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Not Merely to Know


But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ

—Philippians 3:7–8

I love to read and learn. I love it so much that I am afraid I could be content just to acquire knowledge without ever putting it to any use. But that is not as it should be, and if that is all that comes of our learning of Christ, that is tragic indeed.


Seek not the knowledge of Christ merely to know, that may be the end of a vainly curious mind; but seek to know him, that you may enjoy him more, that you may improve him better, that you may gain more heavenly and spiritual advantage by him, Mat. xiii. 45, 46. A merchant that travels into other countries, his end is not to view the places, and the rarities of them; that he minds but upon the by; but his design is to meet with commodities, whereby he may get the advantage to raise an estate. Such should your design be, a labouring to get more acquaintance with Christ, not merely to see and know more than others,—that may be done for ostentation, or out of curiosity,—but to discover that which may make your souls rich unto God; that you may discern that in him which may make you willing to sell all to possess and enjoy him, to suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ. Press to get near him, as the woman in the Gospel, that you may find a healing, a sovereign virtue coming from him; labour to get into the light which discovers him, that you may be under his influences, those healing, quickening, strengthening, comforting influences upon which the strength, life, comfort, and activeness of your souls depends; that you may derive from him more spiritual life, sense, strength, refreshment, motion, and activeness; that you may partake more of his riches, taste more of his sweetness; that you may adore, admire him more, and be more in his praises; that you may be engaged and enabled to honour him more, and serve him better, to do and suffer more for him; so to discover him, as to know the power of his resurrection, &c., Philip, iii. 10, so as to be excited and enabled to follow after, ver. 12, 13.

Content not yourselves with light without heat. Let every spark of knowledge beget some spiritual and heavenly heat, let it kindle you into more zeal for him, more ardent desires after him, more flames of love to him, more fervour of spirit in seeking, in following him. If the light whereby you discover anything of Christ be not accompanied with spiritual heat, it will prove but a fruitless blaze, which will soon go out, and end in smoke, come to nothing or worse. Satisfy yourselves with no knowledge of Christ, but such as makes you [love him], Cant. i. 3. The apprehensions they had of Christ gave them a taste, a delicious relish of him, such as made them in love with him, sick of love. Let it raise you to such a heat of resolution as it did Peter, Mat. xxvi. 35. Let it excite in you such desires as in David, Ps. lxiii., raise you to such a value of Christ as the spouse had, Cant. v. 5, 6, 10, 16. If it beget not heat of affection, it will not be like the light of the rising sun, which shines more and more, &c., but like a flash of lightning, which appears and vanishes in a moment, and often does more hurt than good.

—David Clarkson, The Excellent Knowledge of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:264–265.

Posted 2017·10·12 by David Kjos
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Posted in: David Clarkson · Works of David Clarkson

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