous cloud of incense, wreathing the people,
perfuming the prayers, accompanying the offerings, and presenting with
acceptance every breath of devotion, every accent of praise, and every token
of love which His people here below lay at His feet. "By one offering He has
perfected forever those who are sanctified." That "one offering," offered
once for all, was so divine, so holy, so complete, so satisfactory, it has
forever perfected the pardon, perfected the justification, perfected the
adoption, and will perfect the sanctification when it perfects the glory of
all the elect of Jehovah. Beloved, is not this enough to check every sigh,
to quell every fear; to annihilate every doubt, and to fill you with peace
and joy in believing? What shouts of praise to Jesus should burst from every
lip as each believer contemplates the sacrifice that has secured his eternal
When Titus liberated the imprisoned Greeks, they clustered around his
tent, chanting his praises and exclaiming, with impassioned fervor, "A
savior! a savior! a savior!" Oh, with what deeper emphasis may every child
of God, freed from the chains of sin and of death by the "liberty with which
Christ has made him free," extol the person and chant the praises of that
glorious Savior, and exclaim, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! He has saved His people
from their sins!" Believer, demonstrate your sense of the preciousness of
this great sacrifice by bringing to it daily sins, by drawing from it hourly
comfort, and by laying yourself upon it, body, soul, and spirit, a "living
sacrifice unto God."
How precious is Christ in all the offices and relations which He sustains
to His people. Precious as the Head, the 'covenant surety' Head, of His
people, the source of life, the seat of power, the fountain of all blessing.
Reader, hold fast the Headship of Christ. Acknowledge no legislative head,
no administrative head, no authoritative head, no reigning head of the
Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ. There are under-currents of priestly
domination in the Church of God in the present day, subversive of this
cardinal truth, against which it behooves us to be on our guard. Acknowledge
no spiritual Head and King in Zion but the Lord Jesus; and demonstrate your
recognition of, reverence for, and love to, His government, by vindicating
His Headship, bowing to His authority, and obeying His laws!
Oh, how blessed to be under the holy, benevolent, and gentle government
of Christ, whose scepter is a scepter of righteousness, so mild and loving
in its sway, that "He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the
smoking flax." Precious is He as the Husband of His Church, to whom He is
united by the closest and most indissoluble ties, pledged to discharge all
her obligations, to supply all her need, to soothe, by sympathy, her every
sorrow, and to increase, by participation, her every joy.
Precious is He as a Friend -the Friend whose love is infinite and
boundless, changing not with circumstances, chilling not with indifference,
nor wearying with lapse of years- a Friend who shows himself friendly, who
loves at all times, and who sticks closer than a brother.
Precious as a Brother, our kinsman-redeemer, our next of kin, claiming
and exercising, as such, the right of redemption, and proving Himself, by
His help and succor in all the calamities of His brethren, to be a "Brother
born for adversity." Thus might we travel over all the offices and relations
which the Lord Jesus sustains to His saints, and find in each that which
endears Him to their souls, enthroning Him upon their hearts as the "chief
among ten thousand," and exhibiting Him as "the altogether lovely one."
But to whom is Christ precious? This is a most important question. He is
not precious to all. It is a privileged class, a peculiar people, a little
flock, few and scattered, hidden and unknown, who feel the Savior's
preciousness. Only to the believer is Christ precious; the declaration of
the Holy Spirit is, "Unto you therefore who BELIEVE He is precious." This is
philosophically as well as scripturally true. There cannot possibly be a
felt conviction of the worth of an object of which we have no intelligent
and clear perception. There must be something to create interest, to awaken
admiration, to inspire love; the object must be seen, known, and tried.
Now, the only spiritual faculty that discerns Christ, and in discerning
Christ realizes His preciousness, is faith. Faith is the optical faculty of
the regenerate, it is the spiritual eye of the soul! Faith sees Christ, and
as Christ is seen His excellence is recognized; and as His excellence
unfolds, so He becomes an object of endearment to the heart! Oh, how lovely
and how glorious is Jesus to the clear, far-seeing eye of faith! Faith
beholds Him the matchless, peerless One; His beauty eclipsing, His glory
outshining, all other beings! Faith sees majesty in His lowliness, dignity
in His condescension, honor in His humiliation, beauty in His tears,
transcendent, surpassing glory in His cross!
In natural things, as the beauty of an object unveils to the eye, it
awakens in the mind a corresponding interest. The grey mist of morning
slowly rising from off the face of nature, revealing a landscape of rich and
varied beauty- the blending of mountain and valley, the green meadows and
winding streams, presents an object which, in every mind susceptible of the
sublime and the beautiful, inspires the feeling of admiration and delight.
Beloved, in proportion as the personal dignity, beauty, and excellence of
the Lord Jesus unfolds to the believing eye, He becomes more sensibly and
deeply enshrined in the heart's warmest love! We must know the Lord Jesus to
admire Him, and must admire Him to love Him, and must love Him to serve Him.
The believer, too, beholds a suitability in Christ, sees Him to be just
the Savior adapted to the necessities of his soul; and this renders Him
peculiarly precious. "I see Him," exclaims the believer, "to be exactly the
Christ I need- His fulness meets my emptiness- His blood cleanses my guilt-
His grace subdues my sin- His patience bears with my infirmities- His
gentleness succours my weakness- His love quickens my obedience- His
sympathy soothes my sorrows- His beauty charms my eye. He is just the
Savior, just the Christ I need, and no words can describe His preciousness
to my soul!"
There is thus an appropriation of Christ in the personal experience of
every believer which endears Him to the heart. A Christ unappropriated is a
Christ whose worth is undervalued, and whose preciousness is unfelt. The
believer can say, "Christ is mine, and I have all things in one, even in
Christ, who is my all and in all." This simple, trembling faith, sublime in
its simplicity, mighty in its tremblings, sweeps all the treasures of the
everlasting covenant of grace and all the fulness of the Surety of the
covenant into its lap, and exclaims, "All is mine, because Christ is mine,
and I am Christ's."
Do not shrink, beloved reader, from what the quaint divines of other
days, and, perhaps, of a deeper experience and of a sounder creed than ours,
were wont to term a "Christ-appropriating faith." If you have fled to Jesus
as a poor, empty, believing sinner, there is not a throb of love in His
loving heart, nor a drop of blood in His flowing veins, nor a particle of
grace in His mediatorial fulness, nor a thought of peace in His divine mind,
which is not yours, all yours, inalienably yours, as much yours as if you
were its sole possessor! And in proportion as you thus deal with Christ,
individually traveling to Him, living upon Him, living out of Him, dealing
as personally with Him as He deals personally with you, He will involve
Himself in your concerns, and will become growingly precious to your soul.
There are peculiar circumstances in the believer's experience when Christ
becomes especially precious to the soul. For example: in the deeper
ploughings of the heart's hidden sinfulness- when the Holy Spirit reveals
more of the innate corruption of our nature, and gives a more spiritual
perception of sin's exceeding sinfulness, oh, how precious does the finished
work of Christ then become! how precious the blood that cleanses from all
sin! If God is leading you through this stage of Christian experience,
beloved, be not alarmed; it is but to build up His dear Son upon the wreck
and ruin of your own merit, strength, and sufficiency. He will have us love
His Son with a love like His own- a love of divine, supreme, ineffable
affection- and this can only be felt in the region of our own nothingness!
In circumstances of spiritual relapse, how precious does Christ become,
as the Restorer of His saints, as the Shepherd that goes in quest, of His
stray sheep, and brings it back to the fold with rejoicing! How unspeakably
dear is the Savior to the wandering yet restored heart! Our backslidings are
perpetual and aggravated, our affections fickle and truant, our faith
fluctuating, our love waning, our zeal flagging, our walk often feeble and
unsteady; but Jesus does not withdraw His eye from His own work in the soul,
and never for a moment loses sight of His stray-going sheep. Ah, there are
few aspects of the work of Jesus more precious in the experience of the
saints of God than His divine and gracious restorings. "He restores my
soul," is a declaration of David which finds its response in every believer.
Precious, then, is that Savior who breaks the heart, checks its waywardness,
restores its wanderings, heals its backslidings, rekindles its love, and
once more wakes its languid, silent chords to sweetest harmony.
How precious is Christ in the season of fiery temptation! When the
arch-foe comes, robed as an angel of light, with gentle tread, and oily
tongue, and soft persuasiveness, seeking to ensnare and beguile the
unsuspicious and unwary -leveling his darts at the very foundations of our
faith- insinuating his doubts of the truth of the Bible, of the being of
God, of the sufficiency of the Savior, of the reality of a future world-
thus seeking to shake the confidence, obscure the hope, and destroy the
comfort of the Lord's people- oh, how precious then is Christ as the
Conqueror and Spoiler of Satan; as He who enables the trembling believer to
quench the fiery dart in His own blood, and to take refuge beneath His
outspread, all-sheltering wing!
How doubly precious must the Savior have been to the tempted Peter, when
Christ assured him that, by an anticipated intercession, He had blunted the
keen edge of the sword by which the subtle enemy sought the downfall of his
disciple. Tempted believer, the Tempted One, He who, alone and unaided,
battled with Satan those forty days and nights in the solitary wilderness-
is He who was "in all points tempted like as we are," and "knows how to
deliver the godly out of temptation," and will shortly bruise Satan, crushed
and conquered, under your feet.
In the hour of adversity, of trial, of sorrow, oh, how precious is Christ
in the experience of the believer! It would seem, beloved, as though we had
never really known Him until then. Certainly, we never knew from experience
that there was so much that was human, tender, and compassionate in His
heart until sorrow touched our own. We had no conception what a fount of
sympathy was there.
A new bend in your path, a new epoch in your history, or a new stage in
your journey, has frosted with the snowflake and swept with the storm-blast
of winter, the entire landscape of life; fortune gone, friends removed,
health failing, poverty threatening, need pressing. Oh, how dreary and
lonely seems the path you tread! But pause- it is not all winter! Jesus
approaches! He unveils a bosom once pierced, shows a heart once sad, and
drawing you within its blest pavilion, hides you from the wind and covers
you from the tempest. You never thought Jesus had a heart of such exquisite
tenderness until now.
I do but give utterance to the experience of many a timid believer, many
an afflicted Christian, when I say that, looking back upon all the way the
Lord our God has led us, we can thank Him for the swelling surge, can bless
Him for the wintry blast, can praise Him for the falling blow that veiled
the sky, and draped the landscape, and smote the idol, since that was the
suitable occasion of making the Savior better known to you, and of endearing
him unutterably to your heart!
"You have known my soul in adversities." And that adversity was the time
in which you were more fully brought to know Him. Chastening seasons are
teaching seasons; suffering times are Christ-endearing times; trying
dispensations are purifying processes in the experience of the godly. The
whirlwind that swept over you has but cleared your sky and made it all the
brighter, but deepened your roots and made them all the firmer. Earth may
have lost a tie, but heaven has gained an attraction. The creature has left
a blank, but Christ has come and filled it. Setback has made you poor, but
the treasures of divine love have enriched you. In the Lord Jesus you have
more than found the loved one you have lost; and if in the world you have
encountered tribulation, in Him you have found peace. O sweet sorrow! O
sacred grief, that enthrones and enshrines my Savior more pre-eminently and
deeply in my soul!
There is a supremacy in the feeling of Christ's preciousness to the
believer, which is worthy of a remark. Christ has the pre-eminence in the
affections of the regenerate! "Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is
none upon earth that I desire beside you." Listen to His own words,
asserting His claim to a single and supreme affection: "Whoever loves father
or mother, brother or sister, wife or children, more than Me, is not worthy
of Me." There are natural ties of affection- the parental, the marital, the
filial. There are ties, too, of human love and friendship, linking heart to
heart; but not one word does He who inspired those affections, who formed
those ties, breathe, denying their existence or forbidding their exercise.
No, the religion He came to inculcate distinctly recognizes these human
relations, and seeks to strengthen and intensify by purifying, elevating,
and immortalizing them. But mark the emphatic word employed by Christ- "MORE
than Me! " All these affections are to have full play and exercise, but ever
to be maintained in profound subordination to Himself, and to be so
sanctified and employed as to become auxiliaries and aids to the higher and
purer affection of supreme attachment to the Savior! In a word, Christ
should become more supreme and precious to our hearts by all the sweet,
sacred relations and affections of life. We should enjoy the creature in
Him, and glorify Him in the creature.
Christ is not only supremely, but He is increasingly precious to the
believer. It must be so, since a closer intimacy with a perfect being
increases our knowledge of His perfection, and, in the same ratio, our
admiration and love. The further the believer advances in the divine life,
the more he must necessarily become acquainted with Christ; for his
spiritual progress is the measure of his growing knowledge of the Lord
Jesus. We can only really advance in grace, truth, and holiness, as we have
close relations with Jesus, constant transactions with the Savior.
Christ is our life; and our growth in spiritual life is Christ increasing
within us. It is as utterly impossible to cherish a holy desire, to conceive
a heavenly thought, to perform a good action, to conquer a single infirmity,
or to baffle a solitary temptation, apart from a direct communication with
Christ; as for the lungs to expand without air, or light to exist without
the Sun. Oh, yes! Christ is increasingly precious to the believer. The
absence from His beatific presence- distance from His blest abode- the
vicissitudes of life- the fluctuations of time- the advance of infirmities-
the increase of anxieties and cares- and the formation of new friendships,
do not render the Savior less precious to the believing soul.
Other objects often lose their attraction, their desire to interest, or
their power to charm us, by the lapse of years; but JESUS is that glorious
object who grows more precious to the heart in time, as His capacity unfolds
of making us supremely happy; and in eternity will become increasingly the
object of our love, and the theme of our song, and the source of our bliss,
as growing ages unveil His loveliness, His glory, and His grace!
Beloved reader, is Jesus increasingly precious to your soul? Each day's
history, each day's trial, each day's sin, each day's need, should endear
the Savior to your heart, because in each and all of those circumstances you
should have direct and close dealings, daily and personal transactions, with
Christ! You cannot cultivate an intimacy with Christ and not be enamored of
His beauty, charmed with His graciousness, and absorbed with His love!
Be cautioned against an eclipse of the Savior! Let no object come between
your heart and Christ! Do not be presumptuous when in high spiritual frames,
nor be depressed when in low ones. Do not let your conscious shortcomings,
failures, and stumblings estrange your affections from Jesus. Nor allow
pride or carelessness to insinuate itself, if the Lord confers upon you some
especial favor or proof of His regard.
The foot is more apt to slide in the smooth than in the rough path; and
it is more difficult to carry with a steady hand the brimmed than the empty
cup. Walk humbly with God in all circumstances, especially after seasons of
peculiar nearness to Him in your soul. Forget your spiritual attire, and
your ornaments, and think of and love only Him who clothed you so
beautifully and who adorned you so magnificently. Do not toy with your
graces, but look to Him who gave them. Let all your thoughts, affections,
and admiration be concentrated in that precious Savior, who took all your
sins, deformity, and sorrow upon Himself, and who transferred all His
righteousness, beauty, and blessing upon you!
Oh, let your heart and Christ's heart be one heart! Receive as precious
everything that flows from the government of Jesus. A precious Christ can
give you nothing but what is precious. Welcome the rebuke- it may be
humiliating; welcome the trial- it may be painful; welcome the lesson- it
may be difficult; welcome the cup- it may be bitter; welcome everything that
comes from Christ in your individual history. Everything is costly,
salutary, and precious that Jesus sends. The rude tones of Joseph's voice,
when he spoke to his brethren, were as much the echoes of his concealed
affection, as the softest, gentlest accents that breathed from his lips. The
most severe disciplinary dispensations in the government of Christ are as
much the fruit of His eternal, redeeming love, as was the tenderest and most
touching expression of that love uttered from the cross.
All is precious, wise, and salutary in the dealings of Christ. His
teachings, His woundings, His withholdings, His withdrawings, His slayings,
His changed countenance, His altered tones,- when, in a word, His uplifted
hand lands heavily upon us, smiting us seven times, even then, oh, how
precious should Christ be to the believing soul! Then it is we learn by
experience what a balsam exudes from His pierced heart for the very wound
His own hand inflicted! What a covert from the stormy wind, and what a
hiding-place is He from the fierce tempest which His own providence created!
What a succouring, appropriate to our sorrow, springs from the very hand
that winged the dart which pierced us through and through!
Oh, precious Christ! so divine, so all-sufficient, so indescribably
precious, may we not welcome with thankfulness and receive with submission
all that You do send- the mingled ingredients of bitter and sweet, the
blended tints of light and shade, of all the wise, righteous, and salutary
dispensations of Your wise, loving, and ever watchful providence?
But there is approaching a period-ah, how it speeds! -which will be the
most solemn and severe, yet the sweetest and truest test of the sustaining,
soothing power of Christ's preciousness in the experience of His saints- the
last sickness and the closing scene of life. Imagine that moment to have
arrived! All of earth's attraction ceases, all of creature-succor fails.
Everything is failing- heart and strength failing- mental power failing-
medical skill failing- human affection and sympathy failing; the film of
death is on the eye, and the invisible realities of the spirit-world are
unveiling to the mental view. Bending over you, the loved one who has
accompanied you to the shore of the cold river, asks a sign. You are too
weak to conceive a thought, too low to breathe a word, too absorbed to
bestow a responsive glance. You cannot now assert your faith in an elaborate
creed, and you have no profound experience, or ecstatic emotions, or
heavenly visions to describe. One brief, but all-emphatic, all-expressive
sentence embodies the amount of all that you now know, and believe, and
feel; it is the profession of your faith, the sum of your experience, the
ground of your hope- "Christ Is Precious to My Soul!" Enough! The dying
Christian can give, and the inquiring friend can wish no more.
Dearest Savior, be close to me in that solemn moment! Tread the valley by
my side, pillow my languid head upon Your bosom, speak these words of
heart-cheer to my struggling, panting, departing soul, "Fear not, I Am with
you" -then, it will be happiness for me to die, -death will have no venom-
the grave no gloom- eternity no dread; and, from the measured experience of
Your preciousness on earth, I shall pass in triumph through the shadowy
portal into the full sunshine and perfect realization and eternal enjoyment
of all that faith believed, and love desired, and hope expected, of Your
full-orbed glory and preciousness in heaven. "In your presence is fulness of
joy; and at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore!"
"Precious Jesus! O how lovely are You to my longing
Never, never let me grieve You, never from You let me depart.
Precious Jesus! all in all to me You art."