Love to Christ
James Smith, 1864
"Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Song of Songs 5:16
Love is generally drawn forth by beauty exhibited, or by kindness shown. We love the beautiful and the benevolent. To the carnal mind, there is no beauty in Jesus — because its taste is vitiated, and its perception is depraved. It calls darkness, light; and light, darkness. It puts bitter for sweet — and sweet for bitter. We do not expect the natural man to see the beauty of the Redeemer's person, or to be inflamed to love by his attractions. Still the beautiful ought to be loved, and "He is altogether lovely!" The reason why he is not loved, is to be found in the corruption of human nature, and the depravity of the sinner's heart.
If you see nothing in Jesus to love — then it is evident
that you are under the power of darkness. If you have never really loved him
— then you are dead in trespasses and sins. What a dreadful state! What a
fearful thought is this! One would think . . .
that if we were in imminent peril — and one rescued us at the risk of his own life;
or if we were condemned to die — and one obtained our pardon at a great price;
or if we were starving with hunger — and one provided food for us at his own expense;
or if we were dying with disease — and one procured a remedy at his own cost;
or if we were taken captive by a cruel foe, fettered, imprisoned, and exposed to innumerable woes — and one paid the price of our ransom out of his own purse;
then we should, we must, love him!
But Jesus has done more than this!
He left the throne of glory, the worship of
angels, the joys of Heaven;
he came to earth and took the form of a servant;
he obeyed the law and magnified it;
he offered himself a sacrifice to divine justice, and satisfied it;
he ascended to Heaven to plead for sinners;
obtained the Holy Spirit for all who ask him;
and is now able and willing to save to the uttermost, all who come unto God by him.
He has opened an infinite fullness of blessings, which
contains all that we can need and wish; and he has sent his servants with
his word to inform us, that he is waiting to be gracious; that he delights
in mercy; that he is ready to save. He commands it to be proclaimed in his
name, that every sinner who believes his word, relies on his atonement, and
depends on his perfect work — shall be . . .
and eternally saved!
He promises to give the richest blessings to every
coming sinner, without money and without price. He has pledged his word that
he will refuse no one who comes, and commands all who come to go and publish
the fact, that "whoever will may come, and take of the fountain of the water
of life freely!" In a word, he is . . .
The Only Savior!
He thought . . .
nothing too difficult to perform,
nothing too costly to give,
nothing too painful to suffer,
nothing too shameful to endure —
if he might but save sinners, and save them freely! And he has done all, paid all, suffered all, and is prepared to save every one who is willing to be saved by him on his own terms.
He saves sinners with pleasure. It is his delight to save the very vilest of our race. He has saved innumerable millions of mankind, and he is able and willing to save millions more. Nor is it possible to point to any person and say, "The Lord Jesus is not willing to save him." Or to any tribe, however sunk, degraded, and debased, and say, "Jesus is unable, or unwilling to save them."
Now, ought not such a one to be loved? Ought not you to love him? For what he is, for what he has, for what he is willing to do — if not for what he has done for you. God requires you to love him. Reason demands that you love him. Common sense says that you should love him. And yet many do not love him!
Yes, no one will love Him — unless the heart is changed by the Holy Spirit! The mind must be completely changed, before it will love Christ.
He is light — but men love darkness.
He is holy — but men love sin.
He is the image of God — but men love the likeness of Satan.
But is there any excuse for us, if we do not love Jesus? There is none. There can be none. God will allow of none. Hence the Holy Spirit, speaking by the Apostle Paul, says, "If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed." (1 Corinthians 16:22.) How general, "if any man." Any man who has heard of Christ, having listened to his gospel. Any man who has read of Christ, having received his holy book. If any man, poor or rich, illiterate or learned, "if any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed." How terrible, "let him be accursed!" Let him be condemned by God, driven from God, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of God!
"What! blessed apostle, meek and gentle servant of Christ
— doom every one to Hell who does not love the Savior?"
"Yes, without anger, without any improper feeling, I say — If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed!"
"But think how terrible a place Hell is, how awful God's
curse must be, and what tremendous agonies are included in eternal
"I have thought of that, and, while full of love to man, and desiring above all things on earth the salvation of all who hear me, or read what I write — yet, I repeat — If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed!"
"What! that fine young man?"
"Yes, if he does not love Christ."
"What! that amiable young woman?"
"Yes, if she does not love Christ."
"What! that venerable, silver-haired, prudent, and
kind-hearted old man?"
"Yes, if he does not love Christ. I make no exceptions. If any person does not love Jesus — then he deserves to be accursed — his doom and destiny is to be accursed!"
Oh, my reader, my dear fellow-immortal — think of these things; and ask yourself most seriously, "Do I love Christ? Do I love to read of him; to hear of him; to think of him; to speak of him; to hold fellowship with him? Do I so love him as to wish to be like him, long to see him, and desire to spend eternity with him?"
Oh, Spirit of Jesus, shed abroad his love in our hearts, that if we have never loved him before — we may do so now; and, if we have loved him — we may love him ten times more!