“O Lamb of God, I Come”
Many years ago, I fell upon the book, The Walk, Conversation and Character of Jesus Christ Our Lord, by Alexander Whyte. He was born in 1836, served in the Free Church of Scotland and ultimately became the Principle and Professor of New Testament at New College, Edinburgh. This book, (only one among many that he authored) published in 1905, has become a treasure to me and I hope to read from it the rest of my life. One passage especially draws my heart to God and I hope it will do the same for you. Remember, he is from another time and another place, but if you can grasp some of the very simple yet profound truth in what he says, it will be a blessing to you. So take it a line or sentence at a time and realize that the words come from a man who loved his God more than his life. Whyte is commenting on the opening words of the Hymn “Just As I Am” written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. Please, allow me?
“‘Just as I am.’ Now, a happier word than that is not in all the world. A better selected word is not in all the world. It was a stroke of evangelical genius to choose that word, and to lay it as the very first syllable in this song of salvation, ‘Just as I am.’ That is to say, simply as I am, exactly as I am, precisely as I am. Not in any other shape or form. Not in any other character or category. Not any better, but ‘Just as I am.’ And as no one else has ever been, or ever will be to the end of time. I am alone, and have no fellow, nor will ever have. My sins are my own, and my misery is my own. ‘Just as I am, I come.’
“And ‘without one plea.’ If I had ever one good and sound plea, you may depend upon it, I would plead it. But I have not one. I have no excuse, no exculpation, no gloss, no varnish. If I had, I would plead it like Adam. It was the woman that did it, was Adam’s plea. It was the serpent, was the woman’s plea. I did not think that one blow would have killed him, pled Cain. The wine was red, and it gave its color to the cup, and it so moved itself aright, pled Noah. I was faint with hunger, pled Esau, and the pottage was so savory. The woman was very beautiful to look upon, pled David. They all had or thought they had their one plea. But I have no plea why God’s judgment against my sin should not be executed speedily. My mouth is stopped. I remember and am confounded, and shall never be able to open my mouth anymore because of my shame, said the prophet.
“But when we have no plea; when our mouth is stopped, when we are confounded and condemned, then these two pleas are put into our mouth. ‘Without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee.’ ‘Thy blood, O Lamb of God, and Thy bidding.’ These are now my two all-prevailing pleas. With these two pleas I shall always come with boldness to the throne of Grace. And I am sure that as often as I plead those two pleas I shall never be put to shame. Let us come then. Let us come and let us learn better and better in what way to come. In what way and with what manner of motion. We come, but not by locomotion as in all other cases of coming. We come, but not by removing ourselves out of our place and removing ourselves to another place. We come by a real locomotion, indeed; but it is by the locomotion of the mind and the heart. It is not by the locomotion of our feet, says Augustine, but by the locomotion of our affections ... But use the eyes you have on the best things and your eyes will grow better by use. Only direct your eyes sufficiently often, and sufficiently fixedly, and sufficiently long at a time on the Lamb of God, and there is no limit to their increasing clearness and their increasing power. God gave your inward eyes to you in order that you might see His Son with them. And that, like the prophet, your eyes might then affect your heart. Look, then, till your heart is affected, and tell with our whole heart you come to Him. And come at all times, and come in every way. Come from all your former ignorance and indifference, and come to the intensest interest and anxiety. Come from never thinking a thought about the Lamb of God to thinking about nothing and about no one half so much. Come from seeking your own pleasure in everything to asking what will please Him. Come from taking your own way in everything to taking His way in everything, and your neighbor’s way as often and as far as it is His way. Come from a hardness of heart like the nether millstone, to an utter brokenness of heart, and till your head is waters. Come from never taking time to pray in secret, to praying in secret in all places, and at all times ... Come every ... day of the week from pride to humility, and from envy to pitifulness, and from wrath to patience, and from gluttony to sobriety, and from lasciviousness to purity, and from covetousness to contentment, and from sloth to ready zeal. And in all that, and at the heart of all that, and as the true end of all that, say continually, ‘O Lamb of God, I come.’”
(The Walk, Conversation and Character of Jesus Christ Our Lord, pp. 99-103, by Alexander Whyte, Fleming H. Revell Company, New Your, Chicago, Toronto, 1905.)
Serving Christ Together,
Posted on July 1, 2016