Imágenes de páginas

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,
Only by giving is it reaped:

The body withers and the mind
Is pent in by a selfish rind.
Give strength, give thought, give deeds, give pelf,
Give love, give tears, and give thyself.
Give, give, be always giving;
Who gives not is not living:
The more we give,
The more we live."

Stptoarir anir (IDntoarir.


TWELVE months have almost come and gone
Since last we heard through echoing air
The merry tone of Christmas wish,
The thoughtful sound of New Year's prayer.

When wistful hearts and longing eyes
Would fain have planned our coming way,
One smiling scene of light and joy,
One bright and blissful summer day.

Yet ask they now, those kindly friends,
If life have shown but sunnier side;
No tear-drop mingled with its bliss,
No earthly pleasure been denied?

Ah! well for us that human love
Hath lacked the means to work its will;
That God's desires took wider range,
Nor could such blindfold dreams fulfil.

While we, child-like, scarce asked for more
Than play-hours spent 'mid nursery toys,
God gently placed us in His school
To wean our hearts from childish joys,

And thus to train the spirit-growth
Beneath His wise, corrective hand,
Until at length we had attained
The nobler man His forethought planned.

Yet strange how oft our human will
Rebels against the will Divine,
And in its wish for present ease
Forgets how blest His high design.

Not seldom thus He giveth back
The lessons we would fain ignore;
We scramble through as best we may,
And are scarce wiser than before.

But now a pause has come in life.
We stand awhile with thoughtful eye
To watch the Old Year's sunset glow,
To see it slowly pale and die,

Until a growing Eastern light
Shall usher in with Time's new year
A further tale of shine and shade,
In forecast hid from wisest seer.

A solemn hush steals o'er the heart:
Not ours in thoughtless mirth to greet
This sudden bend on life's high road—
This strange, new path before our feet.

We know our past, at least thus far,
Its outward changing form we know;
For few, meanwhile, have power to guess
Life's actual hid behind its show.
But now we ask in wondering awe
What next the future may disclose.
Shall joyous landscapes meet our view,
Lit up with skies of gleaming rose?

Or must we walk with slow, sad feet,
Onward through bleak and stony land,
Where thorn-bush takes the place of flower,
And mists strike chill on every hand.

No answer comes from out the dark.
Enough for trustful hearts to know
Their Father's wisely tender thought
Shall plan the way His children go.

Not for itself He sendeth pain;
Not for itself comes earthly toil;
These serve such end, need we much care
Who owns the land or digs its soil?

For when life's scaffolding is gone,
When earthly things have passed away,
That living character shall stand,
Which these were building every day.

And what we are, not what we have,
Shall prove us truly rich or poor.
Our gold we leave behind with earth,
Our self will enter heaven's door.

And what that inner self shall be
Each passing hour must help decide.
No magic wand shall change the heart
When stand our feet by Jordan's tide.

Though what that inner self should be,
Yea, what the ideal of our race,
His life must show who mirrored back
The brightness of the Father's face.1

Heart-likeness to the eternal God!
The child-like wish for His control,
With feeling, thought, and love so pure,
He can abide within the soul l2

1 Eph. v. I, 2. Matt. v. 48. 2 John xiv. 23. 2 16-18; vii. 1.

Not less was meant by Jesu's prayer,
"That they be perfected in one,"1
Not less when God chose each to be
Conformed in image to His Son.*

But life is brief! we trembling cry,
Such wondrous change, how can it be?
We need not doubt : Time's eldest are
But infants in eternity.

God's teaching cannot all be crammed
Within a term of fourscore years;
Its alphabet we scarcely learn
Amid our changing smiles and tears.

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
The life of love and thought within,
To value motive more than deed,
And most to dread the secret sin.

Nor slurring over common tasks
To think no work of mean degree;
The kingliest king once lived below
As carpenter in Galilee.

Then rising higher, each heart must learn
To make its brother's need its own;
The soul that only thinks of self
Lives farthest from the central throne.

Yet more than this: if on our face
Some ray of holy light would shine,
Oft must we climb the mount of God
To breathe the air of things divine.'

And seek high fellowship with Him,
The mighty, glorious Three in One,
Until we faintly catch His glow
As dewdrops may reflect the sun.4

1 John xvii. 23. Eph. ii. 21, 22. 2 Rom. viii. 29.

3 Ex. xxxiv. 29, 30. 4 2 Cor. iii. 18, Rev. Ver.

« AnteriorContinuar »