'The Precious Things of God' by Octavius Winslow
"But to whom is Christ precious? This is a most important question. He is not precious to all. It is a privileged class, a peculiar people, a little flock, few and scattered, hidden and unknown, who feel the Savior's preciousness. Only to the believer is Christ precious; the declaration of the Holy Spirit is, "Unto you therefore who BELIEVE He is precious." This is philosophically as well as scripturally true. There cannot possibly be a felt conviction of the worth of an object of which we have no intelligent and clear perception. There must be something to create interest, to awaken admiration, to inspire love; the object must be seen, known, and tried.
Now, the only spiritual faculty that discerns Christ, and in discerning Christ realizes His preciousness, is faith. Faith is the optical faculty of the regenerate, it is the spiritual eye of the soul! Faith sees Christ, and as Christ is seen His excellence is recognized; and as His excellence unfolds, so He becomes an object of endearment to the heart! Oh, how lovely and how glorious is Jesus to the clear, far-seeing eye of faith! Faith beholds Him the matchless, peerless One; His beauty eclipsing, His glory outshining, all other beings! Faith sees majesty in His lowliness, dignity in His condescension, honor in His humiliation, beauty in His tears, transcendent, surpassing glory in His cross!
In natural things, as the beauty of an object unveils to the eye, it awakens in the mind a corresponding interest. The grey mist of morning slowly rising from off the face of nature, revealing a landscape of rich and varied beauty- the blending of mountain and valley, the green meadows and winding streams, presents an object which, in every mind susceptible of the sublime and the beautiful, inspires the feeling of admiration and delight. Beloved, in proportion as the personal dignity, beauty, and excellence of the Lord Jesus unfolds to the believing eye, He becomes more sensibly and deeply enshrined in the heart's warmest love! We must know the Lord Jesus to admire Him, and must admire Him to love Him, and must love Him to serve Him.
The believer, too, beholds a suitability in Christ, sees Him to be just the Savior adapted to the necessities of his soul; and this renders Him peculiarly precious. "I see Him," exclaims the believer, "to be exactly the Christ I need- His fulness meets my emptiness- His blood cleanses my guilt- His grace subdues my sin- His patience bears with my infirmities- His gentleness succours my weakness- His love quickens my obedience- His sympathy soothes my sorrows- His beauty charms my eye. He is just the Savior, just the Christ I need, and no words can describe His preciousness to my soul!"
There is thus an appropriation of Christ in the personal experience of every believer which endears Him to the heart. A Christ unappropriated is a Christ whose worth is undervalued, and whose preciousness is unfelt. The believer can say, "Christ is mine, and I have all things in one, even in Christ, who is my all and in all." This simple, trembling faith, sublime in its simplicity, mighty in its tremblings, sweeps all the treasures of the everlasting covenant of grace and all the fulness of the Surety of the covenant into its lap, and exclaims, "All is mine, because Christ is mine, and I am Christ's."
Do not shrink, beloved reader, from what the quaint divines of other days, and, perhaps, of a deeper experience and of a sounder creed than ours, were wont to term a "Christ-appropriating faith." If you have fled to Jesus as a poor, empty, believing sinner, there is not a throb of love in His loving heart, nor a drop of blood in His flowing veins, nor a particle of grace in His mediatorial fulness, nor a thought of peace in His divine mind, which is not yours, all yours, inalienably yours, as much yours as if you were its sole possessor! And in proportion as you thus deal with Christ, individually traveling to Him, living upon Him, living out of Him, dealing as personally with Him as He deals personally with you, He will involve Himself in your concerns, and will become growingly precious to your soul." Octavius Winslow