Christ All in All

Christ All in All.

Whither shall I go, but unto thee, O Lord? thou hast the words of eternal life, thou art life, and in thee it is I live and move, and have my being; I am a poor stranger in this world, and a traveler, as all my fathers were, journeying from time to eternity, from this vale of tears, this region of sin and sorrow, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the mount Sion, the city of the living God, whither my great Forerunner is already entered, even Jesus, to prepare a place for me: that is my rest, there my treasures are laid up, there I shall behold my Father’s face without a cloud: there all tears shall be wiped from my eyes; I shall no more hang my harp on the willows, but for ever join the harmonic chorus of uninterrupted hallelujahs, singing the sons of Moses and Lamb, with all those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and therefore are before the throne for ever. But I am not yet called home to my Father’s house: I am a poor exile, passing through a wilderness, in my way to glory; I must be tired in the furnace of affliction, before I come out bright gold, but when I walk through the fire, I have the word of an unchangeable God, that he will be with me, and when I pass through the waters, he hath promised they shall not overflow me, therefore I may boldly press on, for though hosts of foes will rise against me; by the strength of my God, I shall leap over them all: for though storms may roar, and tempests blow, yet Jesus, my God, is mightier far than they, when he says, “Peace be still,” they shall all be hushed into a calm.

While I am in the world, I am beset with enemies, enemies on all sides, within and without: within, a heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; a heart in league with hell, to stop me in my heavenly race; prone to wander from the God of love; a heart which is by nature the sink of sin, ready every moment to betray me into the hands of my spiritual enemies, this is my nearest and greatest foe; and when I should soar on the wings of faith and love, far above the things which are seen, and are temporal to those which are unseen, and eternal, this weighs me down, this keeps me groveling in the dust, and will do so more or less still the chain is broke, the bond dissolved, and my fettered soul set at liberty; then I shall fly away upborne on angels wings to my heavenly home, and leave sin and mortality behind for ever: but that time is not yet come, I am yet in the body waiting for the hour when Jesus shall say, “Come up hither:” till then, I remain in an howling wilderness, full of burning sand, beasts of prey, and fiery flying serpents. The world is a subtle enchantress, she lays her snares on every side to catch the unwary travelers feet, and we not only fight with flesh and blood, but with principalities, and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. O who shall deliver my soul from all this host of foes? I am but a worm, I have no might, my strength is perfect weakness, but the Lord ruleth on high; Jesus reigns, he is the King of Israel, and the Savior thereof. Rejoice then, ye citizens of Zion, in the recollection of this truth, Jesus is King of KIngs, and Lord of Lord, all power is in his hand, he reigns in and over our hearts, by the golden scepter of his grace; he ruleth over the world by his providential empire, and he reigneth over the devils with a rod of Iron; he hath ascended up on high, leading captivity captive, and he shall reign till all things are put underneath his feet.

But I am not only surrounded with enemies, while passing through this valley of the shadow of death, but I am together an unclean thing, and all my righteousness are as filthy rags; born in sin, and by nature corrupted, all I do is defiled with sin; Lord, I am a leper, unclean throughout, and God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; he hath declared, he will by no means clear the guilty; to whom should I turn? To whom should I go? Lord, thou hast the words of eternal life; Jesus is a priest upon his throne, a great High-Priest, who is entered into the holy place, not made with hands; who himself bare our sins in his own body on the tree, and by that oblation of himself once offered, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified, being himself at once the sacrifice and sacrificer, and the offended Jehovah, to whom he made the atonement: for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself – these are mysteries the world receiveth not.

To thee then I come, O my compassionate High-Priest, to be washed in that fountain which thou hast opened for sin, and for all uncleanness; from thy heart, thy hands, and feet it flowed, blood and water, to cleanse and to redeem: wash me in that precious flood, O thou Savior of sinners, and I shall be clean. Come hither, O ye wounded souls, ye that are pricked to the heart, that are crying out your wounds are incurable; behold your priest: behold your sacrifice: behold the Lamb of God that takes your sins away, he hath given his life a ransom for many, and there is balm in Gilead, there is a kind Physician there: behold him by faith, he spreads his pierced hands to receive you, your names are engraven on the palms of his hands, and he will did you go in peace. He now appears before the throne, as a lamb newly slain, and he ever lives to make intercession for us.

Sin hath blinded our eyes, hath stopped our ears, and shut up our hearts in more than Egyptian darkness; LOrd, I am as a brute beast before thee, I know not the ways of God, nor the way in which I should walk: I am by nature intirely immersed in blindness and ignorance, to what teacher should I go, but to thee, thou great Prophet of thy church; thou art the wisdom of God; thou art made unto us wisdom, and it is thy office to open the eyes of the blind, to unstop the deaf ears, to teach thy people by thy Spirit, all truth, and to make fools wise unto salvation. Listen then, my soul, to thy heavenly teacher, hear him in his word, directing thy feet into the way of peace. Hear him say, “This is the way, walk ye in it, go not after thine own will, but follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth, and he will lead thee to the good land, the heavenly Canaan, where thou shalt be satisfied with the blessings of his kingdom, and though the way may lay through many a dark path, Jesus will be thy light, and defence, thy sun, and thy shield; the sun of righteousness will rise upon thee, with healing underneath his blessed wings, will shed his divinest influence upon thee, lay his everlasting arms underneath thee, and be thy God, and thy savior in time and eternity. When thou, poor silly sheep, wandereth from the fold, the good Shepherd will keep his eye upon thee, he will not suffer the wolf to devour thee, but by the chastisement of his rod, will bring thee back, when thou art weary and faint in thy mind, thy all-skilful Physician will make thee whole: he will heal all thy backslidings, and love thee freely, for with him there is no variableness, neither shadow of changing. Rejoice then, O my soul, and ye saints of God, rejoice in that Jehovah Jesus, who is the Alpha and Omega: if he is our King, none can hurt us; if he is our Priest, he will save us; if he is our Prophet, he will guide us right, for he is called Wonderful, Counsellor. We indeed are poor and blind, naked and miserable in ourselves, but Jesus is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: if we are nothing, he is all.

Now to him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God, be honour and glory, thanksgiving and praise, from all the inhabitants of heaven, and redeemed saints upon earth, henceforth, and for ever. Amen, and Amen.

Text: Divine Poems and Essays, 1791, pp. 179-84.