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(caption title) "Christ in You"
Rev. Charles F. Deems, D. D.
[Raleigh, N. C.]
[Between 1861 and 1865.]
At head of title: [A NEW TRACT FOR SOLDIERS.] No. 24
4630 Conf. (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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[A NEW TRACT FOR SOLDIERS.] No. 24
"A little deeper, doctor, and you will touch the Emperor!" This was the exclamation of a French soldier when the surgeon was probing for a wound in the region of his heart. He felt the instrument drawing nearer and nearer the very seat of life. It seemed almost to lay itself on his heart. The sensations were agonizing. He almost endured death in the hope of prolonging life.
But consider how sublime was this expression of his devotion to his great military chief. The first Napoleon had a prodigious power of fascinating his followers. It lay in his wonderful character, his immense successes, his capability of inspiring confidence in his troops. The soldier who was under the surgeon's knife, in the midst of his horrible suffering, did not forget Napoleon. His remark to the physician was full of a beautiful significance. It intimated that in the place where his heart ought to be there was no more heart, it had all become Napoleon. What wonderful love was this! What transforming love was this!
My dear friend, Jesus is the Captain of our salvation. He is the noblest, grandest, loveliest character in the universe. There never was so great an intellect in any other, there never was
such love for you and me even in the hearts of our mothers. There never was such a leader. Life is a warfare. All men must fight. There is no volunteering in this war, because the attack is daily made directly and furiously or insidiously upon us, or by our lusts and passions, by sinful men, by infernal spirits,--and fight we must, or yield to the devil to be led captive at his will. Who shall lead us? Who has encountered these hosts? Who has overcome them? Who has led countless thousands in this conflict and brought them, off every one of them, more than conquerors? It is Christ. No man ever came to Him and was cast out. No man ever believed in Him and was confounded. He hath never left a solitary follower dead upon the battle-field. Every man who hath confidingly followed close upon His footsteps, through the thick of the fight, hath even fought Death and overcome him, and is now sitting on a throne and wearing a crown.
"Can I be one of those triumphant followers?" Yes. But you must really love Christ. No man ever sustained the burden, the anxieties, the exposure, the peril of a long campaign, and outlived the whole, outlived the wintry blasts which blew the icy night-winds furiously into his face when on guard, endured the drenching rains which watered his garments and carried aches into his bones while be slept on the wet ground, endured
the long days of fasting when hunger became so savage that it was delicious to gnaw raw meet from a bone, endured the straining vigilance necessary when contending with a wily foe, endured the disaster of an occasional defeat, endured the painful separation from the woman he loved above all other fair women and the home which was the image of rest to his soul,-- and bore all this, with hope deferred, through long years, if he did not love the cause he fought for and believed it to be worth all this sacrifice.
Who can fight under a leader he hates, for a cause he deems worthless? We often speak of "identifying" ourselves with a cause or with a man. It is a figurative word, meaning that we became one with the cause or the man, that nothing can benefit or damage him or it without benefiting or damaging us. If we would triumph over our spiritual foes we must identify ourselves with the cause of the cross and with Jesus the great leader of all those who are struggling to obtain what is better than political independence, that is to say, holiness of heart and life.
And our love for Christ must not be slight. We must give our hearts to Him. He must dwell in us. You speak of carrying a mother's or a wife's image in your soul. And when you turn your eyes inward, from landscapes of beauty or scenes of blood, there starts up the image of
a fair-haired boy, playing under the tree before the door. That boy is your younger brother or your little son. You may never see that dear face in the flesh again, but you would not sell for oceans full of diamonds the blessed faculty of recalling the very appearance of that precious child.
When you turn your eyes inward do you ever see Christ, the tender, compassionate Christ? Does his image smile back to your humble, loving thoughts of His great sacrifice for you? If the French soldier had loved Jesus as he loved Napoleon, he would have thought Jesus and felt Jesus and talked Jesus. He would have been conscious of a new nature. His heart would have been changed. From being the incarnation of bad passions it would have been Christ. Whoever should have laid his hand on that heart would have touched Christ. His heroic devotion to the Emperor following him into the deadly breach, ready to lay down life gladly for him, was only an outward manifestation of an inward and powerful passion. Had he so loved Christ he would have been as heroically unselfish in contending for Christian principles and promoting Christ's glory as he was in advancing Napoleon. And when he came to suffer and die, Christ would have been nearer and more helpful than the Emperor ever could be.
My friend you can never be happy or great,
you can never reach the loftiest heroism until Christ be "in you the hope of glory." Whatever else may move you, you will never feel the noblest motive until the love of Christ constrain you. For whatever else you make sacrifices, you will never achieve the most manly self-denial, for the highest objects possible to man, namely, your own sanctification, and the salvation of your fellows, until Christ be in you, the hope of glory.
See what a great possibility is here suggested. Christ is in heaven, throned, crowned, worshipped. While you are reading, ten thousand times ten thousands of angels are making the floor of the everlasting palace in the skies radiant with the flashing crowns they fling at His feet in ecstasy of adoration. While you are hearing, perhaps the word of obscenity or blasphemy from some comrade or fellow-traveler, myriads of holy beings circle Him with praises, whose rapture rises and swells and spreads itself outward and upward, until all heaven is filled with the roll of its musical thunder. And among those happy shouting harpers are "a hundred and forty and four thousand and an immense multitude whom no man can number." And they all are men, women, and children. They have all worn human flesh about them, and had the frailties and sins of our humanity. Why are they there?
They are there because the glorious adorable
Christ has not always been sitting upon that throne. He has been down upon this earth. He has been a man like unto one of us. He has been exhibited to the world as the propitiation for the sins of all men. He has been the slain Lamb. He is the slain Lamb. They have redemption through His blood. We have "redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins." It is a sight past all comprehension glorious when a poor sinner sees that that Christ on the cross is his saviour. It is an indescribable joy to believe that you shall shout His praises in heaven.
But the Scripture shows there may be something better than all this, namely "Christ in you." And "in you" He must be. It is not sufficient that He is upon the cross dying for your sins, nor that He is in heaven pleading for your souls. He must be in you. It is a grand possibility that He who is the glory of angels and the Saviour of mankind may be--in you!
Now, if Christ be in you there at many things which cannot be there at the same time.
Your selfishness must be cast out. You have thought and toiled and labored anxiously to promote the comfort, the happiness, the glory of yourself. Before all others you have preferred yourself. Your own will has been the highest law of your life. You have pleased yourself as long, as thoroughly, as often, as possible. If Christ be in you you will seek to please yourself no more, constantly strive to do that which is pleasing in His sight.
Your love of the world must be cast out. "If any man love the world the love of the Father
is not in him." And if the love of the Father be not in the heart the Son will not dwell there.
Your sin must be cast out. Christ is holy. He will not dwell where sin is. He will not divide the scepter with Satan. If he is to be in you, you must be pure. And think what a blessed thing all this will be--to be empty of selfishness, worldliness and sin--even if Christ were not in you. But what prodigious blessings will attend this residence.
If He be "in you" you will be a happy man. His smiles will make sunshine at your heart. His love will be a continual feast. You may have no friend near you. Those you have always loved may be put away into darkness. All around you may be enemies. You may be lost in swamps or pining in prison. But what of that? To carry "in you" the noblest, purest, most devoted, most powerful of all friends. What your soul most needs and most craves of all things in heaven and earth will be--not near you, but--"in you." Your satisfaction will be delightful.
If He be "in you" you will be a noble man. He is the loftiest of all beings, and if you have "the mind" which was in Christ, (Phil. ii: 5,) you will be elevated above trifles, be lifted above little cares, be engaged in the grandest of all works, and under the expansive power of this new nature will rise to the loftiest cast of character.
If He be "in you" you will be a safe man. Nothing can harm you. The God who made all worlds, all forces, all mights, all powers, seen and unseen, dwells in you. He will protect His own habitation. The thunders cannot disturb you, the lightnings cannot move you, the flames
cannot consume you, the floods cannot swallow you. Christ is in you. Men wonder. Devils tremble. Angels rejoice. They see that He who inhabiteth eternity hath descended to abide in what was the den of the devils He hath cast out. You may descend to lion-pits, as Daniel did. The Son of God is in you, and the brutes cower before their Lord. You may walk in the furnace of seven-fold flame, as Shadrick, Meshack and Abednego did. "One like unto the Son of man" will walk, not with you, but "in you." The flames shall own His power and roll themselves to sheets of glory about you. You. shall "run through a troop," for He that is "in you" "covereth your head in the day of battle." You shall face death, but when he sees you he shall fly howling from you because he beholds "in you" that Christ who long ago conquered him and dragged him at His chariot wheels. The gates of paradise shall fly up as you approach, and the doors of heaven shall lift themselves, because you mount the universe carrying in your soul the Lord of all the universe.
Have you never let him enter your heart. Throw open the doors now. He stands. He knocks. He wishes to enter. While he is outside you are filled with the fear of some future failure, shame, or catastrophe. When He enters you shall be filled with "the hope of glory."
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