Category: Devotional


 

 

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Is This All?

(John MacDuff, “THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS” 1856)


“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ — set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above — not on earthly things!” — Colossians 3:1-2

The history of six thousand years has given indisputable evidence of the insufficiency of all earthly objects to yield true and satisfying enjoyment. Man has needs — which no earthly riches can supply; he has soul diseases — which no human skill can cure; he has fears — which no mortal courage can quell; he has debts — which no finite resources can discharge; and he has miseries — which no earth-born sagacity can console.
In earthly things, to whatever extent they may be possessed, there is a lack of adaptation to yield real happiness. It is recorded of Caesar that he exclaimed when in possession of universal empire,Is this all?His expectations of happiness were not answered by the attainment of worldly things.

Reader, have you not often felt something similar to this? You may have set your heart upon some distant object; and oh! what sacrifices you made for its attainment! What self-denial did you undergo! At length, perhaps, the desire of your heart was granted you. But was it what you expected? Were you not, on the contrary, led to exclaim, in the language of the disappointed emperor, Is this all?

It is an absolute certainty, that the things of earth cannot satisfy the cravings of our immortal nature. Wealth, fame, learning, pleasure, domestic happiness — none of these things can do it. “Whoever drinks of these waters shall thirst again,” as the Savior declared to the Samaritan woman; “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst — but it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life!”
But the things of earth, besides being unsatisfying in their nature — are, at best, transitory in their duration.

What are RICHES? Uncertain is the epithet which the pen of inspiration employs in describing them. “Will you set your eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven!” (Proverbs 23:5)
What is PLEASURE? Something that is only for a season.
What is WISDOM? More precious than rubies, if it is the wisdom which comes from above; but if it the wisdom of this world — it also is vanity, and will soon pass away.
What is FAME? Often a bubble, no sooner blown — than it bursts!
Yes, the earth itself is only temporary!

A Roman general, on one occasion, when elated by the splendors of a triumphal entrance into the imperial city, which had been awarded to him in honor of the victories he had won, exclaimed, “Ah, that it would continue!” But, alas! it did not continue. All the glittering pomp soon vanished! It floated away like a fleeting dream. And so with all earthly bliss — it will not, and cannot, continue. Had earthly things a character of abiding permanence belonging to them, men might with some semblance of reason, make them the fit objects of their desires and pursuits. Such a character, however, they do not possess. “The world with its lust is passing away!” “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” But, O blessed heavenly world! This fullness of joy; this unclouded vision of God and the Lamb; this sweet fellowship with saints and angels; this day without a night; this sky without a cloud; this sea without a ruffle; these ravishing melodies; this seraphic transport and exulting joy — they will continue — and that forever! “We have a priceless inheritance — pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!” (1 Peter 1:4)

“O what folly, O what madness! That my thoughts should go astray, After toys and empty pleasures — Pleasures only of a day! This vain world, with all its trifles, Soon, alas! will be no more; There’s no object worth admiring, But the God whom I adore!”

Octavius Winslow’s, “The Emotion of Love in Christ”

The mind has often been sensible of a feeling of awe as we have stood upon the shore, and
gazed upon the vast expanse of the ocean. With a similar, yet far transcending emotion, we approach the infinite ocean of Christ’s love!
Like the eternity of God, we cannot fathom where His love begins, or where it terminates. There is no other solution to the marvellous mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial Death but this: Christ has loved us.

Love originated all, explains all, illustrates all. Love is the interpreter of every Divine mystery. There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history which is not another form or manifestation of love. His incarnation is love stooping. His sympathy is love weeping. His compassion is love supporting. His grace is love acting. His teaching is the voice of love. His silence is the repose of love. His patience is the restraint of love. His obedience is the labor of love. His suffering is the travail of love. His cross is the altar of love. His death is the burnt offering of love. His resurrection is the triumph of love. His ascension into Heaven is the enthronement of love. His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love. Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean of Christ’s love!

The soul muses in silent awe as it gazes upon this fathomless, limitless sea! Nothing short of a divine love could or would have borne our sins, and the punishment of our sins. The weight of the one, and the terribleness of the other, would have crushed and annihilated a mere ‘created’ affection. There existed no love but the love of Jesus equal to the work of salvation. Who was willing, who was able, to bear that heavy load, to endure that overwhelming curse, but Jesus?

Oh, think, beloved reader, what the love of Christ has done and suffered for you…. the burden it bore, the sorrow it felt, the humiliation it underwent, the insults, the ignominy, the privation through which it traveled; its groans, its sighs, its tears, its darkness, how inconceivably it agonized, how freely it bled, how voluntarily it died, the sins it has pardoned, the guilt it has cleansed, the declensions it has restored, the backslidings it has healed, the sorrows it has soothed, the patience it has exercised, the gentleness it has exhibited, and then ask, could any other but the love of Jesus have done all this, and endured all this? Such is the love of Christ!

To have saved us upon such terms… a stoop so low, a humiliation so profound, a labor so immense, mental anguish so acute, bodily suffering so agonizing, a death so ignominious… Was ever love like this? Was it ever equaled? Where shall we find its parallel? Love less divine, less strong, less gentle, could never have won your heart, uprooted your enmity, tore you from your idols; enthroning Christ, all of Christ, Christ only, Christ supremely, Christ forever!

The love of Christ will be the wonder, the study, and the song of all pure, holy intelligences through eternity!

Beloved, nothing shall take the love of Christ from you, or separate you from it. It does not ebb with the ebbing of your feelings; it does not chill with the chill of your affections; it does not change with the changing scenes and circumstances of your life. The love of Christ has depths we cannot sound, heights we cannot explore, an infinite fulness and freeness tiding over all the sins, infirmities, and sorrows of its blessed and favored objects.
Seek to know this love of Christ, though it is so vast that it ‘passes knowledge.’ Infinite though it is, you may experience its reality, taste its sweetness, and be influenced by its all commanding, all constraining power. Do not limit your heart experience of Christ’s love, for it is infinite in its nature, and boundless in its extent. As yet, how many of us stand but upon the shore of this ocean! How little do we know, experimentally, of the love of Christ in our souls! Bring your heart with…. its profoundest emptiness, its most startling discovery of sin, its lowest frame, its deepest sorrow, and sink it into the depths of the Savior’s love!

That infinite sea will flow over all, erase all, absorb all, and your soul shall swim and sport amid its gentle waves, exclaiming in your joy and transport, “Oh, the depths!”
The Lord direct your heart into the love of God! Just as it is… hard, cold, fickle, sinful, sad and sorrowful.

Christ’s love touching your hard heart, will dissolve it!
Christ’s love touching your cold heart, will warm it!
Christ’s love touching your sinful heart, will purify it!
Christ’s love touching your sorrowful heart, will soothe it!
Christ’s love touching your wandering heart, will draw it back to Himself.
Only bring your heart to Christ’s love!
Believe that He loves you, and just as love begets love, so the simple belief in the love of Jesus will inspire you with a reflected, responsive affection; and your soul, like the flower, will burst from its captivity, and bloom, and, soaring in life, liberty, and beauty, will float in the sunbeams of Gods full, free, and eternal love; and, in a little while, will find itself in Heaven, where all is love!
“Blessed Jesus! Your love, like Your agonies, is an unknown and unfathomable depth! It passes knowledge. Let it rise and expand before me, until it fills the entire scope of my soul’s vision; occupies every niche of my heart; and bears me onward by its all commanding, all constraining
influence, in the path of a holy loving obedience and surrender.”
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.” Ephes. 3:19

There is a caption to this video; just click on the cc button if the caption does not appear. Maximize the video if it does not play smoothly on the player. The musical symphony was arranged by Brent Fischer.