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good and Holy Spirit. Every untruth in the soul, all that is untrue and unlovely—is not that therefore wrong? Consider : It is a great word of yours, “ All right.” Then, when you have given your Maker what He has made; your Redeemer what He has redeemed; your Sanctifier what has been prepared for Him-your own living selves : then only is it all right.
To give yourselves to the Lord is your good and happiness. It is your good : it satisfies all your longing; it gives you an object to live for, which ennobles all your energy. You give yourself, and in so doing you have God Himself. When I say that you and I want God, I mean that there is a love absent which ought to be present, without which we are not our very complete selves. In the gift of ourselves to God, we receive that absent love-we are filled according to the fulness of God.
Are you too young, any of you, quite to understand this ? Well, at least you can understand that it makes one happy to decide for the blessed Jesus—to be truly, wholly His. I think that any happiness which has not this at its heart, is neither worthy nor lasting. I know that you wish to be happy; and I feel that that cannot be a gospel to a child which does not make sunshine and music for the child. But I am certain that when you yield self to Him who seeks it, and is its perfect love, and therefore only perfect bliss, you are happier in your happiness, and you are supported and cheered in your sadness. “How sweet it is,” said one who had given himself to the Lord, in the gloom of the prison, “to have the bird in the bosom sing !” There it is: the bird in the bosom-a song—a singer-a fount of music and joy in the soul itself. Is not that good ? A Christian who had great wealth, was asked one day if the wealth was not a snare. “I hope not,” he replied ; " for I enjoy God in all things.” Reverses came, the wealth melted away. “Are not your losses hard to bear ?” asked the same friend. “ Hard when I think of those dear to me; but for myself, I am enjoying all things in God.” The bird in the bosom sang, you see; for he had given himself to the Lord.
To give your ownselves to the Lord would be for the world's good and happiness. So it was with these Macedonians, as you can find by reading the chapter. No sooner had they given themselves to Christ than they were filled with a new love and desire towards those for whom He died. They were poor enough, but their purses were opened when their hearts were opened, and in their poverty their liberality abounded. And they gave and gave, and then prayed the Apostle with much entreaty, to carry their collection to Jerusalem for the poor saints there.
Oh, believe me, Christ and the world sorely need Christians like these! Think of it: there are hundreds of millions still without Christ-in heathen darkness. Do you imagine that if Christians were really in earnest, if they felt themselves really laid under an obligation by Christ's commandment to go into all the world and preach His gospel to every creature, if they really understood what the very reason of the Church's being, her first great duty to the Master, is, there would be the spectacle of this enormous mass of persons in darkness and in the shadow of death ?
Or, again, reflect on the awful misery and sin around us. Do you imagine that this misery and sin would be so awful, if every person who named Jesus' name, truly shed His light around, and did and gave what he could for His dear name? No, no! It is sad, terrible, that there is so much of unconsecrated and so much of only half-consecrated Christianity in our churches and our homes. Self to God, what one is, and then what one has, this is consecration. I hope that you will give for the cause of God a share, truly a share, of all that you have. You should begin doing so now.
Mr. Spurgeon, when a boy, won a money prize: he felt that he must give a fifth of it to God, for the spread of His gospel. And that has been his rule since. Whatever you contribute, do so with your heart and in prayer, like a little girl who put her two pennies into the mission-box, and then prayed, “ Lord, bless my two pennies for Jesus' sake.” Would that we had more of that sort of giving! This world of ours would be a wholesomer and happier world if there were more of the love and unselfishness and free-souled giving which flows from the first gift—" their ownselves to the Lord.”
It was for this, then, that St. Paul mainly laboured. Many a one would have dwelt with satisfaction first on his own influence and the affection of people for him. His chief satisfaction was derived from the fact that the Macedonians looked beyond the teacher-to the Lord—whom they had found. Dear young friends, if I wanted first your love or admiration, I might preach or write, but I would not think much of praying. Because I want you first for Christ, my prayer is, that God may so powerfully send this word about the gift of yourselves home to you, as that all of you, brought to the cross, and your stony heart taken away, may learn the truth of the verse with which I conclude
“God's love hath in us wealth un-heaped,
The body withers and the mind
Is pent in by a selfish rind.
Give, give, be always giving ;
The more we give,
Upward and Onward.
Since last we heard through echoing air
Yet ask they now, those kindly friends,
But now we ask in wondering awe
Or must we walk with slow, sad feet,
No answer comes from out the dark.
Not for itself He sendeth pain;
For when life's scaffolding is gone,
And what we are, not what we have,
And what that inner self shall be
Though what that inner self should be,
Heart-likeness to the eternal God!
1 Eph. v. 1, 2. Matt. v. 48.
? John xiv. 23. 2 Cor. vi. 16-18; vii. 1.