"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." - Phil. iii. 12.
My soul! take the apostle for an example in thine evening's meditation.
Here he freely and fully confesseth himself, after all his attainments
in the life of grace, to be far short of what he longed to attain. And
observe the aim of the apostle: all his pursuit, and all his desire
was, like an arrow shot at a mark, to apprehend Christ, as Christ had
first apprehended him: to grasp Jesus, as the Lord Jesus had held, and
did hold him. Happy desire! happy pursuit! and blessed mark of grace!
For let the Lord have given out to the soul ever so largely, there is
more to give out, more to be received, more to be enjoyed. And the Holy
Ghost, who is leading a child of God out of himself, more and more, to
lead him more and more to the enjoyment of Jesus, is sweetly training
that precious soul, and advancing him to the highest lessons in the
school of grace. Paul felt this, when he cried out, "Not that I have
already attained, either were already perfect." To be sure not: for if
we thought we had enough of Christ, it would be more than half
conviction that we had nothing at all. Now, my soul, learn from Paul,
in what the life of God in the soul consists: to be always pursuing the
person of Jesus, for the farther enjoyment of him; never sitting down
satisfied with what is already attained; but" pressing (as the apostle
did) towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus:" in short, to make Christ the sum, the substance, the all
of every desire; and ever to keep in remembrance, that the more we
receive, the more Jesus hath to impart; the more he gives out, the more
he is glorified; and, like some rich spring, the oftener we receive
from him, the more rich and full he flows: Oh the blessedness of such a
state! What a heaven upon earth would it be, if closely followed! To be
always living upon Jesus, coming to Jesus, thirsting after Jesus; and
the more we receive out of him, and of him, to have the soul's desires
after him the more increased by all we enjoy. Precious Lord! grant me
this felicity, that, like Paul, I may say," Not as though I had already
attained :" but all my longings are, so to apprehend and hold fast
Christ Jesus, as Christ Jesus hath apprehended and doth hold me fast.