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bosom sang, you see; for he had given himself to the Lord.
To give your ownselves to the Lord would be for the worlds 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
Stptoarir anir (IDntoarir.
FOR THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.
TWELVE months have almost come and gone
When wistful hearts and longing eyes
Yet ask they now, those kindly friends,
Ah! well for us that human love
While we, child-like, scarce asked for more
And thus to train the spirit-growth
Yet strange how oft our human will
Not seldom thus He giveth back
But now a pause has come in life.
Until a growing Eastern light
A solemn hush steals o'er the heart:
We know our past, at least thus far,
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. I, 2. Matt. v. 48. 2 John xiv. 23. 2 Cor.vi. 16-18; vii. 1.
Not less was meant by Jesu's prayer,
But life is brief! we trembling cry,
God's teaching cannot all be crammed
But so we take to earnest heart
The lessons planned each passing hour,
Germs of all holy life are ours,
As seeds contain both root and flower.
Our part is this: to nourish well
Nor slurring over common tasks
Then rising higher, each heart must learn
Yet more than this: if on our face
And seek high fellowship with Him,
1 John xvii. 23. Eph. ii. 21, 22. 2 Rom. viii. 29.
3 Ex. xxxiv. 29, 30. 4 2 Cor. iii. 18, Rev. Ver.