By James Smith
"Unto you therefore who believe--He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7
To the spiritual mind, there is a charm in the very name of Jesus; and when graciously assisted by the presence of the Holy Comforter, we immediately conceive of something sweet, glorious and delightful, when the name of Jesus is but mentioned. It is a name that never wearies, because it is associated with all that is important, valuable, and delightful in the estimation of the believing soul. Many a saint has complained when Jesus has not been sufficiently honored--but never one that he has been exalted too highly. Our best moments are spent in contemplating his person, rejoicing in his work, spreading his fame, and enjoying fellowship with him. The spiritual perception of his glories--fills the soul with admiration and holy love; the application of his promises--softens and elevates the heart; and a sense of a saving interest in his salvation and grace--makes happy beyond description.
Holiness never appears so lovely--as when beheld in his adorable person and meritorious work! Sin never appears so detestable and loathsome--as when seen in his agony, cross and death! Grace is then most glorious--when we view it in his humiliation, sacrifice, and triumphs! And mercy has peculiar attractions--when beheld in his tears, tender expressions, and ardent prayers.
Jesus is indeed precious, when faith views him as descending from the glorious high throne, and becoming a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief--stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted--wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and making peace for us by the blood of his cross. To see the object of Jehovah's delight and angelic adoration--exposed to the rage of devils, the contempt of men, and the fierce, unsparing wrath of God, in order to purchase my freedom from bondage, to secure my deliverance from eternal woe, and procure a title for me to unfading blessedness and glory--this renders Jesus precious, and causes the soul to exclaim: his love to me is astonishing, his grace surpassing thought, and his mercy is inconceivable! The mind struggles for suitable emotions--the soul longs for a lofty song, and labors for befitting expressions to tell out her ideas of Jesus.
His tenderness, as manifested in his kind expressions, sweet invitations, and loving promises--endears him to us--and how unspeakably precious he appears! To hear the Father vouch for him, "A bruised reed--he shall not break; and the smoking flax--he shall not quench--he shall feed his flock like a shepherd--he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom,"--this fills us with admiration and pleasure.
To listen to his gracious promises, "I will see you again--I will not leave you comfortless--I will manifest myself to you, I will come and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also"--this fills us with gratitude and humility.
To find him informing us of the Father's mind and will, to relieve us from cares, and banish our fears, saying, "Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom--whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it you--for this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that discerns the Son, and believes on him, may have eternal life, and I will raise him up again at the last day,"--this consecrates us entirely to him, and leads us to devote ourselves and our all to his praise. But when we behold him confirming his word, removing our sins, bearing our curse, and making reconciliation for our iniquity by his vicarious sufferings and death, love can hold no longer--but cries out,
If I loved my Lord before,
I would love him ten times more!
The sympathy of Jesus also renders him precious to the believer. He possesses my nature, and has felt as I feel--his heart has throbbed in unison with mine, he has feared, hungered, thirsted, wearied and suffered in every part of his person, and in every way--therefore he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the power and influence of temptation upon the mind, and in all our afflictions he is afflicted, and the messengers of his presence surround us.
Not a sigh escapes unnoticed--not a groan is neglected, nor a tear forgotten! He is ever with us, feels for us, and directs everything to work for the good of the soul that sincerely believes on him.
He is always Jesus, the fountain of love, mercy, pity, compassion, and grace. He is ever our kind, tender, and faithful brother, born for adversity, and present when needed to support, comfort or deliver. He says, "Even to hoary hairs I am he--I have borne you, and I will carry you--I will make all your bed in your sickness--I will never leave you, I will never, no never forsake you; but I will deliver you in six troubles, and in seven shall no evil touch you."
Let this but be received into the mind by faith, and Jesus must be precious! Every name he bears, every office he fills, every relation he sustains, every promise he has given, every doctrine he has taught, every precept he has enforced--rightly viewed--endears him to the spiritual mind, and renders him precious to the soul.
If these lines should be read by any one who has never felt Jesus to be precious--more precious than riches, honors, reputation, health--yes, than life itself, I would say to that person, "You are in a pitiable situation! The god of this world has hitherto blinded your mind--he now leads you captive at his will--you are a stranger to real holiness, gospel peace, and true happiness!"
Jesus is the charm of life, the essence of joy, the spring of everything worthy the name of comfort. An interest in, and fellowship with, a precious Christ, illumines the dark hours of affliction--warms the heart in the cold embraces of death--and perfumes the otherwise scentless grave.
Everything is lacking, where Jesus is not known; and Jesus is not scripturally known, unless he his precious to the soul. My friend, never expect to be happy, or dream of peace, holiness, or heaven--unless Jesus is your all in all!