DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING,

                                                DECEMBER 9TH, 1877,


                                                                                BY C. H. SPURGEON,




                                    “Jesus Christ himself.”-Ephesians 2:20. 


“Jesus Christ himself” is to occupy all our thoughts this morning. What an

ocean opens up before me! Here is sea-room for the largest barque! In

which direction shall I turn your thoughts? I am embarrassed with riches. I

know not where to begin: and when I once begin where shall I end?

Assuredly we need not go abroad for joys this morning, for we have a feast

at home. The words are few, but the meaning vast- “Jesus Christ himself.”

Beloved, the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ contains in it nothing so

wonderful as himself. It is a mass of marvels, but he is THE miracle of it;

the wonder of wonders is “The Wonderful” himself. If proof be asked of

the truth which he proclaimed, we point men to Jesus Christ himself. His

character is unique. We defy unbelievers to imagine another like him. He is

God and yet man, and we challenge them to compose a narrative in which

the two apparently incongruous characters shall be so harmoniously

blended, - in which the human and divine shall he so marvelously apparent,

without the one overshadowing the other. They question the authenticity of

the four Gospels; will they try and write a fifth? Will they even attempt to

add a few incidents to the life which shall be worthy of the sacred

biography, and congruous with those facts which are already described? If

it he all a forgery, will they be so good as to show us how it is done? Will

they find a novelist who will write another biography of a man of any

century they choose, of any nationality, or of any degree of experience, or

any rank or station, and let us see if they can describe in that imaginary life

a devotion, a self-sacrifice, a truthfulness, a completeness of character at all

comparable to that of Jesus Christ himself? Can they invent another perfect

character even if the divine element be left out? They must of necessity fail,

for there is none like unto Jesus himself.


The character of Jesus has commanded respect even from those who have

abhorred his teaching. It has been a stumbling-stone to all objectors who

have preserved a shade of candour. Jesus’ doctrine they could refute, they

say; his precepts they could improve, so they boast; his system is narrow

and outworn, so they assert: but himself-what can they do with him? They

must admire him even if they will not adore him; and having done so they

have admired a personage who must be divine, or else he wilfully left his

disciples to believe a lie. How they surmount this difficulty? They cannot

do so by railing at him, for they have no material for accusation. Jesus

Christ himself silences their cavillings. This is a file at which these asps do

bite, but break their teeth. Beyond all argument or miracle, Jesus Christ

himself is the proof of his own gospel.


And as he is the proof of it, so, beloved, he is the marrow and essence of it.

When the apostle Paul meant that the gospel was preached he said, “Christ

is preached,” for the gospel is Christ himself. If you want to know what

Jesus taught, know himself. He is the incarnation of that truth which by

him and in him is revealed to the sons of men. Did he not himself say, “I am

the way, the truth, and the life”? You have not to take down innumerable

tomes, nor to pore over mysterious sentences of double meaning in order

to know what our great teacher has revealed, you have but to turn and

gaze upon his countenance, behold his actions, and note his spirit, and you

know his teaching. He lived what he taught. If we wish to know him, we

may hear his gentle voice saying “Come and see.” Study his wounds, and

you understand his innermost philosophy. “To know him and the power of

his resurrection” is the highest degree of spiritual learning. He is the end of

the law and the soul of the gospel, and when we have preached his word to

the full, we may close by saying, “Now, of the things which we have

spoken this is the sum,-we have an high priest who is set on the right hand

of the throne of the majesty in the heavens.”


Nor is he alone the proof of his gospel and the substance of it, but he is the

power and force by which it spreads. When a heart is truly broken for sin,

it is by him that it is bound up. If a man is converted, it is by Christ, the

power of God. If we enter into peace and salvation it is by the gracious

manifestation of Jesus himself. If men have enthusiastically loved

Christianity, it is because first of all they loved Christ for him apostles

labored, and for him confessors were brave; for him saints have suffered

the loss of all things, and for him martyrs have died. The power which

creates heroic consecration is “Jesus Christ himself.” The memories stirred

by his name have more influence over men s hearts than all things else in

earth or heaven. The enthusiasm which is the very life of our holy cause

conies from himself. They who know not Jesus know not the life of truth,

but those who dwell in him are filled with power, and overflow so that out

of the midst of them streams forth living water. Nor is it only so, beloved;

for the power which propagates the gospel is Jesus himself. In heaven he

pleads, and therefore does his kingdom come. “The pleasure of the Lord

shall prosper in his hand.” It is from heaven that he rules all things so as to

promote the advance of the truth. All power is given unto him in heaven

and in earth, and therefore are we to proclaim his life-giving word with fall

assurance of success. He causes the wheel of providence to revolve in such

a manner as to help his cause; he abridges the power of tyrants, overrules

the scourge of war, establishes liberty in nations, opens the mysteries of

continents long unknown, breaks down systems of error, and guides the

current of human thought. He works by a thousand means, preparing the

way of the Lord. It is from heaven that he shall shortly come, and when he

cometh, when Christ himself shall put forth all his might then shall the

wilderness rejoice and the solitary place be glad. The reserve force of the

gospel is Christ Jesus himself. The latent power which shall at last break

every bond, and win universal dominion, is the energy, the life, the

omnipotence of Jesus himself. He sleeps in the vessel now, but when he

arises and chides the storm there will he a deep calm. He now for awhile

concealeth himself in the ivory palaces of glory, but when he is manifested

in that day his chariot wheels shall bring victory to his church militant.

If these things be so, I have a theme before me which I cannot compass. I

forbear the impossible task, and I shall but briefly note some few apparent

matters which lie upon the surface of the subject.


Brethren, “Jesus Christ himself” should always be the prominent thought of

our minds as Christians. Our theology should be framed upon the fact that

he is the Centre and Head of all. We must remember that “in him are hid all

the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Some of our brethren arc mainly

taken up with the doctrines of the gospel, and are somewhat bitter in their

narrow orthodoxy. We are to love every word of our Lord Jesus and his

apostles, and are to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the

saints, but yet it is well always to hold truth in connection with Jesus and

not as in itself alone the sum of all things. Truth isolated from the person of

Jesus grows hard and cold. We know some in whom the slightest variation

from their system arouses their indignation, even though they admit that

the brother is full of the Spirit of Christ. It is with them doctrine, doctrine,

doctrine: with us, I trust, it is Christ himself. True doctrine is to us

priceless as a throne for our living Lord, but our chief delight is not in the

vacant throne, but in the King’s presence thereon. Give me not his

garments, though I prize every thread, but the blessed wearer whose sacred

energy made even the hem thereof to heal with a touch.


There are others of our brethren who delight above measure in what they

call experimental preaching, which sets forth the inner life of the believer,

both the rage of depravity and the triumph of grace: this is well in due

proportion, according to the analogy of faith: but still Jesus himself should

be more conspicuous than our frames and feelings, doubts and fears,

struggles and victories. We may get to study the action of our own hearts

so much that we fall into despondency and despair. “Looking unto Jesus”

is better than looking unto our own progress: self-examination has its

necessary uses, but to have done with self and live by faith in Jesus Christ

himself is the best course for a Christian.


Then, there are others who rightly admire the precepts of the gospel, and

are never so happy as when they are hearing them enforced, as, indeed,

they ought to be; but after all the commands of our Lord are not our Lord

himself, and they derive their value to us and their power over our

obedience from the fact that they are his words, and that he said, “If ye

love me, keep my commandments.” We know the truth of his declaration,

“If a man love me he will keep my sayings,” but there must he the personal

love to begin with. Brethren, all the benefits of these three schools will he

ours if we live upon Jesus himself. They gather each a flower, but our

divine “plant of renown” has all the beauty, and all the fragrance, of all that

they can gather; and without the thorns which are so apt to grow on their

peculiar roses. Jesus Christ himself is to us precept, for he is the way he is

to us doctrine, for he is the truth: he is to us experience, for he is the life.

Let us make him the pole star of our religious life in all things. Let. him be

first, last, and midst; yea, let us say, “He is all my salvation and all my

desire.” And yet do not, I beseech you, disdain the doctrine, lest marring

the doctrine you should he guilty of insult to Jesus himself. To trifle with

truth is to despise Jesus as our Prophet. Do not for a moment underrate

experience, lest in neglecting the inner self you also despise your Lord

himself as your cleansing Priest; and never for a moment forget his

commandments lest if ye break them ye transgress against Jesus himself as

your King. All things which touch upon his kingdom are to be treated

reverently by us for the sake of himself: his book, his day, his church, his

ordinances, must all be precious to us, because they have to do with him;

but in the front of all must ever stand “Jesus Christ himself,” the personal,

living, loving Jesus; Christ in us the hope of glory, Christ for us our full

redemption, Christ with us our guide and our solace, and Christ above us

pleading and preparing our place in heaven. Jesus Christ himself is our

captain, our armor, our strength, and our victory. We inscribe his name

upon our banner, for it is hell’s terror) heaven’s delight, and earth’s hope.

We bear this upon our hearts in the heat of the conflict, for this is our

breastplate and coat of mail.


I shall not endeavor to say anything this morning which will strike you as

beautiful in language, for to endeavor to decorate the altogether Lovely

One would be blasphemy. To hang flowers upon the cross is ridiculous,

and to endeavor to adorn him whose head is as the most fine gold, and

whose person is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires, would be profane.

I shall but tell you simple things in simple language: yet are these the most

precious and soul-satisfying of the truths of revelation.


I. With Jesus Christ himself we begin by saying, first, that Jesus himself is

THE ESSENCE OF HIS OWN WORK, and therefore how readily we ought to

trust him. Jesus himself is the soul of his own salvation. How does the

apostle describe it? “He loved me, and gave himself for me.” He gave his

crown, his throne, and his joys in heaven for us, but that was not all-he

gave himself. He gave his life on earth, and renounced all the comforts of

existence, and bore all its woes; he gave his body, he gave his agony, he

gave his heart’s blood: but the summary of it is, he gave himself for me.

“Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” “Who his. own self bare

our sins in his own body on the tree.” No proxy service here! No sacrifice

which runs as far as his own person and there stops! There was no limit to

the grief of Jesus like that set upon the suffering of’ Job,- “Only on himself

lay not thine hand,” or “Only spare his life.” No, every reserve was taken

down, for he gave himself. “He saved others; himself he could not save,”

because he himself was the very essence of his own sacrifice on our behalf.

It is because he is what he is that he was able to redeem us: the dignity of

his person imparted efficacy to his atonement. He is divine, God over all,

blessed for ever, and therefore infinite virtue is found in him; he is human,

and perfect in that humanity, and therefore capable of obedience and

suffering in man’s place and stead. He is able to save us because he is

Imumanuel- “God with us.” If it were conceivable that an angel could have

suffered the same agonies, and have performed the same labors, as our

Lord, yet it is not conceivable that the same result would have followed.

The pre-eminence of his person imparted weight to his work. Always think

then when you view the atonement, that it is Jesus himself who is the soul

of it. Indeed the efficacy of his sacrifice lies there; hence the apostle in the

Hebrews speaks of him as having “by himself purged our sins.” This

purging was wrought by his sacrifice, but the sacrifice was himself. Paul

says, “he offered up himself.” He stood as a priest at the altar offering a

bloody sacrifice, but the offering was neither bullock, nor ram, nor turtle

dove; it was himself. “Once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put

away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” The sole reason why we are well-pleasing

with God is because of him, for he is our sweet savor-offering;

and the only cause for the putting away of our sin is found in him because

he is our sin-offering. The cleansing by the blood, and the washing by the

water, are the result, not of the blood and the water in and of themselves

and separate from him, but because they were the essentials of himself.

You see this, I am persuaded, without my enlarging upon it.

Now, because of this, the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the object of our

faith. Is he not always so described in Scripture? “Look unto me, and be ye

saved, all ye ends of the earth,”-not “look to my cross,” nor “look to my

life,” nor “to my death,” much less “to my sacraments or to my servants,”

but “look unto me.” From his own lips the words sound forth, “Come unto

me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In fact, it

is the Christian’s life motto, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of

our faith.” May I not go farther and say, how very simple and how very

easy and natural ought faith to be henceforth? I might be puzzled with

various theories of the atonement, but I can believe in Jesus himself: I

might be staggered by the divers mysteries which concern theology, and

overpower even masterminds, but I can confide in Jesus himself. He is one

whom it is difficult to distrust: his goodness, gentleness, and truth

command our confidence. We can and do trust in Jesus himself. If he be

proposed to me as my Savior, and if faith in him be that which saves me,

then at his dear feet I cast myself unreservedly, and feel myself secure while

he looks down on me. He who bled that sinners might be saved cannot be

doubted any more: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Now you

who have been looking to your faith, I want you to look to Jesus himself

rather than at your poor feeble faith. Now you who have been studying the

results of faith in yourselves and are dissatisfied, I beseech you turn your

eyes away from yourselves and look to Jesus himself. Now you who

cannot understand this and cannot understand that, give up wanting to

understand for the while, and come and look at Jesus Christ himself, “that

the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you

the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the  knowledge of him.” The Lord

grant us grace to view Jesus Christ  himself in the matter of our salvation

as all in all, so that we may have personal dealings with him, and no more

think of him as a mere idea, or as an historical personage, but as a personal

Savior standing in the I midst of us, and bidding us enter into peace

through him.


II. “Jesus Christ himself” is as we have said THE SUBSTANCE OF THE

GOSPEL, and therefore how closely should we study him. While he was

here he taught his disciples, and the object of his teaching was that they

might know himself, and through him might know the Father. They did not

learn very fast, but you see what he meant them to learn by the observation

he made to Philip, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou

not known me, Philip?” He meant them to know himself; and when he had

risen from the dead the same object was still before him. As he walked with

the two disciples to Emmaus they had wide choice of subjects for

conversation, but he chose the old theme, and  “beginning at Moses and

all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things

concerning himself.” No topic was one half so important or profitable. No

mere man may come to teach himself,  but this divine One can have

nothing better to reveal, for he himself, the incarnate God, is the chief of

all truth. Hence our Lord was concerned to be known to his people, and

therefore again and again we read that “Jesus showed himself unto his

disciples.” Whatever else they may be ignorant of, it is essential to

disciples that they know their Lord, His nature, his character, his mind,

his spirit, his object, his power, we must know in a word, we must know

Jesus himself.


This also, beloved, is the work of the Holy Spirit. “He shall glorify me: for

he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” The Holy Ghost

reveals Christ to us and in us. Whatsoever things Christ hath spoken while

he was here, the Holy Ghost opens to the mind and to the understandiug,

and thus by speaking of Christ within us he carries on the work which our

Lord began when here below. The Comforter is the instructor and Jesus is

the lesson. I dare say you long to know a thousand things, but the main

point of knowledge to be desired is Jesus himself. This was his teaching,

and this is the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and this is the end and object of the

Bible. Moses, Esaias, and all the prophets spake of him, and the things

which are recorded in this book were written up that ye might believe that

Jesus is the Christ, and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Precious is this book, but its main preciousness lies in its revealing Jesus

himself, it is the field which contains the pearl of great price, the casket

which encloses heaven’s brightest jewel.


We have missed our way in the Bible if its silken clue has not led us to the

central chamber where we see Jesus himself. We have never been truly

taught of the Holy Ghost, and we have missed the teaching of the life of

Christ, unless we have come to abide in Jesus himself. To know him is our

beginning of wisdom and our crown of wisdom. To know him is our first

lesson on repentance and our last attainment as we enter heaven. Our

ambition is that we may know the love of Christ by which passeth

knowledge. Here is our life study, and we have good in it, for these things

the angels desire to look into. May the Lord grant that the eyes of your

understanding may be enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of

his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

Beloved, because Jesus is the sum of the gospel he must be our constant

theme. “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus

Christ.” “I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ

and him crucified.” So spake men of old, and so say we. When we have

done preaching Christ we had better have done preaching; when you have

done teaching in your classes Jesus Christ himself, give up Sunday school

work, for nothing else is worthy of your pains. Put out the sun, and light is

gone, life is gone, all is gone. When Jesus is pushed into the background or

left out of a minister’s teaching, the darkness is darkness that might be felt,

and the people escape from it into gospel light as soon as they can. A

sermon without Jesus in it is savourless, and worthless to God’s tried,

saints, and they soon seek other food. The more of Christ in our testimony

the more of light and life and power to save. Some preachers are guilty of

the most wearisome tautology, but this is not laid to their charge when their

theme is Jesus, I have heard hearers declare that their minister appeared to

have bought a barrel organ on which he could grind five or six tunes and

no more, and these he ground out for ever and ever, amen. They have been

weary, very weary, of such vain repetitions; but to this day I never heard of

anybody against whom the complaint was urged that he preached Christ

too munch, too often, too earnestly, or too joyfully. I never recollect seeing

a single Christian man coming out of a congregation with a sorrowful face

saying, “He extolled the Redeemer too highly: he grossly exaggerated the

praises of our Savior.” I do not remember ever meeting with a case in

which the sick upon the bed of languishing have complained that thoughts

of Jesus were burdensome to them. I never recollect that a single book has

been denounced by earnest Christian men because it spoke too highly of

the Lord, and made him too prominent. No, my brethren, he who is the

study of the saints must be the daily theme of ministers if they would feed

the flock of God. No theme so moves the heart, so arouses the conscience,

so satisfies the desires, and so calms the fears. God forbid we should ever

fail to preach Jesus himself. There is no fear of exhausting the subject, nor

of our driving away our hearers, for his words are still true, “I, if I be lifted

up, will draw all men unto me.”


III. Jesus Christ himself is THE OBJECT OF OUR LOVE, and how dear he

should be. We can all of us who are really saved declare that “We love him

because he first loved us.” We have an intense affection for his blessed

person as well gratitude for his salvation. The personality of Christ is a fact

always to he kept prominently in our thoughts. The love of a truth is all

very well, but the love of a person has far more power in it. We have heard

of men dying for an idea, but it is infinitely more easy to awaken

enthusiasm for a person. When an idea becomes embodied in a man it has a

force which in its, abstract form it never wielded. Jesus Christ is loved by

us as the embodiment of everything that is lovely, and true, and pure, and

of good report. HE HIMSELF IS INCARNATE PERFECTION inspired by love.

We love his offices, we love the types which describe him, we love the

ordinances by which he is set forth, but we love himself best of all. He

himself is our beloved; our heart rests only in him.


Because we love him we love his people, and through him we enter into

union with them. Our text is taken from a verse which says, “Jesus Christ

himself being the chief corner stone.” He is the binder at the corner, joining

Jew and Gentile in one temple. In Jesus those ancient differences cease, for

he “hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition

between us; to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”

We are at one with every man who is at one with Christ. Only let our Lord

say, “I love that man,” and we love him at once; let us only hope that our

friend can say, “I love Jesus,” and we hasten to respond, “And I love you

for Jesus’ sake.” So warm is the fire of our love to Jesus that all his friends

may sit at it, and welcome. Our circle of affection comprehends all who in

any shape or way have truly to do with Jesus himself.


Because we love himself we delight to render service to him. Whatever

service we do for his church, and for his truth, we do for his sake, even if

we can only render it to the least of his brethren we do it unto him. The

woman with the alabaster box of precious ointment is a type which we

greatly prize, for she would only break the precious box for him, and every

drop of its delicious contents must be poured only upon his head. The

bystanders complained of waste, but there can be no waste in anything that

is done for Jesus. If the whole world, and the heavens, and the heaven of

heavens were all one great alabaster box, and if all the sweets which can be

conceived were hived within it, we would wish to see the whole broken,

that every drop of the sweetness might be poured out for Jesus Christ



“Jesus is worthy to receive

Honor and power divine;

And blessings more than we can give,

Be Lord, for ever thine.”


Oh our Beloved, if we can do anything for thee, we are charmed at

possessing such a privilege. If we are allowed to wash thy disciples’ feet,

or to care for the poorest of thy poor, or the least lamb of thy flock, we

accept the office as a high honor, for we love thee with all our hearts. Our

love to Jesus should be as much a matter of fact as our affection. for our

husband, wife, or child, and it should be far more influential upon our lives.

Love to our Lord is, I trust, moving all of you to personal service. You

might have paid a subscription and allowed others to work, but you cannot

do it when you see that Jesus gave himself for you. Jesus Himself demands

that I myself should he consecrated to His praise. Personal service is due to

a personal Christ, who personally loved and personally died for us. When

nothing moves us to zeal, the jaded spirit cannot follow up its industries,

let but Jesus himself appear, and straightway our passions are all in a blaze,

and the fiery spirit compels the flesh to warm to its work. We even glory in

infirmity when Jesus is near, and venture upon works which else had

seemed impossible. We can do anything and everything for “Jesus Christ

himself.”  (“I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me.” 

Philippians 4:13 – CY – 2019)


IV. Fourthly, our Lord Jesus Christ himself is THE SOURCE OF ALL OUR

joy, we ought to rejoice when we have such a springing well of

blessedness. In times of sorrow our solace is Jesus himself. It is no small

ground of comfort to a mourner that. Jesus himself is a man. How cheering

to read, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he

also himself took part of the same.” The humanity of Christ has a charm

about it which the quietly sorrowful alone discover, I have known what it

is to gaze upon the incarnation with calm repose of heart when my brain

has seemed to be on fire with anguish. If Jesus be indeed my brother man,

there is hope at all times. This is better balm than that of Gilead, “Himself

took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses”; “For in that he himself hath

suffered, being tempted, he is able also to succor them that are tempted.”

Pain, hunger, thirst, desertion, scorn, and agony Jesus himself has borne.

Tempted in all like as we are though without sin, he has become the

Comforter of the sorrowful. Many and many a sufferer in the lone watches

of the night has thought of him and felt his strength renewed. Our patience

revives when we see the Man of Sorrows silent before his accusers. Who

can refuse to drink of his cup and to be baptized with his baptism?


“His way was much rougher and darker than mine:

Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?”


The darkness of Gethsemane has been light to many an agonized soul, and

the passion even unto death has made the dying sing for joy of heart. Jesus

himself is the solace of our soul in sorrow, and when we emerge from the

storm of distress into the deep calm of peace, as we often do, blessed be

his name, he is our peace. Peace he left us by legacy, and peace he creates

in person. We never know deep peace of heart until we know the Lord

Jesus himself. You remember that sweet word when the disciples were met

together, the doors being shut for fear of the Jews, “Jesus himself stood in

the midst of them, and said, Peace be unto you.” Jesus himself you see

brought the message; for nothing but his presence could make it effectual.

When we see him our spirit smells a sweet savor of rest. Where can an

aching head find such another pillow as his bosom?


On high days and holidays our spirits soar beyond rest: we ascend into the

heaven of joy and exultation; but then it is our Lord’s joy which is in us

making our joy full. “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the

Lord,” and then are we glad also. By faith we see Jesus himself enthroned,

and this has filled us with delight, for his glorification is our satisfaction.

Him also hath God highly exalted, and given him a name which is above

every name.” I care not what becomes of me so long as he is glorified. The

soldier dies happy when the shout of victory salutes his ear, and his failing

sight beholds his prince triumphant. What a joy to think that Jesus is risen, risen

to die no more: the joy of resurrection is superlative. What bliss to

know that he has ascended, leading captivity captive, that he sitteth now

enthroned in happy state, and that he will come in all the glory of the

Father to break his enemies in pieces as with a rod of iron. Here lies the

grandest joy of his expectant church. She has in reserve a mighty thunder

of hosannahs for that auspicious day.


If there is any joy to be had, O Christian, that is both safe and sweet, a joy

of which none can know too much, it is to be found in him whom as yet

you see not, but in whom believing you rejoice with joy unspeakable and

full of glory.


We must tear ourselves away from that thought to turn to another, but

assuredly it is rich in happy memories and in blessed expectations.



therefore how blessed it is to be like him. As to our rule for life, we are like

the disciples on the mount of transfiguration when Moses and Elias had

vanished, for we see “no man save Jesus only.” Every virtue found in other

men we find in him in greater perfection; we admire the grace of God in

them, but Jesus himself is our pattern. It was once said of Henry VIII., by a

severe critic, that if the characteristics of all the tyrants that had ever lived

had been forgotten, they might all have been seen to the life in that one

king: we may more truly say of Jesus, if all graces, and virtues, and

sweetnesses which have ever been seen in good men could all be forgotten,

you might find them all in him: for in him dwells all that is good and great.

We, therefore, desire to copy his character and put our feet into his

footprints. Be it ours to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. What

saith our Lord himself? “Follow me,” and again, “Take my yoke upon you

and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest

unto your souls.” Not Christ’s apostle, but Christ himself, is our guide; we

may not take a secondary model, but must imitate Jesus himself. By the

indwelling of the Holy Spirit and his gracious operations we are developing

into the image of Christ till Christ be formed in us (Galatians 4:19); and we thus

develop because the heavenly life in us is his own life. “I in them,” said he, and

again, “I am the life.” For “we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in

God.” “He that bath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath

not life.” It is not passing through baptism, nor bearing the name of Christ,

it is having Jesus himself in our hearts that makes us Christians, and in

proportion as he is formed in us and the new life grows we become more

and more like him. And this is our prospect for eternity, that we are to he

with him and like him, for “when he shall appear, we shall he like him, for

we shall see him as he is.” Think of him, you that mourn your

imperfectness, to-day-think of Jesus Christ himself, and then be assured that

you are to be like him. What a picture! Come, artist, bring your best skill

here. What can you do? All pencils fail to depict him. It needs a poet’s eye

as well as an artist’s hand to picture the Lovely One. But what can the poet

do? Ah, you also fail; you cannot sing him any more than your friend can

paint him. Fruitful conception and soaring imagination may come to your

aid, but they cannot prevent your failure. He is too beautiful to be

described-HE MUST BE SEEN!  Yet here comes the marvel- “We shall be like

him- like Jesus Christ Himself. O saint, when thou art risen from the dead

how lovely thou wilt be! Wilt thou know thyself? To-day thou art wrinkled

with old age, scarred with the marks of disease and pain, and perhaps

deformed by accident, or blanched with consumption, but none of these

shall blemish thee THEN!  Thou wilt be without spot or wrinkle, faultless

before the throne.


“O glorious hour! O blest abode!

I shall be near and like my God.’


And not in bodily form alone shall we be like unto him whose eyes are as

the eyes of doves, and whose cheeks are as beds of spices; but in spirit and


We shall be holy even as He is holy, and happy as He is happy. We shall

enter into the joy of our Lord-the joy of Jesus Himself. I say not that we

can be divine-that cannot be; but still, brothers to him that is the Son of

God, we shall be very near the throne. O what rapture to know that my

next of kin liveth, and when He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth I

shall not only see God in this my flesh, but I shall be like Him, for I SHALL

SEE HIM AS HE IS!  (Job 19:25-27; I John 3:2)  Christ Himself then becomes

to us unspeakably precious, as:


·       the model of our present life and

·       the image of the perfection towards which the Holy Ghost is working in us.


VI. Lastly, He IS THE LORD OF OUR SOUL. How sweet it will be to be with

him. We find to-day that his beloved company makes us move pleasantly

whether we run in the way of his commands, or the valley of the shadow of

death. Saints have lain in dungeons, and yet they have walked at liberty

when he has been there; they have been stretched on the rack, and even

called it a bed of roses when he has stood by. One lay on a gridiron, with

the hot fires beneath him; but amidst the flames he challenged his

tormentors to do their worst, and laughed them to scorn, for his Lord was

there. Martyrs have been seen to clap their hands when every finger burned

like a lighted candle, and they have been heard to cry,” Christ is all,”

“Christ is all.” When the Fourth, like unto the Son of God, walks in the

furnace, all the fire can do is but to snap their bonds and set the sufferers

free. Oh, brethren. I am sure your only happiness that has been worth

having has been found in knowing that he loved you and was near you. If

you have ever rejoiced in the abundance of your corn and wine and oil, it

has been a sorry joy; it has soon palled upon your taste, it never touched

the great deeps of your spirit; and anon it has gone and left you sore

wearied in heart. If you have rejoiced in your children, and your kinsfolk,

and your bodily health, how readily has God sent a blight upon them all.

But when you have rejoiced in Jesus you have heard a voice bidding you

proceed to further delights. That voice has cried, “Drink, O friends, yea,

drink abundantly, O beloved;” for to be inebriated with such joy as this is

to come to the best condition of mind, and to fix the soul where it should

be. We are never right till we come out of ourselves and into Jesus; but

when the ecstatic state comes, and we stand right out of self, and stand in

him, so that whether in the body or out of the body we can scarcely tell,

God knoweth (II Corinthians 12:2); then are we getting back to where God

meant man to have been when he walked with him in Eden, getting near to

where God means we shall be when we shall see him face to face. Brethren,

what must the unveiled vision be! If the sight of him here be so sweet, what must

it be to see him hereafter! It may be we shall not live till he cometh, for the Master

may tarry; but if he doth not come, and we therefore are called to pass

through the gate of death, we need not fear. I should not wonder if when

we pass under the veil and come out in the disembodied state, one of our

astonishments will he to find Jesus himself there waiting to receive us.

The soul hoped that a convoy of ministering angels would he near the bed

and would escort it across the stream and up the mountains to the Celestial

City; but no: instead thereof the spirit will be saluted by the Lord himself.

Will it be amazed and cry: “It is he, e’en he, my best Beloved, Jesus

himself; he has come to meet me. Heaven might have been too great a

surprise; even my disembodied spirit might have swooned away, but it is

he, the man Christ Jesus whom I trusted down below, and who was the

dear companion of my dying hours, I have changed my place and state, but

I have not changed my Friend nor changed my joy, for here he is!” (“And it

shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and

He will save us:  this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad

and rejoice in His salvation!”  (Isaiah 25:9 – CY – 2019) What a

glance of love will that be which he will give to us and which we shall

return to him. Shall we ever take our eyes away from him? Shall we ever

wish to do so? Will not the poet’s words he true,


“Millions of years my wondering eyes,

Shall o’er thy beauties rove;

And endless ages I’ll adore

The glories of thy love.”


Within a week it may be that our meeting with Jesus himself may take place;

perhaps within an hour. A poor girl lying in the hospital was told by the doctor

or the nurse that she could only live another hour; she waited patiently, and

when there remained only one quarter of an hour more, she exclaimed:

“One more quarter of an hour, and then “she could not say what, neither can I;

only Jesus himself hath said, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given

me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.” And as He has

prayed, so shall it be, and so let it be. Amen and Amen.