“When first I knew my Lord, my God,
‘Twas in his deep humility,
With garments rolled in his own blood;
With eyes of love he looked on me.
Lo, then my fainting heart revived,
When I behold the Savior smile;
‘Twas then in Jesus I believed,
And felt the glory of his toil.”
O, in what humiliation was I when first I looked on Jesus crucified. The Holy Spirit had arrested me and convinced me of my sin, and made me to realize that I was under the curse of the law. My iniquities were before me, I saw myself in shame, a guilty criminal, self-condemned and under the righteous wrath of God. I feared there could be no escape for me from the damnation of hell. I thought, I shall soon die, I shall die in my sins, and then I shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. These dreadful apprehensions of the wrath to come abased me, crushed me down, and I put my mouth in the dust before the dreadful and just God, for perhaps there might be some way of hope for a vile transgressor, but I could not see how it could be. I did not know Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. i. 10.) I was humbled indeed, I loathed myself, and I was moved by God’s gracious power to mourn over my iniquities. My heart was smitten and contrite over my sins, I sighed and wept unto God; yes, he moved me, he drew me unto himself; (I see it now) sin-stricken, wounded and bruised was my soul; law-condemned, self-condemned, I fled unto God, against whom I had sinned, and before whom I trembled, and I prayed, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. For some time it appeared as though he regarded me not, or rather I feared that my damnation was sure, there was no mercy for me. Day after day was spent in distress in the regions of the shadow of death, and I feared all evil. At length the Lord heard my cries and showed me his salvation. There came into my mind a vision of Christ upon the cross. A sacred awe came upon my spirit, my prayers and groans were suspended, and I was wrapped up with the sight; yes, the eyes of my heart were drawn to, riveted, absorbed in contemplation of the crucified Redeemer. It was a revelation to my soul, my natural eyes saw nothing; it was in the darkness of the night as I lay upon my bed. O the instruction that was imparted to me by the Holy Spirit in this vision of the crucified One. I was shewn that mercy and salvation were in Jesus, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; and that night, when my heart was made to understand that God’s salvation of sinners was in the sufferings and death of Christ, O how my heart went forth to him, and I cried unto God to save me from my sins for Jesus’ sake; to let me know that he died for me.
“When first I know my Lord, my God,
‘Twas in his deep humility.”
There on the cross my yearning heart beheld the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, suffering, bleeding, dying for poor sinners. O what humiliation! (Isaiah liii.) In his humiliation his judgment was taken away, he was cut off. (Acts viii. 33; Daniel ix. 26.) It was opened up to me a little, just some wonderful glimpses of how Christ Jesus in his everlasting, boundless pity for wretched, vile transgressors, humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. My sin-distressed soul entered a little into the sacred mystery of the cross of Christ, and I was made to hope that it was for crimes that I had done he groaned upon the tree; amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree. And though I was made to hope that all my sins were forgiven, all washed away in Jesus’ precious, atoning blood, and my burden was gone, and I was happy in my hope that the dear Savior died for me, and that he had reconciled me unto God, and that God was my Friend, my God and my heavenly Father, yet in a little while there was mingled with my blessedness such sorrow, for as I pondered over the humiliation of the crucified Redeemer I saw it was my sins that brought him low; it was my transgressions for which sake he was made a curse. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” And then 1 mourned over him to think that he suffered so to ransom vile transgressors, to save a sinful wretch like me from my sins, the curse, from death and hell. I mourned for him. (Zeeh. xii. 10.) O how Jesus must have loved me! and my heart was melted, and wept over his love. How base I sew myself.
“Love end grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I’ll bathe.”
Thus I mused upon the love of God declared in the bleeding, dying Lamb of God, end sweet pardon was mine in his precious blood.
“I nothing had when thou, deer Lamb,
Didst shew me ell my sins forgiven;
I nothing had but sin and shame
When first I sew my name in heaven.
Bought with the Savior’s pains and blood,
Amazing love! what tongue can tell
The glory which I sew in God,
When at his footstool first I fell?”
FREDERICK W. KEENE.
North Berwick, Maine.
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 3
February 1, 1914